Monday, February 28, 2011

Capital Cities of the world

We have been reading up on capital cities of the world. As i have mentioned before, the world flags, maps and the likes always intrigue sonshine boy.

I prepared word labels on some of the capital cities we've learnt.

To make it interesting, i used world flags instead of country names. Sonshine boy had to match the various capital cities to the correct flag. He required no help from me.

Through our readings, we've also learn about some famous landmarks and where they are found. I made some word labels and he had to match them to the correct picture. I also had him match the landmarks to the country (flag) where it can be found.

Learning new Mandarin words

We've been reading (and still reading) this book- i don't know why N still insist to read it nightly but it's boring me. As a follow up, i came up with this activity so that he can also revise the words he learnt. He had to match the action word to the correct body parts i.e we use our nose to smell.

I am satisfied that sonshine boy has learnt all the words in the previous book, hence we've moved on to reading this book. I like this book because we can learn new words on the household items like washing machine, air condition, shower head etc. Sonshine boy is liking this book too!

These are some of the new words sonshine boy learnt from the new book thus far.

Papa & the Moon

Sonshine boy is currently obsessed with this Eric Carle's book. Its about a girl who wanted the moon and how her papa got it for her. Just like a typical Carle's book, it has subtle science lesson in it! The kids learn that the moon 'shrinks' from a full moon till it 'disappear' and 'grow' again to a full moon. The creative lift the flap pages make the book even more interesting.

As a follow up, i prepared material on the phases on the moon. I shared with N the technical names of each phases as the 'shrinks' and as the moon 'grow'. Well, technical is the word, it was TOO technical for him. The only thing he got out from this was 'FULL MOON'.

We're still reading this book- it has been weeks (Yawn) but sonshine boy still find delight in it. After each read, i would pretend to climb up the very long ladder until i reach the moon (just like the papa in the book). And pretend to wait for the moon to get smaller so that i can take it down & pass it to N. The boy, pretends to be the girl in the book, would 'play' with the moon till it disappeared (just as the book says). He's had so much fun with this despite that we've been playing this EVERY night.
Ah, the simple pleasures of pretend play!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where i bought my stuff..

I've had several mothers asking me where i bought my materials. I thought i should also write it here for the benefit of others.

This was passed down to me by my sister. She bought it from Shichida school. I guess it would be easy to purchase if your kiddo is already a student there...but i am not sure if its sold to the public neither do i know if this product is still available.

Montessori Maths Beads

I bought the a set of Montessori materials which includes materials from sensorial to mathematics which of course includes the beads. I ordered through a bulk purchase from Singapore Motherhood Forum and unfortunately, i've not seen anyone organising this spree anymore. However, i do know of an local online store that sells the same product and a whole lot of Montessori materials. But please note, i've not bought from here before so i am not certain about its credibility or reliability. If you are not comfortable, please do not to order.

Here's the website (just click on your interested category on the left panel i.e. Mathematics):

Hope this helps!

(Schida and Right to learn Educational Service should reward me for this! :P)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Addition Again

Sorry to bore you guys, but it's yet another lengthy blog about how i teach addition! No pictures again because i didn't use any visual aids.

I taught sonshine boy how to add by two using skip counting. He knew how to count in twos, so i got him to use this knowledge to add in 2. But that didn't sit well with me because i knew he was memorizing.

Fortunately, he spotted the pattern- he figured to add by 2, he needs to skip a number to get the answer. For instance, he realised that to add 2 to 56 means he has to skip 57 to get 58. I was surprised he could identify the pattern it was something i never showed him. Although this means he can manage all additions by 2, i was still uncomfortable with this method.

I know there are parents who teach multiplication/times table by memory but i much prefer otherwise. It would be easy for N to memorize but at this age, i'd rather he make a conscious effort to calculate. By memory, there'll be a limited number of sums he can do. But if he knows how to calculate, he would be able to manage limitless equations without me having to go through every single sum. And although, i think N is ready to learn multiplication, i rather he grasp the addition concept (adding by mulitples) first. This way, multiplication will come naturally to him. I feel in Maths, we need to take a step at a time. The basic foundation has to be laid first before moving on to the next. Otherwise, it may be too complicated for the child to understand.

And so, i went on to teach N how to add by 3 (see previous entry). Again, it didn't sit well with me because i soon realise he can only add up to 33. He needs visual aids (the mathematical cubes) to calculate other sums say 88+3- which i means 91 cubes, that's not practical.

Once again, i experimented another method when i taught him to add 4. This time i used my trusted....FINGERS! As i say out an equation i.e. 5+4, i stuck out 4 fingers  one at a time. As i do that, i counted 1,2,3,4 (to show that to add 4, we take out 4 fingers). Then i repeated the question FIVE plus 4 equals? As i pointed to each finger, i whispered 'six, seven, eight...' i stopped at the 4th finger and waited for N to shout out 'NINE!'. I did this several times over until he understood the concept.

I'm happy to announce, this method works! Now without my fingers, he can now add 4 to any numbers i.e. 88+4, 53+4 and i didn't have to go through every single sum. WOOT! I reckon this means it'd be a breeze to teach him subsequent sums?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mental sums

We've doing some mental sums lately. I wanted to teach N how to add in 2s, since he knows the 2 timestable but i was too tardy in preparing the learning materials (hence no pictures). So instead, i just gave him a verbal 'lesson' over meals- so it has became mental sums.

I asked N what is '2+2' (this he knows previously) which he promptly answers '4!'. I went on to the next sum '4+2'?. He gave me the 'i don't know look' so i told him to count in 2s and asked him what number is after 4? He said '6!' so i repeated the question and said '4+2 is equals to 6'. He caught on and was able to answer the subsequent sums, we went up all the way to 22 or more (cannot remember).

After some practice over a few days and explaining to him how to skip count in 2, he spotted the pattern. So i tested him by randomly picking a few sums we hadn't attempted, something like '56+2 or 104+2'. It was amusing seeing him count in his head and his face light up when he got the answers. Because he understood the concept of skip counting in 2s, he can also now add by 2s with odd numbers mentally.

I have to repeat here that i never intended for N to learn sums this early. In fact, i thought he would be ready only by 4 or 5 years old. THe only reason why we've come this far is because he has been showing very strong interest in this area. I feel it will be unfair to him if i insist on slowing down the pace. Also, if i remain at a slower pace, he might get bored and loose interest in learning. My purpose is to spur on his interest and love for learning. And it's been nothing but fun (yes Maths can be quite enjoyable) so far!

Monday, February 14, 2011

All About Maths

In the past week, we learnt how to spell


We've also been learning how to count in threes. We connected our maths cube in threes of the same color. As we connect each set of three, we recited the mulitples of 3. I also asked him what does '3+3=?, 6+3=...' as we go along. He's got the hang of it, we need to practise more so that it sticks deep inside his brain!

Love is in the air

We played some Valentine theme activities today!

We learn how to spell 'love'.

Valentine's puzzle!

I created this puzzle especially for Valentine's day. It's actually a bible memory verse. I thought i should kill 2 birds with 1 stone. This way, sonshine boy can play and learn a verse all at one go! I chose this verse because i wanted the boy to know that God's love for him will never fail.

Here's another printable puzzle i made. These are heart shapes with varying designs on them.

Sonshine boy had to match the hearts. I deliberately made it a tad challenging by creating similar but different designs on each heart.

I can't seem to find a book on counting by threes. So i cut out heart shapes and wrote the multiples of three on each heart, from 3 up to 30.

Sonshine boy unfolded and arrange them from the smallest to the biggest number. When the hearts are in order, we recited the multiples of three together.

Another printable that i made. Tracing heart shapes!

Once again, i will be happy to share my printables. It's only meant for home use, so please don't put them up for sale. If you decide to blog about it, do link it back to my site. Email me for the printables.

Happy Valentine's day!

Sibling rivarly

The other day as i was having dinner with my Sister's family, i saw how well my brother in law handled a typical sibling rivarly & i thought it is worth mentioning here.

As with any other family with 2 children, my niece and nephew were vying over the iphone (what else?). My niece actually had the phone first but the younger brother insisted on having it.

In all (i really mean ALL) other family i know with 2 kids, the parent would order the elder to give in to the younger. Their rational is 'Because you are older!' or 'because he/she is still young!' I always felt that this way of handling the situation isn't very fair to the older kid. I get concern that the elder will grow up resenting the younger or feel that he/she hasn't got much a place at home. A friend made her older boy give in to the younger to a point where he actually questioned her in exasperation 'WHY DO I HAVE TO GIVE IN ALL THE TIME?'. Worst, another friend's younger boy punched his older brother who broke into tears. Instead of reprimanding the younger boy, the mother turned her entire attention on the younger one, get this, comforting him while the older boy sobbed alone. His father simply told the older boy 'AH, he's just a 'didi' (younger brother).' And that was the end it. Poor boy.

So what did my brother in law do? He simply told the boy that elder sister had the phone first and he had to wait for his turn. I know alot of parent insist on giving in to the younger kid because they don't want to manage a meltdown. But i feel this is a easy way out that will lead to a mountain of problems later on. If this is done repeatedly, the younger one will learn that all he has to do is to kick a HUGE fuss in order to get his way. Like the case of my friend's younger boy. He now throws a horrible tantrum to get his way and my friend is too deep into it that it is very, extremely difficult to manage him now that he is older.

I know it's so much easier said than done! But i am going to try! I believe if done rightly the first couple of times, it will a whole lot easier subsequently. I'll just have to bite the bullet first!

Friday, February 11, 2011

CHinese Parenting

No, this is not yet one of those blog about 'tiger mums'. On the contrary, its my lamentation about how poor chinese parenting can be sometimes.

I am not one who believes blindly, i need proof, i need the theory to be backed by grounded research. Hence, i find it awfully difficult to accept alot of the old wives tales which unfortunately, lands me into the 'rebellious, disobedient' books in the eyes of my elders.

For a start, I simply cannot understand the chinese confinement rules. Things like new mothers cannot wash hair, drink water, must wear socks, no aircon, all windows must be shut etc. I find them all absurd and against my logical thinking. I mean no washing hair? The most extreme i heard was no bathing! I like what my Gynae said, the objective of the confinement period is to make the mother rest & feel comfortable- no bathing is definately causing more stress than help.

Let me tell you how all these rules came about- i learnt this during my pre natal class during my first pregnancy. We all know that these rules came from our ancestors in China. Apparantly, in those days, the weather can be very extreme & cold. These rules were implemented to keep the mothers warm. Somehow these rules became warp as each generation pass it down to the next.

I watched on the television how other cultures (American) deal with their confinement- NOTHING SPECIAL! If anything, there's a welcome party at home for the mum & new baby when she arrives from the hospital. Guess what? They eat normal food like PIZZA, PASTA etc- nothing of our sort! So, if they can survive with none of our confinement nonsense, why not us?

My take is that the Chinese all way too superstitious and (forgive my language) suckers for old wives tales. We need to loosen up, analyse the rational behind each belief, throw out the extremely warp ones and keep only the logical ones. As for me and my house, we're going to stop this nonsense- i refuse to pass down anymore lies to my next generation!
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