**considering the fact that she didn't ask for my opinion but I still wanna blab"*

I've never had any kids but I was one. ;) I started schooling when I was 4 in Brunei. The syllabus was based on Singapore so all my textbooks were obviously from Singapore too.

**Counting Numbers**

How I started counting? This may be a little bit lame but I sometimes massage my mom and my dad. No. They didn't abuse me or force me to but Brunei was a little bit boring and my mom was a housewife and I'm just a little kid. They would sometimes just call me and said "Tolong picit kaki sikit"

*(Please massage me legs a lil)*. By leg, they refer to calves. I would ask "How many?" They would reply in numbers. That was how I started counting. 1 to ten was not a problem coz I've got 10 fingers but going beyond that is something else. I started to hunger for more numbers into my head coz I always want to be smart...well,honestly not just smart but if possible the smartest! Some kind of behaviour I've got but I simply want to be the best. From 10 to 20 to 30 and so on. When I started schooling, I think able to count up to 100 is a super duper smart thing so I would massage my mom and ask her what is the next number. There were times when I forgot but whenever I ask, my parents would always tell me the number again. I may be very little but I remember the day I counted til 100! I was on the bed with my mom. Massaging her calves. When I reached 100, I was sooooo thrilled! That's how I started counting! May not be the conventional and formal way but it worked!

**Addition and Subtraction**

As a kid, I never quite played any computer games. But the first

*(and possibly the only computer game)*I played was a game of maths; addition and subtraction. There were apples, oranges, balloons and maybe many more but I only remember those. Some examples would be 5 - 3. The CRT screen would show 5 balloons. Then a stick would pop 3 balloons and ask for the answer. I would then count the number of balloons left and key in the answer. So kewl!

*(I was only 4 remember? :p)*Other than that, my dad would sometimes ask me "What is 1+1?" I had asked, how to count that. He answered somewhere along the line of "What is the next number after 1?". When it is subtraction, he told me it is the opposite so I would have to count backwards.

**I hated that a lot!**Guess that is not the worst. I had the worst trouble when the sum is something like " __ + 3 = 10". Urrgghhh!!! I couldn't finish my homework til late at night so before going to school, he would take me to his office for awhile and make me finish my homework. I counted and rubbed the answers a millions of times coz he would check my answer and tell me it is wrong. So frustrating. There were times I didn't even count but I guessed instead. Hahaha! He told me to minus the number. I didn't understand why I had to minus when I see the + sign in the sum. LOL! When I got what he meant, I asked which number to subtract with which coz I got clueless after subtracting a small number with a big one.

**When you are so lil, you don't know if there are any numbers before 0...like c'mon, how can you visualize -ve numbers?How do you put that in the forms of apples and oranges?**hahaha After sometime, I got it and never had troubles answering those.

**Multiplication and Division**

When I entered Primary 1, I was 6. I was made to know the tables of 2 multiplication before I even entered Primary 1 coz my dad said I will need it when I enter primary school. Gosh! 2 is easy...3 is crazy....4 is boring..5 is lovely...10 is wonderful...so is 11. 12...I don't even want to think about it but when I learnt 12 by heart, I feel like a big kid and obviously smart! LOL! I was probably 7 or 8 when I got to 12 multiplication table. My dad made me learn the table by heart. He made me recite the tables everyday in the study room. There was once when I was soooo happy that I learnt the sequence of numbers in the table top-down. He told me to recite backwards....I went silent. He then threw me questions like "What is 3 times 4?". I would pause and recite in my heart the table of 3....haihzzz. He said "Slow!" I said I have the answer. He said he wants is on the spot.

**sweat**After some time, I mastered it and answered him right away everytime he asks. Like that isn't enough, he twisted the question; "What times 3 gives you 15?". I went speechles.........If he asks the question on my way to school, he said he wants it when he picks my up from school. If I still couldn't answer, he would tell me to learn the tables again and that he wants the answer when he comes back from work. From there, we got to division. Wasn't easy but I made it.

***Phew!***

**Telling the Time**

My parents strongly dissaprove digital watches when I was a kid. I always envy my friends and cousins who have digital watches. Whenever I asked for one, my dad would say the watches are for people who do not know how to tell the time. He told me I will have one when I could tell the time well. He bought a cardboard clock and move the hands of the clock. I was so thankful there were only 2 hands; hour and minute. On his watch, there are 3....seconds hand. 5 multiplication table was very handy! It was also my favourite table so it was cool just that when the hands overlapped, I got a lil bit confused. I would look at the clock on the wall, squint my eyes a lil to make sure I count the number right, run to my mom and tell her the time. Sometimes I got it right. Sometimes I go it wrong but I was determined to learn coz I wanna grow up so much and be smart! Duhhh!lol After sometime, I was good at it. Didn't get any digital watches but I was happy with my analog watch coz I have a watch. It was a Mickey Mouse watch. :) Did I still envy kids with digital watches? A lil coz it seemed cool but deep inside I know they may not know how to tell the time as well as I do! =)

**Counting Money**

Having gone to a small private school, food was provided. There was no need for any coins or purses. I never bothered about having money until when I was 7. My mom started teaching me how to count money. I asked her why she is teaching me how to count money. She said it is essential coz I will need to buy my own food when I go to school in Malaysia. She laid the coins on the study desk and showed me how to tell how much is one coin worth. She didn't tell me to count but she would say if a cake is 30cents and you gave the hawker 50cents, how much should the hawker give you back. I didn't know how she or I did it but it went very smooth. I learned without much effort. Few days we "played" the game. Was fun!

**Maybe coz I didn't know going back to Malaysia sucks....**

**Going Deeper**

There isn't a day when there is not Maths...rite? When I was 8, we returned to KL. We used to be on the highway sometimes. Maths game started again..besides ensuring I still know my tables, my dad would tell me to look at the board on the highway. He would tell me the destination place and I was required to look at the km stated next to it. That was easy. He would then ask me (say we have 150km more to go), "We have 150more kilometers to go, we are now going at 100km per hour. How long more do we need to travel to reach?" Mine you...Singapore is quite a long journey................there were many signboards and figures *sweat* If that isn't enough, after I got my answer right, he would tell me to look at the time and tell him what time we will reach based on my calculation...sobsob...I used to tell him "I haven't got to that part in school." He told me "I want you to learn in advance." He's an engineer and his father used to be a an army.

**sweat**There were times I pretended to sleep.....hahahaha The Malaysia school syllabus only got to that when I was in Primary 5 or 6.

I learnt a lot in a car. I counted. I learnt tables. I learnt how to spell. It wasn't easy but it did me good and I dare say I was a smart kid. =p When you are "stuck" in the car, there is nothing much you can do except to keep digging for answers. I hate being in the car with my dad sometimes when I was a kid but he did me a lot of favour! I'm happy...until this very moment I'm recoding this and will always be. =)

There are a lot more memories on my early education...and how I struggled. Will post at another time.

*Dear Elena,*

If you are reading this, thanks for triggering this post. It makes me reminisce the times I had with my parents when we were just a lil family and how my dad spent sooo much effort educating me. Trust me, even my mom didn't have a say when I was made to stay up til morning to study or understand my homework. I will write more on my early education when time permits. It would be great to capture all this while I still remember. As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, I have no kids but I was one so I hope you could find some ideas with your lil boy. Kids these days may not be the same anymore but one fine day, they will definitely be super thankful! As for me, good luck to myself. I'm not even married yet but when I have my own kids someday, I would love to give atleast the same level of concern and concentration on my kids' education. Won't be easy in our busy lifestyle and demands at work but I hope I could. =) *hugzzz*

-Ruz-