2.25.2016

Primary School = Not enough time




SPICES OF LIFE

Do you remember your primary school days?

My primary school days were long over more than 3 decades ago. The best memories I had was recess where everyone would be at an open space next to the school, playing goli or police and thief. It was a time where you learn at a comfortable pace ... at your own pace. Instead of tuition classes, I went for music lessons (playing the organ) and swimming classes. In between was spend on doing the very little homework , taking long afternoon naps and watching Mask or Transformers cartoons on telly.

Life was simple then as it was a period where time was in abundance.

Fast forward to 2016. My eldest boy is now in Primary 3. His school days are scheduled as follows

Wake up : 6am
School : Morning
Back from School : 230pm

It will be great if relaxation starts at 230pm, however this is not necessary the case due to the extra 'activities' that comes thereafter... and this excludes lunch!

Monday - Afternoon CCA
Tues - Free Day
Wed - Maths Tution
Thurs - Chinese Writing Class
Fri - English Writing Class
Sat - Free for the moment
Sun - Chinese Enrichment class

These had yet to factor in the the daily and weekend homework. As for afternoon naps, they disappear when kids are in primary school.

As working parents , we can only revise the school work in the evening after 730pm . Revision needs to stop by 9pm in preparation for bedtime. On weekdays with enrichment classes, there is also the challenging logistics for sending and picking the kids from the classes. Any 'spare' time is revolved around transportation and classes. Due to the nature of our work, there are times when either one of us needs to travel overseas for work. As such the task of keeping the daily routine will fall on a single parent , making it extremely exhausting for the one that stayed behind.

Time is now a luxury for both parents and kids.

Before you scream 'Give your kid a break!' , I can assure you we are trying our best to do so. The extra classes are meant to keep him in pace with schoolwork. Making our child the top student in the class was never our intent. We do not subscribe to the notion that scoring the highest marks in school will make you successful in the future. Yet these extra classes are a necessary 'evil' as they are meant to give the boy confidence. The standard of today's Primary School education is miles higher and more demanding than yesteryear. So much so, it is difficult to break this vicious cycle of tuition and enrichment classes.

Perhaps it is time to acknowledge the challenges parents of 'school going' children face. From the heavy load of schoolwork to the logistics planning around school activities, these are real stress inducing issues facing both child and parents every school day. Hopefully there can be solutions from the governing body to address this ticking time bomb.

With such demanding schedules, playtime during weekdays had been dramatically reduced in recent time. The only time the boys have to relax will be their precious Saturdays. Given the circumstances, 'extra' activities such as blogging events need to take a back seat. There is only so much time in a day and we would like to spend it as a family. We all need to catch our breath before the routine recycles week after week.

Next year, the younger one will join his brother at Primary One. The pressure will double and time will be a rare commodity. It may even result in drastic lifestyle changes such as having a stay home parent to give the children (and parent) breathing space.

Time had evolved through the ages. Soon, we may just run out of it...

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