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Zoe Tay’s Advice for the School Holiday: Review, Reflect and Realign

Posted by Shafina Jaafar on October 26, 2018

Contributed by Zoe Tay, Mediacorp Artiste and loving mum to 3 sons.

The SA2 exams are ending and that means another school year is drawing to a close.

For me and my husband, this means we can finally take a breather — we can bring the kids out during the December school break or plan a family holiday. I’m sure many parents feel the same, too.

This time last year, my youngest son had just experienced his first year as a primary school student, my second son had completed the first year of upper primary and my oldest son had just completed his PSLE.

I remember feeling relieved but, at the same time, nervous — just as we do every school break. Even as we let our sons enjoy their well-deserved break, we also do not want them to get too complacent or lose the momentum to learn well.

2019 is going to be a challenging yet exciting year for me and my husband.

•  It’s an important year for my eldest boy as he prepares for the Secondary 2 streaming exercise
•  My second son will be sitting for the PSLE and that means he needs to be fully-focused on revisions and preparation
•  For my youngest, who is going into Primary 3 next year,  our focus is on helping and supporting him as he takes on Science as a new subject

That is why striking a balance between work and play is going to be important in the upcoming school holiday period.

Here, I'm sharing simple post-exam plan for my three sons, which can be summed up in 3 words: review, reflect and realign. 

1. Review Your Child’s Performance

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In the next couple of weeks, your child will receive his or her SA2 papers and results.

Having seen my sons go through the various stages of their academic journey, I do believe that exams can be a good indicator of how they are coping in school. But I don’t focus on the final grade. Instead, I look at how my child has performed throughout the year.

My husband and I believe that it is beneficial to sit down with our sons to:

•  Chart their class test and termly exam results for the year to have clearer overview of how our sons have progressed since the start of the year
•  Highlight subjects where our sons have improved in as well as point out areas that require improvement
•  Listen to feedback from our sons to have a clearer understanding of how we can better help them next year

To help ensure that your child is on the right track, you can download The Learning Lab's Post-Exam Checklist where you can find useful subject-specific exam review questions for you and your child. 

Download Checklist

2. Reflect on the Good… and the “Not So Great”

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It’s important for us that our children understand that is okay to make mistakes. As parents, it is doubly important to help our children to pick themselves up and to be motivated to keep trying.

With every challenge that your child may face in school or in his or her day-to-day life, it is critical to help him or her cultivate the attitude of a resilient problem-solver, rather than being subject to the fear of potential disappointment.

With resilience, your child will be able to:

•  remain optimistic about seeing a tough task through to completion
•  respond positively to constructive feedback
•  see failure as a lesson learnt for future successes

Here are my 3 tips to develop positive learning dispositions in your child.

Say No to Negativity

When faced with non-constructive comments from bystanders, encourage your child to filter out harsh and unhelpful words and focus only on what can help him or her move forward.

While listening to figures of authority and well-meaning peers is important, help your child differentiate between constructive feedback that can help them move forward and negative noise that will impede their growth.

See the Good in Your Journey

Motivation comes from both external and internal sources.

Receiving affirmation from you will help your child to have a positive attitude towards potential instances of ‘failure’. A simple, “You’re on your way forward" or “You’ve had a chance to see what won’t work. Now, you can focus on what will work” can exponentially improve your child’s drive to try again and do better.

Additionally, helping your child to see the positive points in his or her journey gives them a compelling incentive to keep going — that’s tenacity and grit.

Send a Positive Message

Pay it forward. Turning the tables on failure involves helping others see the value of looking at the concept of failure in new and different ways. Encourage your child to cheer on his or her friends in their times of difficulty and you may just see that positive shift in your child’s mindset too.

As a parent, your power to influence the way your child thinks, feels and acts is limitless. If we can begin to see failure as a single step on a long journey of personal growth, our children have the opportunity to go forth and achieve so much more, with so much more confidence.

3. Realign Your Child’s Learning Goals and Needs

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If you feel that your child has faced certain areas of difficulty with the curriculum at his or her current academic level — don’t panic.

The school holidays are the ideal time to strengthen foundational knowledge and skills while reinforcing what was learnt in the past year. It’s also an ideal time to look at the goals that have been set and to chart the course for new milestones in the year ahead.

Sometimes, this may mean finding an external source of help — an education partner you can trust your child’s learning journey to.

Every now and then, I do feel anxious thinking about how I can help my sons better transit to the next year.

•  How do I prepare my eldest son for streaming in Secondary 2?
•  Am I missing out anything in preparation for PSLE for my second boy? 
•  How can I better support my youngest's needs as he juggles more workload in Primary 3?

My husband and I have been fortunate to have great support for our sons’ learning journeys through The Learning Lab.

Even when my filming schedule gets hectic and my husband is busy at work, we remain reassured that our sons’ academic progress is well taken care of with TLL’s detailed and structured curriculum.

Besides focusing on exams skills, your child can look forward to the engaging aspect of learning — lessons will include components focused on personal enrichment and critical analysis skills to help your child gain a greater understanding and awareness of real-world events.

My Final Thoughts

Parenting isn’t easy and I believe we all face similar challenges in our parenting journey. However, we must remember that, as parents, we are our children’s life coach.

As our children face new challenges in school and learn new life lessons, it is important that we provide the right emotional support in encouraging them to keep trying, to keep getting better, to keep dreaming big.

At the end of day, I hope my children realise that learning is not just about achieving good grades,  but also about having the right attitudes and perspectives.  

Set Your Child on Track for the New Year

At The Learning Lab, we believe in giving students learning experiences that empower them.

We are here to support parents in developing the whole child: not just academic abilities. For us, it’s about deep and meaningful learning that students can enjoy.

We'd love to welcome your child to our classes.

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The Learning Lab is now at 8 locations. Find a location that suits your needs.

If you have any questions about our programmes, please email us at enquiry@thelearninglab.com.sg or call us at 6733 8711 and we will be happy to assist you.