I never had tuition in primary school. It wasn’t like I was topping the class or anything like that. In fact, there were times I did so poorly in some tests, my mother got a call from my teacher. Maybe things were much easier then. I did my homework, studied for my tests, and my parents were happy with whatever marks I brought home.
When Jason was in preschool, several of his classmates were attending tuition in preparation for Primary 1. I never felt pressured to do the same. Likewise, when I pick Shannon early from childcare these days, her teacher asks if she’s going for tuition (like a few of her friends). My reply? Nope, we’re going to the supermarket/zoo/playground etc. Even during the meet-the-parents session earlier this year, when her teacher said there is a marked difference in reading ability between those who attend tuition and those who don’t, I decided there is still no need for tuition at this point. She will eventually catch up, like her korkor did.
But things are different now that Jason is in Primary 3. Despite holding off on Chinese tuition previously, I caved in a few months ago, a decision I wrote about in a column in ST today. As much as I prefer he do without outside help, there was a niggling thought at the back of my mind telling me he needed it. It was only a matter of time before his Chinese compositions pulled down his scores. So even though I don’t like the idea of having an over-scheduled child, I signed him up for classes a few months ago.
It remains to be seen whether the help is useful or otherwise. So far it’s just Chinese tuition. If only he would read Chinese newspapers the way he reads English ones!