Monday, May 01, 2006


Laura brings home homework every day. Usually two pages of writing for Chinese and two pages (about 20 words) for either English or BM. Even though I do not like the idea of children in kindergarten having to do homework, I welcome the chance for Laura to learn time management. Homework for Laura is part and parcel of going to school, so she needs to plan time to finish her homework. In Laura's mind, even though what she gets from school is a chore, it isn't much. When she's in the mood, she's been known to finish her homework and then take out her activity books (colouring, puzzles, etc) to do. She doesn't know that in most part of the world, kids in kindergarten do not have homework. Ah well, I'm not telling her.

As usual on Friday, she was given homework by her teachers. I'd encouraged her to finish her homework on Friday evening as I normally plan activities/outings with the children in the weekend. We discussed about her homework plan and she said she wants to do her homework in the weekend. As it turned out, the kids had an unplanned playdate when my friends, who had to attend a funeral, dropped off their children to play with Laura and Adam. By evening, Laura was too tired to do her homework. This morning, we left first thing in the morning to the Ti-Ratana Community Centre for a jumble sale. Quite amazing some of the stuff people "donate" to charity. They seem to think charity = dumpsite. But that's another story.

PT and his committee put together this jumble sale which had fun activities like game stalls, face painting, tattoo, balloon sculptor, magic show, etc for the benefit of the underpriviledged residents in the area.

Wendy painting a visitor's face

Laura aka Grumpy Bunny

A satisfied customer!

The kids have had a fun weekend but whenever there is some quiet time, Laura thinks about her homework. She thinks aloud when she will have some time to do her homework, if she'll be able to finish her homework in time before she has to go to school. I can so relate to how her mind works as I find myself in similar situations sometimes.

In a roundabout sort of way, I'm getting to my point. Recently, I've been feeling swamped with work. I am one of the priviledged few who has a job where I plan my own schedule and most times I can work from home. Technically, it sounds perfect. In the real world, it isn't. I follow up on calls to client during office hours. When I have some time with my kids, sometimes I'm interrupted by phone calls as the office phone is diverted to my handphone. Some time in the afternoon, I pick Laura up from school. Most times my children don't understand why I can't spend time with them even though I'm at home. At the back of my mind, I will be thinking about the quotation or the invoice I need to send out. Thinking about the arrangement I need to make for the next corporate show. Have to get ready cheque payment for wages and company expenses. Paperwork and email correspondence are done in the evening after the kids have gone to bed. Then I have an unhappy PT who hasn't had any time with me. Moreover, some weekends PT and I have to work. When I'm working, I think of my kids who have not had much time with me especially Adam. I didn't work when Laura was a baby, so I got to spend time singing, painting and baking with her. Adam has been spending lots of time with Thomas and his friends, with Greg, Murray, Anthony and Jeff, with Barney who loves him and with Mary Poppins and Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.

Yes, sometimes I wonder how I can plan my homework too so I can have some time for fun without guilt.


Blogger ninuk said...

homework little little OK. sometimes it's good so the mummy knwo something is happening at school. but it should be light weight only.

12:24 pm  
Blogger me said...

i'm in the same boat. usually when ppl ask and i say i work from home, they will say 'ohhh! how lucky!'. i got so pissed off i told one unlucky fella who asked me 'by the answer you give me, i know how mature you are'. poor fella i know, but i am pissed with all those people who thinks it's such a great deal when it is so tough to juggle work and kids, especially when they are in the same place at the same time. i understand your position. but undeniably we still get to see our kids more than other mothers (and all the guilt when we don't play with them). it gets better when they go to primary school, which for you will be a little bit longer but hang in there.

4:44 pm  
Blogger Min said...

Ninuk, I wish the teachers were more creative with homework. Asyik writing aje. How about craft or collect leaves to identify the different shapes and colours? My friend in Manchester told me her 4-year-old brought home a caterpillar as homework. They were supposed to feed it and watch it transform into a butterfly. Now, isn't that more interesting?

lenglui, work from home definitely has its pros and cons. Do you have any tips how to manage time better so there is time for kids and time for work ah? Or how to get the kids to understand I'm really working and not playing on the pc.

5:26 pm  
Blogger me said...

sigh! after many years of tears, i now work when they go to school. thankfully for cher-cher, it's until 3pm so that gives a lot of time. kor-kor finishes at 12pm but he's more independent. when they are back, you have to give them your time. send your youngest to playschool also lah, if can. that gives you the morning at least.

even if you manage to teach them that you are really working, they will still feel slighted. so, that won't work.

or you can try teaching them 'quiet time' where you work and they read quietly near you, for not too long a period of time - couldn't work for me but hope it does for you. good luck.

9:01 am  
Blogger Lian said...

Min, don't think one can ever really get rid of that guilty feeling. Anyway, I think you do a great job spending time with your kids. You go places with them and you do fun stuff too like baking, face painting, finger painting etc.... There will be good days and bad days. Just try to create more good days then bad I guess.

By the way, Karina is no more in kindergarden. Now that she doesn't have homework, she asks for it. Hahaha. I do agree that most preschools here dish out very uncreative homework. Hence the tadpoles at my house.

11:37 pm  
Blogger me said...

hey, you're pretty quiet these days. no time to blog ah?

10:01 am  

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