another year

Another academic year is over. Yaya completed grade 8, toothless and baby completed grade 6 and 4.
Only after my relatives recent visit had I actually noticed that my children don’t study. I remember as a child having to do tons of homework each day. I also studied whatever that was taught each day and revised everything in the weekend. For me exam time was really stressful, having to memorize poems in three languages, spelling tests, etc..
My kids have homework. Beginning of the term they are given a homework booklet and are expected to complete two pages every week. My son completes the whole booklet on the first day, so he doesn’t have any homework to do the rest of the term. Baby does her homework on Friday morning.
They also have projects to do each term which they do on their own.
To this day I have not asked my children to study. They do have tests, but they don’t study for the tests.
They still get 30 minutes of TV and 1 hour of computer time during weekdays.
TV and computer are off during weekends.
They read all the time.
I gave up trying to enforce strict bedtime. I rather allow them to read under proper light than use the torchlight and read!
I would have liked my children to help me with chores. I had this image of a having a house like the ‘little women’ where everyone does their share of the work. I was told “you are the mother, it is your duty to feed and nurture us” when I asked Yaya to help me in the kitchen.
Yaya doesn’t want to learn cooking, has no intention of cooking in her life and will only marry a guy who knows to cook. Her plan B is to live next door to her mother.
Toothless loves to eat and occasionally helps me in the kitchen, but will grumble and mumble so much that I get so mad at him.
Baby is the smartest of the lot. When I ask her to do something, she will ask me to show her exactly how I want it done and in the process gets me to do it and I am none the wiser.

The biggest lesson for me as a mother to learn was to take a step back. It was hard for me to watch rather than teach. My children are getting older and are becoming more independent. Much as I would love to teach them how to do things, it is now my turn to watch them do things. They may not get it right the first time. But they will eventually. They have to and I have to let them learn from their mistakes.

The best part of the year was attending Yaya’s annual academic awards ceremony. It was a formal event and only the parents whose kids were getting an award were invited. I watched this year 12 boy wearing a formal suit walking up to the stage to collect his award. He then walked to the middle of the stage and did an Elvis pose. It takes tremendous courage to do that in front of a hall full of people including dignitaries !
For me that is what education is all about. To encourage individuality and give the children the confidence to face the future..
This year my son wrote his name as ‘Epikos’ ( root word for epic) on his notebooks, assignments, even on his hat. His teacher allowed him to do so. I am not sure if he would have been allowed to do that in India or even in Malaysia..
I am glad I have the opportunity to send my kids to a school that encourages them to be different..