I had planned to teach N the names of the baby animals. It started one day when we stumbled on a picture of a kitten and asked N what it was to which he said 'cat'. I was concern that he'd be confused because there is a picture of young cat but the word on the page is 'kitten'. There and there i knew i had to help N differentiate the two.
I was planning to look through the internet for pictures, print, cut and laminate...all the tedious work! I was procastinating really...until i saw this puzzle in a store one day. It was exactly what i had wanted! A puzzle of animals and its young. I had N first fit the puzzle by matching the adult animal to its young. I then used word labels, which i made, and taught N that the baby hen for instance is called a chick, the baby whale is called a calf..etc. So far N has been picking this puzzle almost everyday.
Since we were on the topic of eggs, i thought i let N see how to spell the word, 'egg'. It is a relatively simple word to spell since it has only 2 letters ('e' & 'g'). After 2 rounds, N was able to spell the word independently. To make it simple, i only took out the 3 letters and had N arrange the words.
To my surprise, he wanted to do more word building (he normally refuse this) and kept taking out his foodie toys so that we can spell the objects. I was extremely ill prepared and had no choice but to concede to spelling more than 3 letter words. Oh well, at least N had fun with this.
Later on, just for fun, i took out another 3 letters, 'b', 'u' & 's' and placed them randomly on the floor. I asked N to build the word 'bus' which he did without any help! I was also delighted to know he could also spell the word 'sun'! Whoop, all thanks to his teacher in school!
This is another matching game which i downloaded from here. I did not color the eggs because i wanted N to match by observing the patterns rather than colors. I thought this was a notch higher in terms of difficulty since it requires merticulous observation due to varied patterns on each egg. Ok i was wrong. N proved otherwise. Duh.
In the name of Easter, i finally decided to buy these cute eggs for just $2! Its actually puzzle pieces. When open them, you'll see the alphabets on each side of the shell. To make it more realistic, i presented them in an egg carton.
N was extremely eager to do this. I had thought it would be a tad complicated for him because one side of the shell is actually a mirror image of the letter. But he really surprised me!
Last week marked the end of N's 1st school term of the year. Im going to jot down what he has learnt in school and at home
The teacher said that N had been picking the pink object box almost the whole term. But instead of building words, he was more interested in matching the words to the objects.
Also this term, the teacher has introduced to him tracing of the metal inset, which she said he could do pretty well.
As for mandarin, although he isn't reading aloud for his chinese teacher, but he could read for me at home when i revised with him. So we've all concluded that he IS listening and absorbing in class but refuse to show any verbal evidence...yet. However, he is begining to participate during circle time, dancing along the music which is vast improvement from the initial days.
Let's see. He has self-taught the alphabetical order. (If you've read my blog, you'd know i never taught him the alphabets nor the order. He mostly learnt it from reading books, watching educational DVD and listening to music).
He has also learnt the food that some animals eat. Now he knows:
Chicken eats corn, horse eats sugar (for snacks), cow eats grass, owl eats mouse, monkey eats banana, cat eats fish, birds eat worms, rabbit eats carrot and frog eats fly. He learnt it all through playing this activity.
He has also learnt the concept of buttoning and is now more interested in attempting to button and un-button his own clothes.
He was introduced to new shapes & its names, parallelogram, quatrefoil, pentagon.
He learnt the words from eleven to twenty.
He learnt new mandarin words on animals.
He learnt the various species of birds & insects and knows how to classify them
He can now identify and sort transportation by sky, sea & land,
Thanks to the iphone he also learnt the crescent shape and the fruit cantaloupe.
He has started to sing songs like 'twinkle twinkle stars, abc, He is able (christian song)' etc (yes, he is rather delayed in this aspect). This is a huge improvement because he would never have done this in the past.
Hmm, it seems he has learnt more at home doesn't it? That's why i've been thinking if he is better off at home with me and it doesn't help that this school is more expensive than some other Montessori schools around here. But i also its because i am his mother, so i know him inside out and i know what method is best to teach N. While the teachers don't readily plunge into a subject unless they are convinced he is ready.
Yet, it is through the school that i realised he is not responsive to other adults or teachers. That makes me want for him to stick to school even more so that he can learn from other adults too. Also, he seems to be warming up- very slowly though, to the teachers which makes me even more reluctant to change a school environment for least he has to start all over again!
Well, i'll just have to observe more this term and see how it goes!
I wanted to teach N the animals by continents and decided to make use of our continent map which i downloaded earlier. I went to the net and downloaded the animal pictures, cut them out & laminate them. Unfortunately, N didn't pick this activity today! Oh well, i'll just have to cajole him again these coming days!
This week, we'll be learning about parts of a car. I downloaded a coloring page of a car and colored the various parts of a car. Pasted them over a cardboard & laminated the cards. I also made word labels.
8 different parts of a car! Unfortunately, i'm not able to show N the back part of the car since i'm limited by the picture. After N masters this, i intend to use his car model and revised with him the various parts. This way, he gets a more realistic view and can visualised better.
N loves playing with the metal insets. Well mine is a cheap version thus much smaller than the real one. As i blogged earlier, i had N match the shapes to the word labels i made. Today, i also got him to match them into the insets.
(Check out the new table in his room! Its old really, it existed during daddy's bachelorhood! We wanted to throw it away but i decided to recycle it and convert to a kids table for N. I used the wall stickers and pasted them all over the table. It looks brand new doesn't it! N loves his new table, he cannot stop admiring it!)
The next thing he selected was 'Melissa & Doug' See and spell puzzle. He loves it!
And we revised on the Solar system. N could still remember each planet names.
This is probably N's all time favourite activity. I meant it to be a phonics activity but he prefers to match the word labels to the pictures. I think N enjoys matching words to pictures. Even the teacher in his school says so. This must be his sensitive period!
Today N chose to play with the color box 3. It was his first choice of the day!
Previously, i took out all the 7 shades of a color and had N arrange from the darkest the lightest. But today, i only took out a dark and light shade of each color. I had N arrange the palates according to dark and light shades.
I have been scouting for non-fiction books for N for the longest time but to no avail. Often the reference books are wordy which is not suitable for a 3year old. So i was really delighted when i stumbled upon this book on rainy weather. There's just one sentence per page followed by a full page photo. N enjoys this book too!
In conjunction with the book i borrowed, and also it has been raining all week, i decided to make an activity related to a rainy weather. I cut out shapes of clouds, raindrops, lightning and umbrella. I also made word labels for each item. I talked through with N what we can expect when it rains and had N place the cut out shapes on the paper. After that, i got N to match the word labels. We had fun with this!
Warning: this is just another rambling of mine. Nothing on my homeschool activities.
Sometimes i get really discouraged and want to give up my homeschool activities with N. See, N can't really talk yet. Well, he can but not very articulate, good enough for us, parents, to understand. The other thing is, he refuses to speak up or answer his teachers or anyone in fact, when they ask him a question. Like, pointing to a tiger, they'd ask him 'what's this?'. And he would just look at them and give them the impression that he doesn't know. Because of this, the teacher cannot really progress much with him since they have no clue what he really knows. For instance, he knows the number sequence up to 50 but he won't even count up to 10 or 5, for his teachers. So the teachers would still be teaching him 1-10 when he already is way passed that.
To be honest, i feel frustrated whenever someone, a relative or friend, asks him a friendly question but he gives them the blank expression. I cannot accept that people around thinks my son is 'not so clever afterall'. Yes, perhaps its a 'face' thing. On the other hand, i am also worried if he'd be like this all the way up to primary school. I then wonder if its really any use to teach him stuff when he won't regurgitate it out for others. But the odd thing is, he'd readily reply me and give me the correct answers. I can't be by his side 24/7 when he enters school!
Performance anxiety. That's what some friends tell me. Sometimes i wonder if its because im pushing him too hard at home? It made him feel stress and pressure such that he wont speak up for others? :(
But on a good note, he IS progressing in school. The teachers do hear his soft mumbles and have somewhat an idea what he already knows-slowly. For instance, the teacher now knows N can recognise words very well and is able to match the words to picture accurately. With that she has a plan to gradually introduce more challenging activities for him. She now also knows he can count in tens. Phew.
Maybe im stressing myself to much. Maybe im thinking ahead of myself here. I do hope one day when i look back at this entry i'd be laughing at myself for being such a silly toad.
N knows his shapes very well and can even match the shapes to the words. The montessori kit came with 3 new shapes which i never taught him before, they are, quatrefoil, pentagon and parallelogram. So i wanted to teach him the names and shapes so i wrote all the shape names on a paper and had N match them. I subtlely taught him the 3 new shapes and he remembered them in an instant! Good job my boy!
N couldn't form the triangle despite being told to use the black lines as a guage. So i duplicate this idea from another montessori mama blogger (as always, i forgot who). I traced the triangles and had match the triangle. It worked like magic!
One day in school, i saw N took out the sound cylinders in school. I wanted to help him revise this so i made this activity using 'dried sour plum' containers. Its actually transparent, so i had to paint them all black. N loves this game. To my surprise, he matched all the cylinders correctly! Looks like i need to step it up and make it more challenging for him.
I bought Melissa and Doug. 'see and spell' wooden toy. It was kind of expensive but i thought it was very clever and the moveable alphabets were too hard to resist (it can replaced the real montessori material!). The aim of the game is to have N match the correct alphabet onto each wooden piece (see the 'Cow' on left). N loves this activity! He kept asking for more!
Here's N practising his fine motor skills. While he was doing, i realised there were insects in the rice! EEEks! I kept it for too long! I had to disrupt his moment. I tried to offer him it again later (after all the cleaning) but he wasn't interested anymore. :P ops, i was totally ill-prepared. Sorry baby!
So this was the activity i was making out of felt cloth and N's wooden puzzle pieces.
It's part of my 'practical life' activity. I cut out 2 pieces (one red and green) and sewed a button on one piece and cut out a hole in the other.
The purpose is to get N to button the 2 pieces together. N gets to practise his buttoning & fine motor skills with this activity! Im so proud of myself! Its very easy to make and i made it within 1 hour. I was too excited about this and had N do this activity this morning. I was afraid he was going to give up quickly like he did to some of my tediously made materials. But thankfully, he seemed to enjoyed it and was concentrating hard. :) PHEW!
Using the counters, i revised with N the concept of More and Less. I first took out 2 numbers, say '8' and '1' and had N to put the correct number of counters under each numeral. When he is done, i would ask him which has more counters, '8' or '1'. With the visual aid, he was able to tell me '8' has more counters than '1'. I took away the counters and left the numerals on the floor. I then asked N again, which number was more. He was able to tell me that '8' is more than '1'. I took out another set of numbers and played with him again.
I was making materials for my next activity that required tracing and cutting. I deliberately did the tracing in front of N so that hopefully it creates some interest in him & therefore later want to do tracing of the metal insets. So there i was tracing his vehichles wooden puzzles on a red felt cloth and N was curiously hovering around me. Much to my delight, he WAS interested in the tracing. He was completely amused by the shape ive traced on the cloth and volunteered to lift up the puzzle piece after i was done tracing. When i thought my task was completed, he took the cut out felt pieces and matched to the puzzle pieces! So i did an impromptu activity with him there and then!
The iphone must be the greatest invention on earth. With the iphone, i am able to teach my son lotsa stuff AND have him revised on it. I downloaded an application on animal sounds and N, by playing with it, became familiar with the different sounds each animal makes. Sometimes i would play the animal application and have N stand away from me (so that he cant see the pictures on the phone) and have N tell me what animal makes that sound. Since he has mastered this, i decided to make it more challenging by having him point to me the correct animal in mandarin words. N did awesome, except that he got the 'horse' and 'donkey' mixed up! It was fun, N loves this game! :)
One of the goals i gave myself this year was to expose N to more Mandarin words. I have realised that i have been focusing too much on English language. I played a matching game with N using animal pictures and its mandarin words. With this, he has learnt that animal names in mandarin. I also got him to read out the words aloud for me. Although his articulation is not perfect, but i am happy enough that he is able to sound out the words.
N is begining to talk more recently. Oh yes, just a background, N is delayed in his speech. But thank God he has started to talk just weeks back. Well, better late than never! However, his articulation is very poor. So i decided to play with him more phonics activities to help him. This week's letters are 'S' and 'm'. Instead of using pictures, i thought i should use words instead. I personally think words are better visual aids than pictures when playing this game, with the words he can see why a word say 'song' has the 'ss' sound at the begining. I deliberately chose 'm' to be the second letter because the two letters have very distinct sounds. I have been playing this with him everyday and im pleased that he is picking up the concept very well!