Should I be happy or not?

I remember when I was in grade school, I have to bring 7-10 books and 7-10 notebooks to school everyday. My bag was really heavy then. I remember that our maid had to walk me to school just to help me carry my bag.

My school starts at 7:15am and ends at 12noon for lunch break... then resume again at 1:15pm to 2:15pm for my english classes... then from 2:30pm to 4:30pm I have my chinese classes.

I remember that my mama had to buy books every year, even though I have older brothers/sister, I can't use the books that they used since the school is using a different edition every year. I also remember that I have homework almost every night...

Fast forward to present time in Canada, school here starts at 8:45am and ends at 3:15pm, with a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes break in between. My son's backpack consists of: pencil case, an agenda book, lunch box/water, and personal items like mittens, scrafs, hat (during winter months)... and that's it! No notebooks, no books!

All of his notebooks are provided by the school and left in school. All books are also school property. I don't really know what books they used and what they do at school. They don't even have long test to prepare for.

Right now, my son (in grade 3) is given homework every wednesday which is due the following tuesday.

It's a good thing that hubby started reading to the kids every night since they were young so my kids love reading before bedtime.

So should I be happy that my son doesn't get much homework? or don't have to study or cram for an exam? or spent the whole night finishing a project? or that he doesn't have to carry heavy books to school everyday? and that I don't have to buy his school books and uniforms?

Or should I be worried that compared to his old playmates back home, he might not be as good as them? or like most kids here, he might end up not going to college/university?

Back in college, I would hear some of my "average" classmate/s who migrated to the States or Canada graduated at the top of their class. And I find that hard to believe. But now, I understand why. Because the education system back home is still way much better than it is in this part of the world.

We were trained to study and study and study back home. Here, kids were trained to be independent and to socialize with other kids and adults.

They say that kids who grew up here are "street smart" and can easily talk to adults... while kids back home are "bookish"... This, I have yet to find out.

A friend of mine recently migrated to Vancouver. Her children, ages 10, 8 and 5 are saying that all they do in school is play. Way too different from their previous school.

My friends back home are wondering how come I have time to blog, update my family website, is now into online scrapping and also get to spent time chatting when they don't even have time to check their emails? We are all on the same boat - meaning full time stay-at-home moms with 2 kids, housechores and they even have maids to help them and I don't.

The only thing that's really different is that they spent 1-3 hours everyday helping their kids do their homework, while I spent only 15-30 minutes on school related activities once or twice a week.

All in all, migrating has been good for our family! The education system is the one thing that I don't like about Canada.


Anonymous said...

You have such a nice site.

ANALYSE said...

i agree to that. and that's not only on primary schools. when i did my post-grad study here, my level of french was quite limited, i mean im not that fluent yet, and the lectures were 100% french, but then, i wasnt the last in our class. probably because other students were not that serious, or probably because the exams were not that difficult..

when a colleague asked me about how i evaluate the educational system here, he probably thought i was too proud when i said it was kinda easy..but hey, i never stayed up to 4am just to review for an exam..i always had my leisure time..

Denny said...

Jo! I am so sorry for being so slow on this but as of today you are now a proud member and inductee into the "Almost Normal Members of the Not So Normal Club"!

COngrats! I can tell you are over-whelmed lol

Kevin Lam said...

hmmm...I have the reverse situation here in Hong Kong. Because education here is harder compare to mine back then.

My son is now in kindergarten and he has homework everyday.

I don't know if my son is smart or it's just the education system here that pushes him to learn more, I think he knows more than I do when I was at his age.

If you have doubts that your kids may not get enough from their school system, you can enrol them to some private institution, have you heard of Kumon?

JO said...

Hi Ana, there you go! another one to confirm my observation. galing galing talaga ng mga pinoy!

Hi Denny, wow! what a privilege. thanks! yipeeee!

Hi Lam, yes, I think that HK and Taiwan have higher standard than Philippines. This friend of mine who recently migrated to Vancouver enrolled her kids to chinese class, they were downgraded because they use the standard of Taiwan and the medium of teaching is mandarin.

Private schools are very expensive, we just can't afford it right now.

Kevin Lam said...

Kumon is not a private school, I think it's like a tutorial place, they give kids some activities and excercises which they don't get from normal schooling. Your kids will still go to their normal school, it's just an extra-curricular activities.

Pao said...

oh dear, i do hope it not like that in all schools abroad. we also have plans of migrating and i was thinking dun sa new country of residence na ako mag-give birth to our first born, if ever.

evi said...

I have to agree on this, jo. you just gave me an idea for a post. thanks.

Duke said...

Hi Jo!
Like you, when I was in primary school I carried TONS of books to school but thanks to technology nowadays,there are lesser books to carry.

Your post reminded me of the first chapters of the book by Robert Kiyosaki-> Rich Dar,Poor Dad. It talks about being the difference of being streetsmart and "school smart".

Ka Uro said...

i think you should not be worried. be happy. i've seen the educ system in the us and nz. i think canada's is also similar. it doesn't mean that because they have fewer homeworks they are not being given the right education. iba lang kasi ang emphasis nila compared sa phil. in nz for example they try to build the child's character first. if you really think about it, in the phil masyadong bookish. puro memorization. children are not taught to question and analyze. sa us and nz, yun ang nakita ko. children are taught to think for themselves, hindi lang magmemorize ng facts. so don't worry, ba happy.

JO said...

Hi Lam, I found the Kumon site you were referring to. Thanks! Will check it out further.

Hi Pao, you can opt to send your kid/s to private school, but they are very expensive. Here its averages $300-400+/month + school supplies + books + uniforms...

Hi Evi, does this mean you are blogging again? can't wait to read your post about this topic.

Hi Duke, I've heard of that book, I should really take time to read that one. thanks!

Hi Ka Uro, I agree that I should be happy. Its just that when my friends back home started asking about school related stuff, I feel that my kids are missing out a lot compared to their kids.

Anonymous said...
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Agring said...

Actually Jo, most of my friends here in Guelph have been complaining about the asssignments that their kids get at school dahil madami daw everyday pa. Depende lang siguro sa teacher.

JO said...

Hi Agring,

dapat pala lumipat na kami dyan??? hehehe...

i don't think it depends on the teacher, baka depends on the school district. kasi yun nakausap kong ibang parents na grade 5 na ang anak, same observation - not much homework is given.