Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Life is tough for the kids!

It is week 10 of the school term already!! Yippee! A whole term has gone by. What have the kids learnt? That school is all work and no fun! Sad isn't it. There typical school week is : school , lunch, followed by cca (if any), and homework. Then it is off to enrichment, and other classes. For my kids it is Mandarin, Music, Swimming, chess, science. By then its dinner time. After dinner it's laze around time - watching some tv, and they are off to bed. Weekends are spent at chess school (some 3 to 4 hours on a sat), Cathecism, church, and finishing whatever homework that has not been done. However this equilibrium is thrown off when there are tests, exams, quizzes, after-school activities, tournaments, special projects. For my kids it is especially tough as they are competitive chess players. There are so many tournaments that they "have" to play in. (They are part of the National Junior Squad, and there are a number of tournaments which they have to play in to be able to continue in the squad). In addition, they are also required to represent the school in certain tournaments! All this is in addition to their normal work load. This eats into their time, and as a result they have no time to actually do nothing. I am one who strongly believes in children having time to do nothing, day dream and reflect. This allows them to put their creative ideas to work. I feel so sorry for them. They do not get to experience real childhood - playing around, catching fishes from drains, or even indulging in their favourite activities whatever that may be.

Even though they have a week of holidays next week, it is already almost full! On tueday, my daughter has to go to school for a mandarin cultural camp. On wednesday and thursday, both my kids are playing in a chess tournament, representing their school. On friday, my daughter has her school mate coming over to work on a project. (And she has a few other projects due after the one week vacation). And another chess tournament over the weekend. And by then, the school term starts again. We will not have time to go to the zoo, or the beach or for a swim or bake some cookies together, or even family bonding time. What school vacation is this? With such a short break, all school activities should come to a HALT! Then the kids will have a chance to recover, before starting a new term. The same scenario will replay itself over the June holidays, even if it is over 4 weeks. 2 weeks will be taken up by the Asean Age group chess tournament, there will be a 2 week mandarin immersion in china (if we decide to send our children), and the so called 4 week vacation will be gone!! And all this is not counting the preparation training they would need for the tournament. Poor kids.....tough life....or is it "no life"..... The ministry really needs to re-look at our education system or our kids will suffer from a burn-out!

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