Thursday, May 27, 2010

End of Term 2

Yesterday marked the end of school term for N and as my practice i am going to list down what he has learnt.

He has learnt:

1. the names of baby animals
2. classify between jungle and farm animals
3. names of volumeric solids such as ellipisoid and ovoid
4. teens board from 10 to 90
5. to spell simple words like 'egg, bus, sun, flower' and his name of course
6. parts of a bicycle.
7. names of various fish (grouper, porcupine fish, swordfish etc)
8. the life cycle of a sunflower
9. revised the names of varying flowers (rose, poppy, rafflesia, tulip etc)
10. numbers from 60 to 80, the sequence and the words
11. opposite words
12. exposed to additions
13. famous landmarks & where they are located i.e. Leaning tower of Pisa is in Italy, Taj Mahal in India, Dome of the Rock in Israel, Staute of liberty in USA. He learnt this soley from reading this book
14. which animals belong to which continent/country i.e. panda in China, kangaroo from Australia
15. parts of a fish
16. chinese words strokes from school
17. number of sides a square and triangle has
18. days of the week.
19. mastered using tongs
20. the things used by various proffessions i.e. doctor uses sethoscope, painter uses a paint brush
21. He has started on the blue series (blending words) in school.

Socially, he has also improved tremendously. I previously lamented that he is very delayed in his expressive language. But from that time till now, he has been verbalising his needs more and more each day. Now he can tell me 'i want milk or i don't want go church!'. Its a relief, however his articulation is still about 80% unclear, but there has been progress of course. Also, he is becoming more outspoken in school and getting comfortable with his teachers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Learning Bible verses

Ok the following picture is really messy. Bear with me please. I am too lazy to retake another one! LOL!

I want to share how i am teaching N bible verses. Instead of waiting for him to be older and forcing him to memorise verses, i decided to start now when he can memorise and retain things effortlessly. I printed the boy picture here and paste it over a green color paper. I made it into a mini board by pasting the paper over cardstock. I wrote a verse and stuck onto the board.

This week's verse is Psalms 139: 14 "I will praise thee for i am fearfully and wonderfully made..." You'll notice that i tweak the verse alittle. I changed it  to "N (i wrote his full name) is fearfully and wonderfully (yes ok, there was a spelling error  on the original copy!) made". I did it so because i wanted the verse to be personalised to him. I didn't want to quote the entire verse because i wanted to bring it down to a level where he can understand. Also i wanted a short phrase such that its easy for him to recite the verse. MOre importantly, i want him to remember the verse so that when he is older, he can refer to the bible and read the whole verse himself.

We've been reading out the verse every now and then. Im glad that N is receptive towards this and enjoys reciting with me. :)

From flowers to LEAVES

Since we are on topic of flowers, i decided we should touch alittle on leaves as well.

We read a book on leaves

After a couple of reads, N now knows by heart the names of the different leaves, from Swiss Cheese plant to ferns to water lily & more. Never under estimate the power of reading books! So choose your books wisely!

We are also learning about the different parts of a leaf. I got this from here 

More flower activities

Here are more flower activities we'll be dabbling this week:

I printed this flower cards some time ago when i was still having flashcard sessions with N. It's been a really long while since we saw these cards so what better time to bring it out again!

N suprisingly still remembered the names of some of the flowers. That's the power of flashcards for you! What we did was to name each flower and match it to the word cards.

This is an addition game which i printed out from here (my current fav website!). Yes, i agree that N may be too young to know how to add. But i think there's no harm exposing him to it. Here's how i did it. I placed one counter on each flower. I would then say aloud, for instance 'one' (pointing to the one counter on the first flower) 'plus' (pointing to the addition symbol) 'one' (pointing to the other counter on the next flower), 'equals?'. I got N to count the TOTAL number of counters and place the answer, using the numeral counter on the box above. In this case, it was '2'. And so on.

 I was extremely cautious when presenting this to him because i didn't want him to dislike the game and hence the subject. It was like do or die! The good thing was N enjoyed it! However, we played it very differently from how i planned it. N would pick up a numeral, say 4, and insist that i form an equation that gives the answer, 4, and then 5, 6, 7 all the way to 21! We could have continued but i didn't have enough numeral counters to make '22'!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bible Study

My very best efforts in exposing N to bible stories have been futile. He is not interested in reading bible stories at all.  I have been cracking my head but i have no idea! This is one of my feeble ways to expose him to God. I took out his old puzzles, and wrote the words 'God created these'. As i placed each piece on the paper, i tell him 'God created dog! God created man! etc'. Erm, well at least he stayed till i finished the story.

Learning Opposites in mandarin

I finally learnt how to change the language setting on my computer (yes i can be quite an IT dumbwit)! This new skill has brought my homeschool lessons to another level! Yes, i can now type mandarin words, hooray!

Anyway, this is my first DIY mandarin activity. N has just learnt the opposite words in English, so i decided to teach him that in mandarin too. I typed and printed out the words and used the same puzzles. I read out each word to N and showed him the meaning of each word.

Sweet smelling FLOWERS!

This week's theme is on flowers!

I started by reading this book. It has very simple passages and huge pictures. I like this book because it brings across the message very clearly yet, simply- perfect for young children.

I printed this exercise on lifecycle of sunflower from here. We recalled what we read in the book (above) and place the cards in sequence.

We read about the different types of flowers

Here's a look at the book's contents.

We learnt how to spell 'flower'. I traced the letters on a paper and had N match it. After a couple of tries, he was able to spell the word independently. Well done my boy!

I gave in to temptations and bought this set of Montessori flower puzzle. I mean, it was perfect for my flower theme this week! I used this puzzle to teach N the different parts of a flower.

Friday, May 21, 2010

2 puzzles in 1

N has 2 sets of wooden puzzles that i oh so love. But he is loosing interest in them. Perhaps its because its becoming a tad easy for him. To make it more challenging for him, i undid the puzzles and mix the 2 sets together (think i got this idea from the Activity mom). He went to work at it right away!

And the finished work!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homeschooling a toddler

One of the most important lessons i've learnt in homeschooling a toddler is to know when to stop the lesson. That's really easier said than done. When you spent alot of time planning and making the materials, you'd inevitably harbour high hopes and expectations. Needless to say, with great expectations come great dissapointments.

During our first weeks of homeschooling, N was not compliant. He wanted to destroy my materials more than completing the activity. Being dissapointed, i took it out on N, scolded and even said some harsh words to him. The worst part of it all,  i felt guilty & lousy for scolding him and being so impatient. And of course, all these made learning very stressful and not fun for N.

If you are feeling anything like how i felt, don't. The best thing to do now is to take a break from homeschool and start afresh. After i realised that the homeschool lesson became too stressful for us, i took a few weeks break to allow us to breathe. I started again when i was very sure that i could let it go if N didn't want to attend my homeschool lessons. True enough, as soon as i learnt to relax & allowed him to choose what he wants to do, the mood got more enjoyable, fun & fruitful. We never stop homeschooling since!

I've also discovered that if the activity is too difficult for the child, he'll loose interest quickly. Initially, i introduced activities that I thought was age appropiate. But N wasn't developmentally ready which was the reason why he was non compliant. Study your child well and know his level of ability. Introduce activities that are appropiate for him and never use the milestone charts as a gauge. Because if he is not ready, no matter how you teach and show him, he'll never pick it up. Worst, if you insist that he learns something he is not ready to do, he may develop a phobia toward that subject. But once he is ready, he'll pick up the concept/skill in a flash.

For instance, i once showed N how to use the tongs to pick up cotton balls etc. But at that time, he wasn't 1) interested and 2) developmentally ready. No matter how i explained to him, show him, taught him, he never got it.  So we took a break from that. Recently, i took it out again and lo & behold, he could use the tongs like a pro!

In sum, learn to take the lead from your child and not have him take the lead from you. If he shows any hint of disinterest in the activity, simply take it away from him and try again another time. Above all, you must enjoy homeschooling. If you are not, chances are your child is not too.  Always strive to make learning fun because that's what you want to instill in your child. Enjoy homeschooling!

Spell my name!

N can spell his own name! hOrray! Here's how i do it. Again i saw this from another montessori mama's blog while blog hopping.

First trace his name on a piece of paper. I used the alphabets pieces from his Melissa & DOug toy to trace. Using the same alphabet pieces, i got N to match the alphabets (in order) to his name on the paper.

After one or two tries, i took away the paper and got N to spell his name on his own. Success!

(Unfortunately, the photo that i have shows N's full name. I prefer to keep that annoymus so no picture today!)

Monday, May 17, 2010

What's the time Mr wolf?

Now that N is older and recognises numbers, i thought i should teach him to tell the time. I deliberately highlighted the hands on each clock as well as the numeral that the short hand is pointing. I did this so that N can instantly see the difference between each clock. I also made word labels. I have not had the chance to teach N yet...will update how this goes.

Drawing a duck and the letter M

More writing activities!

 Connecting the dots. This was his first time doing this, it was really priceless seeing his expression on seeing the finished picture!

Writing the letter M.

Chinese strokes

I traced out the chinese strokes from N's books and got him to practise his handwriting. He could name some of the strokes in mandarin!

Who lives in the Jungle, farm?

Having read the 2 books on farm & jungle animals, i got N to sort the animals using some puzzle pieces. Erm, suprisingly, he was quite rusty! Oh well...we'll just need to revise again!


Here's how i teach N the concepts of using my good old puzzles of course! N knows the meaning of 'big, small, tall, short' etc. But i think he doesn't know them as opposite words nor the meaning of 'opposites'. So i made a point to tell him that the opposite of 'big' is 'small' as he matches the puzzles together. After he completed the puzzles, he exclaimed ' OPPOSITES!' :)

Numbers from 60 to 69

I have taught N the number sequence from 1- 59 and always wanted to move on. But  N would always choose language over a maths activity (even his teacher say so). Having failed in getting him to do this (see numbering activity), i decided to tailor it to his interest by combining it with his favourite subject. Instead of getting him to count, i got him to match the numerals to the words in order. This way, N also got to learn the number sequence from 60 to 69. Success!


Since we've not been seeing this set of maths puzzles for a while, i decided to whip it out for N to play! He was quite excited seeing his old 'friends' again.

Here's a closer look on the puzzles. N matches the pieces more by reading the words (ie. four bananas) rather than counting the items. Oh well, i'll just take it as a reading lesson rather than a counting lesson then!

I love these puzzles! Its so convenient, easy and affordable. I always rely on them whenever i have no inspiration or too lazy to make my own materials! Here's the cover of the box if you are interested in getting them. You can get them from any Popular bookshop.

Practical Life

This week we are focusing on practical life skills.

Pouring marbles from bowl to bowl

Using tongs to transfer marbles. And i later asked N to transfer the marbles back to the original bowl using his fingers while counting.

I printed this from here. N had to determine the number of cows on each card and place the cotton balls on the numeral using tongs. He loves this so do i! Its killing 2 birds with one stone, he practises his pincer grasp AND counting. WOOHOO! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jungle Animals

After reading Farm animals, we proceeded to reading Jungle Animals. From the book, N has learnt what is a jungle and who lives in it.

Now N is able to list down the animals who live in the farm and jungle. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stand on Thomas!

I bought this Thomas the train mat when N was very young. It was meant to act like a play boundary for him. But not long after i bought it, N got more mobile & we stopped using the mat, which meant...i wasted my money! But, fortunately, we invented a new game using the mat (which makes me feel less guily of this unnecessary purchase). This game is simple but it is great for training the tod's listening skills.

It's like Simon says, we tell N 'Stand on...Thomas!' and N would scurry to find Thomas and stand on the spot! Or we would say 'stand on...edward!' and so on. He simply loves this game (although im really bored stiff playing this game so daddy's mostly his playmate). But its an excellent way to help the child learn to listen to instructions. You don't need a Thomas train mat to play this game, you can use almost anything! Say your child's cartoon bedsheet or you can lay picture cards all over the floor etc. It's easy, fun and educational...oh and its free! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chinese strokes

N's teacher handed me a completed activity book which she gone through with N. It was on chinese strokes. When the teacher told me N knows the names of the basic chinese strokes, my reaction was just a 'oh okay'- i didn't think much of it. When i flipped through the book with N, I was shocked that he could tell me 'heng' or 'dian' or 'pie' (all the names of the chinese strokes) etc. I mean, hello, i learnt this in Primary 3 when i was 9 years old! I am of course very proud of what he has achieved but...deep in me, i think it's a tad too fast. I mean, his handwriting skills isn't even near to perfection yet and can he really understand what these strokes mean (apparently not)? But on the other hand, i do know that the kids are learning way faster than the kids in my time. Anyway, i sure hope he doesn't get confused!

Color apples

Here's the end result of our coloring. I reminded N to color within the lines. He read out each sentences and colored the apples accordingly. He did great if i can say so myself! *beam*

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fishy stuff

Someone told me that there's no point spending money on Montessori stuff because there are many free resources available. I cannot agree more! Here is one of the many FREE montessori printable which i will be using for our homeschool lesson this week. Montessori students used these (in wooden puzzle forms) to learn about parts of animals or plants. Instead of buying all the puzzles which can be quite costly, why not print these out, do alittle DIY here and there...and we are set to work! Ok..i sound like a sales woman so (see ive got a typo disease) i digress.

Here's what i did. Using the template of a fish, i lay it over a black piece of paper and cut out the individual parts.

 The black cut out parts will be used as movable labels where N can match it to this master template and the following.

Then i printed out another page of the fish template and cut out the individual parts. I then paste them over black paper and label the parts.

Admitedly, these could have been done better (as i said, i have no patience to make it look pretty!). But oh well!

It's all about buttons & coloring!

I am kind of shy posting this activity because of how poorly i made this material. I love to see pretty things but i don't have the patience to make pretty things. As long as the material is good enough to bring across the key lesson to N, i give in to sub standards. Anyway, this week we'll be trying our hands on opening & closing press buttons! I cut out various shapes using felt cloth and sewed the press buttons to them. I let N do a dry run (right after i made them)...hmm, he gave up half way! :( Im going to try again!
I printed this from here. Its a coloring printable cum a reading book. I plan to have N read the sentences aloud to me & color the apples accordingly.

Friday, May 7, 2010

My baby can read...mandarin

I have stopped teaching N mandarin at home since his chinese teacher is doing such a great job. However, i still make some effort to read Mandarin books with him at home. N can read these simple mandarin books with no help.


I love art and craft! I used to ace that subject but unfortunately my talents were not nutured and got lost along the way. Anyway, i can't say the same for my son, he doesn't quite seem to have a liking for crafts...YET!

A very nice staff from N's school is leaving so i thought we should make her a farewell gift at the same time get N involved in some art & craft activity. The items needed, glue, ice cream sticks, colored paper, pen, scissors & glitter. Oh and a toddler's hand!

I traced N's hand on 2 pieces of paper. N applied some glue on his hand print and sprinkled gold dust. I let it dry, cut them out and paste the cut out hand on the ice-cream stick.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

He makes me proud!

For the first time, N's form teacher came up to me in excitement. When i heard her calling me, my first thought was 'oh no what did he do this time?' But it was all good.

She showed me a book and asked if i had it the same copy at home. When i replied no, she looked surprised. She said that N could read the book by himself! But after reading half the book, he refused to continue (well, that's my son for you). I looked at the book and its not a normal toddler book. I think its meant more for 4-5 years old? Each page had 2 or more sentences (not phrases).The teacher said he was able to read even the challenging (for his age at least) words. 

I told her i've never taught him some of the words in the book and figured that he must have picked it up when she read it out loud to him. She was impressed by his ability to remember since she had only read the book to him a couple of times.

To be really honest, i am not surprise. I know N has been learning new words purely from our read-aloud sessions. And i know how well he can retain new words he learnt. That said, i am of course, over the moon hearing her feedback & pleased. More so because it's a sign to me that i made the right choice in choosing a Montessori school for N.

N has a very quiet personality with very mild temper. In a large group setting, it is very easy for one to neglect and overlook him. He is not vocal, like those toddlers who can strike a conversation with the teacher nor does he have very loud, attention grabbing actions. He never seeks attention, nor needs it, If he ever has a need or want, he'd figure out himself or simply find a subsitute that is more attainable.

I'm certain if i had placed him in a typical class setting, i would not have received the same good reports, perhaps an average or even poor feedback! I doubt the mainstream teachers would ever discover he could read or have a good memory. Come to think of it, his montessori teachers only started noticing him AFTER 3 other students moved out of the class. What more if it was in a larger & non-montessori setting? I cannot even being begin (i have this strange disease that makes me type one word but im actually thinking of another!) to imagine!

Atlas at last!

This is N's all time favourite book! I actually bought for him (and me). Thinking he is too young for it, i had meant to keep it till he is much older. But he really liked this book so...

I bought this book so that i can get a quick overview of the World ( because my general knowledge is shamefully poor!). Well, the good thing is N really enjoys this book and actually picked up (and still learning) quite a number of things from flipping this book (i say flipping because i don't read out the wordy paragraphs to him) . For instance, he has learnt which animals can be found in which continent (he is especially good with Austrailian animals) and he now knows that Taj Mahal is in India, Great wall of China is in China, Statue of Liberty in USA etc. It is amazing how we learn new stuff each time we pick up this book! Lots of things to discover! Now i am pointing out to him the continents that each country belongs. Best of all, this book cost me a mere $6.90, talk about making my money's worth! :)

Farm Animals

One evening, while waiting for daddy in the car, i decided to kill time by reading this book which was freshly borrowed from the library. I borrowed this book because i wanted to help N differentiate farm & wild animals.

I read out the title 'Farm animals' and asked N who lives in the farm as i turn the page. N answered me by reading each page out loud for me, 'duck!, turkey!, donkey! etc'. That night, while playing, i casually asked N 'which animal lives in the farm?'. To my suprise, he could remember what we read and named most of the farm animals we saw in the book! We spent only a brief moment reading the book and i only read that once with him, but he could remember! :) Little did i know he can learn so much in under a minute?  Never under estimate the power of books & reading aloud!
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