Sunday, October 18, 2015


One of Day’s classmate’s mums, a remarkable woman who birthed quadruplets, once said something which made me panic a bit: I have to work with the four of them, but I know all their learning styles so that’s OK.

What learning style? How did she find out their learning styles and why does she even have to work with them?

Day has been in the educational system for five years now. I know, and they know, that I’m totally hands off. I honestly don’t do anything aside from the usual working, music-making, cooking, cleaning, hanging out with them and bringing them out for spots of fun. I may give Day a couple of Maths assessment papers to do during the holidays, but it’s all very relaxing as we happily draw models together.

The arrival of the exams always take me by surprise, the results always make me angst a bit (what I always tell myself is that when my child does not do well in school, it is not my fault), and then it’s back to normal easy living.

By and large, it works. They're pretty much on the ball with homework and school admin and whatnot because if they're not, they know I won't pick up the ball.

But this year, Day is in Primary 5. His PSLE is a year away and he needs to do rather well to get to the place he likes and score what he's promised to score.

Since my work load has eased up, I check in on him.

I interrupt his gaming and make him assemble his Science books and papers in a pile, three days before the Science paper. He turns to me, and in a very candid moment of honesty which I truly appreciate, says – Mama, how do I study?

S*#T. What?

It is true, though. I have never seen him study, as in, quietly reading or making notes on his school material. He only completes asssignments, and I think exam day for him is just another day in school.

In that moment after he asks his question, I send him off to get more material to buy some time while my mind whirls. How does one study? How does one teach a child to study? And why do I have to do this?

My top question: Why am I so USELESS at this Tiger Mum thing? (which is probably sometimes necessary, especially for boys)

I’ll try to "work" with him, and we’ll see. Anyway, we only have to work three days and the paper's over.

* What exam season?

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