MUM SAYS I stopped my daughter’s tuition 3 months before her PSLE

Mummy blogger Michelle Choy details what made her cancel her daughter’s tuition just before her Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

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“Being the first amongst our siblings and friends to have children, my hubby and I were clueless about the state of the local education system today. Our knowledge of the system is guided by our own carefree experiences in Primary school.

We enrolled our kids in my husband’s alma mater as it was near our home ― expecting the teachers to prepare them adequately for the national exams. Our eldest daughter was doing fine in her studies from Primary 1 to Primary 4, getting average grades. But we had a rude shock when she failed almost all her subjects at the end of P5 and her form teacher called to find out what was going on.

I turned the spotlight on the teacher and asked her the same question because she was in charge of teaching my child English, Math and Science — not me!

The teacher was stunned that I didn’t buy any additional guidebooks, assessment books or 10 Year Series for my daughter. Nor did I hire any tutors as I was completely reliant on the teacher to do the job. It was through that conversation that I learned that as parents, we were supposed to do our part.

As a parent, I don’t believe in pre-emptive tuition — giving your child tuition even when she doesn’t need it — because it robs our children of the opportunity to first try on their own. It also makes them over-reliant on tuition — some kids can’t even survive in JC without tuition! By not giving them tuition in a country where it is the norm, the message I’m sending to my children is that I believe in your capabilities and I believe in you.


“I don’t believe in pre-emptive tuition — giving your child tuition even when she doesn’t need it — because it robs our children of the opportunity to first try on their own.”

When my children are in P1, I always tell then when I hand them their schoolbag and books, ‘This is all yours. Your responsibility. I want you to pay attention in class, finish all your homework and be in charge of all things related to school.’ Kids-MUM-SAYS-I-stopped-my-daughter’s-tuition-3-months-before-her-PSLE-STUDY2n3

I don’t micromanage nor help them with the revision of their spelling and 听写 (Chinese for spelling) and they are to revise for their own exams. They also know my stand on tuition — they are to exhaust all possibilities before asking for tuition. I understand that sometimes, certain teachers are inexperienced or teach in a manner they may find hard to understand. Then, they are to ask their friends or siblings and attempt to figure it out — so, getting help from a tutor is the last resort.

However, on seeing my daughter’s performance in the year-end exams, I realised that she might need individualised tuition in the run-up to the PSLE. I made sure to get her thoughts about it because I didn’t want to make the decision without considering her thoughts. I asked if she wasn’t able to learn adequately from her school teachers. If so, I was willing to pay to get additional help in a one-to-one setting.