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school sylabus behind my home country
19 replies to this topic
Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:19 PM
I just came to Melbourne in Dec from Singapore and have enrolled my 2 girls in prep and year 7. After the school started I realised the syllabus here is one or two yrs behind my home country. My 5yrs old daughter is doing grade 2/3 Math using aus math assessment books and her reading skill is assessed by the teacher twice from level 10 to level 16 which I do not know what it means. The school is putting my girl in advance learning program. My elder one is already doing year 9 aus math at the weekend class. The school not doing anything. She is ahead in math and science. Both my girls are considered above average students in spore. Now they are doing home studied with me using Singapore textbooks in order to continue where they stop. I am just wondering if there is any schools in Melbourne allow students to skip grade based on the abilities? The public school that my girls are attending now do not seem to allow that. Somehow I feel that they should learn more in school than at home academicly but this is not the case now.
Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:24 PM
At the schools I work at, your DD's would most probably be skipped ahead a grade (they don't like doing that too much due to social reasons) and be accelerated. Level 16 in prep is quite advanced, but not overly so. Both my girls were on that level in prep.
May I ask why they are doing weekend classes? You sound like you have very bright children. If I was in your shoes, I would be concentrating more on then settling into their new life.
Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:40 PM
Sometimes I am tired of coaching them at home alone. With the help of weekend classes which put them into the right class at their level. it helps relieve some stress on me. I am thinking how the school can help them so that it will not be too far behind the standard. Should I change school? my girls keep telling me school life is too easy for them esp the young one. she says only play at school no work and feel that spore is better. I guess too much free times make them think of their friends in spore. I did not do any English with my young one cause I am already busy coaching her Chinese and math. To get to that level in english i am quite surprised. They are just average kids. it is the challenging education standard in spore, they are so used to doing more. Do u mind share with me abt the school u mentioned?
Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:13 PM
I have been told that Singapore has a "high-pressure" education system, so it doesn't surprise me that your girls have done more advanced work.
I'm not from Melbourne, but maybe you should contact the Victorian Gifted and Talented Association for more information about grade-skipping.
The link to the Victorian Education Department's Gifted and Talented Policy does not work, so I think they are probably reviewing it in the light of a recent parliamentary inquiry.
I think, given that your girls have come from a different education system, you would have a case for grade-skipping, but there would be some kind of procedure to go through.
I wish you all the best.
Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:22 PM
What area are you in in Melbourne?
Level 10-16 in prep would be unusual in some schools but not in others.
I think I could say that the culture in australia can be a bit different to that in Singapore. So some people reading your post would wonder why you would coach them on the weekends. Here it's more usual to have the kids play or to do sport or music on the weekends. I am absolutely not an expert but I have heard it said that SIngapore is ahead of Australia in terms of maths and science but that perhaps it's believed that the australian education system encourages more creative thinking and an education that focusses more than Singapore does on non academic subjects.
Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:24 PM
Claris, it sounds like your children have done work ahead of their class, but it is not clear whether they will keep up if they are actually grade skipped or accelerated. Perhaps you need to talk to their teacher and the learning support or gifted and talented teacher in the school to see what is available and where they are at. If they are ahead already, is there any need to coach them? Maybe they need some time to relax, do some easy work and settle into life in Australia.
Obviously I don't know you nor your children but I wonder whether they have had a broad educationlike what is embraced by many/most Australian schools. Clearly they have been allowed to power through the syllabus and move upwards but there is a lot more to education than just learning the content. It is more important thatthey can apply what they learn and have good problem solving skills. Perhaps they already have these skills, and if that is the case, then consider asking around at the other schools around you, especially the private ones as they will have more resources.
Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:25 PM
Which part of Melbourne are you in.
Melbourne girls high is selective,,and she would find it very challenging. There are others at monash, and glen waverly I think. Look around at a few high schools. They do differ, some are more focused in academic work if that's what you want.
Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:32 PM
My family emigrated to this country when I was 11. I was put in the age appropriate year at the time which was grade 6. Unfortunately I was way ahead of the other kids in my class due to the education system in my home country being a little more advanced than here. My parents spoke to the principal, and it was agreed that I should be moved up a year level. I basically started year 8 (high school) when I was 11, and the other kids were nearly 13 or 13 already. I still received straight As in the academic classes (maths, English, science) but I was not as bored as I was in the lower grade. Socially, it was a little hard to begin with, but I made friends and was so much happier.
Is this maybe an option for your children?
Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:43 PM
So you are hot housing your kids but you aren't happy that they are ahead of the standard being taught at school? Sorry I'm not sure I really follow
Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:55 PM
It's great that your kids are skilled and talented in Maths and Science. Skipping grades, however, is a big deal for any kids, and my advice is to consider the broader issues.
My #1 concern would be whether they could adjust in a classroom with older kids. If they are brilliant academically but have no friends in their class, not only would they be miserable attending school, but their social learning could suffer. There is no point having a bright and gifted child if she is unhappy and mopey and unable to relate to her peers - there's more to future career success than being able to do advanced algebra.
You could also have a scenario where you have a 15-16 year old starting uni. Are you prepared for your mid teenager to potentially move to another state or country to begin a university degree?
Another issue to consider is whether they will be able to catch up in other subjects, such as English. If they excel in some subjects but not all, it's not fair to make them struggle when they are not ready.
Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:55 PM
I don't know too much about the contrast between the two education systems in Australia and Singapore but the Singapore education system ranked much higher in a recent analysis:
"The two education superpowers - Finland and South Korea - are followed by three other high-performing Asian education systems - Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore."
I've heard of Singapore Maths in particular being touted as an excellent, rigorous teaching system.
Do you intend to return to Singapore and continue your children's education there at some point - i.e. do you hope to slot them back in with their age-matched peers?
Can you ask other Singaporean ex-pats what they have done to ensure their children are sufficiently challenged upon arrival in Australia and what they did to ensure they could re-enter the Singapore system?
Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:59 PM
Whatever the reason is, your children deserve to be challenged and engaged at school. It's a problem for them and for you if they are not challenged, because they won't learn to cope well with challenges.
The Australian education system encourages play-based learning for young children and follows that up with a primary education which is broad in scope and encourages creativity and problem solving in a variety of areas, while allowing the child enough time to be a child. Some of what you are experiencing comes from the very different approaches to education between Australia and countries such as Singapore.
I would suggest that you talk to your childrens' teachers and discuss with them the fact that you are worried that they might be becoming bored at school. Maybe grade skipping is appropriate, or maybe the teachers could set them more challenging work. Cultural differences may mean that the teacher doesn't realise that your children are bored - it may help if you make this very clear (in a polite way, of course).
Make sure that you ask the teachers whether there are any things that your children are not so good at.
Maybe they are not used to solving problems independently when the solution isn't obvious or there are many possible solutions. Maybe they are not used to working out how to do something in the absence of clear instructions. Maybe they could benefit from playing a sport, learning a musical instrument or going to drama classes. All of these things help children to develop skills they will need as adults, so they are definitely of benefit and may be the kind of "broadening" things that your children haven't had so much exposure to as yet.
Good luck with sorting it out.
Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:11 PM
Thanks for all replies. I did not expect so many helpful n kind advice. The reason I am continuing the Singapore syllable with my kids here is because my husband is still working in spore and experts us to go back in few yrs' times. So I can not be too relax on their education. but what I am concerned is that my elder daughter has near finished the spore sec 1 math n science and she told me it is.like grade 9 standard in Australia. To her, history and Germany are the only subjects new to her. With all your advice, I will have to think what is best for them.
Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:45 PM
Btw I do agree spore education is very vigorous. My elder daughter had worked hard for the past 6 yrs and managed to get 'A' in eng, science n chinese, 'A*' in math and merit in higher Chinese in primary school exam. She has grade 6 ballet, grade 5 violin, grade 8 Chinese guzheng, grade 2 jazz and tap, grade 5 music theory..She is just one of the average student with this type of caliber in spore and is really tough. she is used to these challenges and coming here seem easy for her. with the intention of going back, I am in a dilemma as a mother how to strike a balance in education so that she is able to cope well when she returns and not fall behind her peers by then.
sorry for the long story, since i have no fridnds here and just feel like pouring out abt being alone with the kids here facing these problems. your advice is really appreciated
Posted 27 February 2013 - 01:00 AM
My DH is Chinese Malay, and I used to teach in Malaysia. Its very different here, and I definitely try to skip a year, so that your children arent too far behind when you return home.
Though you might still need to tutor when you get home.
And FWIW I was helping one of the cousins ( in KL) with her homework once, and I struggled with it (she was in first grade, and Im doing my masters!)
Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:09 AM
You are in a hard situation and I appreciate it must be difficult to feel that your daughters are falling behind if you intend to go back in a few years. Can I ask why the decision to come to Australia?
Can you see your time here as an opportunity to embrace a different way of being and build on different aspects of your daughters? We have two bright children but coming from a different culture than yourself we have placed as high a value on their social, creative and physical development. Our choices are largely shaped by my husband's education which was heavily academic but really lacking in social and personal development. He feels strongly that this has impacted him professionally (as well as personally). Are you able to use your time here to grow your daughters in this way?
I had a quick google and there are some interesting articles which might give you a different perspective.
Edited by amoral lemur, 27 February 2013 - 05:39 AM.
Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:21 PM
Maybe have a look into selective entry schools for your older daughter.
John Monash Science School specialises in mathematics and sciences but it starts at year 10.
I think students at JMSS start to do University courses before finishing high school.
Posted 27 February 2013 - 01:44 PM
I recalled that my elder one did IQ test in spore with the pyschologist which shows that she is few yrs.ahead but could not remeber the detail. did not realise the test.is actually used here to identify gifted kids after reading the posting in this forum.I will probably get tat report and show it to the school to see if they are willing to do sth. Will get my young one tested as well here and see how it goes. Thanks again for all your advice.
Posted 27 February 2013 - 01:52 PM
As a mother of a gifted daughter who hangs around in gifted forums can I just say that Singapore Maths is widely used and recommended by gifted groups. Speak to your school about what can be accomodated, many will offer grade skips, or subject acceleration or in class acceleration.
the australian way is not for everyone but I would receommend you embrace the positives of it whilst also pursuing the positives of the Singapore method both in school and out of school. There are quite a few of us aussies starting to steal ideas from other countries educational methods too.
Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:03 PM
This does seem to be quite a problem especially since you will be returning to Singapore. Your children certainly seem advanced to me. Level 16 reader for a 5 year old is a very high level in my opinion especially if English is the second language! Have the teachers not said anything to you about how far advanced your children are? You say that in Singapore they are above average but it seems the bar may be set much higher there than here.
You can buy computer programs and work sheets called "Singapore Maths" on line but again they would have to do them outside of school so it doesn't solve your problem of having to tutor them. I can only think that extension in the classroom is the best way to go. Perhaps you children are gifted but you'd need to have the tested and that costs a lot and many schools don't offer a lot for gifted children anyway.
I have tried to read up on why Singapore does so well in maths and found this :
Principals and teachers say that slowing down the learning process gives students a solid math foundation upon which to build increasingly complex skills, and makes it less likely that they will forget and have to be retaught the same thing in later years.
I would say that this model sounds great as they focus on one thing at a time making sure it is fully understood and consolidated before moving on. This is one of the things really lacking in Aust. schools in my opinion where they seem in a great hurry to plow through numerous areas of maths without making sure all the students fully understand it. I think we could learn a lot from this method of teaching.
For instance I am astounded that my DD in year 4 is now doing division and still hasn't been taught her times tables. I am attempting to do this at home. The school sends home homework that requires you to know your 8 times tables, for instance, to complete the division sums. I assumed my DD had been learning the 8's in school but no she hadn't. My goodness how can they do division then? When I asked the teacher she said we must teach them at home as they must move on as there was so much to do in the curriculum regardless of how many kids knew their times tables! So these kids just get left further behind.
Yes it is true that in Aust. we have different cultural perceptions to many Asian countries and probably parents. We don't generally push our kids as much as many Asian parents are expected to. We view free play as an essential part of their education and I believe there is a lot to be said for that too. But I disagree that Asian teaching methods precludes creativity.
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