When we wrote our 2013 card, one of the major highlights that we included was Aki’s successful application to the big school that we have been eyeing on for ages. I really prayed hard that Aki gets in because we have no other option. There are other schools of course but it would break my husband’s heart if Aki will not study in the same school that my husband, my brother-in-laws and Franco’s closest friends went to. I am sure you all will understand if I don’t give out the name of the school here for security reasons. I actually mentioned it a couple of times before and I had to go back, look for those posts and edit them.
Anyhoothoot, the application experience was really stressful for me. Not really because the process was complicated, or the fees were unreasonable or the exam was too difficult. In fact, the staff of the registrar’s office was very friendly and accommodating. The application fee was only 500 pesos and most of the certificates needed are on file. Using Aki’s very words, the exam was “soooooo easy”. What stressed me is that we did not have time to prepare. Cramming just is not my style. I am a planner and I plan ahead. I only learned that there was an upcoming entrance exam less than two weeks before the schedule. I have heard about the newly implemented K-12 system. I know that an additional year level/s was added to make sure our graduates are more competitive.What I did not know is that 6 year olds should now be in Grade 1. Aki is currently in Nursery. I was expecting that he will be in Kindergarten next year. Then, Prepartory. But no, with the new system, Aki should be taking Prep next year and Grade 1 on the year after that. I also learned, but please don’t quote me on this, that in the new system, instead of 3 levels of pre-Grade School, now there is just one. Different schools have different naming conventions. It is never too early to inquire if you have a big school in mind. If you have kids born in 2009 and 2010, get your phone and call pronto.
According to the registrar, there’d be two assessments. One interview and one written exam. We don’t review Aki’s school lessons at home. I check if he has assignments and we work on those. Once in a while, I pick up his workbooks and we discuss his lessons but we are not so hardcore in terms of his study habits (thinking about it, maybe we should start him soon). But for the week leading to his exam, I tried to go home early and practice Aki to write his full name (oh why oh why did we give him three given names?!!), count, write numbers etc. Ask him about dinosaurs, dragons and Transformers and he will give you a very detailed answer and if you are lucky, he will require that you listen to a story that he just made up. Ask him about some basics, and you will get either amused or frustrated. He may or he may not give you a straight answer. He is always on play mode. He might even turn the table around and start questioning you. For a week, aside from the boring academic stuff, we also practiced his interview skills. I thought my background in recruitment will help me help him but no. This was our usual scene for that week.
Haha. I learned that I don’t have the patience to pursue a career in tutoring preschoolers.
Speaking of tutors, for 7 days before the exam, I got him a tutor. Teacher Joy is also Aki’s nursery adviser. I saw her work with Aki and I was surprised at how attentively my son listens to her. I am glad Aki’s school offers tutorial services. I know I have a smart kid but I still got him a temporary tutor because I want to make sure that we make the most out of the 1 week and a half to prepare him for the exam.
Come exam day, barangay Endaya gave our all out support. Franco and I were of course there and so were his parents. Thank you for the support, Mama and Tatay! We arrived at the school one hour before the interview. We got time to observe. It was refreshing to watch the happenings before classes started. Some students were sitting on the floor eating breakfast. Some were reviewing. Many were playing basketball (there were 5 basketball courts). I was delighted when I overheard a bunch of boys who were buying last minute materials for their project, speak in Filipino (Aki needs to speak Filipino more often). And when the loud school bell rang, everyone suddenly ran. I loved the morning energy and the school spirit.
And I could see in Aki’s eyes that he really wants to join in the fun. Am soooo excited for him.
Aki’s interview lasted for less than 10 minutes. Other kid’s were interviewed for 30 minutes. I will never know what happened in the interview room because Aki won’t tell me. The only thing he told me is that the teacher told him a story about a bird. After the interview, the teacher told us to be back after lunch for the written exam . When I asked for how many minutes will the exam take, she told me the exam is for 2 hours.
….aaaaand that is when I started to hyperventilate.
Part II to follow