Tuesday, September 22, 2020

PSLE Journey for My Children... and Myself

Time flies, my firstborn is taking Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE) this year! And then my younger child will be sitting for PSLE next year. Yes, I often joke with my friends that I am "sitting" for two PSLE in two consecutive years! 

This is one of our ERP - Examination Resource Packages. Those on the left (assessment books and practice papers) are for the children, those on the right (snacks) are for myself! Just kidding, I share the snacks with them too.

If you ask me how we have been preparing our children for PSLE, I would say that our preparation started way before primary 6. We believe that it is important to develop positive habits and mindset since young, this is not just for PSLE, but for the long run.

1. Sleep and wake up early
Having sufficient rest is important. Our children go to bed latest by 9 p.m. even before they started primary school, so this has become a habit for them to sleep early and wake up early.  Well, I am guilty to say that I can't wake up early on weekend and holiday morning...

2. Balance study time and play time 
Our children enjoy reading and drawing. After school, they will rest a while before studying, and they can enjoy their hobbies when they finish their work. However, we are rather particular about screen time for our children. During school terms, they are allowed to watch certain TV programs, but no mobile games / TV games. They are allowed to play mobile games / TV games only during school holidays. 

3. Make a study plan before major assessment
I print out the monthly calendar for the few weeks leading to the school's major assessment. To encourage them to make good use of the study plan, I print some of their favourite cartoon characters on it. As the children are now older, I would do the planning with them together. It is quite difficult to do a daily plan as we do not know the amount of daily school homework, therefore, we write down the plan for the subjects and topics to revise for each week. There is also a need to have some flexibility to update the study plan from time to time.

4. Sort out the study materials and write notes
Yes, filing is an essential skill! Our children learnt to sort their study materials according to subject, and for each subject, sort the materials according to topics. I also guide my children to write notes for English and Chinese compositions, as well as Science. 

5. Consistency is the key
Revision has been done regularly. When our children have completed learning a topic, they would revise that topic and do practice questions to check understanding.  

While efforts have been made to prepare our children, honestly, as a first-time PSLE parent (excluding the PSLE that I myself took N years ago), my biggest issue is - how do I prepare myself as a PSLE parent?

As a full-time-working-parent, in the midst of busy work schedule, I sometimes doubt whether I have done "enough" to prepare my children for PSLE. And what is "enough" and yet not too much? I don't want to be the "tiger mum" that controls my children's life.

In addition, this year is a special year for everyone due to Covid 19. As the children had a few weeks of home-based learning, I had concern whether this would affect my firstborn's preparation for PSLE. Apart from working from home, I also "work" part-time as their teachers to teach them, because some of their home-based learning lessons were videos, but not live lessons conducted by their teachers where they could ask questions. Honestly, I was not sure whether I had taught them correctly!

Another challenge - many parents with primary school children may agree with me - is to teach primary school Mathematics problematic problem sums without using algebra! Along the way,  I think I have improved in model method to solve Mathematics problems! Other than Mathematics, I think I have re-learnt English, Chinese and Science in the past few years!

I am still learning to manage my own expectation and emotion - keep myself as chilled as possible by the following methods:

At this time of writing this post, my firstborn has already sat for PSLE oral examinations and listening comprehension examinations. I reminded myself not to ask her too much about the exam questions, but rather, ask her for her feeling.

I make encouragement cards for my children for all major assessments, this is my encouragement card for my firstborn for PSLE listening comprehension examination last week - a sweet treat for her with a character that I specially designed for her. 

All the best to all primary 6 children taking PSLE! 

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