Sunday, April 17, 2016


Falling asleep at 830pm was the straw which broke the camel’s back.

It was an unforgiveable transgression, a sinful indulgence, a terrible mistake, which Day realized the moment I woke him up at 640am the next day.

He sobbed.

He had not completed piles of homework. He had not prepared for his English composition examination that day. He had not finished the homework for Chinese tuition which would take place later that same day.

Cliched as it may sound, my heart bled for him.

The year has not been a nice one for my Primary Sixer. It’s pile after pile of homework from a school which has clear and present ambitions to be the top school in the area. I am the Mum who does not pressure him at all, but I am also the Mum who does not help him at all. Hands off is good, but may also be bad.

During a free Maths tuition trial which I sent Day for – because I felt bad for the poor young man who was trying to get parents to sign up for it – the post-trial analysis was that Day was doing fine in everything except in parental support, which was extremely lacking, and was scored 0 upon 5. The lady in question eyeballed me at that point, as if to say: Aren’t you going to do something for your son by sending him for our great tuition? (I didn’t)

Day has been keeping up. If one imagines the class as a pack of runners, he is somewhere in the centre, perhaps nearer the back, the ones in front being those who have tuition in all four subjects, so on and so forth. (clearly it is tuition which determines the winners from the stragglers) But he was still running.

Then he got very sick. Lu brought back a virus which felled me, then Day, then Jo. It was particularly crippling for Day, who might have been vulnerable from stress.

He missed school for three days. Three. It is a lifetime for a Primary Sixer who is supposed to be slogging in school all day and slogging at home all night. He spent those three days sleeping, feverish at night and sluggish in the day, watching TV or reading books or on his phone when his energy was up. He needed to rest. No work (rightly so) was done.

The return was when the homework landslide began in earnest, and when I started getting messages from the teachers that Day is falling back.

It’s three days. Three days which led to the inevitable breakdown.

He is still sick, coughing now, he’s been sick for a week. Perhaps that's why he collapsed in bed at 830pm. It's hard for him to catch up. But work be damned, he needs to get healthy first.

* In happier times with Kaofu Choon


francesca said...

Hope David gets well soon and everyone at home gets sufficient rest. Same in my household. All getting fever one after another.

For homework, there's this long weekend and another. Hope he will eventually catches up.

smgoh said...

Indeed! Homework be damned. Not all children need piles of it.

smgoh said...

Indeed! Homework be damned. Not all children need piles of it.

Hui Ming said...

very disheartening to hear this, but I know it is a fact.

Take care!

Hope he will do well at the end of the year!

I am also one that is resisting extra classes for my child at the moment. I don't know how much longer I can hold.

Anonymous said...

I dread the day my girl (who is in P4) gets to P5 and P6. Like you, we are pretty hands off with my kids when it comes to schoolwork. But they have been keeping up themselves. So I am keeping my fingers crossed that they can cope as they move up.

Hope Day gets well soon. Good thing that you are hands off, that's 1 less source of stress for him.


Sher said...

thanks :)

sometimes i think i should be more hands-on in helping and teaching him how to deal with it all; in sticking to a study routine, for instance, or how to independently identify with and address his weaker areas.

there is a difference between that, and sheer pressure..

Mummy Ghin said...

Totally hands off is doing an injustice to our kids but we shouldn't be helicopter parents either. I'm learning to strike a balance too. Maybe Day just need a reassurance that you will be there to provide parental support when he needs, whether it's helping him to prioritise, help to explain some concepts or bringing him out for a treat to ease some stress away. It's not too late to catch up, it's not the year end yet! Jia you!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, what you have said is true. It got me to reflect on what I have and haven't been doing so far. I think largely it might be my problem as I am not very consistent in lending them support. Most times I see as long they are coping and finishing their work, I let them be. Basically, its their call on how they arrange their time as long the basics (finish homework, practise music, bathe,eat and sleep) are done. :p

I guess I will try to lend my support when I can. Just hope I can find the discipline to do it. *keep fingers crossed*


Lysithea said...

Poor Day, primary school is so tough for our kids nowadays. My son also couldn't finish his homework the other day, fell asleep midway ... did his homework in the car the next morning and finished it at the school's gate. Sometimes I wonder what's the point when they are given so much homework and they can't finish it (ends up usually he's parroting my answers). After a long day at school, I think all kids want when they get home is to do nothing. Even adults are like that! I wonder why is our society is so obsessed with work, work and work.

All the best for the exams!

Sher said...