Primary One registration has started on July 3. A lot of parents are very nervous because they want their children to get into their preferred school. Many believe a good school can lay the foundation for their children and inculcate good values. They do volunteer work years in advance and some mimic the actions of Meng Mu, the mother of Confucian sage Mencius, by moving nearer to their preferred school.
Unfortunately, not all get into their chosen school. What is the alternative? Most people tend to forget that the most important education begins at home. Regardless of how great a school is, a teacher can only do so much when there are 40 students in a class. A lot of the groundwork needs to be established at home.
Here are eight things you can do at home which beat going to the best Primary School in Singapore.
1. Teach him the “right” values.
Indeed, schools like Pei Chun teach values such as courtesy, justice, honesty and honour. But do you realise you can do that at home too? Moreover, as a parent, you have a bigger influence on your child and that would be more effective. What kind of “values” should we instil in them? Values are fluid. It used to be “unethical” for women to be wearing sleeveless clothes. There are some principles that may be always useful. We should get our child to be open-minded. As the world continually changes, he must be flexible enough to adapt to the fast transformations.
Academically, it always helps to think out of the box. If Eratosthenes was close-minded, we may still think the world is flat. In life, it is essential to be tolerant so we could live in a world without prejudice. Also teach your child to be generous and adventurous. Carpe Diem- life is too short to worry unnecessarily or to be stingy with people we care about. We should all work to achieve our full potential.
2. Answer all his questions.
A teacher, even from the best school, will not have the time for all the questions a child has as he has his own curriculum. A child has a zillion questions everyday- you, on the other hand, can satisfy his inquisitiveness. Don’t stop him from questioning. If we don’t know the answer, don’t be shy to say you don’t. Show him it’s OK to ask questions and it’s OK to not know the answers. Look for the answers and reply him later. It’s great for a kid to be curious and that’s a superb way to get him excited about learning. Quench his thirst for knowledge and he will be wanting more.
3. Give him all the attention he needs.
The biggest difference between education in school and at home is that you are able to get him all the attention he needs. With your focus on him, you can mould him into the best person in the world and provide early intervention if you notice any issues. Studies have shown children who receive individualised attention from parents are the least likely to engage in delinquent activities.
4. Let him know the world doesn’t revolve around him.
Do you remember all those socially inadequate and obnoxious people you met at work or in school? You definitely won’t want your child to turn out like those people. While you are giving him the most attention, it’s important to teach him the humble fact that the world doesn’t revolve around him. A compassionate and modest child may get further in life because he’s well-liked and genuinely a great person to hang out with. School teachers are seldom able to provide such insights and perspectives you can as a mother/father.
5. Get him outdoors.
Schools may have PE classes or excursions, but time is limited. As parents, you have the liberty to bring them outdoors to learn. A child absorbs the most when he’s having fun. He can apply in real life from what he learns in school.
6. Read with him daily.
Schools in Singapore has a reading programme where they let children read papers/articles/books for half an hour a day. At home, he has much more time to delve into his favourite books. You have the liberty to bring him to the library, help him cultivate the habit of loving books instead of just doing it as an exercise.
The “famous” schools can help your son/daughter with his/her language, some parents say. It really begins at home. Children are most impacted by their parents, not their teachers. If you speak proper English or Chinese to them, they pick it up from you. And remember, you have been conversing with them from Day 1. The real foundation starts from the time they were babies.
8. Just get him a tutor.
Unconvinced by all the above points and insist that a school can do a better job? Well, if you can’t get into the “best school”, there’s really no use crying over spilled milk. And if you don’t agree home education works better and prefer a third party, then engage a tutor.