This is the 3rd week of school. 3rd week is even more hectic because for older kids this is when the extra after school activities and after school extra classes begins. Depending on the school, some activities will be once a week, some twice a week but it is usually compulsory for older kids from Standard 3 onwards.
As for the tuition, well, most Chinese schools offer after school tuition to prepare kids for UPSR. I haven't had much experience about this after school tuition but from what I know, some of them are compulsory, some of them are not. There is a fee which again is different from school to school. Some charge on a per subject basis (example RM30-RM40 per subject) and goes up incrementally at a slight discount depending on how many subjects you take. Some charge a lump sum for all subjects. (example RM60 for all).
A mother told me that in her children's school you either take all the subjects or none. You can't pick and choose which subjects you want to take. In addition, if you choose not to take any, then you can't be in the smart class with the best teachers. Hmm... In that case, I'd rather not be in the smart class. It is so ridiculous.
With extra tuition, the kids would have to stay in school till around 4pm. This is usually for Primary 3 and above although in some schools it starts from as young as Standard 1. However, the younger kids can opt out by writing a letter to the principal.
Tuition is not homework help or assistance. You have to buy extra books and that means extra work. Furthermore by the time they get home it is late, leaving little time for the actual daily homework.
If you have several children in the same school, some of whom are attending the extra classes while some are not, it also creates a transportation headache for you.
So this 3rd week of school, we're really into the full swing of things now. The kids are worried. "Do we have enough time for lunch? Where do we put our heavy school bags? Where do we go for the extra class? I don't know what to do. I am afraid I will forget to pay for the books" blah blah blah etc etc etc. They are worry warts, my children, just like their parents. To make matters worse, they are both a little under the weather and the boy had to skip school for 2 days because he was not feeling well.
The funny thing is we're only trying out one extra tuition for the girl and the boy will do an extra activity just to stay back and match her time. She has to stay back one other day for extra activities but the boy will not and they both have piano lessons at home on another week day. That is 3 days a week filled up. We can't manage any more than that.
I can't wait for them to learn the system and get used to the new routine because not knowing is stress to everyone. So many things to manage. The kids' worries. Their food. (Lunch). Their transport home with different timings. How to make sure they get their homework done with so little time. How to ensure they still have enough rest with so little time. How to make sure that life is still fun for them with so little time. And finally, how to make sure mummy does not get mad with so little time to manage so many things.