Meet the Parents

Average or Advanced?

February 16, 2015

I never knew how much children should be learning at preschool level, what is deemed normal or too advanced, until I started speaking to friends.

For example, I mentioned that by the end of playgroup year, the teachers got the children to learn counting up to 30. I have friends telling me that their children only learnt to count to 10 or 20 maximum at that level. Now, Blake can count to 100 (he makes a mistake or two sometimes) and recognizes all these numbers too.

Then I posted photos of Blake learning and writing certain Chinese strokes in the last couple of months while he was still in N1. I had some friends messaging me, some impressed that he was learning them at such a young age, some asking me why Blake is learning all these so fast and if I sent him to extra class to learn. No, I did not. He’s learning all these in school.

Honestly, I don’t know if any of these mean that his school teaches things that are a little advance for his age or if it’s normal. He never complained and he enjoyed school thoroughly. He sometimes even ask to do some of these penmanship related worksheets at home! So naturally, I brush it all off because it didn’t seem like too big a deal to me.

That is, until recently.

Blake started telling me that he doesn’t want to go to school. It usually happens at night, just before bedtime. And it always ends up with him crying to sleep. He’ll wake up the next morning, all ready to head off to school, but he always remembers if I promised him something the night before. So far, it has been entering his school to speak to his teacher, packing a bottle of milk for him to bring to school and picking him up earlier than usual.

And I kind of, sort of, found out the reason for his sudden dislike for school. I say that because he wouldn’t tell me why exactly.

Things were getting tougher, and for the first time, I’m in shock and absolutely worried for Blake (and Nakayla).

They are actually learning creative writing now!

From expanding their vocabulary to getting their grammar right, building sentences to writing stories… Blake is learning all that now. And compared to the past few years he’s been with the school, it’s a lot more going at him than he’s used to.

But I’m not going to let him give up just because the going gets tough.

Instead, as Sean and I discussed, we’ll help him and guide him to do better.

It could be a little too much for a 4-going-5 year old boy, but we don’t want him to think that it’s okay to just walk away when things get a little more difficult. Or, to stop doing something he used to enjoy because it got tough. He has to at least put up a good fight, or just endure through it all and emerge stronger! A bit drama there, but you get what I mean, right?

So, our first order of business?

Getting him to write his name neatly.

Nakayla insisted on having her own worksheet too

It doesn’t help that his Chinese name has so many strokes too!

After Chinese New Year, this mama has to start looking carefully through all the work their teachers have done with them in school, and go check out worksheets and all things similar that are available to help better guide them and ease them into upcoming (unavoidable) formal school life.

Am I being a little too over the top?

Honestly, I don’t know. I only know that my son is struggling and I want him to know that no matter how tough things are getting, mommy and daddy will always be there to guide him.

Also, English and penmanship is very important to me. And so is enjoying school.

  1. Gosh why is school so complicated these days? Noah still hasn’t learnt the entire alphabet, nor can he count or recognise a lot of numbers, but I’m not very keen on pushing him to do all that yet. I’m still in denial about how much work he has to do, and I think I’ll stay in my little lala land for a while more. 😛

    1. I’m also wondering why things are getting more complicated. But we figured it should be easier to slowly ease him into all these now (since there’s like another 2 years to go) than to have him encounter the shock of his life when he enters Primary 1 later, and find it even more difficult to cope. Right now, just doing our best to assist, mostly through reading and playing.

      P.s. I honestly couldn’t care less about the other subjects. Haha. It’s English that I’m most worried about. Because, nobody writes contracts in Math equation or Science formula! 😛

  2. Hello! First time reading your blog and I wanted to leave a comment (don’t usually do) but this post resonates with me. I’ve been pretty chill with my 4yo-going-on-5 but recently went nuts because the other kids in her class seem to be much more advanced. It seems their mummies have been pushing the kids precisely because the older siblings had a killer learning curve from K1 to K2 (daily spelling tests!) to P1. I totally freaked out and went on a spelling-addition-chinese rampage. For a grand total of one month. That was enough to drive us both loco. Your approach doesn’t seem OTT (trust me, however much you can re a first-time reader/random stranger who claims she can be trusted) and I suppose any little thing we parents do to help is a step in the right direction!

    1. Hello! Thanks for dropping by! 😀

      I’m most worried about that! The huge jump from preschool to primary level! Hoping that since we manage to catch on now, we’ll be able to slowly ease into some kind of momentum and somehow gain a good speed when he finally enters P1. I don’t think I can handle this head-on!

      Thanks for letting me know that I’m not being over the top. I’m hoping whatever the outcome, it won’t be my son (and daughter) hating school!

  3. Hi for P1 most imp is able to read at least sight words, hv good foundation in maths and dun detest mother tongue. As for English writing it doesn’t come until much later like end of p1 or p2. Usually kids in preschool like PCF will manage quite easily at least for first half of p1 as mainly revision on k2 stuff.
    Therefore there’s still ample time for Blake to learn. It’s good to cultivate preseverance but take care dun kill his love for learning 🙂 (definitely a tough job to balance well)

    1. Hello! Wow! It’s good to know what’s waiting for him when he enters primary school. I think I can better manage my expectations now!

      Right now, I’m just leaving worksheets to practice penmanship (he seems to like this a lot!) around for him to pick up and do, reading books as and when he requests (and he’s been requesting a lot more recently!)… Nothing too outstanding cos I picked out all the Nursery level activities. Hehe!

      Yes, it’s going to be tough to balance between the two, and I’m hoping I can somehow manage it such that it’s overall beneficial to him. So far, I’m still pretty slack. I’m just leaving work around the table and letting him decide when he wants to pick up the worksheet to do and when he wants to stop 😛

      Thank you so, so much for sharing!

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