## Tuesday, January 26, 2010

### 'Tong-ing"

N got too bored with the scooping activity and his teacher suggest i vary the exercise. So i decided to let him try using the tong to transfer the marbles from one bowl to another. At first he wasn't too excited about it. I think he wanted to stop the game once he realise it was too challenging. Today, i saw him secretly trying it again (without taking it out from the shelf). I pretended not to but i saw he is slowly picking up the skill!

### The Hungry Caterpillar

I saw this template online and decide to print them out. Taking from an idea i read from a local magazine, i pasted each picture on an ice cream stick. I used these 'props' to re-tell the story of Eric Carle's 'The very hungry caterpillar'. N even got to choose his storyline! :)

### Asia Map revamp!

I realised the map i made wasn't condusive for the boy. The word labels were too big to fit into the some of the countries. I used some toothpicks & blue tag to remake the labels so that N can place them exactly at the right spot! So far he's learnt where China, India, thailand, philippines, japan, indonesia & south korea, sri lanka are. I need to speed up, i have not made the rest yet!

### Maths

I bought some stickers and prepared 10 cards and numbered them from 1 to 10. I got N to stick the respective number of stickers on each card. He wasn't in the mood for this; so i had to stack it away. Sobs :(

### Matching 101

I taught N how to read the words from 'one' to 'twenty'. To make him practise what he learnt, i got him to match the numeric symbols to the respective words cards. And then i would get him to give me the word cards in order. No sweat!

## Saturday, January 23, 2010

### He can Spell?

N's montessori teacher said that the only activity that can keep him focus is the moveable alphabet. So she's been doing this with him for the past few lessons. She commented that he is 'already very good' for his age.
I could watch N over the school's monitor and saw how engrossed he was with this game. His classmate first chose the activity (using moveable alphabet to play phonics game) and after wandering up and down the shelf for some time he decided to do the same activity. I could see that his classmate was alittle dreamy and her mat had only a few letters when N joined her. After some time, N's mat was filled with the alphabets while his classmates didn't seem to have progressed (from what i can see from the video).
His teacher said that while N could not decipher the letters when presented with the object say, 'bag' but he could pick up the correct letters if she slowly sound out the word for him like so, 'ber (for b)- air (a)- ger (g)'.
I was excited to witness and receive the feedback. Because this meant that his phonics learning has gone up another level. He must, and i hope, figured by now that he could spell out words using phonics. Oh well, does that mean i should not give up on this phonics business?

## Friday, January 22, 2010

### Phonics again

I think i am ready to throw in the towel. This phonics thing is really getting more odd to me. I mean, i (and many in my generation) never learn phonics but i dare say i know how to read! I was never taught what sound 'a' or 'g' makes but i figured it out along the way as i read and learnt more words. I mean its common sense right? Moreover, the english language can be very tricky (and weird at times). For instance, the letter 'a' can say 'ah' or put it with another set of letters, it would sound as 'air' or it could be just 'er' or simply 'a'. Now, tell me, how are you going to explain that to a child? The poor fellow will be so confused! Phonics is too technical! Unless you are an English teacher or something, no one learns English that way! I think the best way to teach english is to read more books, listen to (or perhaps even watch) good english programs. So yeah, i am pretty much done with this phonics thing. Actually, i never meant to start it. I just happened to play a phonics dvd (which was lent to me) with no intention for him to learn. So goodbye phonics...i think im quite done with you.

## Monday, January 18, 2010

### Match it!

I have been particularly selecting matching games because N seems more interested in them. So i printed this activity out and cut them out. Placing them face down radomnly on the floor, i had N to pick any card. Then he is to find the matching card. N seems intrigue by this game,!

### Matching ABC

I let N play an activity on my iphone the other day, and to my horror, he couldn't recognise the capital letter 'E' (ive been showing him only small caps). So to make sure he knows the ABCs in both caps and small caps, i printed this fish activity out. I cut out the small capital alphabets and had N match it to the capital letters. He did very well!

### Pink tower, revamp!

I got hold of this idea from a montessori blog. Apparantly there is more variation to the pink tower! I traced out each of the pink tower blocks on a red paper and cut them out. I pasted each piece on a white paper and have N to match the block to the paper. Unfortunately, N is not too excited about this game. :( for now i hope.

### Sorting Marbles

I bought a box of colored marbles for just \$2. I got N to sort the pretty marbles according to color.

### The Sky, Land & Sea

While waiting for N to sleep one night, i came up with this activity (only to know later that this activity can be found in one of the Montessori books).
I took 3 different colored sheets of paper, one light blue, dark blue and green. I pasted the light blue on the top of a drawing board paper, the green in the middle and dark blue at the bottom. The light blue represents the sky, green-land and dark blue- sea. I also prepared the words labelling 'sky', 'land' & 'sea'. I printed & cut out various transportation that can be found in the sky, land & sea. I talked through with N and placed each transportation in its respective places.

I also cut out animals and have N categorized them accordingly.

## Wednesday, January 13, 2010

### Phonics

N has learnt all the phonics sounds just by watching the leapfrog DVD. I didn't intend for him to learn from the tv and was quite shocked that he could picked it up from there. Shocked, because i felt that the show was rather'noisy' with all the sub plots and thought a young kid like him (he was barely 2 then) could pick up the main subject. Anyway, I also have the leapfrog fridge magnet toy, which helped him to reinforce what he learnt.
Now im stuck. I told N's montessori playgroup teacher that he already knows his phonics so she went through with him. But she reported that she wasn't sure if he really knows because there were some letters he didn't pronounce accurately. I had to explain that while he could sound out some letters accurately but he cant articulate a couple of sounds. For instance, he cant make the sound 'ssss', 'ffff', 'vvvvvv' or even 'dddd'. He would try to sound them out by blowing through his nose! Not just phonics, it also the same with other words. For instance, he can count from 1 to 20 but a stranger won't be able to pick out what he is saying. He would say 1 as 'ah' and 2 as 'kgnu' (i dont even know how to spell out the weird sound he makes!), 3 is quite similar to 2, although his 4,5,7 are quite clear. But im very sure he knows all the sounds in his head. How do i know? He could independently picked out the correct alphabet when i ask him which one makes a particular sound. The teacher seems to think we have to put this on hold until he speaks more clearly. :(
But, i feel that N is ready to move on. I can't quite keep sticking to phonics forever. He'd be bored stiff! However, i do see good reasons why i should shelve it. Perhaps i should focus on his pronounciation? Yet, i think this can be only acheived when he is developmentally ready. So what do i do? Im stuck!

## Saturday, January 9, 2010

### A List

I would like to record down what N already knows here so that when i look back by end 2010, i would know how much knowledge skills he has aqquired. Also, i get a visual idea of what areas i should focus more on this year.
Practical Life
- Pouring (but still needs to brush up pouring water)
- Scooping
Areas that need to improve
- putting on shoes
- buttoning
- sweeping
I have to say, N's still need alot of improvement in this aspect. He still needs alot of help!
Language
- knows the alphabets (but im not sure if he knows the order)
- knows phonics in his head but have problems producing the sounds verbally
- can recognise English and Mandarin words; can read simple sentences in both languages
Mathematics
- knows the order from 0-50
- can verbally count from 1-20 but not articulate
- knows 1-10 in mandarin
post note: just recently discovered that he can also count backwards from 10 - 1
- can do the counters activity but needs me to count aloud for him for numbers 7 onwards.
- knows geometric solids & the names
- knows comparisons like biggest, smallest, tallest, shortest, thickest & thinest, darkest, lightest in english & mandarin. Can also recognise these words in both languages.
Others
- knows 9 colors
- knows about 8 or more shapes
- can sort objects by colors and shapes
- can do pattern sequence
- can identify ocuppations, sports and balls
- can identify animal sounds
Geography/Science
- knows the solar system and its order
- knows the world continents
- can identify China, japan, indonesia, india on my DIY asia map (not sure if he can recognise it on a proper map)
- can indentify world flags and match it to the countries
It looks clear to me that i need to practise his life skills more. Right now there are some things he shoud be doing on his own but im still doing it for him. Im not sure where can i go forth from the mathematics and language aspect. I dont want to go on further too fast but yet i dont want him to be bored with the same topics.

## Wednesday, January 6, 2010

### Color Box

This montessori color box was selling at a cheap price \$39 SGD. I thought it was a steal & reckoned if i DIY it would cost more, so i happily snapped it up. Only to find that i could've downloaded this activity for free! DuH! Oh well, its always better to have a set you call your own. So what's the aim of this game? It comes in 9 sets of colors, and in each set there are different hues of the color; ranging from darkest to the lightest. The child is to arrange the tablets in order from darkest to lightest. This exposes to the child that each color can come in different shades. Its suppose to help in art (in future) indirectly.

### Learning Animals in Mandarin

This is another matching game. I had N match the correct animals to the corresponding mandarin words. I do this often so that he sees these words reguarly and it gets drilled in him. Im very pleased that he always proved to me that he never forgets!

### Lids and Boxes

I bought a stack of containers (of varying sizes) from Ikea for my house. But i soon found out i had one too many! What to with the excess? Use it for my homeschool activity of course! I had N match the various lids to the corresponding boxes. Here he hones his perception skills and visually discriminate the varying sizes of the boxes.

### Mathematics in...Mandarin!

I knew N understood the meaning of numeric symbols- in english that is. But i have not really taught him the mandarin version. He knows his 1-10 in mandarin but i've not taught what does 'yi' (1) in mandarin really means. So instead of the Montessori number cards, i used his mandarin flashcards instead & the montessori counters. I was preparing to teach him when he suprised me by doing the activity independently. So he actually knows! How on earth?!

### Colors, colors!

I used my colorful hair clips (more like beads) and N's brightly colored stacking toy for his color sorting activity. Here N's matching the colored hair clip to the same colored stacking cups. I also had N use the spoon instead of his hands; this way he practises his eye-hand coordination as well as his fine motor skills.