Ever since I became more of a work-at-home mom than stay-at-home mom, I’ve not really done much homelearning with the kids. I still follow a routine with them, but it’s with less intensity and frequency throughout the day; and instead of creating and designing my own materials, I’m using a lot more stock ones that are available for downloading from the net. I’m also letting them play A LOT more together, now that they are at the age where they love to pretend play. Just recently, I heard someone say “Mama” and “Dada” and they were not calling the husband and me but each other, and it was altogether tremendously amusing.
I also outsource the learning of the Chinese Language to Berries. Ben has been attending lessons since last year, and Becks started her N2 class this year. I’m pretty much hands off in this area.
Until the rude shock yesterday, that is.
So Becks’ teacher informed me that she couldn’t recognise the words she’s been taught when she did a revision test with her. It’s not the first time the teacher’s said it since the beginning of the year, and I’ve pretty much just left things as they were and hoping not to intervene at all in Becks’ learning. But last evening, the test score was 1 out of 20, and it was quite horrifying to know that the little girl doesn’t remember any Chinese character save one since January.
Of course our first thoughts were: Does she have a learning disability? Is she suffering from something we do not know of? Does she have a problem with memory? Is the classroom engaging enough? Does she have attention deficit?
Believe you me, I think any parent would start off with these crazy thoughts.
But any parent who knows their child would be able to pull herself back from this and think about what it is that the child really needs.
I didn’t go all beserk. I didn’t get all anxious (for a while I did, but not for too long, hurhur!) about Becks’ lack of ability to remember. I didn’t go down that slippery slope of reasoning within myself about how she might suffer in primary school. I didn’t run out to buy more Chinese books or videos. I knew that the little girl was sending me a message loud and clear, and if I am not going to “listen” to it, I’m going to be a fool of a mother.
I know my child. I think she’s saying, “Mama, can you also teach me Chinese too?”
Last night, before the kids went to bed, I told them that there would be a new routine when they wake up. They would each get a “Special ‘Learning’ Time” with me for 20 minutes every day when they are fresh in the morning, and we could spend time doing anything that they wished to learn. They know ‘Special Time’ is one-to-one time with me which no one can interrupt, and so using this phrase got them all agreeable.
That was that. I had it at the back of my mind but still went to bed at 2am catching Episode 201 of Running Man.
This morning, at 8.30am, someone tapped me on the shoulder and shouted, “Mama, wake up. We are having special time learning right?”
Right, the ‘Special ‘Learning’ Time’, yes.
It was the little girl who was up and all ready this morning.
And I was right. She was all ready to learn some Chinese and do some flashcard reading on my lap and playing games answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in Chinese. I’m thinking to myself, BINGO, isn’t this what needs to be fixed before the problem in the classroom can be? She needs her mother to be involved in every area of her learning too.
Lesson learned: Never dismiss my child as having any problems until I’ve invested good time and energy being involved in her learning. I have to keep filling love tanks and be their cheerleader every step of the way, whether I work at home or not. And those 20 minutes (60 minutes for me) didn’t just make one kid happy, it made all three happy to have some one-to-one time on Mama’s lap – and we’re all looking forward to this routine every day!