Monday, May 16, 2011

Exam fever

Emily & Hajar's exam starts today. Luqman's will start on Friday. So the house is a bit of a war zone. I am no where near a tiger mommy. More like a "fang"less tiger mommy.

We have never push the kids so much academically. No tuition (unless really2 necessary). On the pretext of we don't want to pressure them so much, and we want them to enjoy their schooling years, and we are not kiasu parents who only appreciate how many A's you got. I think the real truth behind this is (at least for me), due to my childhood experience. Dad was so fierce and excellence in education is all that matters to him. And this can be retraced back to his deprivation of education during his childhood as well. Me and Hisham were so terrified if we didn't get 1st place. That's all that matters. And in the end, of course both of us did really well in academic. But we also grow up to be somebody who never think we are good enough in anything. So I guess my leniency towards the kids has a lot to do with how much I hate this part of my childhood.

However, the price for that leniency and lack of expectation is the kids become so lackaidisical. Their academic performance is very2 average, and to some below average. Luq's performance has deteriorated to D's...D???? Hell yeah....and the excruciating part is he doesn't seem to be bothered by the string of C's and D's he's getting. And me being super overwhelmed with Emily's issues, Hajar has always been left to be independant ...and it is less than 100 days to her big exam UPSR, and she's still struggling with her weak subjects. BM and Maths. And she's not doing super excellent in other subjects too. And she's still having problem prioritizing and focusing. And of course Emily continues to be soooo behind her peers.

This mid year exam is a big thing to me. I need to see there is light at the end of the tunnel. I need to change. Onn needs to change. In order for the kids to change. I have been reading a lot. One of the books I have been scouring is Zaid Mohamad's Smart Parent's Brighter Kids.
I actually bought the Malay version. Couldn't find the English version. Anyway, I like this guy coz I think he has the same philosophy with me. Sort of ;). Kids can excel best at home. No tuition, no boarding school.

He outlined his 7 strategies on how to get your kids to excel. Starting with love. So easy to say, so difficult to do. Especially when you end up in that frustrating power struggle trying to get everybody to do their works. It's difficult to feel love, and express love when you feel like pulling your hair and everybody's hair too. Let's keep it real lah kan??? hahahaha...I soo sound like a bitch mother here.....but I do get his point. And I have read this many times too. Khalifah method puts a lot of emphasis in creating a loving environment in our home too. Kids learn better when they feel the LOVEEEEE :P

His strategies are quite good.To be honest, I have not much expectation. I was expecting more of the typical generic yada yada yadaaa strategies. But one of the things he suggested is to have a schedule, and a plan for each child. Detailing where they are and where they want to be. Academically. And of course I am pretty sure this works well in life too. So this is one of THE missing links between me and my kids all this while. I keep telling them they must improve, must score...and none of us had no idea what exactly that means. It's pretty ridiculous to expect everybody to get all A's right?? But that has been pretty much my generic statement all this while. Of course, ideally he suggested that this vision plan thingy to be a collaboration between you and your child. But me being me, to get this started let's just do it myself first lah kan?? hahaha....

Anyway, I painstakingly prepared the daily schedule for everybody. Which they painstakingly try to follow.

It has not been followed to the tee. But I DO get them to do more works done than before. Before, everybody came back from school and dumped their bags at the door...and chill  (read; watch TV, facebook, computer, PSP all day all night).

And I let it be, because they are tired, and I am tired, and it's much easier for all of us. Trust me, to improve their grades, to make them excel in life, and even to be a kiasu over ambitious parents....need LOTS of work and active involvement from the parents. Which is why many people choose the easier way. Just let them be....Que sera sera....

The schedule still needs tweaking. My biggest problem is they are very tired after spending the whole day in school. And with homeworks, it's sometimes almost impossible to do any revision on week day. And kids like Emily will just shut down once she's tired. But a schedule is still waaayyyy better than no schedule.

Then I printed their past performance. And their target for this coming mid year exam. Pasted this on their door. Doing this helps clarify lots of things to me, to Onn, and to them. I realize Emily is not that bad. She got some C's which we can work on to B and even A. Her E's are those subjects that she usually submit an empty paper. Not because she doesn't understand anything, but more of the techniques to answer the questions are too alien to her. So we got hope ;)

And I realize Hajar's weakest subjects are Bahasa Malaysia (writing) and Maths. And the main reason is more of lack of practise and effort...rather than the subjects are difficult. So if I drill her to do even a bit of these 2 subjects everyday, she will definitely improve. You don't excel in language and Maths overnight my dear. It comes with practise.
And of course dearest Luqman is trailing behind. C & D are just not acceptable. Especially for him. He needs to realize that if you trail behind in secondary, you just cannot catch up. It's going to get worse and worse. And he needs to learn to make good choices, and take charge. Luqman is the type of kid who will do well if the teacher is good and interesting, and vice versa. Coz he didn't study much at home. So he captures and absorbs everything that he knows purely (my guess) from the classroom. So if the teacher is boring, tough luck. But the thing is, you will face this issue throughout your life. A boring teacher, a boring can't blame them for your performance. You have to figure out what u can do to make it interesting. And with internet, there is just no excuse my dearest son.
So with all these in place, Saturday and Sunday was tough. The house was like a war zone. At some point, I feel like packing my bag and just run away. It was so frustrating and so hard. But in the end, me and Onn got everybody to work. And for the first time in history, Emily actually revised everything that needs to be covered for the exam.

Whatever the outcome doesn't matter. The most important thing is to keep the system in place. And to keep going. The outcome will improve if you got the system in place. God give me strength, and patience, and lots of wisdom. Pleaseeeee. Amen.


  1. Hi Salam perkenalan, I just happened to find your blog via a friend's. Once I started reading a few of your post, I got hooked cos we seem to have a LOT in common:
    - we are both SAHM with a job on the side (you with your phd and me working fr home),
    - have 4 kids - 3 girls and a boy I believe fr your pics,
    - I can so relate to your description of the daily 'struggle' with your children - school, daily schedule, exams, etc, my daughter is also struggling with BM penulisan (she failed her last BM exam!),
    - we both have reached a point in life where given the option of better income/opportunity and daily Q time w our children, we would opt for the latter,
    - we both have parents who were too strict when it comes to education and i too ended up feeling the way you feel even though i excelled in my studies through out my life, now I just feel like I'm never good enough at any one thing - I always see myself as a Jack of all trades but master of none.

    Gosh, those were just from a few of your posts. I have yet to read the others! :)

    Thank you for sharing and making a stranger feel a little better about herself and her life today! :)


  2. Salam Rin,
    Thanks for reading ;) I write to keep me sober. And ironically I can only write like this when I'm almost meroyan....hahaha...anyway, great that I can make u feel better. Parenthood is a long journey. It's always great to find someone who's in the same boat ;)