Parent of a Primary School Kid

So you have joined the ranks of thousands of us… Congrats! You are a parent of a Primary School kid! 🙂

As we start the 2nd month of the new year, you would realise life has changed tremendously after that K2 graduation! Suddenly, bed time is very important. And that means dinner has to be served earlier. And it also means if you want to have dinner as a family, you’ve to get off work sooner. Ohhh and this totally excludes the days when there’s difficult homework, or spelling or tingxie… the list goes on!

Now that I’m in my PSLE year, I’ve had a number of years of experience how to get around this. Plus with I’ve one in P4 and another in P3, I think I’ve kind of gotten a hang of what works. (or at least I know for sure what doesn’t work at all!)

The first thing we parents have to do is Let Them Pack Their Own Bags. One task I took upon myself is to reprint their Time Table in to A3 and stick in on a wall in the study room. I also instilled in them the responsibility to write down homework, notes from teachers into their diary. After two weeks, your child should be able to follow the timetable and refer to the diary when packing their bags.

It is important to let them forget and make mistakes. If they forget that Math workbook, it’s ok. Let them learn and get scolded by the teacher. And if they call you from school to ask you to bring something they forget, don’t. Let them learn about consequences. This is the best time for them to learn cause and effect! And they won’t crumble. Really. A scolding or two won’t affect their self esteem. They learn to be responsible and not hurry through their “packing moment”.

Next up, get the kids to fill in forms for you. You just Sign the papers. That’s right, all those application to join this and that, or consent form for this outing or that enrichment. Get your child to fill in their names, your name, your contact etc. Get them to explain to you what the form is about. And all you need to do is sign it if you are agreeable! This teaches them responsibility and how to write legibly!

And one big big task we parents have to do is Forget Spelling and Tingxie. Yup, you heard it right. By mid Term 2, your child should be able to learn the words on their own, and test themselves. Ok, you or your domestic help can test them if you like. But they should be able to mark on their own, do own corrections, and re-learn those works.

My main point is, let spelling and tingxie be least on your priority list. You see, it’s a weekly affair. You would go crazy chasing the kid to study it, then sitting with him to learn, then testing him, then marking the work, then ensuring he does corrections, then retesting him. There are many other important work that needs your attention!

Spelling and Tingxie are the easiest work in primary school to delegate to the kids. It’s their responsibility to know, they must learn xx words per day, or remember which spelling list to learn, or when is spelling. I really believe it is the basic of most basic school work that the child should start taking responsibility for.

The best part? You have to sign the spelling book after the teacher marks it. That’s when you can do your 1.5hr lecture or sigh in exasperation or dish out punishments. There is a window for recovery work! And the 2nd best part? It does not affect the overall grade! You see, most schools don’t take into account the spelling marks for the Continual Assessment (CA) grades. And if they do, it’s a small small percentage.

Trust me, focus on the other stuff like Finishing Show and Tell, or Understanding that Math problem, or simply Reading with your child. These are a lot more important than the weekly spelling. And it frees you up more to enjoy this journey. Life is really more than those 10 words!

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