Thursday 22 May 2014

Term 2

We are ending our second term and...I have some things to air out.
Sonshine's school is all about character building- which is great and nothing wrong. But when I look at the traits they use to measure a 'good' student, I cannot help but feel Sonshine is being slighted. The traits listed are those of a vocal and expressive child- a child whom Sonshine is not. To me it is like using a monkey's abilities to judge an elephant. The school have given out a number of awards based on these traits and Sonshine didn't get any. He said he was sad when I asked him how he felt and that he tried very hard but still didn't get recognised. That broke my heart.
I am not coveting for the awards but I feel bad for Sonshine because his efforts are not being recognised. He's trying hard but it goes unnoticed. A little bit like a child who studies so hard but still yields little result. But for Sonshine, it is trying to be someone he is not. And that brings me to my next point, I worry the subtle message the school is sending out to him: that being an introvert child is wrong. They want a student who is not just great in academics but one who is vocal, speaks well and posses model characteristics. The latter is not Sonshine. He is a quiet child, who shy away from attention and struggles to express himself. Yet, because the school seemingly expects a more prominent student, Sonshine tries hard to be that student but seems like it is not good enough for the teacher. 
The other thing I feel sorry about is that none of the teachers (even his kindergarten teachers) are/were able to pick out his potential. Only his Montessori teachers were able to detect his true learning pace; but it gets unnoticed by his mainstream teachers. Not surprising really, since it is hard for the latter to know all of her 30 students personally. Also, the curriculum is really easy, so it isn't a big deal if he scores full marks for his papers because everyone else is hitting that mark too.
Honestly, I thought having a good foundation academically means the child will breeze through school. But here I am struggling with getting Sonshine to be that ideal student the school wants him to be. I can heck about it but week in week out I see feedback about Sonshine not being vocal enough and that makes it hard to not get bothered. It is not like Sonshine is not trying at all, but the teacher seems to be focusing on the end-result rather than the effort. I fear that overtime Sonshine would resigned from trying and proclaim 'What's the use anyway'. :(
Fortunately, his self esteem is still intact. That's my Sonshine. Nothing seems to faze him, no matter how much bad words is spoken to or about him. I love that about him, he's able to pick himself up and move on. He never allow what people think or say about him affect him. I hope he stays this way for the world out there is rough. I am also not taking that for granted. I have been telling him that Mummy thinks he deserve a full award for his effort- never mind if the teacher didn't send an award his way. I reminded him that what is more important is what God, the most powerful being in this universe, thinks of him. For Psalms 139:4 says that he is wonderfully made. I tell him to look into the mirror and tell himself that God has made him wonderful- what other (equally weak& faulty) mortals say about him holds no water. :) 

Funnily, I think I am more affected than he is! He has moved on his merry ways. I am the one who is mopping here! LOL! And so, it is a reminder to ME that our confidence should not be in the awards or people's opinion of us which are temporal and can change over time. But our confidence should be built in Christ for His love for us is unconditional, unchanging and never wavers. I want to raise my children to put their security in God's word rather than in people. I have seen too many adults whose sense of love and security is in other people or material things and how they get crushed when these things fade away. I don't want my kids to grow up like them, I want them to stand firmly even when things around them fail them. I reckon the Lord gave this lesson to teach ME more than Sonshine! LOL! :D

Thursday 15 May 2014

How to stay afloat- A SAHM survival tips

I've been a stay-home-mom for 7 years now. I made the plunge when sonshine was a day old. I just couldn't hand him over to a stranger or send him to a child center. I knew I have to raise him myself.

At the risk of sounding like a brag, I honestly do not find being a SAHM challenging. In fact, I think being a working mom is harder. I take my hats off working moms for juggling so many hats at a time and still have to manage the guilt or desire to spend more time with the kids. 

How did I keep myself afloat for these 7 years? Here are my survival tips. The fact that I don't find SAHM life challenging means there must be something I have been doing right, I suppose?

1) Keep yourself mentally sane and physically well rested

This is my most important survival tip, it's above all others. This means when the kids are resting/napping, you rest too. I know it is terribly tempting to finish up the chores while the kids are sleeping. I used to do that too but I soon found myself feeling frustrated when the kids wake up before my chores are completely done. That always leaves me even more tired and short fuse than before. So I decided, for the sake of the kids and myself, I choose not to lift a finger when the kids are napping. I choose to pamper myself with a cup of hot coffee, surfing the net or stoning in front of the television or better yet, take a nap with the kids- whatever makes me happy.

So when do i do me chores? I do it when they are awake. Then what about spending time with them? This bring me to my next point.

2) Stagger, schedule your chores 

Don't be overly ambitious & make yourself finish all the chores in one day or take it upon yourself do heavy chores everyday. For instance, make Mondays- vacuuming/mopping day. Tuesdays- laundry and ironing etc. I like it this way because it's is achievable and it sure makes me feel like I've hit my KPI (key performance index) daily and I don't feel so bad say if on Mondays my laundry is not done since I've schedule it to be on Tuesdays. Moreover, I don't allocate a truck full of chores per day, it's easily attainable and leaves me more time in a day for other stuff like the kids, surf net, surf net and erm surf net.
Magiclean Wiper Dry Sheets 40s
Also, as a sub point, try to outsource your chores if you, like me, have no stay in help. I also found my 'best friends'  in cleaning products like Magic clean which works just as brilliantly as a vacuum cleaner (no I was not paid to advertise this brand)!

3) Don't be a slave to chores

Don't be too obsessed by how neat or messy your house is. Otherwise you will forever be a slave to the state of your house & your kids will 'lose' their mother who's always busy cleaning up. When you are too tired to clean up, please take a back seat and rest. Even if there's a mountain of laundry or a sink full of dishes. My rule of thumb is, will anyone die if all the chores are undone or the house is Topsy turvy? No? Then they can wait. The state of my mind is way more important.

4) Have a fix routine

This is my life saver. I would not have breeze through SAHM life without this point. When I say routine, I don't mean go by the clock rather, go by the sequence of events. For instance my kids know the drill everyday, after lunch, it's nap, then mid noon snack, work, play then dinner. They know what's next and so I don't have daily battles with them to move on to the next event. I think this is also my secret to why Sonshine, 7yo, is still napping. This has always been part or his routine since he was a baby, it never changed. He knows that after a certain event, it's nap time. I don't have battles with him on this, he knows nap is nap time. 

5) Train your kids to be independent 

A friend wonders why my kids don't demand for my time while hers are always asking her to play/entertain them. As a result she can't cook or do much when they are awake. I am half ashamed to say this, but since when they were young, I rarely entertain them. I expect them to entertain themselves. My kids know to leave me alone when I'm cooking. Both will wander around the house and look for their own entertainment. They know where to look for their toys/books etc. I think it also helps that I don't put a lot of restrictions as to what they can do even if they leave a huge mess. (So long they don't kill themselves- I am good). But that's the price I am willing to pay so that I can cook in peace & finish up the chores. 

6) Simple meals are okay

When it comes to preparing meals, I go for simplicity. But don't let that fool you. My meals are still pack with nutrition though there's usually minimal preparation. If you are like me, don't have time to spare or simply too lazy to hover around the stove, just make one dish meals and steam it over the rice as it boils in the rice cooker. Nowadays I try to add more variety simply by baking my meat in the toaster. All I have to do is let the food cook into my rice cooker and toaster & leave it to my 'best friends' to do the cooking. And they say, steaming & baking are the one of the most nutritious cooking methods! Win-win!

7) To each her own

All of us are unique & different. We have differing lifestyles, goals and schedules. What works for one mom may fail for another. So don't compare or try to imitate another SAHM's lifestyle just because it fits her perfectly. Find your own formula and don't be afraid to stick to what works for you. I know you may face criticisms but bottom line is, if whatever you're doing brings peace to the household, hey- then it IS good (as long as it brings no harm to the family)! You've got to find your own  rhythm don't look for it outside, the answer lies in your family. :)

Always fall back to your original intention of being a Sahm, don't ever let the mounting chores make you lose sight of it & enjoy the journey! 
This post is part of a blog train hosted by Gingerbreadmum where 31 stay-at-home mums share their survival tips. We hope that you’ll find our tips useful and remember that you’re not alone!
Adeline will share her survival tips! 

Adeline is very thankful that we don't live in the Stone Age, and that we can use technology to make our lives easier. After being a SAHM for almost two years, she has learnt to close one eye (though sometimes, both eyes need to be closed) to all the chaos in the house, and tries very hard not to sweat the small stuff. Visit her blog at Growing with the Tans  to see what her top SAHM survival tips are! 

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Flowery stuff

I have been out of sorts for the last weeks hence I have also been out of action (in terms of home learning). We have lost the momentum :(.

Still I did put in some effort few weeks back. I even lost the drive to switch on the computer to blog about it! (I am typing this on my phone- which also explains all the wrong fonts and misalignments.)

I made some home learning based on the theme 'flowers' and here's what we did:

I made these cards to help Doll understand that flowers come in a variety and each type has a name to it. I told myself this would be my objective and it won't matter if she doesn't remember the names. She simply had to match the flower cards to the correct master card. Each time she picks a card, I would say out the names of each flower. Doll actually recognized each of the flowers and even their names! I was curious if she would also recognize the 'real/live' flowers. So Whenever we pass by any florists, I would single out these flowers and she would confidently name them! I am so pleased! It confirms to me once again, Doll learns very well through matching activities like this! 

I made these counting cards and bought these pretty rose studs from Daiso. She had to place the correct number of roses onto the card. I love how pretty the end product looks! 

And not related to the 'flower' theme, I have been slowly expanding her reading. I made sentence cards and have her read aloud to me. Again, I'm so pleased that she's progressing in her reading and can now read simple sentences like these! Yahoo!!!

So there.. That's what we did many weeks back. I've recently prepared some more learning aid for her and we are slowly working on them. I hope I have the  motivation to blog about it. :)

Monday 12 May 2014

Homeschoolsg printables

Of late, I have seen a mom selling home made learning materials to other moms. When I first saw it, I thought little of it, although I felt many of the materials can be easily created at home & there's really no need to pay for it. But, I know there are busy moms out there who may appreciate this service. So I left it as that. 

Recently, I saw a familiar looking homemade activity that this same mom was selling. I cannot help but be suspicious that that learning aid was my brain child. Now, I am one who is careful in taking credits, or at least, I try my very best to give credit where credit is due. This one, I'm quite certain it was birth from my brain because I recall I made quite an effort to come up with this idea for Doll & I have not seen this in any blogs. 

Now, I have zero, nlitch, qualms if you use my ideas for your own home learning with your kids. But to recreate them and sell them for your own pocket money, is just... just not right. I didn't receive any request for permission & I believe I am not very pleased about this.

Of course there's no way to verify this suspicion and I may very well be wrong. Still, I like to take this chance to remind readers of this blog that you may use, recreate my ideas for your own learning. But for ethical reasons, please don't recreate it for your own profit making. 

Lastly, those printables can be easily made by anyone. As long as you have a printer, computer, laminator and scissors, you are good to go. So please be penny wise and don't spend that kind of unnecessary money. I will try to put up free printables as far as I can. But sometimes I am not in the liberty to share them because of copy right issues. 

Thanks for reading.