Wednesday 29 January 2014

Chinese New Year!

I made some CNY theme activities for doll.
Arranging chinese lantern patterns in numerical order.

Read aloud and match to the correct color chinese fan.

In line with the Chinese horoscope, I made these matching cards for Doll to learn the names of these animals in mandarin. (Why no horse and the rest of animals? 'Cause she learn most of them already).

Counting the number of mandarin oranges and matching the correct word number card. Sometimes I'd make her count in Mandarin and she had to match the correct mandarin word card.

Here's an activity I plan to work on with her. Either I'll put in a random number of gold chocolate coins in the red packet and have her count the number of coins in each packet. Or I'll write a number on each packet and have her slot the corresponding number of chocolate coins into the red packets.

And like a true Montessori style, one could use these chocolate coins as counters! :D
 On another note, I enjoy home teaching my kids. I enjoy researching, resourcing and preparing the learning materials for them. It gives me great joy when my kids acquire a new skill or knowledge through the materials I painstakingly made for them.
I don't necessarily do it because I want my kids to be ahead, believe it or not. I do it because I truly enjoy it. Of course, the result of all the home teaching is a bonus for me. I am really blessed that both my son and daughter enjoy our home learning time. This spurs me on to continue home learning with them. Otherwise, I don't think I'd bother nor last this long. 
But even if you don't home teach, please don't ever think your child is losing out. From my observation, things will even out by kindergarten/primary level. The supposedly not so advance kids will catch up sooner or later (i.e. most kids will eventually learn how to read and count by primary school).
Have home learning only if you and your kids enjoy it or you plan to keep them from formal schools. Otherwise, don't fret too much, I trust that most pre-schools prepare their children well enough for primary. :)
Till the next post, Blessed Chinese New year everyone!

Saturday 25 January 2014

Learn to Let Go

So we have ended our 3rd week of school. I am overwhelm and somewhat disturbed. I'll tell you why.
Since the start of school, I've been 'mom-working' as in 'networking'. I got to know some moms and even rejoin groups of moms with Primary one kids. Having hear them share their thoughts on their worries, concerns and seen them hovering about their kids- I am rather disturb.
I don't know. Perhaps I have been (positively) influence by SMB moms such as Evelyn and Rachel. Because of them, I adopted a 'let go' mindset. Meaning, I made a conscious effort to not be a helicopter parent and let my soon to be 7 year old manage his own school life. I thought this was the same with other parents but I was wrong.
Over the weeks, I've heard/seen parents hijacking the teachers and anxiously requesting the teachers to 1) change their kids' seating arrangement because of a bully, 2) rearrange the entire classroom arrangement just for their child because he keeps tripping at his seat, 3) help remind the kids to bring their own belongings home, 4) remove fans because their kids are too cold, 5) track down a piece of paper that their child lost in school and... I'll stop here least I reveal my own identity. Typically, they act like their child is the only one in the school and give no thoughts to the rest of students in class.
I think I have rolled my eyeballs a thousand times these past weeks. I wish I can tell these parents in their faces: 'LEARN TO LET GO!'. Many don't seem to understand that this is Primary school, it is a different era from Kindergarten. Yet, many are treating the primary school teachers as kindergarten teachers, expecting the teachers to hover around their kids and still hold their hands.
'But but but... you don't understand! My child is like child doesn't know that...' I understand! I have the same set of worries and concerns- I am also a parent new to this experience! But I also understand that the teachers have 30 over other fidgety kids of varying temperaments and quirks to manage. And so, I don't expect the teacher to drop her attention on the other 29 just so she can focus on my ONE child.
So what do I do?
I teach my child independence as best as I can. I try not to depend on the teacher for trivial matters. My philosophy is: If he is capable to do something then let him do it himself. I will not step in to help him nor will i email the teacher to help him. I give him advice on how he can handle the situation- and the rest is up to him. He is old enough to manage most situations.
So your kid keeps forgetting to bring his communication book home? Don't tell the teacher to remind your child, you should teach & help him to remember! So, your kid keeps tripping, help your child to figure out other ways to prevent from himself from tripping. Your kid is too cold in the class? Get him a jacket instead of asking the teacher to remove the fan! There's a bully in the class? It's the perfect opportunity for the child to learn how to stand up for himself  and to learn to be more tolerant of others.
What kind of parent are you? The overly protective type or the type who's raising independent kids? There's a saying, "Don't fish for your kids, teach them how to fish". I see benefits in that, because I can be assured that even when I am not around, I know my child can take care of himself.
I could go on but you get my drift. I know parents are worried that their child will suffer dire consequences but sometimes, it is better to let them go through it. This way they will learn the effects of their choices. To me, this is the BEST time to let them rough it out. This is time to where there's still allowance for them to make mistakes, falter and learn. I rather they learn now then to make these mistakes in adulthood where there will be little tolerance.
Think about it, what kind of parents do you want to be?

Saturday 18 January 2014

5 easy CNY activities for kids!

We will soon be celebrating Chinese New year (CNY)! Are you wondering how you can entertain your kids during those endless visitations? Well, here are some ideas!You don't have to prepare nothing! You just have to make use of these common CNY goodies/items which are available in most households!
1. Pre-Math skill
photo credit here
Sort assorted peanuts/sweets/melon seeds

2) Fine Motor skills
photo credit here
Peel mandarin oranges

3) Sensory
photo credit here
Arrange the chocolates from biggest to smallest.

4) Counting
photo credit here

For younger kids- count the number of red packets received.
For older kids- count money of course!

5) Matching

photo credit here

Mix in pairs of red packets of different designs and have the kids find the matching red packets!

There you go! CNY Homeschooling on the go! :D


Thursday 16 January 2014

Week 2 report

We are nearing to end of week 2 of the school term, can I have a loud YAHOO everybodeeeeeeeee! So far, it has been smooth sailing for us. Sonshine is taking his new life like a fish in the water, as if nothing has change (can't say the same for his mom).
I am extremely grateful that he
1) has not lost his belongings. Quite surprising, considering that he always loses things AT HOME.
2) wakes up every morning in almost in an instant. We don't have to nag at him to get out of bed. By the second call, he is up and about. He never appear lethargic or reluctant nor show any resentment towards his new lifestyle.
3) eats his breakfast fuss free.  Sonshine is a poor eater. He usually eats extremely slowly & reluctantly.  Hence, it is a blessing that he saved us from all the nagging and scolding in the dark morning by eating his breakfast relatively fast.

4) comes home with no homework. YAY! I know some parents think it is a bad thing because the kids may get a culture shock at upper primary. Personally, I am liking it because it gives me more time to after-school him without having to compete with his homework. *hee hee*
I am also thankful that our daily routine is slowly falling into place. I manage to slip in home learning time with doll  each morning while Sonshine is in school. It is the perfect time for learning since there's no distraction and she's freshly awake. As for Sonshine, we still haven't quite find a fix time slot. Sometimes it would be after his nap, sometimes it would be during Doll's nap- depends when I can find pocket of time. It is pricking me a bit that I can't find a fix time slot in the day. Still this week, it has been very frutiful and I am extremely grateful.

Yet, I am still lamenting our militant schedule. Everything has to be run by the clock. I feel stress if we overrun our time and I am constantly nagging at Sonshine that it is time to move on to the next item on the list, not a minute late. What a way to stifle a child! Oh well, I am over the moon that Friday's here and we will soon be off to the weekend!WHOOPIEE!!

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Yo Ho Ho HO!

Some of us are still in the Christmas mood? Ah well, not exactly. I  am too lazy to reorganise the shelf. Therefore, Doll has been doing the same work everyday.
But here are 2 activities I tweak to keep up with her learning.
I made these reindeer cards to help her practise one to one correspondence up to 15. While she can count items independently up to 10, she gets confused counting anything more than 10- she tends to double count or miss a count. So for this, I hold her hand and guide her as she counts. In the past, she'd confused 15 and 16 because of her pronunciation. But now, I am delighted that she is counting it right!

These cards were used for sight word activity, for her to recognise 'is' and 'the'. I made extra words cards like 'cat' and 'heavy' & lay them in a sentence structure. We read the cards in order aloud. My objective is for her to learn the two words, seems like she is picking up 'is'. Let's work on the 'the' baby!

Friday 3 January 2014

First day of school!

Sonshine has officially stepped into primary school. It is a mark that he is growing up and that he HAS to grow up. First day of school, was not as nerve wrecking as I had expected but we did had some jitters.
The first thing I worried about was having to wake up early. Our usual waking up hours is after 10am. (You can close your dropped jaws now, thank you) Sonshine's kindergarten hours was in the noon, so we had the luxury to stay up really late at night and wake up at brunch time AND still move at snail's pace. It was leisure at the highest, I say! But now, we have to be up by 6am, what a drastic change! Today is the second day of school, so far, it seems pretty alright for now. Sonshine woke up with ease, no whining no lethargy. He did what he needed to do and it went quite smoothly.
The night before, we also had alittle panic. We realised the boy was not used to the zipper & hook mechanism on his school pants. He has no problem with zipping but because the pants are loose, he needed to hold the pants up while zipping which can be quite challenging for his small hands. He was also not  familiar with the hooks. We made him practise, practise clumsily he did. So we were worried that he may have problems putting his pants back on after a visit to the loo. We tried our best to teach him and left the rest to God.
We were slightly late or barely on time for school these 2 days. The traffic jam caught us off guard (there are 4 schools in the same vicinity, so you can imagine how the road looks like in the morning). Or maybe Sonshine caught us off guard with he's 'I want to poo poo. I want to wash hands. I want this, I want that etc' which made us leave later than planned. I am thanking the heavens and the stars that I am not the one who's sending him to school! I'll leave the worrying & planning to the husband-ha!
During the first day, we were allowed to walk our kids into the school right to the assembly area. But we were not allowed to linger around. The school prepared some parental talks for us and we all adjourn to the another area until their recess. Unfortunately for us, Sonshine's recess (Primary four) buddy was as clueless as him. Left him at the table alone and didn't bring him to look for us like other buddies did. We could only try take a peek (we weren't allowed to join him) and shoulder wrestle with other anxious parents. But, I didn't really need to chat with him, it was more than enough for me to know he's there eating and he knows that we were there.
There are no lessons these first days. We were suppose to pack books to hand over to the teachers to keep & these few day are meant for administration matters.
By the time I picked him up, he was looking all dazed, probably overwhelmed by the new experience. I tried not to ask him too many questions although every bit of me was burning with curiousity. We held hands and quietly walked over to our car while other parents & their children chatter nossily past us.
At the end of the day, I managed to squeezed some stuff out from him
1) His buddy's name
2) His class room arrangement.  (I literally made him draw out a map!)
3) He played games during Chinese class, adding that a boy won the game 'BUT it was NOT me'.
4) There are 29 of them in the class- probably more boys than girls.
5) One of his classmates didn't have a buddy
6) He doesn't know his partner or classmates names.
7) His teachers names.
8) He knows the location of the restroom nearest to his classroom.
9) Water bottles are not allowed in the class and he had to leave them outside
10) There's a small library area in his class but he was quick to tell me the school has a library where there are more books.
I think we had a great start. Sonshine said he likes the school & teachers, though he said this nonchalantly. All in all I am thankful that
1) Sonshine is taking all this new changes and experiences with ease.
2) He does not have fear of going to the new school- like I did.
3) He figured out how to manage his pants on the first day of his school!
4) He brought back all his belongings in order from his bag to lunch box to his wallet and even the pack of tissue paper I gave him!
5) He has a good and experienced teacher
6) He has proven to us he can execute instructions perfectly
7) He has proven that he can be independent.
Having experienced, witnessed and heard from the teachers and fellow parents today, I am thankful that Sonshine is in this school. The Principal's love for the children is evident, it shows in her words and action. The culture is nurturing, I just know my kids are and will be in safe hands.

My hope for his first year of Primary school is that he finds enjoyment in learning and that he will emerge 2014 a happy boy. Well, we are off to a good start, let's hope it stays this way!

Thursday 2 January 2014

Looking back & forward

2013 was a better year for me than 2012. I wrote earlier that 2012 was a year of waste or rather it was fruitless. Last year was a more fruitful year for me. If I have one word to describe the year, it would be 'blossom'. It was a year of blossoming friendships & kinships. I got re-acquainted with friends & relatives who turn out to be a great support for me. Also, I witnessed my 2 kids blossom in all aspects of their development. It was a pretty good year! More importantly, we lived in peace, health and there was no lack in our house. These 3 points alone are enough for me to declare that it was a fantastic year!
This year is a year of huge change for us! Just because Sonshine is- has actually, entered primary school. This means our usual routine for the past 6 years will be trashed and we will have to settle with a new routine. Today is the first day of school and we are still trying to figure it out. I feel sad because now there's a limit as to what we can do with him each day. Everything has to run on a tight schedule- all because he has to sleep early- because he has to be up early. I feel extra sad that this will be our lives for the next 6 years and counting! :(
Yet on the other hand, because he is in school, it gives me more one to one time with doll. Hence, in 2014, I look forward to spending some quality time with her as I did with Sonshine for his first 4 years.
Academically speaking- since this is a homeschool blog, I didn't do much with Sonshine last year. I didn't think it was necessary for him to advance in his learning so I focused more on practise & gave him alot of worksheets to do. This year, I think we can move on bit by bit. Well that really has to depend what our new routine would be like. But I am hoping we can proceed to learning new topics with Sonshine.
As for doll, I am generally satisfied with her progress. At least she has recognise numbers, learn counting and recognise some words. I think I'll continue doing that and focus more on her learning to read. I hope by end 2014, she can read simple phrases at the very least.
Looking forward to what God has planned for me and my family this year! Here's to another year of healthy, peaceful and abundant year! Bring it on! :)

Post Xmas activities!

Well, well. We boogie-d too much during the school holidays! But it was all good! I am glad we let our hairs down and partied before Sonshine begin his primary school journey.
I prepared a couple of xmas activities for doll. Took me a while to cut them. Took me another donkey years to present them on the shelve and then before I knew it, it was New year's eve. Well, ah, we still haven't gotten to doing them! LOL.
Oh well, I thought I share them anyway!
Sorting polka dot xmas trees from striped xmas trees.
Laying out the corresponding number of counters on the tree.
Matching the same word & forming them into a xmas tree.
Sight word activity- Match the correct cut outs to the ones on the master sheet.
Doll has been learning to read number words so I created this to help her. Like the previous activity, she has to match the cut outs to the corresponding hearts on the tree.
Another sight word activity. Sorting the 'the' cards from the 'is' cards.
After the school holidays, I now find ourselves overwhelm by Sonshine's first days of school. Hence, I cannot seem to slot in a good time for Doll to work on these- although christmas is way over!
Can't wait to have our routine settled and get our home learning back on track!
And oh, Happy 2014! :D