Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coloring & Pencil grip

N's chinese teacher said that his pencil grip still needs alot of practising (although i received a conflicting report from his main teacher) so she advised me to do alot more coloring with him at home. She said coloring activity is more to let the child practise his pencil grip not much of the coloring.

Well, N doesn't enjoy coloring and he used to draw a line or 2 on the paper and that was it. So i was unsure how to create an interest in him. Nonetheless, i whipped out his thomas coloring book one day and we had a blast, much to my surprise! I think N was really encouraged when i kept praising him and because of that he kept on scribbling. Im awfully glad to see more lines and color on the page! Well done!

Random Stuff

I have not been doing any work lately mainly because this mama is uninspired. Moreover, i felt that N was doing good work in school so i didn't want to 'overwork' him (although school's only 3 times a week). However, seeing how N keeps searching for things to do from our shelf (but only to find old stuff still there), i decided to start again which made me all inspired!

Meanwhile, i have been doing random stuff with him here and there.

We are still learning about the animal babies. I am aiming to complete all the puzzles in the box.

Also, just to revise, i printed out a table of baby 'xxx' and had N match the labels (which i made for the above puzzles). I delibrately did not read it out for N so i knew he could read independently and understood what he was reading. He could match the words perfectly. Well done for remembering my boy!

I saw this at Mi Escuelita Montessori blog and knew i had to do it with N. N got really bored with his pink tower and brown stairs that he has NEVER attempted to take them out. But he was truly pleased and happy doing this. I thought this was an excellent activity as N got to learn about sequencing.

I wanted to be sure N knows his phonics (ok yes, im back at this again, never mind what i said about phonics earlier!). So i took out some pictures and alphabets & had N to match. Unfortunately, he didn't do well with this. Well...we'll have to keep doing this!

Visiting the world over

Finally, N asked to do fit his flag puzzles. We did it once but he found it too challenging. This time, we had an easier time because i sort out the puzzles first and used the guideline for N to follow. N gets to revised his knowledge on the world flags.

The next thing we did was to sort the animals by the continents. From reading an Atlas book, N knows very well the Australian and South American animals. BUt he still needs help with the others. Oh well practise makes it perfect!

Playdough fun!

How do we have lots of fun with our Playdough?

We use our egg puzzles to do letter stamping on playdough! I got this idea from Pre which is an absolutely fabulous website!

We also made animal tracks on playdough. I might have gotten this idea from surfing the other Montessori blogs...and im sorry i really forgot who.

We pretended the animals were stuck and narrated parts from this book that we are reading now titled One Duck Stuck by repeating the catchy phrase 'Help help, who can help? We can We can!' N & i had loads of fun with this. It was very endearing to see N chanting away with me. :) N loves this book very much.

Again, from Pre kinders website, i had the idea of using the parts from Mr Potato Head toy and stuck it into our playdough. N was very amused!

But N's favourite of all was when we made tyre tracks using N's vehicle toys. Again, this idea was adapted from Pre kinders website. He was completely fascinated with the tyre tracks and was upset when i had to clear it away. Another day baby!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Power of iphone

The other day, we attended a wedding dinner. In order, to keep him entertained and seated, i shoved the iphone to him. He, unfortunately, played with it the whole night. Anyway, his favourite game is the world flags application (he is particulary interested in world flags and world map).

The game goes like this; 20 world flags are randomly displayed on the screen. The player is to select the flag that matches with the country that appears at the bottom of the screen. N has learnt about 70+ country names and its respective flags, before he turned 2. So he was able to play this game independently.

However,  there were some flags (like African flags) that i have never taught him before. That night, as i watched him play, i discovered that he has learnt to recognise flags like Gabon, Suriname, Seychelles, Somalia, and many others that i couldn't keep track of (and never knew existed)- all through playing with the iphone. The daddy thinks N is getting close to beating his score! The moral of the story? Be very careful and selective of what you download on your iphone!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Promoted, again?

It's been 1 week of a new (mandarin) curriculum for the boy, and the chinese teacher's feedback was that N is doing well. In fact, she has suggested that we up his mandarin lessons to another level, Nursery 2 (currently he is being taught Nursery 1 curriculum, meant for 3/4 years old, i think?). 'Gwak'

The mandarin teacher 'complained' that N is learning too fast and to keep up with him, its best to introduce the next level to him. This week, N's older classmate (about 5 year old) has returned from her holidays, and both of them are attending the chinese lesson together. It seems, N is ahead of her and can read some of the words that she cannot. I also learnt that the teacher is teaching N 'tang shi' (chinese poetry)!

The good thing is that N is now learning more from the teacher than me. At the playgroup level, the teacher was teaching him words that he already knows. So i wasn't blown away when she raved about how he could read the words. I wondered if she taught him new words, would he be able to learn too? But, with this new curriculum he has learnt new words, that is beyond me. I have lost track of the words he knows. So, now i am absolutely convinced that N can learn from otherss too, not just from me. And as i have told the teacher, i am leaving all the mandarin teaching into her capable hands! Im washing my hands off (because, really mandarin is not my forte!).

5 is more and 2 is less

I have been practising the concept of more and less with N using my DIY kit. He knows the meaning of more and less so i raised the bar a little higher by getting him to understand why '5' is more than '2' and why '2' is less than '5'. As i blogged earlier, i used the above stickers to teach him that. One night, i drew this activity out from our shelf and layed out just the number cards (without the stickers), and casually asked him which number is more ('8' or '2'). He was able to tell me that 8 is more than 2 and 2 is less than 8. To make sure he really understood, i made it a wee bit more challenging by taking out numbers '8' & '7' and i asked him again. This time...he also answered rightly! Hooray! My son has pass! Now on the next stage...

Rhyming Words

I have read about the importance of teaching the child about ryhming words and how it would help in their reading (and even speech). So as always, i had big plans to make my own rhyming cards but never got to it because of the word 'procrastinate'. Luckily, i found this box of puzzles! Exactly what i need (im begining to rely on such puzzles!)

The concept of the game is to have the child find the matching piece that sounds the same as in 'ball' matches with 'hall'. The good thing about this puzzle is that the pieces are self correcting. I briefly taught N that 'mouse' rhymes with 'house' and 'boat' rhymes with 'goat' etc using the cover of the box. But i really didn't know how well he actually understood. Well, it seems he understood it perfectly. He managed to match most of the pieces correctly & the second time we did it, he got all correct. I wanted to take our time to do the puzzles, but my 'hungry' son took them all out because he was really eager to do them. So, after 2 plays, i think we're more or less done with this box.  :(

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home for a Tiger, Home for a Bear

Nothing great about this book. It's N's favourite book though i am not sure why. But the real reason why im posting this book is because my son can read the book title aloud for me! Whoo hoo! Although N knows the individual sounds of each alphabets but he recognises words as it is without needing to sound out each word. I learnt to read like that too that's why i have no problems with that! :)


Recently, i have been given postitive feedback about N from his school teachers, especially his Chinese teacher. For the past 2 weeks or so the teacher has been raving about how intelligent (in her own words) N is. She is fascinated by how fast N is able to learn new words and how well he could remember them (even with little revision). She even went to the extent of comparing with, not his peers, but older kids in school and said that while they had much difficulty learning the words, N would do it with ease. She also pointed out that Mandarin words are not easy to learn.

I am of course blown away by their comments but more because it shows that N is opening up in school. During the first month or so of school, the teachers would tell me that N doesn't seem to know the basic things like colors, numbers etc. I had to tell them all the stuff that he knows, while the teachers were surprise by his knowledge but were not able to verify that in class. I suspect the teachers saw me as an overly bragging parent then.

However, as weeks go by, N is begining to open up to his teachers (especially the chinese teacher, whom i think is his favourite) and the teachers report now matches up with mine. Thank Goodness! However, his articulation is still very poor and it doesn't help that he speaks very softly. The good thing is that now the chinese teacher has learnt to listen to him more intently and can understand him. For instance, there are certain words that he cannot pronounce perfectly, but the teacher now knows that he is reading the correct word. I am very relief to hear such positive news from the teachers although he stills needs to brush up more on his communication skills. Keep it up my boy! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010


N's articulation is very poor. So poor that sometimes i don't even understand what he is saying. His expressive language is also lagging behind. :( It's really worrying me, but hubby and i have decided to take a wait and see approach. Meanwhile, i am doing what i can to help him.

 I notice that N likes to stand by the fridge and mumble something, gesturing us to open it. When i ask him what he wants, he would say something which i sometimes cannot figure out (although i know exactly what he wants). So to help him, i printed out these sentences and put it up on the fridge. I got him to read it out for me (he has no problems reading) once through. The next time when he wants something from the fridge, i will get him to read aloud the sentence that represents his thoughts. I am trying to kill 2 birds with 1 stone here. First, i hope by doing this, he now knows what to say if he wants something. Secondly, he gets to learn to read!

I don't know if this would work or if im doing it wrong. But im going to try and see. Cross fingers for me!

Alphabet 101

We didn't do much this week. Partly because 1) i was lazy and 2) which is honestly the real reason, i was running out of ideas! Thank God for ready made puzzles that are really nothing much to prepare! *wink*

I bought this puzzle set 2 months back in Ipoh. N, at that time, couldn't do activities like 'a is for apple, b is for banana'. He wasn't able to grasp the concept. So i thought this puzzle would be a good activity to get the idea across. I envisioned us sitting side by side and me explaining to him why a is for apple and ant.

Who knew, by the time i was ready to teach him this, he already figured out. He pulled out this puzzle box and played with it independently with no help from me. I was surprise he even got all right. Moments like this, tells me that sometimes, just sometimes, i under estimate his abilities.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Smart or not?

Once a mother snubbed me saying that parents are teaching too much to a toddler & they should loosen their reins and let the child enjoy his childhood. To her, the child has a life time to learn so why hurry now? She even loosely said that someone read an article that said a smart pre-schooler does not equate a smart adult in future. That stuck to me, it makes me worry that one day, all these will fall back on me.

However, one thing i am very sure, N enjoys his 'work' very much. During our school hour, he is almost always happy, relax, stress-free and eager. Sometimes he would even beg to do 'work' before his bedtime and would cry if we say 'no'. I guess, N never viewed all these as work neither have i ever presented them that way. He sees it all as playing.

I strive to make our homeschooling relaxing and enjoyable. I make sure that i stop if N doesn't like the activity (although i have to admit i was quite the opposite in the begining & it sure stressed the socks out of the both of us! Thank God i've since to learn how to let N lead). Our homeschool hour NEVER exceed more than an 1hr, in fact, sometimes it'd only be 30min or less. But the things he learnt during that short span of time is astounding. The key, the activity must be short, the message clear and it must be easy for a toddler to understand.

So all that said, does it look like N is not having a happy childhood? It doesn't look like to me, does it?

While, learning IS a lifetime process but our absorbent period is limited. A child learns much faster & easier than any adult can. They are wired this way. Teach a child something & likely he would remember it quickly and for a long time. I don't know about other parents, but i sure want to make use of this period. And the best part, they LOVE learning!

I don't know if a smart pre-schooler will or will not eventually becomes smart in future. But i do know that a child who develops faster than the next child doesn't make him smarter. A child who walks faster, sings better, talks at an early age, doesn't make him smart. So, im thinking that article might be referring to that. Moreover, these homeschooling activities don't aim to make N smart. It's aimed to bring him knowledge. To help him sort, to make sense and understand the load of information he has absorbing since an infant. Will these make him smarter? Who knows? I'll let you in on that when he turns 7! :P

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


In N's school, he is considered under the Playgroup (pre-nursery) curriculum based on his age. He will only be enrolled in Nursery next year.

However, the chinese teacher, seeing how advanced N is in school, decided to introduce to him the Nursery level curriculum instead. The teacher was very confident that N would be able to catch up. But I was alittle apprehensive, although i do agree that the playgroup lessons are more of a revision for him. I was worried he wouldn't be able to understand, seeing that the higher curriculum is something i've never taught him. Then, it hit me. All this while i've been ahead of the school, instead of letting the school teach my son new stuff. Having this revelation, i decided to let go, afterall why should i be paying them for something N has already know?

After school today, the chinese teacher excitedly reported to me that N was able to cope with the first lesson & could even read the new words (but of course, i already taught him at home!). It was a good assurance but then again, its too early to tell?

Our booklist this week

This week, we are reading about animals!

Through reading this book, N has learnt that, ostriches mostly live in Africa, they eat grass & insects and cannot fly.

We're also reading about goats. N has discovered that goats also eat grass, the male goat is called a 'buck' and the baby goat is called a 'kid'.

Tracing Shadows

Warning: tedious preparation work ahead.

I saw a animal shadow matching game and wanted to buy it. But the price of it wasn't worth it especially when i know N will grow out of it after one or two plays. So i decided to DIY.

But it was alot of hardwork! The tracing was easy, but cutting thin lines from a tracing paper is no easy feat. Then pasting the tracing paper onto a black sheet of paper wasn't fun as well! It takes alot of skill to glue & stick the flimsy and fragile paper!

But it was all worth it! The previous matching games were too easy and this one, well wasn't too tough for him too but at least it's something new. He always prefer new things. Here N is matching his animal toys with it shadows.

N got all the animals right, except the chicken.

Puzzling puzzles!

Finally! N seems to be going through a sensitive period for puzzles at the moment. I know of boys who, before 2 years of age, could manage a 15-20 piece puzzle! I was eager for N to do the same but he wasn't interested in piecing even a 4-piece puzzle! Boy was i dissapointed! Feeling discouraged, i never played any puzzle games with him since...

until recently! He pulled out the puzzle box himself one day and started putting them together by himself. I was elated! I went on to purchase 2 more just so he could keep his mojo going!

This was found during a mini book fair. It cost me just SGD $9.90! For a wooden puzzle, that's quite a steal! (I actually think i was undercharged, sssh!). To my delight, this was a real hit with N. YAY!

The eager beaver in me went on to buy a 24-piece puzzle for N! I chose this one because N is always fascinated with flags of the world. But this puzzle is a tad too difficult for N to do. Oh well, we'll just have to wait.

Monday, April 5, 2010

This week's plan

I don't have a fix curriculum that i follow and only would plan the activities for the week on the weekend before. I just go according to whatever resources i have at hand and the topics that i wish to teach N.

This week we are learning about the names of different types of ocean fish.
I wanted to take our time and use the whole week to learn about the fish, who knew the daddy taught N EVERYTHING while i was showering. And within minutes N remembered all the fish and its names...there goes my plan for the week!

I would usually have N to use his finger to point as he counts. But he can't coordinate his verbal counting with his pointing. For instance, when he is counting at '4' his finger would be pointing at say, '6' etc.

So i made this activity for him. I cut out 10 strips of paper and pasted stickers on them from 1 to 10 (1 sticker on 1st strip of paper, 2 stickers on the 2nd strip etc...till 10). I instructed N to put the counter on each stickers as he counts along and find the matching numeral. This worked! N can count and coordinate better with this activity.

The animal youngs we are learning this week are: tadpole, elephant calf, fry (baby fish) and lamb. Again, i wanted N to take his time but within the first lesson he got all the names and remembered them!

We will also be learning that different type of triangles can be made into pallelogram, rectangle and squares!

We will also be dabbling on the tens board!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What we've learnt all week

Im very proud that N has learnt the names of some animal youngs through this activity. This week, im going to introduce another 6 new baby animals to N using the same puzzle set.

We've also learnt the names of the geometric solids. I always believe in writing down the names on a paper when i'm teaching N new objects. This way, he not only knows the name of each object audibly but he also can SEE the names of the objects. The new words he learnt are 'ovoid, triangular prism, rectangular prism & pyramid'. This method proves to do well with us. N has been learning new objects and new words all at the same time! 

And he has also mastered the different parts of a car (except that he always mix up bonnet and windscreen!) through this activity. Time to move on to bicycle!

Random Play

I was pestered by an annoying headache all week such that i hardly could plan nor do much homeschool activity with N. Don't you just hate it when a mere pain takes away so much precious time from your child?

I plucked out whatever energy left in me and did some random play with N.

Play-Doh is such an easy way out for days like these! No planning, no preparation required. Just whip it out and play! Best of all, it's a sure hit with the kid!

Days like these make me appreciate the little balcony i have in my house. We use it as an outdoor water play area for N and for him to do some chaotic gardening.

And i thought of another way to use the cheap eggs i bought for easter. Letter stamping!
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