When Little Man first started school, my fear was that he'll resent the subject and even more so hate the language altogether. He's not very explicitly excited about speaking Mandarin at home, most of the time he'd avoid or totally refused to speak when we try to converse with him in the language.
I was taken by surprise when he was not banded into the "Bridging Class" for Chinese last year and likewise for this year. His overall year results for Chinese, in Primary One didn't look too bad, as it hovers between 80 and 90. When I sat down working with him on the workbooks he was able to recognize many of the chinese characters even without much prompts from me.
So was I being overly concerned or was I just picking up all the wrong signals from Little Man's reluctance in speaking the language?
Regardless of the reasons, I did however discover that consistency in building up the daily study habits has a bearing on the child (my son). As the saying goes, "habits maketh a man".
The routine we have at home after the kids are back from school is -
- I'll ask and then go through with them their bags, school diary and books to see what needs to be done
- After lunch, they will have a 10 - 20mins break (they can read a book, or just relax)
- After the break, we'll sit down to work through their homework. If there is no homework from school we will do a few pages of workbooks, given to them by me (note: this is not tuition work nor trying to get ahead of what the school is teaching).
- They will take a shower before heading for a nap
- After dinner; for 30mins, they are free to play online educational games that are made available to most students under MOE schools (click this link for more details).
- For Chinese - 学乐 (this program helps the children revise what they have learned on their textbook, and Little Man enjoyed it tremendously.)
- For Math - Ask N Learn (this program helps the children build up on their arithmetic speed through games).
- Before bedtime, we will have our family bible devotion time.
*Routine will have slight changes if there is CCA during any time of the week.
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I cannot say my children are brilliant or smart kids but I strongly believe, with a proper after school routine in place, they will not be set up for failure. As I've seen in Little Man's chinese results plus he isn't that resistant when I pull out his chinese workbooks and make him complete the pages. He's willing to read the chinese readers too but of course that comes with some form of motivation.
Will share more about how we learn the language Chinese at home in my next post.