Summer Exploration

Just when I was up to my wit’s end due to a very hot summer here and the kids being home most of the day (which drive everyone crazy), a relief came — Summer school program!  Starting last Monday, kids were enrolled in their school for a 2 hour readiness program for math, reading and Filipino.  They were so excited to be back in school after 3 weeks of vacation and see their favorite teachers and friends.  Of course, parents (and yayas) are also ecstatic to have a break from these charming little devils 🙂

With the overhaul of Philippine education system and implementation of K-12 program starting this school year (2012-2013), I can’t help but starting to worry with regards to Ethan’s appropriate grade level.  Back in the states (California), he should be starting first grade this school year; however, here in the Philippines he has to complete a preparatory level (or K2 in some schools) because of the age cut off.  He has to turn 6 by June this year to qualify for grade 1, even if he has already completed Kindergarten and is currently doing grade 1 work in Math and reading.  So I wrote an email to the school Directress to address the issue and hopefully find a solution.  I was happy to receive a positive response from her about acceleration to grade 1 if he completes a first grade readiness summer package and pass the test to be given at the end of the summer. 

Three days into the program, we were so elated that kids love to go to school and are excited to do homework … yes, homework!  My 3 year old won’t sleep at night without completing her assigned reading.  Mike can’t believe that 4 months ago she doesn’t even know how to write her name and refused to be taught.  Now she is writing not just the alphabet but also identifying beginning sounds, medial sounds, counting and writing up to 20 in Math.  In her Geography class last quarter, she told me about the Leaning tower of Pisa which is found  in Italy and that Tasmanian Devils live in Tasmania, an island state of Australia. Huh?

E on the other hand came home yesterday proudly showing off his work.  “Mom, we learned about noun today and the articles “a” and “an”. We also did oral reading in the class and I read about Mr. Mole, the robot.”  Today, when he came home from school he showed me his Filipino textbook and asked me if  I can help him do his homework.  I excitedly opened to the assigned page and asked him to read in Filipino.  He did it! I am amazed how his reading improve in 3 months and athough he still needs help with difficult/longer words, he is able to read the paragraph and undertand enough to complete his homework.  Nowadays, he is comfortable speaking Filipino, and  surprisingly sounds like a native — the same observation shared by mommies of his playgroup yesterday. I really think that his exposure to different languages early on help him achieve that near-native accent. I can’t wait for his progress in Filipino at the end of the school year 🙂  That will be monumental … and will be worth the trip to this country.  In the meantime, we have to endure the heat, the traffic, the pollution, etc. All this is an integral part of their language and cultural immersion experience 🙂

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