Elwood 5566

A Little Boy’s Diary

Posted in Education, Korean children by 노강호 on May 13, 2011

all smiles - it's a day off school

Meet Lee Hee-hoa (이히호). He’s the son of one of my oldest Korean friends, David, and is five years old in western years and six in corresponding Korean years (Koreans are one year old  at birth). Hee-ho is great little boy who is usually always smiling  and in school is one of those kids whose hand is permanently up ready to answer any question. However, he can be quite reserved and shy.  He lives in a very large apartment in Daegu with his mum and dad, young brother and sister, grandmother and father on his father’s side, his father’s sister, her husband and their two children. Eleven people in one household is quite exceptional, even in Korea but David tells me they rarely have any arguments and all enjoy living in a large family. Indeed, they plan moving to another apartment later this year and have decided to continue living together.

Hee-hoa's idea of a 'crazy face'

David runs a very successful English academy while his wife heads a maths school, nearby. As with most Korean parents, regardless of class, education is one of the most important facets of their children’s development. As compulsory education does not start until a child is 6-7 in western years, Hee-hoa attends a Kindergarten and this, along with his various other studies, costs his parents around 1 million won per month (c.£500).

Hee-hoa’s Timetable

Kindergarten starts at 0830 and finishes as 1430.

On a daily basis, he attends English classes from 1530-1630.

From 1700 until 2000, depending on the day, he has lessons in hanja (Chinese characters used in Korean), hangeul (Korean writing and reading), Montessori, and has both violin and piano lessons. For all but the Montessori sessions, tutors visit their apartment. Though not unusual for Korean children, this is a heavy workload but he actually seems to genuinely love lessons with violin and hanja being his favourites. When not studying or sleeping, he spends free with his dad, going for walks or on outings or simply plays with members of his large family.

waiting for lunch

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

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