Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

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Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

Postby hwtan » Sun May 18, 2014 7:20 am

Hi

I'm posting this to get help for my daughter in Pri 3.

We really, really need help. We are tearing our hair out on a daily basis and my wife and I are close to breaking down over this. My wife, especially has been close to breaking down / going bonkers over this and it is putting a LOT of stress on this family. Its a very unhealthy family situation and my older boy has been complaining why the home environment is so stressful (he is in P6 so I also worry he is worried over my wife and I stressing over our girl). Our third kid (a boy) cries frequently and quarrels with his sister and that makes things worse.

To be specific, my daughter has difficulties in:

1. Exam techniques (she will spend too much time on one question, esp. in Maths. And if she encounters a question she doesn't know she will start getting frustrated and cry).

2. She is very weak in Maths - her basic arithmetic e.g. division is quite ok but she struggles with model based questions.

3. She is easily distracted. If she doesn't like a topic, e.g. Maths, Chinese - she will listen to you for a while, then start wandering around and losing focus.

She recently got 48 for Maths in school (she is Pri 3 this year) and is causing a lot of worry for my wife and I.

She is likes Science and she thinks is is good in it. Her grades there are average.

English - she struggles with vocab (her vocab is very weak), comprehension she reads quite a number of Disney storybooks. Her grammar is still ok.

Chinese - she struggles with comprehension and also Chinese vocab.

She is also very reliant on her mom. If her mom is not there, she doesn't know what to do, is afraid to try questions, etc.

We have sent her to BrainFit, Berries, PSLE Maths tuition, private English tuition and also coach her daily ourselves. Her English tutor struggles with her being distracted. And we have a feeling all this is only making very little difference.

We need expert help - especially in helping her with:
1) Confidence - she has low esteem, thinks she can't do questions.
2) Exam techniques, keeping to time
3) Subject content - as described above

Are there any professional folks we can approach - especially on confidence and exam technique? We are willing to fork out for good services in this area.

Regards
Very Concerned and Troubled Dad

hwtan
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Re: Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

Postby bebe » Sun May 18, 2014 8:04 am

There is a jump from P2 to P3. Hence, we have to align our own expectation as well as manage the child's expectation. My #1 has low esteem, no confidence, not willing to explore and try new things. Like your child, she did badly for P3 for all subjects. And given her characters and learning ability (slow learner with weak audio and verbal skills), we decide to work on one subject first. The aim is not to get into band1, but rather to let her believe that she can do better. We need to see improvement, from band 4 to band 3. We dealt with maths first. We had fabian Ng, andrew ng assessment books. Start with basic and slowly work up to the advanced level. We were also aware of her lack of concentration, hence we only did maths during her "best time", mostly morning and evening time after dinner. Noon time, she needed her nap, and we trained her to do short nap (10-15 min) and believe me..even now at P6, I am still trying to do that. She is a heavy sleeper, and insufficient sleep will make her grumpy and affect her study mood.
I am not saying my method is effective, but for sure, once she saw the improvement in Maths, she felt motivated and was more willing to work with us on other subject.
For English vocab, my girl did not like reading. I had no choice..let her read comics so long as she was "Reading". Some comics are useful for general knowledge which is handy for cloze passage and compre. I tried to get her to keep a notebook of vocab list and good phrases..but she was not consistent. I will suggest that you start asking your girl to do it..just pick 5 words or phrases from a book she just read and start to collect the list.
For science, same thing, read widely..science at P3 is still manageable..but when come to process thinking skill questions, that is the part where my girl is still struggling, it needs higher thinking techniques. I can't help you much on this part as I am also still trying to find way to make her learning easier.

bebe
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Re: Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

Postby slmkhoo » Sun May 18, 2014 9:22 am

You may want to send her for an assessment with an educational psychologist. Going through the school and through the public route will be less expensive, but will take a longer time. Going private is costlier but quicker. Whether or not her issues are serious enough to be diagnosed as a learning disability of some kind, the ed. psych. can give you suggestions as how to work with your daughter. You can also google for suggestions for helping kids who have problems with distractions etc. You may also have to lower your expectations for daughter in terms of behaviour and results if she really does have learning issues. I have been through this too as my older daughter, now 17, has learning disabilities. It was only when I started understanding my daughter's limitations that I realised she wasn't being disobedient and intentionally difficult, and I also had to lower my expectations of her to a level she was able to meet.

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Re: Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

Postby iRabbit » Sun May 18, 2014 10:13 am

Could you grant me the liberty to be upfront? I feel that the biggest issue is not with your dd. To be frank, like your DW, I also can't stand it whenever my dc returns with mediocre result. It just spoils my day the way very few things can. But I'll never allow my family's relationship to breakdown bcos of this. This just not worth it. It's too emotional a reaction. Ok, I said it, sorry.

In this time and age, nurturing is the way to go. The more we stress our kids, the more they can't perform. Just aim for improvement, what about trying for a pass or 60 marks in the next math test? Pls don't give your dd so much pressure. Kids only have one childhood, after that they'll have to face the crap that the world dishes upon them.

I'm the optimist. I believe that as long as we encourage, our kids will be motivated enough to put in reasonable effort and thus, they'll make improvements in the long run. When that happens, we should be satisfied.

At the end of the day, if things still don't turn out the way we had hoped, parents will have to learn to accept the situation. I catch that as the main message simkhoo was trying to bring across above.
Last edited by iRabbit on Sun May 18, 2014 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

Postby ammonite » Sun May 18, 2014 10:19 am

Agree with bebe and simkhoo. It was also an uphill climb for ds1 in the lower primary but we went slow and steady one subject at a time. Trying to hit too many targets at the same time will be too overwhelming. Ds1 also benefitted greatly from professional assessments and remediation for visual and writing issues.

Kid aside, I think maybe you should get someone to talk to your wife to help her unpack her worries and put things in perspective. It is not good for her to coach your daughter when she is so stressed up because she will pass the stress on to your daughter and make her "freeze up" even more.

Try to look at the bigger picture, and always make time to inject some light and fun into the day. This bonding time and humor will give the child strength and courage to face a task that she thinks she will most likely fail in. Our job is to guide and mostly, encourage. Sometimes it is necessary to filter what comes through our mouth. When my son failed his Chinese paper, I could see that he was very disappointed. So I exclaimed," You got TWO MORE marks than the last test! You IMPROVED!" he did roll his eyes at me, but I could see he felt better and he continued his revision through holidays. Whenever his CL teachers speak to me, they will tell me he gets distracted easily, but he has good attitude generally and has shown improvement. I will ONLY tell him the GOOD stuff they say - because he already knows the bad stuff (since they do scold him in class), he doesn't need to hear it again. This way, he is encouraged to keep on striving.

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Re: Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

Postby ammonite » Sun May 18, 2014 10:20 am

Just saw FQW's post - agree !

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Re: Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

Postby autumnbronze » Sun May 18, 2014 10:38 am

FQW wrote:Could you grant me the liberty to be upfront? I feel that the biggest issue is not with your dd. To be frank, like your DW, I also can't stand it whenever my dc returns with mediocre result. It just spoils my day the way very few things can. But I'll never allow my family's relationship to breakdown bcos of this. This just not worth it. It's too emotional a reaction. Ok, I said it, sorry.

In this time and age, nurturing is the way to go. The more we stress our kids, the more they can't perform. Just aim for improvement, what about trying for a pass or 60 marks in the next math test? Pls don't give your dd so much pressure. Kids only have one childhood, after that they'll have to face the crap that the world dishes upon them.

I'm the optimist. I believe that as long as we encourage, our kids will be motivated enough to put in reasonable effort and thus, they'll make improvements in the long run. When that happens, we should be satisfied.

At the end of the day, if things still don't turn out the way we had hoped, parents will have to learn to accept the situation. I catch that as the main message simkhoo was trying to bring across above.


:goodpost:

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Re: Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

Postby janet88 » Sun May 18, 2014 11:09 am

FQW and slmkhoo have offered useful advice.

my daughter is academically weak & has a short attention span.
I understand how hwtan feels about his daughter...education is a LONG journey. to have a family breaking down over academic issues is just not worth it.

my daughter's attention span is very short and easily distracted...when she hears or sees something, her eyes will follow in that direction.

when she zooms out, that's it...precious time is spent to get her attention.

hubby & I pulled our hair out because of her. older boy in sec 2 is able to fit into the education system...he is an average student but can survive with nagging...this girl is the OPPOSITE. nagging & scolding only bring tears.
so with her, everything we do is BABY STEPS...plan little steps and be very patient...it's very trying and time consuming.

when I buy assessment books for math, I look for those which have 'basic', 'advance' and challenging...and don't get those titles which are too difficult. when she is able to do the 'basic' questions by herself, it is an achievement and I will put all the positive stamps on it.

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Re: Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

Postby iRabbit » Sun May 18, 2014 11:35 am

Yup Janet, even BABY STEPS are impt, not least bcos they're in the right direction.

I think we both understood that our kids' happiness and self-esteem are worth much, much more (to us) than a lousy piece of result slip.
Last edited by iRabbit on Sun May 18, 2014 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Family breaking down due to our girls academic problems

Postby bb_ mom » Sun May 18, 2014 11:36 am

Ditto for my DS. I need to get books that provide basic/foundation and books that challenge him. I notice he loves positive reinforcement like "V. Good", "Q. Good" for each section of his English as well. But he's also very harsh when he does badly. So I have to tell him that if he knows he's weak, he'll have to work on that specific area.

Baby steps! He's aiming for an A for all subjects but he's currently in low Bs. As he puts in, it'll be asking for his life to get him from low Bs to high As/A* immediately. So we're aiming for high Bs first and then low As and then hopefully high As. I praise him if I see improvements in number of careless mistakes.

DS English vocab is also really bad. We just started him on reading 30 minutes a night plus reading in school. He gets to choose the book to read at school while I decide the book to read at home. I just got him started on his personal "dictionary". We write words he needs to check on his white board. About 10 to 12 a week. And he checks them on Sundays & writes them into his "dictionary". So far, I've noticed an improvement in his vocab when he speaks and in his compo. I also get him to use the MCQ technique learnt for Science MCQ when answering English vocab MCQ.

Like your DD, my DS also loves Science. So we keep reminding him that he has to maintain his Science result & work on remaining 2 subjects. DH also does experiments with him to keep his interest.

Do you have a fixed schedule for your DD to revise/do her work? DS has a daily routine for work & play. Becos he knows what time his playtime starts, he's able to give me the 1.5 hours or 2 hours to do his work. There's an end in sight for him on a daily basis. Immediate gratification is necessary for him. The subjects to revise are agreed with DS at the start of the year. If changes are needed, I will discuss with him first so that he doesn't whine about not knowing the change.

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