85-year-old grandmother learns letters with her 1st grade grandson

Ho Chi Minh CityFor half a year now, every night, 85-year-old Mrs. Nguyen Thi Cam and her grandson Quang Nhat gather their heads on a folding table, each with a notebook to practice writing.

Mrs. Cam wrote most of the notebook, but Quang Nhat only wrote a few pages. “You’re too lazy,” the grandmother teased. The boy quickly said: “Let me check”, then widened his eyes when his grandmother’s notebook was almost empty.

“Thanks to studying abroad, the boy is more motivated,” said Hong Diep, 47 years old, (Thanh Loc ward, district 12) daughter of Cam, Nhat’s biological uncle.

Mrs. Cam and her granddaughter practice writing together, on the evening of March 2

Last September, Quang Nhat entered grade 1 but studied online at home. Once, her mother discovered that there were strange words, trembling and distorted strokes in her child’s notebook. The children wondered, Mrs. Cam admitted that she wrote in her grandson’s notebook. “I’m sorry that the kid who was playing got yelled at to study, so I wrote for him,” she explained, adding that she herself likes to learn to write.

Since that day, Ms. Hong Diep asked her grandson to give her an olympic notebook. Quang Nhat wrote on the label the student’s name as “bau kiai”, meaning grandmother. The boy in grade 1 recognized her as a student, claiming to be a teacher.

Mrs. Cam lost her parents at the age of 6, when she had just finished third grade. At the age of 17, she got married, raised nine adult children, after 11 births. Currently, her children are all teachers, lecturers, directors, engineers…, with college to master’s degrees.

But taking care of her adult children, Mrs. Cam’s words also fell. “I could spell a word on TV and it ran away,” she said. More than ten years ago, when Quang Nhat entered grade 1, the children both taught him and his mother to practice reading again. When I went to class, Cam was able to restore reading skills.

Since then, in addition to growing vegetables, cleaning the house, playing with the grandchildren, she has a new hobby of reading books. After reading newspapers, she switched to reading short stories, long stories, from Seed soul arrive Fairy tales, old stories, Phuong Nam forest land, Dreaming of Hong Lau… Read the book Harry Potter There were English words that she did not understand, she called her children and grandchildren to explain. Mrs. Cam read aloud, very slowly because of poor eyesight, but after 10 years, the large bookcase of her children’s books was exhausted.

She read it well, but in her heart, Mrs. Cam still felt uncomfortable because she couldn’t write a single word, and often misspelled. Every time she went to the bank to sign the receipt, the employee waited for a long time, didn’t complain, but she regretted it. Seeing that her granddaughter had a book to practice writing, she wanted to study.

Mrs. Cam and her granddaughter read a textbook, at home, in February 2022.  Photo: Quynh Nhu

Mrs. Cam and her granddaughter read a textbook, at home, in February 2022. Photo: quỳnh as

From the day her daughter suggested, she accepted to be Quang Nhat’s student. Two grandparents, a 6-year-old and an 85-year-old, practice making sentences together. Being a teacher, Quang Nhat practiced writing more diligently. The boy was strict, forcing his grandmother to smear and write, correcting back and forth until the word was beautiful. “There was a time when the two of them crouched down together, every now and then they heard the boy’s voice saying ‘it’s beautiful, try to keep up’,” Diep said.

Many days, when I finish my homework, lie down on the bed, my grandmother is still writing. But towards the end of the year, Ms. Cam made more progress, surpassing the teacher’s speed. The grandson is about to finish first grade, and the grandmother also confidently signs when she needs to do the procedure.

Ms. Hong Diep said that her parents only worked as farmers and raised their children to study. I’m poor, but I want to buy a computer to study, she also tries to worry, never complains.

“I didn’t know Mom couldn’t write until she was almost 70 years old and had to sign for a bank account. She was confused forever, the ‘ê’ in the word ‘Nguyen’, she signed without a hat and two dots. on top of my head, I cried when I looked at it,” said Ms. Diep.

Currently, Cam and her husband have 10 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. Every day, grandparents grow vegetables and fruit trees in the garden of more than 100 m2 to serve themselves and give clean vegetables to the children, sometimes bring them to the market to sell. The elderly couple still take care of their living expenses, taking care of three meals a day.

“Mother is also an example for children and grandchildren to constantly try to study and work. Sometimes when children are lazy, I say ‘children look at grandma, her hair is white, she still wants to learn, want to know more, why? the children refuse to learn’, they obey,” said Hong Diep.

Pham Nga


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