Since school started for Angel this year, I have been asked by her teachers several times on whether I would be switching her from half day to full day. From the dozens of kids who go to her preschool, so far, I think she is the only one who gets to go home at noon every day. The answer I gave to them was I could, but I don't wish to.
You know, when we came back from Sweden, the reason why I decided to enroll her in school after much procrastination was because I thought she needed to learn to interact with people, to acquire some social skills and to build up friendship after being alone in a foreign land for the first three years of her life. When the baby sister came along, I realised that having the big one in school meant that I had more time to devote to bonding with the baby and get the household chores done in the mornings before we start the day as three.
I asked her teachers on why they thought she had a need to switch to full day. Their replies were "Oh, because we do art and craft sometimes when they wake up from their afternoon nap", "Because she is in Kindergarten 1 class already" and "Because she will miss out on what her peers are learning".
Honestly, I wasn't really worried but I decided to ask if they felt that my girl was lagging behind the rest but they said she had no problem in her school work and in fact, I was told that last year, she was the only one who could write her Chinese name. So, even if I tried to persuade myself, I just couldn't find a reason as to why I should let her spend longer hours in school when the reason why I chose to be a stay-at-home mum was to spend more time with my kids.
For sure, I am not the best teacher because I teach her random stuff and only when I can afford the time. I don't have any fixed syllabus, I don't use much assessment books, I don't have a timetable where we make it a point to regularly revise what she had been taught. In fact, I strongly believe that at her age, learning doesn't just come from books. It comes from seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, playing, discovering and exploring. Much as I always get asked on why I like to bring two kids out every other day, I just don't like the idea of staying indoors too often because the way I see it, there is just so much more for us to learn in the world out there.
Things I want to do more often with Angel
I want to take her to the supermarket and teach her the names of food and household goods while we practise her alphabets and maths along the way.
So you see, these are but just some of the things that made me feel that half is really enough. Before she hits primary school, I am really going to cherish each and every of these afternoons that I get to spend with not one, but both of my girls.
Life is really so much more than just books, and kids only get to live their childhood once, so while they are still young, let's just not worry about academics too much and focus more on bonding, laughter and play, shall we?