It was the school Library Week and I have volunteered to be a guest reader for the kids. It was really great reading to the kids and you know something, kids loved to be read to. Reading by themselves is very different to have someone reading to them. Kai who is a reader and can easily read by himself, still enjoys having me reading to him.

I had six reading sessions altogether, ranging from grade 4 to grade 6. I started off at a grade 6 class. I chose two books to read. The Invisible Man by HG Wells and The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. Oh yes, I even did a magic treat. You should have been there to look at the kids' expressions.

You want to know something? The kids were captivated by Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. They were very excited and wanted to find out if Shylock actually managed to cut off the pound of flesh. Don't think Shakespeare is boring and the kids won't like him. Just make sure you don't give them the original, unedited copy.

Do read to your kids, even though they may not enjoy reading but they surely enjoy having papa or mama reading to them. You really don't have to restrict yourself to just story books. It could be your child's favourite magazine, an interesting article, an advertisement, road signs….anything that has words. The thing is to make it interesting for them.

Kai has assigned me and insisted that I should read one of his books, Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle. Fine, that will be my next book after I am done with my Mr China...A WallStreet banker, an Englishman, an ex-Red Guard and $418,000,000 disappearing, day by day. By Tim Clissold
My two "dictionaries"

Kai : Mum, do sloths have tail?
Me : Erm…..(kids think mum has all the answers). Meimei, do sloths have tail?
Ann : Yes, a very small one
Ann : Mum, 'alot' is one word or two words?
Me : Hmmmm….Kai, 'alot' is one word or two words?
Kai : One word. Many people make the mistake of thinking it is two words. Always spell it as alot and not a lot.
There you have it, my two dictionaries. Ann has an almost complete knowledge of animals. She is just so into them. She has many books on animals and she reads them faithfully. Yes, you are so right that I go to her when I need to know anything about animals. Kai is like an online dictionary. You can hardly catch him with any word which he doesn't know. Even his school teachers and principal asked him for the meaning of words.
Book characters

It is the school library week and the students and teachers and principal were asked to dress up as one of the book characters.
Make a guess

Ann - Elizabeth Allen, The Naughtiest Girl by Enid Blyton . My personal favourite when I was much, much younger.

Kai – Jack Frost, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, winner of the Carnegie Medal 2010.
PTC again

The Parents-Teachers Conference was held last Saturday.

Every teacher told us that Kai is very bright, very intelligent. They all felt that they were not able to give him more to do. His English teacher even suggested that we exposed him to sec 1 work. They felt that he has "slackened" because he has already reached the level where he could no longer learn new things. They all enjoyed teaching him. The whole school knew him as a bright boy but a mischievous one at times. They gave examples, instances where he showed a high level of maturity. It was indeed a privilege to hear them say, "you guys have brought him up well." The teachers suggested that we put him in a good secondary school.

Should I take their words for real or is it among the int'l students, he is the best but back in SG, he is just the average kid? I think I would rather believe the former. I have a list of schools in mind ...

Hwa Chong Inst - there is a problem when it comes to Mother Tongue. It has to be taken as 1st language
Raffles Inst - distance is an issue
NUS Math & Science - his language skills will go to  waste
Singapore Science and Technological School - too new, not tested
ACS (Ind) – haven't heard much

You know when you have such feedback from the school and in need of some advice from fellow mama friends, it is important to find the right ones to share it. Some mamas (I consider them the very immatured ones) would think that you are just bragging. The wise and sensible ones will help you to see things differently.

One mama whom I have known since the USA days wrote this
"Some parents are happy that their kids are at grade or above grade because that means the kids can focus more on other things - depth/breadth/current affairs/arts/sports.... there are so many interesting things out there! On the other hand, some parents are worried/concerned because they feel that their kids are not maximised."

Another one wrote,
"First, congrats on the teachers' views on your son! However, as you have discovered, it can be both a curse as well as a blessing as it can be a big responsibility.

There is something I think you should be aware of, and that is that being intelligent and getting good grades in Singapore are 2 different things. Singapore's exams test a fairly narrow range of skills and content, and sometimes, the smart kids find it too confining and aren't too motivated to do things the 'right' way and may not necessarily get top grades. Teachers in international schools probably make more wholistic judgements which count more in the long-term scheme of things, while Singapore sec school grades are more limited in scope. So don't expect your son to necessarily get top grades in Singapore school, and don't assume the teachers got it wrong if that's how it turns out.

I think trying to get your son into a school where he will be stretched is probably a good idea. But I don't really know if you should rely so much on the school to do the stretching. If you can find one, well and good. If not, it may be better to place less emphasis on school demands and do the stretching at home."

See what I mean, not your typical kiasu mamas. They are mamas who think out of the box.

As a parent, what do I really want for my child? I remembered many years back, my friend is a NUS professor. His son more than qualified to study in Raffles Institution yet he chose to study in Swiss Cottage Secondary School (SCSS). Most parents would think, even I asked him why did he allow his son to go to SCSS. He said that his son made the decision and if that made him happy, it would be fine with him. Today, his son is in his 4th year in the NUS law faculty.

As for now, I have come up with some stretching exercises for Kai. He has to read the Straits Times and give me the 'Why, What, When, Where, How' about the news and at the end of it, his views on it. He has already done two on top of his daily homework and is enjoying it. I hope this will keep him away from his mischief.

Equally proud of Ann. Her teacher commented that she is among the top two, not just in her studies but also her social behaviour. A born leader. Kids just go to her for guidance. I was really pleased to see her composition, using phrase like "the crashing of the waves". That's very matured writing coming from a to-be seven year old. Just the other day, I heard her asking her brother, "what is its gender?" They were talking about some animals. Children at her level would have asked, "is it a boy or a girl?"
The throne of my life

When He is seated on the throne of your life, you shall experience the inner peace amid the turmoils and heartaches.

So true.