Related Posts with Thumbnails

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Feeling Micromanaged

The Husband has never paid much attention to the stuff I do. I have such varied interests that I guess he finds it hard to keep up with my constantly shifting focus of attention. For many years, I surrounded myself with books on herbs.  I made The Husband eat all sorts of stuff. I diagnosed his ailments... told him what was wrong with him... brewed him strange and exotic teas... AND once, put him in hospital. Poor dear!

Then, I went nuts about gardening. I made my own fertilizer with chicken shit, yoghurt and milk which perfumed the whole house quite unbearably for him. I sourced far and wide for exotic seeds and plants ranging from the Australian lemon myrtle (which I found could not compare to our local limau purut)... and to the za'atar. For a time, I was the proud grower of St John's Wort, Sting Nettle, Dandelion, Milk Thistle, Chamomile, Za'atar... plus lots of other strange plants. It was fun figuring out how to get these non native plants to thrive in Singapore. The Husband put up with having to lug my heavy bags of soil. He put up with my strange delight when seeds arrived for me in the mail. He watched with forbearance whilst I imposed upon friends and relatives, brazenly asking for little plant purchases. I brazenly made people wash away the soil, wrap the roots with cotton and seal in ziploc bags for me. He stood watch as I climbed over fences to obtain cuttings. If it was jungle terrain, The Husband went in and got my cuttings for me.

All this he did with an absent-minded and indulgent air because well... if it kept his energetic (and ever in need of stimulation) Wife occupied, it meant I left him mostly in peace. In his head probably meant that it kept his psychological wellbeing in one piece.

Then I began to take an interest in Little Boy's grades. The Husband raised one eyebrow when I made Little Boy Memorize-Recite Chinese Compos for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week for 3 weeks. He raised his OTHER eyebrow when I decided that I would teach Little Boy Math because well... everyone knows Petunia has trouble counting from 1 to 100. And he tried to raise his THIRD eyebrow when I announced that School Was an Unnecessary Hurdle to Little Boy's Academic Performance. He remonstrated with me for a bit but since he is a busy man and can't enforce anything at home (since he isn't home much), Petunia pretty much did what she wanted and got Little Boy to stay home to self-learn everything from Chinese to Math. After a while, when Little Boy's grades climbed up to top of the class, The Husband got used to the unorthodox Petunia Parenting Methods. See, it just goes to show that humans can get used to anything and that normality is a state of the mind.

Then I began to monetize myself. I developed a Positive Teaching Seminar for Lower Primary Parents. I began to do parent coaching. I wrote a book.

And now, The Husband WON'T leave me alone.

What I now do really interests him. He comes home and requires a detailed report on what I have done in my day!! He wants to know if the latest orders have been sent out... how much cash I collected... what I did with this customer's email... whether the next new product is on track for launch... when the next Seminar will be. I hate it when he wants to know whether I have packed the latest orders in envelopes. Ok... ok... I know I asked him to help me with the accounting... and he is just doing the best he can. But he is SUCH a bossy accountant!!

I also dislike that when I asked him to buy me a remote slide changer... he exuberantly went and got me a remote keyboard... a remote mouse and a remote slide changer. Then he foisted it all upon me with a pleased smile of a proud parent that said "See... I support you in every way. I give you everything you want and more. Now, you have to work hard."

I begin to feel like a child whose parents fork out thousands in tuition fees expecting me to deliver results. It doesn't help that Petunia considers laziness a virtue... and that every child has the God-given right to play. No? Petunia is not a child? You wanna bet?

I showed him Chapter 3 of Petunia's Book on Structured Choices, but I don't think he got the hint. Then I tried a more in-your-face strategy. I reminded him that it's MY business and he should jolly well mind HIS. But that didn't work either. I think I will run away like this boy here. Hmmmmmph!


Open Kitchen Concept said...

Hehe. The Husband and you are such a quite couple!!

e. said...

I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding part of your post, but... it sounds like Little Boy sometimes did not go to school, but stayed home to self-study?

Petunia Lee said...

Yes... he did do that. I applied leave of absence for him.

In English, Math and Science, he was taught in school far below his level of competence. In Chinese, he was taught slightly above his level of competence. In EVERY subject, the level taught was far below the level tested.

By self-studying, Little Boy was able to challenge himself in English, Math and Science and in these subjects he bridged the gap between what was taught and what was tested. He was also able to make fast progress in Chinese beyond the textbook. His Chinese teacher taught from the textbook but the Chinese exams test far beyond the textbook.

In addition, Little Boy's learning style is visual. If he reads something, he doesn't forget. He does not need to revise material as long as he has READ it. In contrast, Teachers in school teach by talking. Little Boy cannot absorb through listening. His school gave very little material for him to read so once the talk was over, there was also nothing for him to read up on his own.

Many powerful learners are Readers. I myself learn rapidly through reading. Little Boy's textbooks were sparse. His school gave out very little notes for reading. I gave Little Boy the necessary readings to do at home. He absorbed quickly... didn't have to waste 6 hours in school getting tired and learning little.

And Little Boy, unlike many other primary kids, keeps his Sundays for play... rarely works late in the evenings. This is work-life balance. But it did require leave of absence from school.

Rachel Tan said...

Wow Petunia, did Little Boy actually suggest applying for leave of absence? It's a rather unusual step to take in the Singapore schooling context.

Petunia Lee said...

Rachel - Nope... he did not suggest. I suggested and he agreed quite happily because he did not like school very much anyway. Later though... when his grades climbed and his classmates began to view him with some respect, he did very much enjoy school for the friendship, the games and the clowning around... and then it became harder to convince him to stay home.

Home became synonymous with hard and focused learning, whereas school was a time to play and relax. However, these days, when Little Boy senses he is falling behind in any one area, he asks to stay home to self-study.

He is a powerful reader. When he reads, he does not forget. Schools these days don't give out much to read... and failing in that, they also don't point to readings and other materials for positive learning.

Rachel Tan said...

You pointed one area that has puzzled me, but I've yet to put a finger on this. Reading is an integral part of language acquisition. I'm not sure whether this is true across many primary schools. In the teaching of English, kids are given worksheets, assignments, comprehensions to practise on etc. What puzzles me, is that kids are not made to read, or read widely. Some schools have recommended reading lists, and that is a good first step. If there is some systematic way where all kids can get through say 10 good books a year, that may be a useful way to inculcate an interest and feel for the language. It certainly is a more interesting and a complementary avenue, to worksheets, that advances literary skills.

Celine said...

:) this post made me smile. Originally surfed over from KSP but I am not reading that anymore. Makes me too KS!

My own Husband and I get into such disagreements too. Hope you feel better today!

Petunia Lee said...

Rachel - I am as puzzled as you are.

Petunia Lee said...

Celine - Yeah... controlling husbands!! Hmmmmmmph!

Celine said...

All husbands and all mothers in law MUST be required to take up a hobby, that does not involve any of the family! tee hee hee

Petunia Lee said...

Celine - High 5!

Wen-ai said...

Such a funny post! Your husband is feeling very proud of you lah!

Malar said...

You both are really cute couple!
Your hubby require some hobby too, so that he don't bother you anymore! hahhaha....

e. said...

Thanks for the reply, Petunia. This arrangement makes a lot of sense, and by your account it helps your Little Boy not only learn more efficiently, freeing up time for him to actually enjoy being a little boy, but also gives him the space to develop as a self-learner. I am very impressed by your courage to go against the norm and your gungho attitude towards what you believe is good. Cheers!