Ethan’s first school exam

Today was Ethan’s first day of exam. First exam in primary school. “What is an exam?”, he even asked.

The last time he sat for an exam was in kindergarten when he was 4 years old. After that, the government had a new policy where there was no need for exams in kindergartens in order not to stress the young kids out. Since then, kindergartens only did assessments and met up with parents to discuss about their children’s performances based on these assessments. At that time, I was very happy about it. In fact, I was secretly relieved whenever Ethan told me that he has finished his homework at the babysitter’s place.

So now, at 7 years old, my son sat for his first exam in school and he has no idea mummy was so anxious about it.

Since he started going to daycare in April, he did not do his homework at home anymore. He only did his homework at the daycare centre the next morning before going to school.

One of the reasons why we started this practice of doing his homework at daycare was because we had to rush through his homework at night. I always picked the kids up at around 7.45pm from the babysitter. By the time we went through the usual traffic jam, we would only reach home at around 8.30pm. Ethan had to immediately start doing his homework once we got into the house. At his pace (a really, really slow pace), he took a long time to finish up his homework, sometimes finishing only at around 10pm. I couldn’t do anything else when he was doing his homework. If I got up from the chair, he would do the same as well. So I could only start getting the kids ready for bed after Ethan has completed his homework. And when it got late, I got stressed up as I wanted the kids to have enough sleep.

Another reason was that I was not able to teach him subjects which are conducted in Chinese. I had to snap photos of the lessons in Chinese and ask my brother what it said. Even teaching Ethan BM and English proved to be very difficult as I did not know how to teach him to understand the lesson. I merely gave him the answers. And it took LOTS & LOTS OF PATIENCE to teach. I usually ended up with a headache afterwards.

So I thought sending him to daycare would be the best solution. He could do his homework there and tuition was also provided after he has completed his homework. For more than a month, we had a more relaxed time after reaching home. I could sit down and have my quick 10-min dinner and Ethan could play with Isabel before bedtime.

All this was fine until I reminded the teacher at the daycare (for maybe the 5th time) last Wednesday that Ethan’s exam was coming up the following week. Then the teacher informed me that she was unable to do revision with Ethan as he always took a long to time to finish up his homework. I almost fainted when I heard this. His exam was in a few days’ time and he has not even started his revision?

I told myself, ok, fine. No big deal. Tried to calm myself. He’s just in Primary 1 and this is only his first exam. There are many more to come.

That night, Ethan had to do his homework at home again so that he could do his revision at the daycare centre the next day. And he had quite a lot of BM homework. I looked at it and I was thinking, “what is this?” I came across words like ‘mendepang’, ‘kilas’ and ‘menoleh’ – words which I don’t even understand. Since when has Primary 1 BM lessons became so difficult? All was fine again when I saw there were some references in the text book. More than 20 years after I left high school, I learned new BM words.

Then I turned the page and saw that we needed to fill in the blanks. My mind went blank too. See if you can answer the questions below:

Anyway, I flipped through the text book again, hoping to find some more references. Couldn’t find it. Flipped another 2 – 3 times to make sure I did not miss it. Still couldn’t find the answers. Ended up snapping a photo and asked Daddy for help. As Daddy had a badminton session with his colleagues, he did not reply me. In the end, I told Ethan to ask his daycare teacher the next day.

I thought we could still take the weekend to do some last-minute revision. But I had forgotten that Ethan has replacement class on Saturday (luckily his teacher sent me an sms about it on Friday evening). So we did not manage to do any revision that night.

Still had Sunday then, I thought. But we went to church in the morning, had lunch and went for a quick stop at a mall to get some stuff. We only reached home 5pm. As it was Mother’s Day, we had to go for dinner with my mum and mum-in-law. So out we went again at 6pm to pick up my mom for dinner. By the time we were done and reached home, it was 9.30pm.

When Daddy heard that Ethan has not even done any revision at all, he was not happy about it. I thought to myself, why didn’t you do it then? But of course, I held my mouth in order to prevent an argument.

The only thing I could do then was only to tell Ethan to try his best. I sighed and added, “Just don’t fail any subjects” and kissed him good night as I tucked him into bed.

Not very good parenting, I supposed. I think many parents would be shaking their heads in disapproval.

Oh, well, this is the first time and I have learned my lesson. Let’s hope we’ll do better for Ethan’s next exam.

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