Here is a letter I wrote tonight, ostensibly to my children, sending it to their mother’s email, about the pressure of my 7-year-old daughter having been told to study to prepare for a “big test”, one she was told may hinder her from advancing from grade two to grade three, a test that does NOT exist.
I have ample reasons to explain all that the issue entails because or the reasons I explained in the following text. My ex is aiming to discredit me as a candidate for custody because, she claims in Court documents that I “cannot help with the kid’s homework”. A Court investigator sent to my home to do an observation back in October asked, for her very first question, “How do you plan to support the children to do homework?” (in Chinese).
My letter is unaltered, here below, except for taking their names out. My ex’s response is below it. I am incredulous.
Daddy just wanted to let you know that our conversation about your supposed studying “needs” this past weekend made me inquire a lot into what you told me, and it reconfirms what I already thought was correct.
___________, you told me that you “have to study so many Chinese words because there is a big test, and that if you don’t pass the test, then you cannot pass from grade 2 to grade 3.” In fact, you told me that within the first 3-4 minutes of being together Saturday morning.
It was so soon after meeting, and especially because you were still sleepy-eyed, that it sounded very much like you were prompted by someone to explain that to me immediately, that you were perhaps told to tell Daddy about how much studying you “had to do”. Why would a seven-year-old girl be worrying about studying Chinese on a Saturday morning at 8am, otherwise?
On Sunday, when I reminded you that we needed to study your Chinese flip book (of your grandfather’s Chinese characters, which he had written), you told me that the grandfather said, “You need to study these and mark each one that you studied so he can check.” And again we talked about how he had explained to you about “the big test” you allegedly have.
Well, ________, I know that there is NO BIG TEST going from grade 2 to grade 3, and that is according to a growing number of elementary school teachers. The MOE (Ministry of Education) doesn’t put such heavy emphasis on testing in elementary school, and there is no test that would hold a child back from being promoted. I am sorry you were led to believe that, or prompted to believe that.
Even teachers I talked to have said that no child should be lead to believe that nonsense and that such pressure does NOT exist. It is a shame that you were prompted by someone to believe that.
________, because your mother’s family has claimed to the Courts that I shouldn’t get custody because I allegedly “cannot help the children with homework”, and because the first question that the latest Court investigator asked at the last visit to my house was, “How would you plan on helping with homework?”, I know very well that antics could be taken to try to attempt to give “evidence” of that nonsense claim.
Especially because two weeks ago I explained to the Court in a document that I would not be filling your vacation with homework, it is even more obvious how all of a sudden, such an emphasis was placed by your grandfather on how you “need to pass a big test”–WHICH DOESN’T EVEN EXIST* for someone in grade 2 (and one that certainly would NOT hold you back)!
I am so sorry he told you that.
________, I enjoyed working with you on your words Sunday! It was fun! I enjoyed reading the buh-puh-muh-fuh phonemic symbols to you and working through things together. It was also cool to get the help of others to help with some explanations they gave you about meanings you didn’t recall–and I was happy that there were words I could help you with, too! It is actually awesome to know that helping you will actually help me with my own Chinese development!
It even brought back negative memories of the over-strict and picky grandfather “helping” me before with Chinese, back in 2007-2008. It’s just too bad he put so much pressure on you, Isa! You’re only seven!
I wish he hadn’t!
________, as a full-time teacher with a Masters in Education, I know that homework is often just practice for what you learn in class. Parents are NOT supposed to do your homework. When and if you have homework, it is to review concepts you’ve learned in class. Educators (i.e., your teachers) know that. They should NOT be giving homework that isn’t already based on what you’ve learned in class. I am 100% supportive of your needs, and I would forever support you by providing ample study time when needed.
In fact, my school, for ALL elementary school grades, has a NO HOMEWORK policy! In fact, my administrators for 2-3 YEARS IN A ROW, have told parents of students that we do NOT assign homework, and they have given presentations that show studies about the efficacy of homework, and academic study results show there is NO value to homework. So if you go to my school or other progressive-education schools with me in the future, you can look forward to no or little homework! But in the meantime, I am always going to help you achieve your goals!
I have some folks willing to support us if we need it now, too. I have private tutoring options, too—even for free. And I am more than willing to help! I have Taiwanese friends and colleagues willing to practice with us if we ever need it.
And if custody goes to me, which it should, then of course you won’t be in a public school, just like your mother NEVER wanted! You’d be studying in a school that would give you full support in your development in all areas, bilingually or in English, one which would be without the outdated use of physical punishment (of having grade 2 students do leg raises until the point that the next day they LIMPED), too.
Love you, ______________!
My ex’s response is below, unedited. I am fully aware that the Court custody verdict clearly stated that “If the two parties cannot get along, sole custody will be awarded to one.” That one line in the Court paperwork clearly reveals why such full-throttle false accusations keep coming, three years later. Sure, I called the grandfather picky (he was incredibly picky about pronunciation while teaching me years and years ago, so that is not a fabrication), but the reaction is over-the-top drama. Naturally, if I try to reply to stop the nonsense, she just throws it back full-throttle again, trying to get the last word in.