It’s tough being a parent these days, having to juggle parenting and career both at the same time for some of us. We dedicate the best part of lives nurturing our children and grooming them to strive for the best and at the same time, being sensitive and taking care of their mental well- being.
But being a kid is just as tough, if not tougher. Imagine their gruesome schedule at such a tender age, to be precise, age 7. That is the age I remember my little one gets started with “ the grind”.
It so happens that all these extra “external enrichment” comes along “by the way” kind of thing. I remembered it was never all at one go. Being new parents, we were not so savvy with our choices at that time.
I think it all started with mother tongue enrichment since most families do not converse in Mother Tongue at home. Then along the way, someone tells you that your kid would need to write a 50 word English composition by the time they turn P1. Panic starts to kick in, you start asking for enrichment centres that excel in creative writing. Once you start enrichment in one subject, somehow you continue with the rest since most enrichment centres offer “package deal”, i.e. a bundle of subjects. In order to take advantage of the convenience, besides sending the elder one, you send number 2 there at the same time too. It becomes such a norm that when the time comes for you to register, your younger kid is already on the priority list. Poor kids, none of mine is spared from this “enriching” experience.
My DD is P6 now and has school enrichment lessons 3 times a week running up to her PSLE. On top of that, she has personalised Mother Tongue enrichment and weekend enrichment for her English writing and Maths.
This is just academic stuff, how about her CCA? She has external dance lessons at least twice a week, taking part in major competition in end August, preparation for her jazz exam as well as year- end concert etc. The CCA part is purely her choice, with no pushing from me though.
Well, please don’t call me a “tiger mum” because I am seriously not. In fact, I fail miserably at it. This is because I am “bargainable” and gives in most of the time at the sign of “ distress “ from my DD.
So does my child need the enrichment? Well, my personal opinion is that it is really not a matter of need anymore. It’s like buying insurance, buying a peace of mind and having some form of self-assurance that the kid is practising or learning something out of all these enrichment. I am not against it or anything, I am just amazed at how much time and money we spend on these enrichment lessons that we get so immune to it. My kids who have to go through it probably feels “immune” and sees it as part of their lives too. In fact, they tell me they feel insecure if they are not part of it. I remembered sometime around P3, my DD requested for me to send her for Maths enrichment at a certain enrichment centre saying that she needs it in order to achieve high marks. Lo and behold, the “kiasuism” also rubs off into her.
My take on this whole enrichment experience is that enrichment is only really useful if the kid has the right learning attitude. The right attitude towards revision and understanding concepts have to be established in the first place. I am sure there are kids out there with no extra enrichment and are doing well academically because they adopt the right learning attitude, are hardworking and extremely motivated towards their personal goals. Therefore, I am not giving up on enrichment but rather I am quietly waiting for the time to come whereby my DD can tell me that she is independent enough to revise on her own and that she no longer needs the extra lessons on the side.
To all parents who have kids who are doing well academically and adhere to the call of “enrichment” cooperatively , kudos to all of you since you have one less worry down the road for now.