Today, I went to Cosmotots iqd with all intention to sign up for the classes and get Ryan to attend the 1st lesson today. But I didn't. 2 reasons. Logistic issue and I was not exactly impressed with their service.
I had to take their transport that they are charging at RM5 per trip (super expensive) and the to and fro van ride for Ryan would have been close to 2 hours since he will be the 1st picked up and the last drop off. Imagine when Ryan goes to school next year. Come back about 12 pm. Quick lunch, quick bath. Picked up at 1:10pm. Long van ride and class start only at 2:30pm till 4:30pm. Then another long Van ride and arrive home at 5:30pm.
Cosmotots has another 4:30pm Genesis class but presently they are full. They wanted me to sign up now and see if they can slot him in 4:30pm in Jan. Again the same logistic issues. Pick up at 3pm for 4:30pm - 6:30pm class. Arrive home at 7:30pm. Strenuous and 2 unnecessary hours wasted which he could have use to rest and play. By the way, the class is 3 times a week. And 2 x times a week, he has E.nopi which I will let him attend in view of the proven results. I want him to learn but not to overstress him unnecessarily.
So with all these uncertainties and I'm not sure if Ryan would like to lessons, I asked about their cancellation procedures in the event that I have to stop the class midway. You see, I have to pay 4 months in advance amounting to RM1380 term fee, RM150 admin fee, RM120 materials and RM480 transport, totaling RM2130! Guess what. There is no refund policy. Regardless of the reasons for termination, the amount paid will be forfeited. Can they do that? From the little that I remember of my university contract law lessons, I thought that if there is no services rendered, the contract i not binding, right? Shocked! The lady proceeded to say that all their children are very happy with the class, so no such issue and if I'm not sure, I can take Ryan back and go home to consider again. Ryan was already in the class. Good feel or not. Urggh! She told me that she is also unsure if the 4:30pm is available for Ryan come Jan. But I can sign up 1st and make do with 2:30pm class until (and if) there is place for the later class. Can't promise yet but 'tahan' until available. I was already telling her that the 2:30pm class is too rush for him. Well, the whole conversation... I got the message that I have to take it or leave it, they are not hard up. No attempt to listen. Just challenging my every comment. Ryan was called out of class. I left. Poor Ryan.
Since I save that chunk of $$, I was planning for alternatives. I took Ryan to Cambridge English For Life (CEFL). There are 2 intakes - Jan and Jun. So, I'm just in time :) Their classes are held on weekends. Yes! 2 hours once a week. Good too but I'm wondering if it is good enough. They follow a syllabus separated by levels. The lowest is JE 1 (Junior English 1) where 3-5 year old kids attend to learn basic phonics and sound blending, a little reading and some fun craft activities. Then comes JE2, more simple reading. I was shown the books and materials. Looks good. The only problem I have is deciding which one for Ryan - third term JE1 or 1st term JE2. The centre manager will advise me later. In case you'd like to know, here are some of the things that I found out about CEFL (at least the one in Bdr Puteri):
- Once a week. 2 hour class for JE1 and JE2
- JE1 and JE2 are conducted in small classes, no more than 9 students.
- One teacher to a class
- Thematic teaching with materials like text and workbooks
- Obviously British English :)
- JE1 and JE2 will be costing me RM450 tuition fee + RM30 materials for 10 weeks, and RM50 registration and RM110 books. Total 40 weeks per level.
- Follows school calendar. Meaning, they close during school holidays but may have some classes during shorter holidays, I was told.
- New intake 9 Jan 2010
- No homework for these 2 levels
- If your kids are in primary level or older, they have other English courses too.
- It is operated on franchise basis. So, get your comfort level from the franchisee that you have chosen.
- Check out this web for more
I'm going for this. The timing suits me and the syllabus looks ok. Have to adjust our weekends only. Just a nagging feeling about whether the once a week class is effective only.
Next, I confirmed with Ryan's class teacher to give Ryan twice weekly home tuition for Chinese and Malay - his weak areas but on his recent kindy assessment. Not much choice here coz Ryan speaks almost zilch Chinese and Malay. And I'm sending him to a more academic kindy next year. Just want to give him some help first. I heard his new school is pretty strong in Chinese. Hopefully, he wouldn't be too lost then. I chose his class teacher for home tuition because Ryan loves his 5 year old Beaconhouse class teacher. Thought it is easier and less strenuous to learn from someone he likes and who knows him :)
I think I have more or less planned out everything for him.
- 2 x weekly, one hour E.nopi Math class
- once a week, 2 hours Cambridge
- 2 x weekly, one plus hour home tuition for Chinese and Malay
- Once a week Saturday GlobalArt class
- Shorter hours for actual kindy which is more academic focus. The fun and activities bit, I'll let him mix and play with neighbour's kids
I was told some kids get it worse, with back to back classes. Not that I'm comparing. I just want to make sure that Ryan can enjoy his learning and make good progress. I'll be watching out for signs of tiredness or stress (if any) and the effectiveness of these classes. Then, I'll readjust his classes, if needed.
With me, I have been coaching him so far. But I'll be starting my new job soon. Don't know how much time I can spare to teach. Sigh! So, I'd leave it to these classes with structured learning. I'd just do some fun work, reading and story telling with him. I can also involve little Raymund in these activities too.