Friday, 19 July 2019

My teen in a Neighbourhood school

One reason many parents worry for their children and push them towards excessive tuition is to cross the first academic hurdle - the PSLE. I hear parents lamenting that despite MOE scrapping some exams, it makes no difference if at the end of the day, students still have to sit for the PSLE.

When I ask them what are they worried about? The majority tell me that they are concerned about their children ending up in a neighbourhood school because of the negative influence.

I had that perception too. I guided my 3 older girls towards mission schools for their character development.

When #4 did not do well enough to enter a mission school, we pored over the grey book and narrowed down 2 neighbourhood schools which had interesting niche programmes. We checked out the open house, spoke to the HODs, asked around if friends knew of any friends with children from that school and made our decision.

The first year was a culture shock for her. Coming from an elite school, she was used to chatting with classmates about their overseas vacations, which air pods to buy and the movies they are planning to watch together. With her new classmates, the topics of common interest were limited and she wasn't able to make any close friends.

I did feel her sadness, especially when her older sisters brought groups of friends home and she wished that she had classmates she could bond with.

However, 3 years on, she tells me that she is happy in school.

At her recent PTM, I was glad to see her chatting with friends of all races, some from her class, some from CCA and others from previous classes. Her form teacher is a lovely experienced teacher and she had good things to say about #4. She's not academically strong, but she tries her best and is always polite and cheerful.
My birthday present
She's been writing me cards for Mother's Day and for my birthday and I am so pleased to see that she has become such a sensible child. She wrote:

Thank you for everything that you do for us, it must be so so hard to raise 6 children! I really appreciate all the encouragement you give me too! And how much you believe in me! I am also super proud of you and you living your dream makes me see that I can too.


She took much time and effort to knit me a beautiful bag dotted with pearls and made me a set of jewelry. Look at the bracelet! She moulded each piece from clay, baked them carefully in the oven and strung them into a bracelet. She designed earrings in my favourite colour and completed the set with a pearl ring.

So impresssed!

I admit I was worried about this child, being a teenager in a neighbourhood school. What negative influence will she pick up? Who will she mix with? I heard horror stories of kids in Sec 1 who stayed out for weeks playing Lan gaming with their classmates and skipped school and their parents could not control them.

My other kids went through the dreaded teenage phase. Of rolling eyes, bad attitude and monosyllabic responses. Some came out of the phase quickly but some were difficult to handle for years.

My fears of her being influenced by "bad company" has been unfounded. Instead, we have seen the silver lining of her being in this school. Because of what she witnessed around her, she is more appreciative of everything she has. She thanks me for every little thing. For making her a healthy dinner, for buying her a special art pen from the bookshop or for buying back flour so she can make cookies. She has also developed great empathy for those around her who are struggling.

I remember during one dinner conversation, the older girls were discussing their grad night and problems in finding the right dress.

In the midst of the conversation, she shared what was on her mind and said, "Miram's dad is going to jail tonight. He told her to take care of herself and her mum."

All of us froze. We didn't know what to say. What to think. Finally, one of the girls blurted out, "Why is her dad going to jail?"

#4 said, "I didn't ask. And I don't want to know. But Miram must be feeling really sad. I didn't know what to say to her when she told me that."

On another occasion, #4 asked me for money to buy a calculator for Math. It cost more than $100 and she felt bad that I had to fork out the money. She shared with us that she had a classmate who is feeling the pinch of this extra expense as she has been taking care of herself since Sec 1 and who works during the weekends and pays for her own needs.

She doesn't take anything for granted anymore and when she askes me for her weekly allowance, she gives me a discount and says "Mum, this week I won't be spending so much so give me less." Although she finds school work very hard to understand, she is good with her hands and dreams of the day she can have her own accessory line and is able to provide for us.

Having this one child in a neighbourhood school with friends who have real struggles have opened the eyes of all the other siblings.

I've also heard from teachers that it is not only in the neighbourhood schools that children end up with bad company. Even in the so-called "better" schools, students do get into trouble, be it in boys schools, mixed schools and even in all-girls schools.

The stories that surround our teenagers can get pretty chilling. As parents, we should aim to build our children up with good moral values, which provides them a strong foundation to know right from wrong and be able to make wise decisions and stand by the values they believe in, instead of trying to shield them too much.

We can only do our best as parents. Sometimes, despite trying very hard to raise them well, they still end up giving us endless nights of worry. All we can do is to ride out the storm with patience and love.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - A blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Friday, 5 July 2019

Renault GRAND SCENIC BOSE - Truly a family car

When Renault offered us the use of their newly launched 2019 GRAND SCENIC BOSE edition, I was hesitant to take up another review with my hectic schedule. However, with 2 newly minted drivers in the family, the older girls were quick to shout, "Let's give it a try!"

The first thing that struck us was the ultra-modern technology. Yes, we have been rather spoilt with keyless entry on most cars where we simply press the button on the remote control or on our door handle. With Renault's GRAND SCENIC BOSE, they go one step further, and I don't have to press anything at all!

The sensors pick up my palm motion around the door handle and it unlocks as I am about to open it! In fact, with the remote control key in my handbag, as I approach the locked car, the side mirrors open up to welcome me. And when I arrive at my destination, I walk away and it locks itself automatically!

That's the overall feeling we get with this car. You feel pampered. You know it's been designed to make your life easier. 20 years since Renault invented the world's first compact MPV, they have never stopped innovating and have pushed frontiers in areas of performance, fuel efficiency and safety.

They move with the times, recognising our busy lifestyles and I really appreciate the little luxurious touches. Over the week, we didn't even manage to explore all the special features built into the car!
Renault GRAND SCENIC BOSE
When we entered the car, the feature that captured our attention was the inbuilt BOSE Premium Sound System. We use a BOSE system in our house, so it got the nod of approval from the family. To have it fitted in an MPV was an unexpected bonus!

The 11 high performance speakers strategically positioned around the car made the teens very happy. They immediately plugged into their playlist on their phones, started singing, and that put them in an excellent mood. These days, it's not easy to get them together on a family outing unless it's for a good meal or to someplace really fun but with this car, they were happy to go anywhere. 

Then I heard them exclaim, "Wow! There are 2 phone outputs for us! Plus 2 more in front for mum and dad." Loving the well thought-out little details not only for the driver but for the rest of the family as well.
At the touch of a button
It also surprised us to see that the GRAND SCENIC BOSE was fitted with solid 20" sports rims. Not only does it make the MPV look way cooler, but it improves the ride and helps with better fuel economy. Definitely plus points for me.

At the start of the school holidays, we bought Kate a new 2-wheeled bicycle and she was excited to go for a good ride. With the press of a button, she managed to get the seats down and was able to load her bicycle in the boot independently. With the last row fully collapsed, and 2 seats in the middle row down, we had no problems getting in an adult-sized bicycle, Kate's bicycle and a folded scooter.
Ample space
Off we went to the Marina Bay area and had a carefree time cycling with the wind in our hair. It really felt like the holidays were upon us.

To be honest, I'm not a car person. For me, a car was simply a vehicle to get you from Point A to Point B. But with the Renault GRAND SCENIC BOSE, it seems to be so much more.

They have cleverly balanced practicality and safety with the personal touch, to give the whole family comfort, luxury and the promise of adventure. It even has massage features on the front seats!
Wheee! Life is great!
Their cutting-edge technology could be seen in the revolutionary multimedia system with voice control and drag and drop functions, to name a few. I love how we were able to customise the profiles for the 4 of us. Depending on who was driving, all we had to do was to select our own profile on the touchscreen tablet and the driver's seat would move into our desired position and individual driving mode selected.

For the hubs, the first consideration he has for MPVs (or most cars for that matter!) is the performance of the car. As we regularly have a full load of people and the fact that MPVs are heavy, the car needs to have enough power so it doesn't crawl up a slope.

He likes it on Sports Mode to optimise the performance, while I prefer to put it on ECO Mode, which is better for fuel consumption and keeps environmental footprint to the minimum.

Apparently, Renault's GRAND SCENIC BOSE has unrivalled fuel efficiency and the friendly Marketing lady even challenged me to finish the full tank of petrol over the week. We were astonished to see that there was still more than half a tank of petrol despite us going out to several different events everyday!
Large touchscreen interface
It's no surprise that the New Renault GRAND SCENIC BOSE has been clinching awards such as "Best 7-Seater MPV" from the 2017 ST-Torque Awards and "Best MPV 2017" from the UK Car of the Year Award, and emerging as the ultimate Reader's Choice in The Straits Times 2017 Car of the Year.

I've grown quite attached to it, and love the Carmine Red model I've been driving around.
Family fun and antics!
Buying a Renault was never on our radar but I have to say we were impressed by the experience. Check it out for yourselves and go for a test drive. You will be as awed as we were!

The All-New Renault GRAND SCENIC BOSE is retailing from $133,999 while the standard variant of the GRAND SCENIC is retailing from $113,999.

Renault Singapore
28 Leng Kee Road
Singapore 159105

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - A blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~
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