Last Friday night, I went to pick up my kids from their Chinese School. My baby emerged out of her classroom door with sad eyes and a pouting mouth.

“What’s wrong?!” I was immediately alarmed.

“My teacher gave us extra homework.” my baby’s voice was grave and barely audible.

“Oh. Is that all? We can handle a little extra work.” I found little empathy towards the baby’s unhappiness, but comforted the child with a little squeeze.

“She told us to write an essay!” the baby’s voice thundered in the staircase.

“In Chinese?” me.

“Yes. At least 30 characters.” baby.

“Well. She is new to our school. She is overestimating you kids.” I blurted out matter-of-factly.

My 9-year-old is enrolled in a 4th grade Chinese class, but she is miles away from writing essays. She is still battling with fill-in-the-blanks on her homework routine, and often loses.

For most of this week, I helped the baby with her regular Chinese homework, and did not press her to do the extra homework. I deemed the assignment unrealistic, and pretended the extra homework did not exist.

On Wednesday night, I was intently watching the presidential debate, totally ignoring the kids to doing their own things when the baby dropped this piece of paper in front of me.

9 year old's Chinese essay

“Your Chinese essay?!” me, incredulous…

The baby was beaming with a wide smile.

She managed all on her own to write an essay exactly 31 characters, many of them repetitive, all using the most rudimentary Chinese characters. Characters that can probably be found on Lesson One in a first grade Chinese textbook.

No one said it had to be hard. This kid is a genius.

Translation of the essay:

My family has 4 people, Dad, Mom, sister, and me. I love them. They also love me. We are very happy.

Related previous post: Losing Face at Chinese School
A+ Hug
A New Low
A New Low – Part II
Crazy Memorization Week
Chinese School vs School School

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