Thursday, December 29, 2011

Season's Greetings!

Oh yup, i'm late with my greetings! It's been a week of gatherings and...backaches! I've been nursing a bad back for 2 weeks now hence all sort of activities from homeschool to housework have to come to a halt. (BUt i still stubbornly went to our Christmas parties lol!)

Oh well! I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas nonetheless!
Blessed New Year too! Till next year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A very mosaic Xmas

We made Christmas Star mosaic ornaments!

Another masterpiece by sonshine on the tree!

We also made mosaic Christmas tree magnet

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Home made xmas tree ornaments

Materials used:

1) Cut out tree shape- i made my own using carton boxes & painted over it and cut out a xmas tree
2) glue
3) small cut out shapes
4) gold dust

We smeared glue on the trees, N decorated it with the small cut out shapes & sprinkled gold dust

When dry, i punched a hole on each tree, string them & hung them on our tree- together with the snowman craft he made in school.

Its placed at a rather obscure spot on the tree...'cause it ain't match my tree decor- as you can see! =P (POST NOTE: just in case you think we are hurting his pride by hiding his crafts, his ornaments are at the side of the tree-placed at his eye level, facing our main door. Which means each time we come home, the first things we see on the tree are his xmas ornaments. This picture was taken from our living area view :))

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Christmas activities

This was a treasure find at my mom's. My sister's leftover xmas decor from years back!

We used it for sorting!

Another worksheet from Confessions of a Homeschooler

Christmas wreath Tangrams printed from Pre-Kinders

The finished look


Christmas Tree tangram from Pre-Kinders as well.

The Missing Link

I always admired moms at Adventures of Bear and Mi Escuelita Montessori for their ability to homeschool despite having another infant/toddler to care for. I was wondering how come i could never do so until lightning hit me and i had a light bulb moment- the shelf.

Ever since i was pregnant, we took away our homeschool shelf to make way for babydoll's cot. We positioned it vertical (instead of horizontal) and placed books on it instead. From then on, it was difficult to do any homeschooling because, as i realised it now, we didn't have a proper place. I tried to do it over our coffee table but alas the boy was distracted.

I complained to my husband and my dear darling immediately re-shifted our shelf, i packed our toy room and now we have an activity room. It's a room where the kids play their toys AND homeschool activities. The toys are kept away when we have homeschool. Likewise, activities are in its proper places when the toys are out. I love it! It's like a mini classroom now. WOOT :)

We Paint!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tis a season

We did the Montessori stamp game again this time with a Christmas twist!

I printed the Christmas tree printable (see photo) from Confessions of a Homeschooler (but i tweaked it). I wrote numbers & the answers to our sums on it. N had to work on the sums, find the answers on the worksheet and color the spot.

I made our own Christmas printables. On this worksheet, Sonshine had to circle the different Christmas symbol in each row.

And tracing, printed from Confessions of a Homeschooler  as well.

More Xmas activities to come!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Time-24 hour clock

I know not how but the boy can now read the 24 hour clock. I accidentally found out one day when he just blurted to me that 15:43 means 3:43. I can't quite figure out who taught him, he isn't very clear either. But, who cares! I just love it that he knows this since our clock in the living room is a 24-hr digital clock! WOOT!

Board games galore!

I love it that the boy is older and mature enough to play board games! I also love that my mom is a hoarder! She kept ALL my board games till this very day! ANd boy do i have every board games on the shelf, MONOPOLY, MASTERMIND, CLUEDO, BOGGLE, SCRABBLE and more and more... It's great because my son gets to play with it! :))

Anyway, besides Snakes & ladders, the boy and his papa has been playing LUDO every night. The boy just loves to compete with his daddy!

The other game we recently introduced him is UNO. The boy is wild over this!

I love board games because

1) It is interactive (versus ipad/iphone)!

2) Sharpens strategic thinking skills. THough, at this age, he may not quite know how bUT, he knows to imitate his parents. So, he's very quick to pick up our strategies and work it on us & sometimes beating us at our very own game!

3) Learning to read and act on the instructions. We've also been playing another game called Police Alert (not a popular board game hence relatively unknown). In this game, he had to pick up cards, read & follow instructions.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This week we....

We work on Montessori Stamp game.
Here, we learn how to add by carrying over. Sonshine can add mentally but when it comes to carrying over addition, he gets a little stuck or he would take a longer time calculating in his head. I deliberately  start with just tens and ones, taking it slow and easy. Honestly, i am not sure if he gets it. I am concern he may get even more confused. But we'll see.

Sonshine is into measuring these days. It started with our height chart which got him really curious. My husband explained to him what it was for and the boy learnt how tall he measures. With that he went around asking how tall daddy, mommy, babydoll is etc. He is also into weighing and finding out how much each of us weigh.

So, to make it alittle more fun. I am aiming to offer him measuring activity. Like this one in the above photo. I prepared 2 cups (one cup not captured in the photo) of water and have N pour into the measuring cup to see which cup held more water. We also discovered that 1/2 cup is the same as 100ml and 1 cup makes 200 ml.  

From the books, he also learnt that 2 pints make 1 quart, 4 quarts make 1 gallon etc. He can tell me that 4 pints make 2 quart, 8 quarts make 2 gallon etc. He also discovered that quart is more than a pint, and a gallon is more than a quart. Unfortunately, these measurement units are not applicable in this part of the world. Those books are written by American hence. Oh well, no knowledge is ever wasted. I hope. I think?

We've also been reading up on measurements in length & weight. Through the books, he has learnt that 100 cm makes 1 m. I used the IKEA measuring tape (only measuring tape i've at home!) and we randomly measured his height and width (with arms stretched out).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh no, another rambling....

I think I've got too high an expectation on sonshine boy. No, I'm not talking about academic expectations. In fact, I ( or least I'd like to think) have very little expectations on the boy when it comes to academic, believe it or not.

It may seem otherwise, but I never set out for the boy to achieve a certain academic standard by 4 years old or at a certain age. I know for a 4 year old toddler, he's learning/learnt alot- and sometimes seemingly too advanced subjects. But honestly, I've never planned it to be this way. In fact, alot of things, I had thought he would learn it much later. For instance, I had in my mind that the appropriate age to teach him addition/subtraction was only at 5 years old. It never occurred to me that he would learnt it (and multiplication/division) by 4 years old. So how and why did we come so far? Well, I started home activities with sonshine to kill our idle time. We enjoyed it so we continued and kept learning & learning & learning and still learning! As for maths, he was very interested in it and learnt fast. I felt it was unfair to him if i made him learn numbers from 1-20 when he could learn up to 100. Or insist he keeps counting when he's ready for addition etc. Hence I kept moving forward as long as he was willing to stomach it. I don't teach him so that he'll be the smartest kid or to be ahead of everyone else. If this was the case, he'd probably be attending enrichment classes one after another but we've yet to send him for any- not even for music or sports (laziness is the word!). I teach because he wants & enjoys to learn. In fact, I dare not expect him to be the top in the class. But I do expect him to do his best and well especially in topics he knows so well. If he's capable of getting 80 points, I would not accept if he gives me 50. But neither will I demand 100 points if he's best is 80. Its not about how well he does compared to his peers, it's about comparing himself against himself- improving himself, that's important to me.

But I digress.

I was referring to my expectations on his behavior, his conduct.  Nothing wrong with that of course but I feel that sometimes I forget that he's just a 4 year old. Certain behavior is normal (I didn't say acceptable) but I tend to get down hard on him especially with my words, i tend to expect him to be at his best 100% of the time. I'm not saying I should accept his wrong actions but I shouldn't be too quick to throw my fury at him without stopping to think the reason for his behavior. Many a times, after a calm reflection, i realised his wrong doing was done because he didn't know better & he wasn't trying to cause hurt or intentionally trying to disobey us. Sometimes its due to us not correcting him at home (because some things appear too small to correct) and he thinks its ok to do it elsewhere.

For instance, the other day, we were at a mall. They had free legos for the kids to play. A kid built a really tall tower, taller than sonshine. He actually went over and pushed it down to see it crash. I was furious and punished him. He was so upset that he cried the entire mall down- this has never happen before in his 4 years. But, i soon realised it was because that's how we played with him at home. We would build blocks high up and push it down. Also, it could be due to his obsession with the Angry Bird game , he probably was trying to reenact the scene (roll eyes). He wasn't trying to destroy the tower to spite the other kids. But, yes. It was partly our fault.

I guess what i'm saying is, i need to be gracious in my parenting. I need to discipline with grace, i need to discipline with less emotions, i need to stop & think why he's behaving in a certain manner. I need to do better. I need more grace. I need Jesus.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pre Handwriting skills activities

This school holiday, i would like to work on Sonshine's fine motor skills. His pencil grip is still not strong but improving. To help him brush it up, these are some activities we will be doing this week:

Learning to sharpen a pencil. This intrigues him for some reason.

Using a scissors- cutting straight line. This he can't do very well. I am not sure if the problem lies with the scissors 'cause it isn't very sharp- even i have trouble cutting with it!

Using a scissors- cutting zig zag line. Obviously, this was challenging for him too.

Tracing with a stencil. He had to learn to press & hold the stencil firmly on the paper such that it won't move as he traced.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Home school plan for 2012

Well, i won't really call it Curriculum since technically i am not homeshooling N because i am sending him to school. But here's my work plan for next year. 

I plan to do less of activity work and get into more serious stuff. Not that i haven't been serious, just that i think it's time for Sonshine boy to work more on workbooks at the same time helping him to get used to sitting down for a period of time & just do worksheets. Yep, i am going against the Montessori work flow next year. :I

So what will be our books?

I'll be using assessment books mostly as my guide. I want our work at home to be as close as that of our local school's curriculum so to ease him into school without a hitch. That explains why i've largely avoided buying curriculum written overseas. Also, as the name suggest, it would help me assess where he needs to work on.

In fact, we've already started and i've discovered some new areas he needs to brush up on.

Our books include:

 Math (Primary 1 level),
English (grammar, comprehension & composition or rather close passage-Kindergarten level) and
Mandarin (we'll also work on reciting rhymes to up his word recognition-Kindergarten level)

The other subject we will be working on is bible knowledge. At this age, i just want to expose him to bible stories. In fact, we've been reading every night and finished the Old testament. We are now reading the New testament and finishing it soon. At the same time, the boy has been listening and learning to Bible Songs as well as playing some simple games.

For science, we'll continue to read books. I realised we've read alot of books this year and it was mostly science related!
Lastly, for Geography, we'll be working on recognising the maps of different countries using materials i've prepared.

So, there- i've briefly summed up our curriculum for 2012. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Self Feeding- Milestone reached!

Whoo hoo! The boy has been feeding himself for his meals! Now, now, i can imagine what some of you might say, 'WHAT! 4 years old and still hasn't fed himself?' or 'No big deal, mine could self feed at 2!'. Well, before you pass such judgmental comments, do read on.

It's not like before this he CAN'T self feed. It's also not like he WON'T. He would happily feed himself if given a choice and this is how he'd do it; each scoop would contain ONE GRAIN of rice (you read correctly), after 2-3 scoops, he's done! Even if he was willing to eat more, how long would it take for him to finish his food at this rate?

You see, my son is a picky eater. No wait, that word doesn't even begin to describe him. It's not like he picks on his food, it's more like he doesn't want to eat at all. You cannot imagine the trauma we went through just to get him to eat. During his first year, he had NOTHING but breast milk. I would feed him for hours but he just wouldn't eat; he would stuff the food in his mouth for as long he could hold them and eventually spat them all out. It would be norm for both (yes, both) of us to end up in tears. I remember vividly how i would leave the wailing boy in the living room while i locked myself in my room, squat at a corner and sobbed. Whenever we had to eat out, both my husband and i would be so stressed out because we just don't know if the boy would eat. Countless times, he would reject his food causing my husband to be really upset, making me extremely angry and our trip out would be ruined. This went on for a good one year.

Finally, we found THE magic tool- the iphone. We realised if he was distracted with it, he'd eat for as long as he played! We'd feed him and he would finger away! It worked so well that for 2 years we just didn't have the courage to get him to self feed. We knew if we took away the phone and get him to self feed, that was the end of it. We would return back to square one.

For that 2 entire years, we would get disapproving looks from other parents and comments about how we shouldn't spoil our kid. I used to get really peeved at such judgmental comments and ashamed at the same time. But these people just didn't understand how traumatic it had been for us just to get him to eat. Let him starve, you say? Well, let me tell you we tried, but it didn't work. Once he managed to skip his lunch at school and you'd thought he would be starving by 3pm but no, he wasn't. Oh, did i mention how skinny the boy is? His  6 month old baby sister is already HALF his weight now. Still can't imagine? My 4 year old boy is still wearing his 12-18 month old pants! If he was a chunky monkey, i wouldn't have fret so much. Or if he was eating normally but still skinny- then i can say its his genes. But that's not the case, he is skinny BECAUSE he doesn't eat well.

So, i get really irritated when other parents give us looks or pass judgement on our parenting without knowing our background. Still, i decided, just as my homeschooling philosophy, to just chill & wait for the little guy to be ready. I really dislike making  meal time so stressful for all of us- we've been there and it was really hell. And today, i can happily announce that the wait has paid off! Most of the credit goes to his school! Because he has been self feeding (& finishing his food) in school, getting him to self feed at home has been a breeze. PHEW!

So, what has it got to do with my blog? Well, this episode has proven my philosophy right once again- wait for your child to be ready. Once he is ready, everything will fall into place. Give your kid the respect he deserves and trust him to lead you. Just because we're the adults, does not make us all knowing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Year End Report

It's that time of the year again, it's the parent-teacher meet time! Time to find out what our kids are up to in school! Well, generally i received positive feedback (but don't they all tell us nice things at this age?). In a nutshell, N improved in those areas he was lacking when he first joined.


Well, i won't dwell too much into his work. The school's curriculum is really laid back, it's too easy for most 4 year olds. But i'll share about the other aspects.

-Improvement in handwriting. Now he can write more confidently and independently. His strokes are clearer. But we still need to work on that.

- He is taking pride in his work and makes an effort to do well. For instance, he makes a conscious effort to color nicely before handing up his work. We all know he hates coloring hence we were quite pleased that he's making an effort to try.

- The teachers say he has the ability to apply & retain what he has been taught in class . The mandarin teacher notice he only needed to be taught one or twice and he would be able to remember. His form teacher has (finally!) noticed that his literacy and numeracy skills are advanced.

Social and Self Help skills
- Socially he still tends to keep things to himself, rarely approaching his friends or join in their conversations. However, he has proven that he can play alongside his classmates. Once he and 2 other boys built a carpark together. It was nice to hear that he can actually participate in team work knowing how a loner N can be.

- He has learnt to be independent, putting on his socks, carrying his bag, self feeding AND finishing his food (whoo hoo this is a HUGE milestone for us!) etc

One of the things that i was also concern about was he's refusal (or what i thought was inability) to imitate song actions. Since his Montessori school days, he just won't sing nor act out the actions. He'd just sit there and watch others do. In this school, he took more than 2 terms to warm up and one day decided to sing along during the school assembly and do the school's song actions! He was also apprehensive and hesistant during the school concert, refusing to even walk up to the stage during rehearsals. But we were all really, very, extremely, proud of him when he performed all the items on the concert day! He enjoyed himself so much that he cannot stop watching his school concert video and even learnt a few dances (from the other classes)! The school has certainly helped him break out of his own little shell!

Although he still hiding in his little shell, i am still proud and happy that he's allowed the school to crack it alittle, letting some light in.Mummy's so proud of you sonshine boy!! :))

Friday, November 11, 2011

Baby Doll has started!

Obviously, i can't quite teach Babydoll anything, she's still an infant. But we've made a simple step.

I've been doing Glenn Doman flashcards. At this point, it's not about teaching her how to read. I just want her to be familiar with the flashcard routine and also to learn how to focus on the cards.

And we read of course! I only started now because i was waiting for her to be interested and i was procrastinating actually. Some time back, my mother read to a her book and i knew she was ready from the way she was looking at it. That's why our library bag is way heavier than ever before!


You know that you've successfully homeschool your kid when he ask to do assessment books. :I

This was a book i bought earlier and we've completed it this week! WHOO-HOO! When i first purchsed it, i was apprehensive that we'll ever finish it, but we did! :))

I with-held the book for some time because of his weak pencil grip and some of the chapters we've yet to dabble. But few days ago, i realised he should be able to do it and hence i asked him to do a few pages just for fun. I told him we'll do just a few pages but he kept asking to do more till we finished the book!

The last few pages were about time. He had to write the time and draw the clock-hands. I was pleasantly surprised that he was confidently writing his answers unlike the previous time where he hesitated alot just to write one number.

Some pages were on simple fractions.

Lastly, he worked on counting money. I took the chance to teach him that 100 cents make up $1, 200 cents make up $2 and on.

Snakes & Ladders + ice cream sticks =?

A family fun time cum maths game!

The boy and his papa have been playing this game every night, or shall i say competing. To spice things up, they would play with 2 dice instead of 1. The purpose is to let N practise his addition-without him knowing of course! :P He didn't complain instead, he was hook and never wanted to play with 1 dice again! Now, they will play with 3 dice!

Last night, i wrote division by 8 equations on ice cream sticks and used them to play Snakes & ladders.

Each of us would take turn to draw a stick and the number of moves we make, depends on the answer. I made it even more challenging by having us draw 2 sticks at one go. We have to add the answers to find the number of moves we can make. So, the boy had to crack 2 division equations and add them- all mentally! :) I've to say he did so pretty well & quick too!

Credit to The Activity Mom (i tweeked it) for the idea!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I am a rebel!

I was reading a post from this blog titled Sleep Freedom: Letting Kids Find Their Own Sleep Pattern and i must say, i cannot agree more. The blogger writes that we should allow our children find their own rhythm rather than forcing them to conform to the clock or be subjected to our convenience. I feel this hold true not only for sleep but also other areas like academic learning and other milestone achievements.

If you've been reading my blog, you know that i am a big advocate of letting the child lead you in what he wants to learn i.e. letting the kid find his rhythm in learning. But you may not know that this applies to my parenting style in general.

I never believe in forcing the child to change his pattern just for us adults. Hence, i shun away from parenting methods like letting the baby cry to sleep or insist that the kid sleeps by 7 or 8 every night, Gina Ford books etc. I always let N lead me. As long as he isn't ready to do something or achieve a certain milestone, i wouldn't force him. I wait for him to be ready. I do that because 1) i believe if he is not ready, no amount of forcing will make him ready. 2) By forcing or so call 'training' him against his will or ability, it will only impose stress on him AND us, parents. I want him to achieve a milestone happy and stress free. 3) It would be alot easier to train him when he is ready. For instance, i waited for N to be ready to be potty trained. He was SO ready that he had minimal 'accidents' (like 3?) till today And there was no stress, no crying. I think alot of times, parents are very eager for their kids to hit a certain milestone early i.e sleep through the night, because they want convenience in their lives. I am different. I would rather change MY lifestyle to suit the child, rather than the child change to suit ME- which i think is alot harder.

So you can imagine i get criticised ALOT. For instance, people are always dumbfounded when i tell them N was nursed to sleep till he was 2.5 years old.  Or perhaps unlike most 4 year old, mine still needs help with dressing up. Am i proud that he is hitting his milestones late? Not really.

But i just don't believe in forcing a child do something when he's not ready.There is a difference however, in NOT WANTING to learn and NOT DEVELOPMENTALLY READY to learn. I wouldn't tolerate the former but i'd loosen my reins if its the latter.

As i've constantly observe in my homeschooling journey with SonShine boy, everything will fall neatly into place the minute he is ready & interested to learn, or pick up a skill. Am i worried that he hits his milestones late? Not at all, i believe eventually he'd acquire the skills. I mean come on, have you seen a 35 year old man still needs his mother to nurse him to sleep? Or 28 Year old man bring his mother to his business luncheons because he needs to be fed? Or a grown up man with normal motor skills still needs help to put on his clothes? Enough said.

Lastly, i hold the same thoughts as the blogger when it comes to my kid's sleep. I know the 'RIGHT' way is to put the kids to sleep early and not let the kid take a long noon nap (least their bedtime gets pushed back). But again, I'm unconventional. I follow N's sleep pattern rather than doing it what the books say is the 'RIGHT' way. I never disrupt his naps, i always let him sleep as much as his body needs. This often means that his naps can run till 7-ish which means he sleeps late at night. But to me, as long as he clocks the total number of hours his body needs to rest, it doesn't matter if he sleeps late. Again, i think alot of parents want their kids to sleep early because of their own convenience- they want some night time to themselves. My husband and i think differently. We prefer the kids have some play time with daddy when he returns from home rather than for him to rush home only to put the kids to sleep.

So, can you tell? I'm breaking all the parenting rules!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Solar System

Now that my husband tags along to our library trips, we have a bigger problem! We've got 3 people (Him, sonshine and myself) trying to stuff books (for the boy) into our library bag- competition is stiff, library cards are limited!

Anyway, one of the books my husband picked out was on the Solar System. Although i've taught N before, it doesn't hurt to refresh his memory and learn more about it. And since he's older, he probably understands it better than when he was 2.

We read two books (forgot to take picture), one of which was Dr Seuss's 'There's No Place like Space'.

The books helped N to learn and recall the sequence of the planets & that there are 8 planets in all. I dug out this material i made for him 2 years ago and have him match the labels to the planets.

The books taught us some facts and so to sum up what we read, i made these cards.

Sonshine had to match these descriptive cards to the correct planet cards.

I was over the moon (HA!) when i found out that i had Earth and moon related National Geographic books- how appropriate! We've been reading just to complete our read on Solar system.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Questions & Answers

Someone sent me an email asking me some questions about how I started homeschooling N etc, I decided to reply her by posting my answers here (sorry it took me so long to do this!).

1) How & when did I start homeschooling N?

It all started when I made a personal quest to teach N how to read & to develop the love for reading. I did so by using Glenn Doman flashcards and I read tons of books to him when he was 5 months onwards. Subsequently both objectives were met and we were both bored. Hence, I went on a search for ideas on home activities I can do with my then 1 year old. That's when I stumbled onto a book on Montessori.

2) Why Montessori?

I find her methods very well thought and appropriate for a young toddler. I love that the child is not learning in a rigid classroom setting but gets to choose what he wants to PLAY. I say play because her activities are really like toys and just as appealing. Unknown to them, as they play, they are actually learning. I also love that it allows the child to learn at his own pace and not follow a strict schedule or time table.

3) How do I find the time to DIY my learning materials?

I mentioned earlier that in my house we run on a mundane routine. Because of that, I know exactly when my pockets of free time are. I'd make the materials when the kids are asleep or in school. Otherwise, I wait for my husband to be home. Of course, I can't finish the project in one shot, it may take some days to finish it. I also try to find the shortest, least hassle way to make the materials. Most of the time, it's just copy, cut, paste on a PC software, print, laminate & cut. The key is to plan exactly what you want to do and HOW you're going to do it before starting the project.

4) Have I started with baby doll?

At this age, I've already started with N but I'm just too tired and lackadaisical now to start with babydoll. But I've got an idea how I'm going to start, that will happen when I get my butt moving! I'll be sharing some of the stuff I'll do with her here so keep a lookout!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yummy Food

N is a really picky eater. If possible, he would do away with his 3 meals and just live on water. No kidding. In all his 4 years, he has NEVER told us he's hungry. The only stuff he would ask for are all the unhealthy snacks like sweets- before you jump into any conclusion, we don't give in to his request for sweets easily either.

Anyway, in our very feeble attempt to make him eat more, my husband & i went in search for books on eating & eating the right food. We borrowed a couple and read them to him last 2 weeks. He has basically learnt the food pyramid, what are the food he should eat more, what less, how different food benefit  him in varying ways etc

So to drill into him what we have read, i did up the chart above. It's basically categorizing the food, which food gives us fibre, which calcium, protein etc and how each help our body.

While, it has certainly helped him to understand why we need to eat, it hasn't helped in his picky eating ways. BLEH!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ipad- how I control the boy's usage.

I am very proud to say that sonshine boy watches 0 hours of tv a day. Even if he does, it will be well under 30mins on the YouTube. He is one of the rare kids who has short attention span when it comes to the television. Of course, he has his favorite shows like Thomas the Train, Chugginton and can sit through an episode but even then he would rather play his educational pc game or iPad then to watch shows. But having said that, he can clock up to 2 hours (break in between) on the iPad- and I'm certainly not proud of that!

I knew very well this would happen the minute mr iPad steps into our house. So I made a pact with the boy & this is how I control his usage.

I liken iPad to fire, it's a good servant but poor master. Hence I consciously make the iPad serve us rather lord over us. Here's how. I created 2 types of folders and named them 'weekend' and 'education'. Under the 'weekend' folder are those arcade or what I call, mindless games which the boys (including the papa) oh so love to play. No points for guessing which folder angry birds come under. And of course, under the education folders are all the educational games these includes maths (mostly), spelling, Chinese etc. N knows he can play the mindless games only on weekends but he's allowed to play educational games during the weekday (this applies to daddy-o as well! Or rather he can't play in front of N on weekdays). That's why I am more tolerant when he plays up to 2 hours on iPad a day. He thinks he is playing but he's actually practicing his maths and reading skills. I've discovered that he has also been Learning as he plays! Good for me! :p

I think in today's world, resisting technology is impossible. It's like resisting television, but the more you resist the more excluded you are from this world. But like television, it brings us good knowledge but all kinds of evilness as well. It's how you use it, how you control it. Just like, well, fire.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Finishing off division

Alright, i am quite convince the boy knows his division. But since I've already made the cards, i had him do the activity anyway! We've completed division by 5 and 6. At the same time, my hub and i have been giving N random divisions by 7,8,9 and 11 (sometimes 12). And all i can say, The boy sure knows his division!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Board game and simple lessons learnt

The boy came back from school one day and said something about 'Snakes, ladders'. Apparently, he has been playing this game at school (for some strange reason). Remembering that i had loads of board games at my mom's, i had her bring over a set of Snakes & ladders.

As expected, it was huge hit with the boy! He insist to play EVERYDAY.

After playing and watching him play, i discover the greatness of a simple board game like this.

1) It brings the family together. We've been playing as a family and it has been nothing short of fun!

2) It teaches the child to take turn. Sonshine boy was eager to have his turn but he eventually learnt that he has to wait and let others have their turn. This also taught him about the sequence of players, who plays first, second and third then back to first, second etc.

3) And this is the most important (for me), he learns to lose graciously and to play fairly. Initially, he got extremely upset that he was lagging behind and losing. He would cry but insist on playing. He would ask grandma (who gives in to him) and us to give in to him. But we insist that we all play fairly. I am glad that since then, he accepts  when he doesn't win but will insist on trying, and trying and trying again until he wins. That's the spirit!

4) He learns that although he is trailing behind, he can still win as long as the game is not over yet. If you are familiar with the game, even if you're on top, you may just fall back down in the next turn. The last can eventually become the winner.

 I hope he will later on learn that, in life, although we may seemingly be weaker or losing, it doesn't mean it will be the end of it all. He can still conquer the odds and emerge as victorious.

5) I didn't do this with the boy cause i wanted him to just play. But if you're teaching your kid addition right now, this may be a good time to play Snakes & ladders. For instance, if your token is at space number 4, player throws a 4. You can turn it into a maths lesson. Ask your kid, what is 4 + 4? The answer is where the token should be. And by counting each step to space 8, you give a great visual to the kid, why 4 + 4 is 8. :) Good learning fun!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Division by 3 and 4 and....

Since he could crack the division by 2 table so fast, i went on to the next table- division by 3.

Again, i used the maths cubes but once more, he showed me he didn't need the visual aids. I took away the cubes and made him complete the set which he did with no help. It's really cute seeing him paused with each equation, i could see he was calculating in his head.

Still, not convinced that he could divide on his own, i whipped out the division by 4 cards- no problem there either. I needed more convincing so i randomly asked him what 18 divide by 9 or 14 by 7 was- he answered them correctly.

Ok, i thought i needed 10 weeks to teach him the entire division table but looks like not?
And i still don't know how he does it!

Division by 2

As soon as i learnt that division is repeated subtraction, i came up with an activity just to show N this fact.

I prepared the division cards.

We first explored the set on division by 2 with the help of our Mathematical cubes. Here the equation is 6 divide by 2. I asked N how many cubes to take out in total, we determined that it was 6. He also figured out that we have to count by 2 i.e. subtract by 2 or group into 2.

So, i had him break out the cubes in sets of 2. We counted that there were 3 sets and the answer hence.

We also have explored the entire division (by 2) table. I noticed N didn't need to use the cubes to solve the rest of the equations.

He was able to complete the entire division by 2 table without any help nor visual aids. :)

I have yet figure out how he calculates the equation in his head. He could have remembered that i told him division is the opposite of multiplication and he calculated the reverse in his head. *shrug* I have no clue!
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