primary school

I’ve got the Primary One blues

It has been almost 4 months since my last entry because I haven’t had the time to sit down to pen my thoughts. Every time I try, one or all of the following will happen.

  1. The baby would cry bloody murder because she just passed out the mother of all poop and threatens to rip off the offending diaper to pigeage (think grape stomping) it,
  2. Rain would be pouring down on my nearly all dried freshly washed laundry that was hung outside the window,
  3. Water from my upstairs neighbour’s wet mop would be dripping onto my nearly all dried freshly washed laundry that was hung outside the window,
  4. Something urgent from the office needed to be dealt with immediately, or
  5. I would be hungry. By the way, I am always hungry *sad pouty face*

On top of all these, I am also suffering from The Primary One Blues: dealing with Xander’s homework, projects, mastery tests and deng deng deng…. Chinese class. *blood curdling scream*

“Primary One 很 relax 的!” (translation: Primary One level is pretty low stress) experienced parents would tell me. “No exams mah. Don’t be too stressed out lah” they added.

Pfft! 骗人的lor! (translation: Bloody liars!) Have you taken a good look at the Chinese textbooks recently? If they didn’t come with hanyu pinyin, I most likely wouldn’t be able to read many of the words. My knowledge of Mandarin is pathetic.

Let’s take a look at the picture description test he was expected to practice before the actual day. Some keywords were provided to help him; 跳飞机, 飞碟, 老鹰抓小鸡, 瞎眼猫. Wah… I haven’t seen these words since forever! Do kids even know what these are? Not Xander apparently. He knows “catching”, basketball, frisbee, and the usual games but definately not 老鹰抓小鸡, 瞎眼猫. Heck, there isn’t even a hopscotch course in his school. If he doesn’t know and has never played these games, how is he supposed to answer leh? I also dunno. The feedback from his Chinese teacher about his low scores isn’t helping me feel better either. I don’t enjoy getting mad at my child just because a teacher feels he is not performing up to par. *sigh*

This is an image of his recent 看图说话 test.

I had a really good conversation with a fellow mummy online yesterday and she made me felt so much better. I said, after comparing how other kids of his level are faring, maybe we should have started preparing him and ourselves for primary school a lot earlier. She reminded me that I was not alone with my fears and other than consistent work at home, we just need to be supportive and focus on the child’s efforts, not just the results. Every child is different and the way they learn will also be different. There is no point in comparing him with others. I am such a control freak + perfectionist so not focusing on the results will take some getting used to.

Do you have any tips on managing expectations or motivating the child to do better you can share with me? I will really appreciate it very much.


  • Jean

    I think my girl has same oral sheet from you which I hadn’t go through with her as her team 3 test is almost every week since after June holiday….*sweat*.

    I must says early preparation is really important. Not sure if I’m KS but I always believe foundation is very impt so I put my girl to Chinese enrichment class at K2 and she improved a lot. Else I not sure how she will able to go through her lesson during P1. I think it’s never too late to start now to improve his language as he gg P2 I think no more Han Yu Pin Yin that may make it worse. p3 still hv Chinese composition…that’s really tough too.

    • Mother of Xander 郑宇他妈

      Hi Jean,

      I suppose if for families who don’t use the language regularly, the early preparation will make a significant difference. Maybe I will consider doing it for my daughter when she is older. Oh boy, no HYPY in primary 2? *sweat*

  • DinoMama

    Chinese is a “killer” subject for us too. Our advice to DinoBoy is “just do your best but make sure you do not fail the subject.” then I will push in to do Chinese assessment books, make him read more Chinese books. If during reading time there are words that he do not understand I let him check the meaning on the spot either using the dictionary or online dictionary, like that he can link and remember better.

    I also want to know how others motivate their kids for this subject.

    • Mother of Xander 郑宇他妈

      Hahah!! I also say the same to Xander but I always end off with “why your marks so horrible?!” I’m a horrible mother.

  • MummyEd

    I think my boy is coping better than I am, but perhaps that’s just because he is so happy go lucky?? I think for P1 both parents and kids are getting used to the system, it took me a few months to figure out some of the Berries materials and just the other day I finally figured out the school Chinese textbook. Wah liao eh!! Sigh, better late than never??

  • Vera

    I’m not a mother, but as someone who used to be a student…
    I feel like results don’t matter as much nowadays ‘in the real world’. I’m really lucky that my parents DIDN’T mind that I was average in school because I would have felt really cheated. Those grades were only useful for one thing for me – getting into a polytechnic course of my choice. But they were earned with lots of childhood days lost to endless studying and tuition.

    That said, I do wish my Mandarin was better. It isn’t and that’s only because my family and friends don’t speak Mandarin much.

    • Mother of Xander 郑宇他妈

      Hi Vera!
      I had a lot of problems with Chinese during my school days as well. Back when I was in primary school, my Chinese teacher was so convinced I would fail my prelims, she told my dad point blank to prepare for the worse. Stay back 1 year and see her for another year. You can tell I wasn’t her favourite student hor? When I managed to squeeze a D, she was shocked and I was super pleased. Thinking back, maybe that was her strategy to make me study and prove her wrong. Teachers back then were so sadistic leh. I agree grades don’t matter in the real world and that we still need it to get into a course of our choice. For now, our poor kids just have to soldier on and we as parents need to find a way to make the journey less painful. That’s why we try to do silly things during weekends to blow off some steam! 😀

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