I briefly shared with N's teacher that i was teaching him additions at home. The next lesson, she handed me this worksheet on additions and told me that N could do all the sums independently (using visual aids i.e. counters). She only had to help him circle the answers. Glad to know that my effort is being paid off but at the same time i was stunned that he was given worksheets to do... :I
Like all mothers, i received alot of comments and advices on how i should raise my child. I believe all are well meaning but it brought alot of unnecessary stress not only on me but N as well.
When N was a year old, he refused to sit on his chair and eat his meal proper. He'd attempt to climb and fidget but worst of all didn't eat his meal. But, when i let him run free he ate very well. I had no choice but to concede because i wanted him to eat. However, many mothers said i should 'discipline' him and insist that he sits on the chair. I tried my might but couldn't. I thought i failed.
Also, N was a suckaholic. He needed to be nurse by me to sleep, day & night till about 2.5 years old. It didn't sit well with ALOT of mothers who strongly adviced me to 'train' him to sleep on his own. The method they recommended was to let him cry on his own. Although i tried, i just couldn't help feeling it was too cruel to put so much stress on a young child especially when he is trying to sleep- which, ironically, is suppose to be a peaceful thing. Again, i thought i failed.
And more relevant to me now, is the Potty training. ALL of my friends' 3 year olds are potty trained before 3. I admit, initially i was too lazy to train N and delayed it. I tried to train him about a few months ago, but i had great difficulty. He refused to take off his diaper, even if he did, he'd cling on to me and sob. I had no choice but to cease the training. I thought i failed.
If not for the other mothers, i would never have been too concern about all these. Deep in me, i knew that eventually N would sit and eat, sleep on his own and be diaper free. My guiding thought was this: Have you ever seen a grown man being chased by his mother with a spoon during his business lunch? Have you ever seen a adult needing to be nursed to sleep? Have you ever seen a man wearing a diaper? Any normal person will eventually grow out of these and i knew N would be no exception.
True enough, N woke up one day and decided to sit on his chair for his meals - no discipline was involved. On another day, he magically slept on his own- no training, no crying. Minimal effort. As with potty training, i started this last week and miracously, i didn't get any violent objection. Instead, he was 'accident' free after a mere 2-3 days, and the training wasn't even intensive mind you.
This is what i've learnt. As with educating our children, if he is is not ready, he is not ready. No amount of forcing, scolding will make him ready. It always baffles me why some parents insist on training and imposing so much stress on a young child? The best thing a mother can do, is to wait for the child to be ready. When that happens, any kind of training will be easy and with minimal effort. Yeah, some children will take a longer time (like mine) but they WILL eventually come round to it. You just have to trust your child.
Today we did a little bit of practical life activities. Here is N using his toy tweezers to pick Cherry seeds and transferring it to a cup.
This is an activity to train the hand-eye coordination- putting toothpicks through the straw hole of an empty packet drink. I realised it also refines the pincer grasp because the child is required to pick up the toothpicks using his fingers.
N is learning about occupations in his Mandarin classes. So i decided to go along and made this activity. Today we learn the names of different proffessions in Mandarin.
N is almost addicted to iphone. It doesnt help that this mummy is also quick to shove it to him whenever she needs him to be quiet and still. However, the fortunate thing is this mummy was wise enough to download only educational stuff on the phone. So much so that the boy is also learning as he is playing.
I downloaded this application some time back. But somehow N was never interested in it...until recently. N gets to trace the numbers from 1-10 as guided by the application. I had an overdue plan to help N learn to write numbers but could never get his interest, somehow this application helped to fulfill my desire! So effortless on my part!
At the same time, i got him this book so that he can practise his handwriting techniques
I especially like this book because unlike other books, the numbers are big- easier for a toddler like N.
I planned and did nothing with N for these 2 weeks. But today, i managed some effort to do some random play with him.
I took our Montessori Cut out Numerals and placed them randomly on the floor. I'd shout out 'Make 24 for mama!'. N will search through and place the numerals as requested. Since he knows his numbers up to 100, i had a wide range of numbers to call out for. Its a good practise, also it gives me feedback on N's knowledge on numbers.
I found another way to make my mathematical cubes purchase worth its money. Make patterns & play sequencing!
I would start with the first 2 or 3 cubes and asked N 'what's next?' And he would continue the pattern. We've been doing this exercise here and there, so this was nothing really new for N. But at least he played along with me!
I also made a mini pyramid and got N to do the same. It trains the child's hand-eye coordination and his ability to immitate. He had fun doing this, so much so that he spent a good 15mins just building and demolishing the pyramids.
Now that i get the car, i can bring N to the parks anytime of the day! WOOT!
Today, We had a nice breakfast at Macs and took a slow, lazy morning walk around the park. The place was quiet, the weather was cool...ah it was perfect!
N loves to dip his fingers into the sand. I delibrately didnt bring any toys because i wanted N to use his creativity and use whatever he can find in the park to play. Today, we used fallen leaves to scoop the sand from point to point. So fun!
I found new inspiration to pretend play with my sonshine!
This is my latest craze; making felt food! I was surfing for art & craft ideas but stumbled upon felt food tutorials (you can google this phrase and find many free tutorials on how to make).
First up on my menu: Sandwich! I made 2 slices of bread, an egg, 2 slices of tomato (the hardest piece to make!), lettuce. The cheese and ham are no brainer- just cut them in a square shape.
Sandwhich with fries.
M for Mama's fries, anyone?
N & i had nothing but pure fun pretending to make and eat the sandwhich. I asked N to make a variety of sandwhich i.e cheese sandwhich, ham & egg, lettuce. I even taught him what is egg yolk and egg white using my egg felt!
You don't have to be a sewing genius to make this. If you are sharp enough you can tell my workmanship is nothing to die for- its horrendous! The only sewing i know how is cross stich...i hand sewn all the pieces (don't have a sewing machine at home) using what little i know about sewing. But ah! Who cares- we had fun! Its very EASY and fast to make- anyone can do this! The things i do for my son!
I said i plan to 'crash course' everything i can teach to N before he turns 5. Well, it does sound very 'kiasu' and ambitious doesn't it?
I dread to think what life would be like when N enters Primary school, or rather Kindergarten. Judging from the students today, it's going to be lots of homework and probably enrichiment/tuition classes. I have seen Primary school students jumping from one tuition class after another only to go home to do school homework AND tuition homework. I hate the idea that his life would be swarmed with homework, test etc and i really don't like the idea of topping his already hectic schedule with more tuition.
I aim to free N from any academic enrichment/tuition classes when he is in school- if i can help it. Hence, i plan to make use of his first 5 years- a period where learning is effortless and easy (and fun) for N (compared to older kids). Right now, N absorbs anything and everything i teach him- all with minimal effort/slogging on his part. And he believes that learning is fun- that makes him very eager to learn new things. Rather than panic and send him to various tuiton classes when he is older and perhaps less teachable. I just don't want to be like those 'kiasu' parent who sends their kids to endless tuition classes. My husband and i agree that if we were to send N to any enrichment classes it'd be more like Sports, music or arts i.e. whatever area he is interested in. I want him to go for 'extra' classes that help relieve his stress, not to add on to it.
As to letting him be... i think i am letting him be. By teaching i mean i will expose him to the subjects but it's really up to him to decide if he wants to pursue it. If he shows no interest, i will by no means force it onto him. Yes, in that sense, i am letting him be.
I was sharing with a friend my general plan for N's academic path. I told her i plan to 'crash course' all that i can teach before he turns 5. To which she asked why i can't just let him be a 3 year old?
At that point, i felt accused of being 'kiasu' i.e. too academic driven. My immediate reaction was to turn defensive but as i cooled down, i realised my friends & perhaps readers of this blog have mistaken that i have been drilling my son all day long. If so, i blame it on the words i use and my presentation that inevitably gave the wrong impression. Anyone who reads this blog may think that im lacking in the other stimulants in my parenting. That's because i set this blog up just to purely share about his cognitive activities.
Truth is, i spend 15 minutes or no more than 30 minutes doing the activities with N each time. In fact, it is NOT a daily event, only twice (at most) each week. The rest of the time its free play for N. Come to think of it, his free play is more than his 'working' hours. I also make sure he gets an outing trip everyday. If its not a school day, we'll be out either to a library or nearby places.
Here, i'll admit that N doesnt have alot of outdoor activities. Not because ive been consumed with educating him, but more because its too inconvenient to bring him to the parks in terms of distance and time. However, we do bring him outdoors for a bike ride, walk in the garden every now and then on weekends when daddy's home (with the car of course).
Like any wise parent, i strive to give my son a wholesome childhood. One that stimulates not just his cognitive but emotional and physical developments.
After learning this verse for a week, N has been spontaneously declaring it aloud. I once asked N if God is with Mama? At first he said 'no' but i told him Yes! God is with mama and papa and N! Since then i have been hearing him say, 'God is with papa. God is with mama. God is with Por por. God is with Gong gong. God is with Godma. God is with K (his cousin)' etc. How sweet! One night, i was feeling out of sorts, but hearing him say 'God is with mama!' really put my heart at peace. Although i don't think he was saying right to me but i knew then that God used N to speak to me. Who knew that the verse im teaching my son, is actually meant for me!
We finished the 100 board! :) I think it'll be some time before we see this again. N got really bored at the later part. But it was a good activity, it made me realised he read '50' as FIVE ZERO and '70' as SEVEN ZERO! Ha, creative! But not right my boy!
One of the constant feedback N's mandarin teacher give is he doesn't hold a pen well nor like to color. She adviced me let N practise more at home. Honestly, i feel that N will eventually come round to it when he's ready and there's no need to push him. That said, there's no harm in exposing him to handwriting related activities.
N has no interest in mindless coloring but would color if there's a concept for him to apply. That's why i bought this book so that N can do what he is interested in (apply the concepts he learnt) and unknowingly practise his coloring techniques.
As expected, N was very eager to do this and could have completed the book in a sitting (but i didn't allow that). I got him to read aloud and follow the instructions on each page. He did so independently with minimal help/explanation from me- except that i had to nag at him to finish coloring. His one hand was coloring a page but his eyes were on another! That's how much he likes to color!
Inspired by The adventures of Bear (and plus its Maths week), i got N to do the Hundred board today. To make it easier for him, i sorted the numbers in 10s and slotted them into an ice cube tray (also got this idea from The adventures of bear). I took them out in 10s so that N won't have to spend time looking for a particular number.
I wonder if it is a must for N to arrange the number in sequence. I think he actually saw a common pattern. For instance, when doing the 40-ish row, instead of starting with the number 41, he'd randomly take the say, no. 48 piece and slot it under the number 38, and then he'd take no. 45 piece and placed it under the 35 piece. Eventually, i got him to do it in sequence which he could, but i do think its also a good thing that he could arrange in random order.
I did recommend this to him before but he wasn't interested. I guess he's ready to do it today because he arranged the numbers from 1 all the way to 60 in one sitting. I suggested that we stopped as i saw that he was getting bored. I'll keep the board as it is and we'll do the remaining some time soon.
N knows the phonic sounds of each letter but cannot seem to identify the sound in a word (i.e. he cannot identify the 'ah' in apple). So i created this game to help him. I took out the individual letters from a to g and corresponding pictures. I asked N to place the letters on the pictures that has the same sound. Well, he needed some help. We'll just have to keep on trying!