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Bernadine Mikaela is the youngest of three girls.  In her toddler years she was never considered a problem child nor an introvert.  It was so easy for her to converse with others and, except in rare times when she was not feeling well, it was quite difficult for her to be really quiet.  She would always hum a tune, loudly sing her favorite song and even dance whenever her favorite tune played on the radio.  At 3 years old she would even know how to search for songs in the IPod, even if she still could not read.  She enjoyed her pre-school classes and even her intensive reading program sessions, and never complained when given pages of take-home exercises.

And then the genius of K+12 struck, and after passing the entrance exams for Grade 1, Bernadine entered big school all of 5 years old.  There deemed to be no cause for worry…she was rated above average where academic skills are concerned, and average in social skills for elem readiness.  What could go wrong?

In the first few days of classes, Bernadine seemed ok, although it was quite surprising that she did not want to talk much about school.  She looked tired after class, and would be asleep before 8 o’clock in the evening (which was actually good but remarkably unusual for her).  She would cry every morning, and complained of tummy aches and headaches, and clung on to her mom as tightly as she could.  It was painful to watch this little girl from being happy and active to becoming withdrawn, and then frustrated.  If I were only watching her from a distance, standing as some observer, I would think she was just having tantrums and would get over her moods soon enough.

But I know better.  I am her mothersmother, and the heart of my baby is a K+12 victim.

For three weeks I watched her suffer day by day.  We could not believe something would go wrong.  We were confident that she was academically, mentally, physically and emotionally prepared for big school. For proud parents with a daughter “accelerated” to Grade 1, the scenario became a nightmare.  We tried to egg her on, guiding her everyday, encouraging her in the best ways we saw fit.  The stress started to catch up on us, and it came to a point when –for the first time in my life after so many years – I could not find the answer, I could only feel my child’s pain and frustration in epic proportions.

I realized I knew the answer all along. She is now back to pre-school, in preparatory level where she should have been before that brilliant policy-making body decided what is claimed to “best” for our children.  My daughter’s case is probably an isolated one. Perhaps everyone else is coping, and do not really mind K+12 and everything that comes with it, because in a rich country like ours with sufficient classrooms, excellent school facilities and high quality of education, there is no problem sending kids to school that long to make them globally competitive.

I know you must think I am sour-graping, but really, I have never been an advocate of the K+12 program (K+12 Reasons Why Not, Sun*Star Baguio 6/9/2011).  I just didn’t realize the nightmare would actually be hurrying to haunt me back.


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