June holidays mean revision time for daughter

June holidays mean revision time for daughter

It is already June and I have not mentioned any aspect of my daughters' schooling in this column so far this year.

One may imagine I have become a less harried parent who is more concerned that my daughters are getting a holistic education instead of chasing after grades, in line with the new emphasis by the Education Ministry on developing values, character and collaboration.

Wrong. I haven't been writing about school because I have been busy figuring out, mulling over and agonising over how to survive this academic year.

My younger daughter, Yanbei, is taking her Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) next year and studying has been quite a slog so far.

Some schools try to finish the syllabus ahead of schedule so that pupils can devote more time in Primary Six to relearn and reinforce concepts they are weak in, as well as hone their examination skills by doing reams and reams of practice papers.

It's a sound strategy but one that demands accelerated learning during the Primary Five year.

I believe Yanbei's school pursues such a strategy because her pace of learning this year has been quite daunting.

In the weeks before her recent first semester assessment (SA1), she was inundated with homework. It did not help that she was in the school dance team that participated in the Singapore Youth Festival in April.

In the weeks before the performance, she had to stay back in school for intensive practice.

This curtailed her homework time, so much so that there were occasions when my wife more or less supplied answers for Yanbei's homework just to get her to go to bed before midnight.

Yanbei is fearful of handing in blank or largely incomplete worksheets even though we tell her it is all right to do so. But she is afraid of being scolded. I am nonplussed.

In my time, it was common for teachers to punish pupils who did not complete their homework by asking them to stand on chairs. Some who produced shoddy work even had to suffer the ignominy of seeing their exercise book torn up by the teacher in front of the class.

But in these enlightened times, surely not. Still, one cannot be certain if her fear is real or imagined.

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