The over-scheduled child

For the last two weeks, Jason led the life of an over-scheduled child.

Ironically it happened after exams ended because of a post-exam activity we signed him up for – Conversational Malay lessons offered by the school, conducted after school every day for two weeks. It’s a new language to him, it’s free, it’s useful in Singapore and Malaysia, so why not?

So for the last fortnight, his schedule looked something like this:

Mon: School, Malay, Soccer (ends at 6pm)

Tue: School, Malay (ends at 4pm)

Wed: School, Malay, Soccer (ends at 6pm)

Thurs: School, Malay, Piano (ends at 5pm)

Friday: School, Malay (ends at 3.30pm)

The timing of the lessons vary but he generally ends at 4pm or 6pm most days, instead of 1.30pm or 12.30pm. It has meant that I have had a chance to finish up freelance work, arrange lunches with friends and had more me-time generally.

It has also meant that he is tired, cranky, has little to no time for homework, reading, soccer with the neighbours, playing, doing nothing at home, and so on. I felt sorry for him. The protected time he has to play is lost. So are our after school chats over lunch. He is so tired after Malay or soccer, I get mostly one-word replies. Yucks.

The good thing is there is no homework for this class. It’s purely learning the spoken language, and any work given is done within class time. He has also picked up and taught me several phrases which will come in useful when we travel to Malaysia.

Today is the last day of his Malay lessons. While I enjoyed the greater amount of “freedom” the last two weeks, I’m kind of looking forward to having lunch together and spending afternoons with him. I’m also glad we have managed to keep weekends free of classes for him.

While learning something new is a good reason to go for class, you can have too much of a good thing. Thankfully this is just a two-week programme. It is a good reminder not to over-schedule him. At least not now. I’m told such a timetable is the norm for a pupil in Primary 5 and 6. Sigh.

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