I was a late bloomer, so I did not exactly expect Z to love studying. Besides, I was always afraid that over-studying would cramp his creativity and development. I tried to incorporate learning into our life and conversation.
The other day, I was teaching him new words. We were watching TV and I pointed to baby X. I asked if he knew how to spell ‘Baby’. He responded negative so I went in a silly cheerleading mode about “b-a-b-y, that’s baby. Who is he? B-A-B-Y…” and we went on and on and on. These days, when we spotted new stuffs (and simpler words), I would incorporate his school’s letterland teaching and my nonsensical style to get him to remember the words.
I also told Z that the most important thing was to learn how to read, write and spell. Those were the most powerful tools a person could have. Once he could read and spell, he could search for his favourite videos on youtube and shop online for toys which could not be purchased in Singapore. I also told him that it was his job to learn how to read so that he could read to Baby X.
I had a genuine love for books. I loved reading. I also used that to inspire Z. Of course, on a separate note, we had been unabashed in telling Z that both Mr H and I were very smart people. In order for him to become an independent person who did not need to listen to us, he had to be smarter than us. Z informed us that he knew his ABCs very well and asked if it constituted to being smarter than us. I broke the grave news to him that both Mr H and I had more than 40 years of education under our belt. Learning was a continuous journey and he would have to buck up if he wanted to win us on that. 10 times his lifetime did seem very long.
I did not send Z to any enrichment classes because the key to a good enrichment class was consistent parental involvement. That was easier said than done. However, being the compulsive person I was, my motto was to play hard and work harder. The only additional thing we did with him was using the Bambino Luk and Mini Luk learning tools which came across more as a game and educational. It helped us to train him in independent learning. We actually could get him to do 2-3 hours of work when required. I would definitely encourage getting this off Amazon at US$99 as opposed to buying it locally at S$500.
I also believed in embracing Chinese as a language. I did not have fantastic written Chinese capabilities today but reading children’s books were not supposed to be difficult. Even if I had forgotten the words, I would not show Z poor comprehension of the language. Honestly, Chinese language was not my favourite subject because of the sheer amount of penmanship required. However, Chinese folklores imparted very strong values on respect and filial piety which I grew up with. Z knew that we embraced the language and could converse well in both English & Chinese. He knew he had no reason to dislike the language and understood the he had to read Chinese in order to go KTV! He had exhibited interest and was keen to learn. Well, I sure hoped he would keep it this way.