Thursday 27 June 2013

A little learning

Like a broken recorder, I would like to repeat, we barely did any homeschooling during this term break.
But, at least we did a wee bit. Sharing what we did a few days back while big brother was snoozing.
Babydoll enjoys working on these foam puzzles. Usually she would do one at a time. Just for thrill, i mixed up all 3 foam puzzles and had her sort them out.

I took out our counting cards. She still does not get the counting bit, but with exposure I'm sure she will one day!

I manage to make a Montessori inspired '20 board'. Essentially, she had to arrange the numbers in order from 1-20. I will probably share more on it in another post!
Hope next week mummy gets her mojo going...!

Wednesday 26 June 2013

How we combat the haze!

Ah, now that the haze is clearing up (for good i hope), I am slowly feeling my life coming back to normal. That also means, I am drawn back to blogging once again.
So how did we manage during the hazy school holidays?
Well, typically, my kids & I are normally happy to stay home. I guess, I am fortunate because my kids can stay home 24 hours all week and not go crazy bouncing off walls and what nots. They can pretty much entertain themselves at home. However, because of the haze, I refused (read: it was just me. My kids were ok) to stay home.
I felt my lungs were going to burst if I trap myself in a stuffy home all day. That was it!! I decided we HAD to get out of the house. But with the haze, we couldn't do anything outdoor so the next better thing to do was to hide out at indoor playgrounds. Much to my kids' delight of course!

As i blogged earlier, we checked out Happy Willow- TWICE.

We went to Hokey Pokey at Millenia walk. It was another fantastic place to go! My definition of 'fantastic' is being able to space out while the kids play themselves silly. Here, i could also sit strategically and watch my kids while i ate and drank coffee. AH, life is good.

We went to The City at Liang Court. The kids went bananas like all the other kids. This is an indoor place where the kids get to pretend play; they can pretend to grocery shop, be a doctor, teacher, mail man & play dress up. Unfortunately, doll wanted me to stay by her so i couldn't space out as much as i wanted to. :I
Other than that, we hung out with my sister & her kids at malls & have a cuppa for tea time.
And that's how we tackled the haze- indoors! :)) The kids had loads of fun and I would have to say all thanks to the haze! Otherwise, we would stay home and do nothing for the whole month like we always do!
How did you & your kids do?

Saturday 22 June 2013

H is for Happy (Willow), not Haze!

As if the heat and dengue fever situation isn't bad enough, some people decide to send hazardous smog our way.  Because of the haze, i have had my windows shut ALL day, ALL week. And we cannot go outdoor unless we want to risk our lungs. So because of the heat AND haze, we have been locked at home, making me feel downright suffocated in my own home. Not funny. Not funny at all.
It made me moody, irritable, annoyed and left me feeling extremely sluggish all week. I had no other desire than to hibernate in my room with the air-conditioner blasting with a vengeance. Needless to say, there was no Homeschool@sg. Period.
So imagine my JOY & relief when the good people at Happy Willow invited us over to check out their playground. It is an INDOOR playground. That means, we get to escape the heat (because it is air-conditioned), stay indoor (to hide away from the polluted air) and still have fun (entertainment to kill all time high boredom). At times like this, i am most grateful to indoor play areas such as these!
The kids curiously checking out Happy Willow! 

Shoes area. I love the shoe storage!

There are 3 main play areas.
One of which is the Toddlers' Turf.
This is a a cozy & safe (away from the naturally rowdy, older kids) area for the little ones.
In this area, there are some building blocks. I couldn't resist taking that chance to 'homeschool' doll! I played a mini game with her; i asked her to sit on certain block with certain alphabets or shapes. :P
There is also a separate mini ball area just for the toddlers. A really thoughtful gesture  because we all know how rough & oblivious to the young babes, older kids can be. :)
The second area is the Kids' Den for the older kids. In it are a number of play stations.
One of me kids' favourite in the Kids' den is the slide! Doll loves the slide and was happily helping herself with many turns.
The older kids can venture further up to the second level which will lead them to another slide and right into the bigger ball area.
You can see the slide at the background.
A mini (and extremely) safe rock climbing wall.

The third area is a pretend/toy play area.
Babydoll busy cooking a storm for mummy!
For kids who need to take a little breather, they can seek refuge at this cosy corner & read a book or two.
As you wait for your kids to explore & tire themselves out, you can chill & have a cuppa over at their cafe.
Or maybe catch some winks? :P
A rack of magazines to entertain you while you wait. How nice!
Admittedly, the place is relatively small. But it is right up my alley. For one, I'm the sort of parent who needs to know the precise location of my kids like at ALL times. This place allows me to do just that! With one glance or two, I get instant feedback on where my kiddos are.
Because of the small area, I can easily plop myself on the chair and literally chill. I don't have to hover around my kids.
I have to be honest and say the play areas aren't as thrilling but again, it sits just right with me. Because that means, i am assured that my kids are always safe away from rough play and won't be hit by some kid shooting balls at them.
The other thing that I absolutely love about the place is that the accompanying adults can easily walk through the playground without bending their back.  I have been to the many indoor playgrounds where i have to risk breaking my back as I follow my kids like a leech. O.U.C.H.

A locker! I thanked the heavens when i saw the locker! If you can't tell by now, i am one paranoid parent. I need to watch not only my kids but also my belongings. But that's really hard to do especially when you have two kids running in separate direction. That's why, I appreciate the lockers where i can keep my bag & know that my stuff are safely locked in while I keep my eyes peeled on the kids.
Overall, i think it is a great place for parents like me who prefer smaller playgrounds for easy management. This is also especially great for kids who prefer quieter, more peaceful, not so rough play like my kids. More importantly, it allows the parent to just kick back and space out. AH, HEAVENLY!
I am definitely going back! In fact, i am going back very very soon! :P
                        1 Fusionopolis Way, Fusionopolis, Connexis Tower, #B1-06
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri: 9:30am to 6:30pm
Sat, Sun & PH: 9:30am to 7:30pm
Admission Fees:

Monday to Fridays
(3 hour playtime)
  S$18 per child (2 years old and above)
  S$10 per child (9 months – less than 2 years old)



Weekends – Saturday, Sundays
& Public Holdiays

2 hour playtime
S$18 per child (2 years old and above)
S$10 per child (9 months – less than 2 years old)
S$3 per subsequent block of 30 mins.
For more information please visit

Saturday 8 June 2013

Bible Study

Lately, i have been doing some reflection on how Sonshine is growing up to be. One of the things i would like to see him grow stronger in is his Self confidence.
I remember i was rather a timid, unsure & low confidence little girl. I struggled with this throughout my teens and till young adulthood. The only way i got out of it was through the Word of God and only the Word of God.
Hence, i decided to embark on a journey to pump into Sonshine the word of God.
Once i made that decision, I dashed out of my house and immediately bought him a bible.
His very first bible! :)
We own toddler bibles & bible story books but i noticed that not all parts of the bible are written in those books. Some of the important verses are left out and understandably so. I got him the bible because i want him to get exposed to those awesome verses. Somehow, it feels very different reading the bible and those bible story books. The bible brings out the glory of our Lord like no other book does.

However, i still use the bible story book hand in hand with the bible. We first read the story- this week it is on The earth creation. And i extract out a verse (Genesis 1:27) from the bible for Sonshine to read. I explain to him the meaning. This week, we learnt that we are made in the image of God. I reminded him throughout the week about this verse by asking him daily - who do we look like?
I am not very good at bible teaching so i rely on this site as a guide or use it like a curriculum if you may. :) I love this site because it highlights the verses that are suitable for the kids and gives me the direction as to where i should go and what i should say to Sonshine.
And like a true tiger mom, i just had to make a home learning out of it! I got him to do copywork! First to help him remember this verse and to practise his writing! HA!

As part of our bible study, i bought and will be buying more, Christian DVDs for us to watch. We have watched one show and i simply LOVE the story plot. I think some adults should really watch this too! :D

Thursday 6 June 2013

Of Sonshine & English assessment books

What's up with Sonshine's home learning? Well....
It's assessment books after assessment books!
I have no energy nor time to think up of an activity for him. I think the fastest way to get him on home learning with me is doing assessment books. I can't say he enjoys it :I. But still, i want him to get use to doing work-something which he will have to face next year. However, i try not to tax him too heavily, i only give about 20 minute work max a day.
On a side note, I find myself buying and buying AND buying assessment books. I don't know why it is so addictive! But the other reason why i do that is because i learnt that each assessment books focus on different areas. I can't rely on one to touch on all areas within a subject even if i can, it means the exercises are very brief and not as detailed as i would like it to be.

So i find myself buying an assessment book JUST for comprehension, another one for Grammar, then another one for Vocabulary and on and on and on... *Sweat* And i am just talking about English subject alone mind you.
I also learnt that assessment books differ in their level of difficulty. Some are designed to boost your child's confidence, others are out to tell your child that he is erm, 'not so clever'. So my advice is, choose your assessments books very very carefully. Find one that matches to your child's learning ability: not too easy and not too hard.
Moving along...This may bore the living daylights of you but some have asked me about what assessment books i used. So i'll start with English- part one.
I have two (ok maybe more) comprehension assessment books for sonshine. These two books are like day and night for sonshine. One is too easy and the other is a tad tough for him. The one above is the easy one.
I don't know if it is just my son, but the above book has proven to be quite challenging for SOnshine. I think some of its questions are not straight forward but yet i think it shouldn't be too tough for a child who reads regularly. It got me worried about Sonshine comprehension skills after seeing how he sort of struggle with some of the questions from this book. It has also caused alot of rift between me and him *ooops*. And this book is the main culprit why he tells me " I don't want to do comprehension!".
That's why i say, find an assessment book that is not too tough for your kid. Otherwise he/she will be totally put off and it may be hard to get the child to like the topic. :P

This book is relatively easy; it is set to be like a revision test each week. It is divided into 4 terms and 10 weeks in each term. So the child is suppose to one chapter a week. Each chapter is relatively short so it doesn't tax the child too much.

Lastly, nothing to do with assessment books but a small activity i did with him this week.
I stuff a couple of household stuff in an unused pillow case; wrote some adjectives on post it pad and lay them down. The game goes like this. Sonshine has pick an object from the pillow case but before he draws it out, he has to describe the object using adjectives. The list of post it pads was to help him & also to help him categorised the adjectives (blue post it pad were size adjectives, yellow was on texture and pink was shapes). He also used other adjectives that were not listed on the post it pads.
It was a simple game but Sonshine enjoyed it alot...much better than assessment books for sure!

Mandarin books

These are some mandarin books i read to babydoll. All of these books are in a series, meaning to say they come in a number of books in each set.
I bought a number of Pelangi Story books for Sonshine when he was younger. My objective then was to get him used to listening to Mandarin since we speak very little Mandarin at home. Similarly, I took these out for doll now that her attention span is longer. She enjoys this book alot all thanks to her animated story teller!

I typically choose books that have one liner on one page. I don't want to test her attention span or bore her, and i prefer that each sentences is further illustrated by a drawing so that the child understands what the words are about.
While i try to avoid books with Hanyu Pinyin, i relented to this one because at that point it was the best i could find.
Pelangi books can be easily found in Popular. They have the same series in English too!
Again, these were bought for Sonshine & now it is put to good use for doll. I recall i read this to SOnshine when he was much older. Doll doesn't seem to like this book as much as the above series though.
I bought this book in Popular book shop but i don't think they sell this anymore.

I wrote about this before. Did i tell you how much i LOVE this series?
It is AH-MAZING! Doll has learnt a number of Mandarin words just by reading the books in this series!

As i shared before, it is designed to be in a flashcard format. First you will see the words.

Then the corresponding picture. I love this format because the child not only learns to read but also understands the meaning attach to each word.

These are my other favourite mandarin books! Doll LOVES them too!

Exactly what i wanted;, short sentence on each page. Babydoll has learnt to speak simple Mandarin sentences just by reading this book! She loves to say '这是妹妹'- pointing to herself. :D
There are a number of books (cannot recall maybe 10 or 12) in one pack. I bought mine from a shopping cart at Changi Airport. I am not sure if it is still there though. Unfortunately, i have not seen these books in Popular book shop (which is about the only bookshop i can go).
These are pretty much our weekly reads amongst others.

This week...

It must be the school holidays! I am feeling rather sluggish & out of sync (I'm feeling sleepy as i type this zzzz).
Oh well, i still manage a few activities here and there with doll this week. :)

I've two of these Styrofoam Alphabet puzzles; one in Capital letters and the other, small letters. I took out the small letter foam letters and have doll match it to their capital letters. It was more for me to check if she knows. She does! All thanks to this DVD me thinks!

I printed these from a free printable site. Oh my goodness, i have forgotten which site was it! :P I will return back when i get back my memory! Anyway, this was matching card game. The cards are cut into halves and she has to find the matching half.

Matching the Montessori Geometry sets to its correct based.

Now that she has learnt her numbers from 1-10, i am moving on to numbers from 11-15. She loves Thomas the Tank engine so i made these cards in her favourite character. :)