Thursday, September 29, 2016

Aaron: To stay or to change?

Of all the interesting stories to share, and all the happy moments to cherish, I have to apologize to you (whoever is reading this), and my memory (first and foremost) - I am so sorry that I've suddenly chosen to bookmark this. And this is a rather long-winded post as I am expressing my worrisome here. Please leave as soon as you think this is going nowhere. And this time, no silly jokes in the middle (like I ever know how to crack a joke, heh). This is just seriously, serious adult stuff... Err. not that 18SX stuff OK *.^

Of my concern towards my son's education. (Bored already, haha. Bye bye. See you next time)

OK. lets go to some boring history. When Aaron was in Kindergarten year (KG), we were happy with his school and the system in general. Aaron had good exposure in both English and Arabic because in KG years, the system goes by swapping Eng-Arabic class in alternate days. During English-day class, they will go to their English teacher and for the whole day, they'd have English as their main medium of communication in class (with the teacher and throughout their simple routines). It also applied to Arabic-class day, except for English, Science and Math subjects. Due to mixed nationalities, the Arabic teacher will give translations whenever necessary.

First thing in the morning, they would have halaqah for Quran study, whereby the Muslim kids will be taught a few (surah) chapters from Juz' Amma, and they had to memorize them. Alhamdulillah, they passed until Surah At-Teen. They also had basic Islamic Study i.e. the pillars of Islam, a bit about hajj, akhlaq, etc (taught in Arabic, so we have to guide our kids towards the understanding of what they had learnt, but Alhamdulillah it was not so difficult)

Overall, We were satisfied with KG year. We built good rapport with Miss Fatima (her homeroom teacher) and Aaron was happy to go to school. I was not really keen on the homework concept because they were just 5 years old but I can't make big fuss about it since I think most parents think the other way around (more work and homework means more learning and that's good). Well, that's personal preference, nobody's right or wrong about it.

Honestly, we did homeschooling with him when he was younger and his achievement in terms of education didn't quite leap. He'd learnt almost the same things I already taught him, plus more, of course. BUT... I didn't teach him to read ... I was being slacker I let the school do this part HAHA. Well, if I did teach him to read in such a very early age, then he might feel bored at school... or maybe acted annoying, becoming MR. Know it all. I was saving him, man! I was doing the right thing. hahaha Annoying nyaaaa (^_____^)

Anyway... By the time he finished his KG 2 (he skipped KG 1 as it is not compulsory), he still wasn't able to read. I took it as it is, coz for me he was still small, and I know that kids develop interest (and milestone) at different pace. We're fine.

So what had he achieved than?
A lot. confidence, independence, making new friends, learning to tolerate, respect others, etc. In every parent-teacher meeting, 1st question we asked was 'How is Aaron at school. How is Aaron with his teacher and friends'. Because for us, akhlaq matters the most. Alhamdulillah he was popular among teachers for being a good kid (but also as quite a crying baby haha. apa lah hero Ummi!)

All this happiness... changed instantly when he was in Grade 1. The school starts its 'separating system' starting from Grade 1. All expat students (non-arabic speakers) were to be in the same class. (And we didn't know about this earlier!).

So, he didn't have as much exposure in Arabic anymore. Though we're not happy with it, but we understand the school's concern i.e. to make learning more convenient for both teacher and students. However, in reality, things did not go as it is. Our kids were put in an experimental phase whereby they kept changing methods and I later found out that they even have problem to find a suitable teacher for the expat students. Whatttt?! And not only that, the muslim students were expelled from Islamic Study somewhere during mid-term, with the same reason; book is in Arabic, and no suitable teacher that can teach the expat students because they are mostly not fluent in English. And of course I got this info from a teacher there (we became friend), nothing from the management. This, has made us even angrier! No wonder everytime I checked, he didn't have the book. I thought they have to keep the book at school, but then everytime I asked Aaron what did he learn, he said no IS. 

OK that was last year. I have convinced my husband to change school since then. Actually almost all International schools here have the same system i.e. Non-arabic speakers have to take Arabic for beginners, or some even have no long-term Arabic. But there are schools that don't separate the students. Nevertheless, at least no hassle like this. My husband said it is not easy to change school. Plus, something had came up last summer that had changed our big plans, including hajj and school. OK then, we give it another chance. They may have already settle this issue over the summer.

Heck we were wrong. Last 2 days we had a parent-teacher meeting and the same problems were being raised again. Not only from me, but most of the parents there! Even the Spanish mom was very upset that her son is not learning much in Arabic. She even proclaimed that her son's Arabic level is wayyy better when he was in KG. Which, I couldn't agree more!

We first asked whether we can put Aaron in an Arabic-speakig class. Most of the students can speak English very well so I don't see any problem for Aaron to communicate with his friends. And apparently these classes have no problem with their Arabic teachers. I also want him to learn Islamic Study. Yes it would be a big challenge for me to explain to him again to ensure he get the right info but I don't mind at all... But it seems impossible to them, because if not they had already done this last year (We've been asked since Grade 1). 

So. yeah, putting him into Arabic-speaking class is our Plan B. We discussed this with Aaron. Last year, he was OK to change class. But this year, he declined. I understand why. He's already comfortable with his circle of friends. They've been together since last year. Now this is another battle to tackle. Our kid's psychology vs. his best interest. 

But than, what other choices left? change school? Hmmm...
We are quite happy with the other subjects. The homeroom teacher is OK (so far). Aaron is happy to go to school. And we still have to wait until next year (at least next term) due to financial agreement. So hmmmmm..... But husband is thinking about changing school right now. What do you think?

What's so big about learning Arabic and Islamic Study? It is just personal preference with reasons we have in mind. And this school isn't cheap man, they made us pay for it. And we are in a right place to learn Arabic first-hand. So why not? Plus if in the future we have to change country or school, if his level isn't at par with the requirement for that particular Grade, than that would be another problem. 

Really, I am so disturbed by this. And there is reason why I'm writing this here..... Because. Because it is easier to express feeling to nobody and I am tired of acting like a whimper to anyone around me. I don't feel good about it. And sorry again if I have ever made you feel intrigued to read this until the end. Told ya you can leave if you want, but you still want to finish reading? Wow, you must be very patient! *,*

So till then, thank you for reading. May Allah bless you

Peace Be Upon You (",)

Peace Be Upon You (",)

Tribute to all mothers in the world!