Of School Exams and Placement In Class

My almost 8-year old came home from school today and gladly announced that her position is the 5th in class. To add icing to the cake, she also told me that she, together with a few of her classmates will be going to the top class next year! When I heard that, I had mixed feelings. While I am happy that she is selected as the cream of the crop, I am starting to get worried and stressed up. When we met up with her teacher to collect her report card in June this year, her teacher had told us that Alycia can make it to the top class if she works harder. But in my heart, I was actually praying and hoping that she will not be placed in the top class. How will my baby be able to compete with the rest of the smarties? I do not want her as well as myself to get stressed up all the time because of fierce competition. I do not want to get disappointed if her class position drops. That will also make her very upset if her class position deteriorates as she will be in a race with stronger competitors. I want her to enjoy her childhood. I want her childhood to be filled with many happy memories and not one that is filled with stress, disappointments, competitions, tuitions and extra curricular classes that she does not enjoy but joins them due to peer pressure.

My precious baby will be eight in less than a month’s time. I still remember very vividly that the hubs and I were even contemplating low cost IVF when we had several failed attempts in fertility treatments and one which ended in a painful miscarriage. Alycia will always be my precious baby (a term by doctors on hard-to-get babies) and will always have a special place in my heart.

Our Pleasant Saturday

It was indeed a very pleasant Saturday for me simply because my prayers were granted. Today we left the house very early for the Immigration Dept. to renew our passports. After we left the Immigration Dept., we went to collect Alycia’s report card. I did not expect to be greeted with such pleasant writings on the report card as I knew that many of Alycia’s classmates are better than her academically. Plus I had not been doing daily revision with her. It was the mere 2-3 hours on the eve of the exam that I did a speedy revision with her. Getting a placement of 5/39 is more than I had expected from my precious baby ūüôā If you have been following my blog, you will know why Alycia is termed as my ‘precious baby’.

Alycia’s teachers have nothing but praises for her, which made my head so heavy I almost tripped and fell when I left the chair muahahahahaha! Alycia’s teachers commented that she should work towards getting into the top class but frankly, I am really not too keen that she be placed in the top class for I know that being labeled as the cream of the crop, the expectations on her will be very high, which will ultimately place a lot of stress on me (albeit not on Alycia who is as cool as a cucumber).

Outside the Immigration Office, after having our pictures snapped…

At American Chilli’s to celebrate Alycia’s victory ūüôā

Daddy bought Alycia some Leonida’s chocolates to reward her. Plus he may reward her with an iPad2!

My Precious Baby’s Growing Up Fast

Alycia my first precious baby is growing up too fast. From a cartoon-crazed toddler, she is now ‘promoted’ to the next level. Though she is now¬†only 6.5 years old and is in Standard 1, she looks like an 8-yo girl and many of her likes have now changed. During this school term break, the TV has been hogged by her the whole day. She now chases series like CSI, Numbe3s, Lost, Ultraman, Transformers¬†and other TVB series! My mil had just left for Hong Kong and will only be back several months later and there is no one to control them and help me babysit the girls. My next best babysitter is of course the TV. I know it’s bad. But maybe not really that bad as my 2 older girls have improved their vocab tremendously by picking up from TV programs. When school re-opens next week, TV will be off limits, I must ensure this!

Alycia’s reading has also improved a lot. She can now read Chinese characters quite well, much better than¬†the yellow banana here.

She bought this Chinese story book with Han Yu Pin Yin at only RM2 from her school.  The Han Yu Pin Yin is helping her a great deal in recognizing the Chinese characters.   

Next week I will be collecting her very first report card from her school.¬† I am anxious to know how she had fared in her first term exam.¬† Well, she got As for all her test papers.¬† But according to her, it seems like everyone else in her class fared just as well wor. I’ll see….

Alycia Swims

After about 9 months of once weekly swimmng lessons (which were held very irregularly with a several months hiatus in between), Alycia can finally swim breast stroke on her own from one end of the pool to the other. This girl just loves swimming and she has been telling me that she wants to be a national swimmer one day!  But I have to stop her swimming lessons from this month onwards as the day of her swimming lesson clashes with her Mandarin tuition class. After her first term exam, I will have to look for another swimming instructor who can teach her on a Saturday. I think Alycia has good potential in swimming and she loves it more than anything else. If given proper coaching, I believe she will excel in this arena.

Pix taken from the 5th floor of our unit:

Alycia swimming to daddy…

Sherilyn in her float on the left… and daddy with Alycia waving to me on the right….

Alycia’s Calligraphy Display

Alycia came back from her second calligraphy class in school last week and proudly showed me her works:

Alycia was selected by her class teacher to be in the school’s calligraphy team recently. She has to attend classes once a week and if she is good enough after training, she will represent her school in calligraphy.

When she came home from school one afternoon, she showed me the letter from her school, asking the parents’ consent to allow her to be in the school’s team. The letter really caught me by surprise as never in my wildest dreams would I have dreamed that Alycia would be learning calligraphy and perhaps represent her school in future.

See how kan cheong (excited) Alycia was here. She had just stepped into the house after her return from school at 4pm and she was already removing all her calligraphy stuff from the bag. She had not even eaten a proper lunch yet. She even washed her calligraphy brush and the porcelain container by herself and created a big mess when she stained her white uniform with black ink. The ink was not washable and part of the white shirt is now ruined. She made me laugh when I saw her face smudged with black ink all over ūüėÄ

Alycia’s Progress In Math And Abacus

This is Alycia’s Abacus work from pre-school.¬† She did them all on her own in school but had several mistakes.¬† Her teacher asked her to do the corrections at home.¬† When I saw the book, I was a tad lost on how to teach her coz I was never taught how to use the abacus in school.¬† But after studying the book and the abacus, I figured out how to solve them using the abacus.¬† I tell ya, it’s kinda fun learning new things from my daughter’s pre-school.¬† I’ve picked up Mandarin and abacus since last year. I am sure I’m going to learn more when Alycia goes to a Chinese primary school next year.¬†

Alycia has shown vast improvement in her Math and Abacus since early this year.¬† Lately, she has even been telling me that she loves Math, something that she didn’t quite like in the past!¬† I never liked Math when I was young. It was the subject that I hated most.

Alycia Is Going To A Chinese Primary School Next Year

Alycia came home excitedly last week announcing that she got a pencil from the principal coz she got full marks for her Ting Xie again.¬† See how a little reward can bring so much joy to a 5 1/2-year old.¬†¬† I’m glad that her pre-school uses rewards to motivate the kids to do well in their studies.

On another note, we received a letter from the MoE last week informing us that Alycia has been accepted into a Chinese school. It’s daddy’s unwavering decision to send the gals to a Chinese school but I’m not sure if my gals have the material to be in a Chinese school. After hearing lots of feedback on heavy homework, heavy trolley bags, caning as a form of disciplinary, etc.¬†in a Chinese school,¬†I really shudder at the thought of Alycia having to go through all these next year… not to mention the distance to/fro school/home and the horrendous traffic leading to the school. We will¬†see how Alycia fares in a Chinese school next year and if she does not¬†fit in, we can always pull her out and place her in a Kebangsaan school.¬†¬†¬†Let her be our guinea pig and if all is well, I will register Sherilyn and Baby C in a Chinese school, otherwise, #2 and #3 will go to a Kebangsaan school at our neighborhood… which is actually my plan but hubs is dead steadfast in his Chinese school decision, looooooong sigh…..

And by the way, does anyone know of any private tutor who is willing to come to my condo to provide Mandarin tuition to my gals? Please email me at shireenyong@gmail.com. Thanks peeps and have a great weekend!

Way Too Difficult For Pre-Schoolers?

In my opinion, I think these Math equations are way too difficult for 5 and 6-year old pre-schoolers :

Take a look at the boxes on¬†the questions. ¬†They are everywhere…. some in front and some behind, first set and second set.¬† I think even some adults would need some time to ponder how to solve the equations.

Alycia didn’t understand the concept and I had a very tough time explaining the rules to her and making her remember them.¬† She still doesn’t know how to do the questions on her own…. but has no problem with straight forward additions and deductions.

I then set some questions for her to practise to get a hang of it but had to guide her to solve them.

Check out Baby C under the table LOL!¬† That’s my typical afternoon – coaching the 2 older brats in their homework while Baby C would be crawling and walking everywhere.¬† Sometimes baby would make me search frantically for her and then I would find her happily picking up dirt from the floor, under the table¬†… and almost putting them into her mouth!¬†

Math For 5-Year Olds… Too Difficult?

Honestly, do you think that these equations are a tad too advanced for 5-year old pre-schoolers?

When I explained to her how to go about solving the equations, I really doubted that she remembered everything, i.e. what she has to do when the empty box is in front, when the empty box is behind, when it’s plus and when it’s minus.¬†

If my memory didn’t fail me, I think I was only taught these when I was in standard 2 or 3. I really don’t remember doing all these when I was a 5-yo pre-schooler. I only remembered I knew how to count from 1-100 when I was 5-yo and I remember playing and singing a lot in kindy…. definitely not doing Math equations.

I have to say that Alycia has improved and caught up with her peers by the leaps and bounds since early this year. She can now do her Math homework by herself (she always insists that she wants to do it by herself) though most times I still sit next to her to ensure that she did it correctly.
Alycia did this exercise on her own and she got almost all correct, with a couple of careless mistakes.

How Alycia Gets Good Marks For Her Spelling, Ejaan And Ting Xie

Alycia has been progressing really well in her spelling, ejaan and Ting Xie. She has been getting full marks most of the time.   Guess what the secret is? 

I bribe  reward her with Kit Kat (which koong koong gave) and Smarties (which aunty Barb gave) each time she could spell all the words during my practise sessions with her at home.  Also, before she could have access to the Astro remote control to switch to Disney Channel, she has to spell her words too.  This works pretty well on my junkie lover and TV addict girl (max of 2 hours of TV a day)! 

Alycia’s Second Ting Xie (Spelling In Mandarin)

When Alycia sat for her first Ting Xie last week, her teacher only gave her 3 out of 5 words as she thought that Alycia would not be able to write them. However, Alycia proved her teacher wrong and got all 3 correct. This week, her teacher asked her to write 5 words and Alycia got them all correct!

Alycia seems to be showing vast improving in her Mandarin and I hope she improves in her Ejaan too (she’s the weakest in her BM).

Alycia Can Read

I made hundreds of words flash cards for Alycia and Sherilyn about 3 years ago and used to flash them to the girls very regularly. I somehow lost the momentum and stopped flashing the cards to them when I was pregnant with Baby C until recently. When my mum was here, she helped me to dig out the cards and flashed the cards of the words that Alycia had read in her Peter and Jane books. Alycia recognized almost all the words extracted from the Peter and Jane books.  Now, I make it a daily routine that Alycia reads her Peter and Jane books and I also practise flashing the cards to her regularly. 

Lately, Alycia has also developed an interest in finding out the meaning of words.¬† When she sees words on her clothes¬†or on my clothes or just about anywhere that interest her, she will ask me what the word is and the meaning of the word.¬† I should really strike when the iron is hot and capitalize on her sudden strong interest in reading…. and hopefully her interest in reading will never end.



“don’t take my picture mummy….”

Alycia’s Reading ‘Explosion’

Over the past 1 week, Alycia had a sudden reading spurt. Ever since she could read book 1A of Peter and Jane, she is now having an insatiable thirst for reading! She could read most pages of Goldilocks And The Three Bears (also for beginners from Ladybird) and a few other books that once belonged to my brothers and me. It helps that my mum is here to keep reading to her and yesterday, she brought out the old homemade words flash cards that I made and flashed them to Alycia. She could recognize most of the words that were extracted from the Peter and Jane books.

Alycia reading her Peter and Jane book to daddy just before going to kindy 2 days ago.

Alycia’s Improvement In Her School Homework

Lately, Alycia has shown¬†a great amount of¬†discipline in completing her homework and now, she will do them without being told everyday.¬† She doesn’t even want me to coach her as she will tell me that she knows how to do them.¬†

Her math and abacus have improved and she can even do them on her own without me guiding her.

Alycia did this math exercise homework on her own and she got them all correct when I checked it.

This one is her abacus homework and she got them all correct too. And this time, she’s the one teaching me how to use the abacus.¬† I am really proud of her!

Alycia’s Diaper-Free Night (1st Night)

It went well.¬† Even before the alarm clock rang at 2am, I had already woken up to check on Alycia.¬† The first thing I did was to quickly touch her pants.¬† Phew…. it wasn’t wet.¬† I quickly woke her up and it wasn’t easy to pull her up from bed.¬† She was groggy, did not appear to know what’s going on¬†and why mummy was pulling her up from¬†bed¬†and didn’t want to get up.¬† I told her that she had to pee as there wasn’t any diaper on.¬† Then as she slowly got to her senses, she walked with me to the bathroom and pee.¬† She then went back to bed herself.¬†¬†

At 6:30am, I woke her up again.¬† This time, she told me she didn’t want to pee and I let it be.¬† She then went back to sleep before she woke up at 8am.¬†I gave her lots of praises and hugs and told her that she has to do it again tonight and she gave me a proud nod and smile.¬† Thank God!