Saturday, March 31, 2012

四五快读学汉字 Ipad APP review

Parents who are working with their child on 四五快读 will be interested to know that there is actually a 四五快读 app in the store! There are a few series and each series consists of 10 lessons. The structure is similar to that of the books where in each lesson, the child will learn new words, followed by 词语 (with pictures to illustrate the words) and then sentences using the new words (i have not checked-too lazy, but the sentences are similar or even the same as the book).

What's interesting is that at the end of each lesson, there is a mini game to help the child revise the new words. In the first part of the game, the child is given 4 characters (think multiple choice) and he has to choose the word that the app calls out for. The second part of the game, the child has to choose the correct word to complete a 词语 or a phrase to complete a short sentence.

What i like about the app:

1) The mini game at the end of each lesson. I think it is another great way for the child to revise what he has learnt and it serves for me, the parent, as a way to counter check if he truly recognises the words and if he knows how to use them appropiately. It also saves me alot of time cracking my brain cells out on planning & making revison activities for the boy.

What i don't like about the app:

1) I don't like how the new words are being introduced. Instead of showing the full words (think flashcards), it shows how the word is written (each stroke is highlighted step by step) as it is being read out. I think it is very distracting and time consuming, denting the child's interest. Moreover, young kids are not necessary interested in knowing how the word is written.

2) The words are accompanied by Hanyu Pinyin. While it is a good way for the kid to pick Hanyu Pinyin but at this stage i would prefer otherwise. Sometimes i would get Sonshine to read the words out for me from the app but i do not know if he was getting help from the Hanyu Pinyin or if he truly recognises the word. I wish there is an option to turn it off.

3) The revision games are a tad too short. The very reason why i downloaded the app was for the revision exercises but the activities are insufficient- at least to me.

All in all, i think it is a good tool for parents to complement their 四五快读 lessons, although the words are exactly the same. But still, it is a, refreshing, attractive (to the kids) way to conduct your lessons. I think Sonshine enjoys this app simply because it is on the ipad and he naively thinks that all apps on the ipad are fun games. Oh well, whatever works for me!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Subtraction within 100

I was trying to lay off Subtraction within 100 (involving borrowing over from the tens to ones) because i found it a tad too tough for my yet-to-be 5 year old to understand.

But he recently is into doing Word problems frenzy and we inevitably reached to subtracting within 100. That is when i reluctantly decided it was time to teach my little fellow.

I first taught him the Singaporean way, or rather the way i was taught. But i think i shouldn't have done that although he showed that he could do it. Still, i had him work on the Montessori Stamp game (which i personally think is THE BEST way to illustrate this topic) because i wanted him to be very clear about what it meant to 'borrow' from the tens to the ones.

So now, the sonny can subtract within 100. I dare not ask him to do it mentally although i vaguely remember he did it before. But i'm not going there, don't want him to be confused.

Very proud of you sonny, well done!

All About turtles

Sonshine was briefly interested in Turtles some time back and i tried to take the opportunity to do some activities. But i procrastinated so much that by the time i got to it, he lost the interest. MUST.ACT.FASTER.MUMMY.

We read up on Turtles. This is where I, yes me, learnt that turtles do not have teeth! Did you know that?

I have the turtles from Toob (which was what got him interested in the first place) and sonshine matched them to the pictures i printed from the web. I wasn't getting him to remember the names of the various turtles, it was more to let him know what are the different types of turtles out there.

Sonshine did some copywork. Besides the above, he also copied "Turtles are slow". I am moving on to copywork so that he not only gets to practise writing but also hopefully he would learn how to form simple sentences (which hopefully will help lay some foundation for his composition- this is my worst feared subject for him).

Continuing his practise on writing and spelling.

Wrapping Up: Asia Continent

Here are some of the activities we did to finish up our journey in Asia Continent.

Sonshine re-did the map.
This time, i used an uncolored map (i colored the previous map to help him differentiate the countries). I wanted to see if he was memorising the countries by its color or location. Turns out, he remembered them by location since he poked all the flags in their places as swiftly as ever.

We did Asia Continent puzzles.

Sonshine had a brief read on an Atlas book that Poppy (he calls his grandma that) bought for him.

Sonshine made these Asia landmarks with his papa (who did most all of the work). There is the Taj Mahal (India), Great wall of china and 2 new landmarks he learnt were Gyongbokkung (South Korea) & Minato Mirai 21 (Japan).

These are an outline maps of the countries in Asia. Sonshine had to match the maps to the correct countries.

I realised we have spent alot of time in Asia, or rather we have been doing repeated work on this continent. So it's time to move on! NExt stop, Europe!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Asia Continent

I am re-visiting my series of Geography lessons with sonshine, starting with the Asia continent-where else.
I actually did this with sonny a few years back but stopped until i was inspired to do it again by Counting Coconuts and Chasing Cheerios.
The one we had was shaky so i decided to remake the map. This time i used a combination of laminate, sturdier toothpicks, Styrofoam to make it usable. This activity is a DIY version of Montessori's Continent map work, by the way.

Sonshine enjoyed this activity. He had to insert each flag onto the correct location. I don't know if he remembers what he has learnt from some time back but he managed to locate each country quite quickly. I didn't make all the countries in Asia but i made most of them (not all flags are shown on the photo).

I also made capital cities and had Sonshine match them on the map. I was pleased that he could recall most of the capital cities and didn't had much problem with this either.

Lastly, matching the national costumes with the countries on the map.

All in all, i am pleased that the sonny is able to locate the major countries in Asia. He has even learnt which countries are part of South East Asia, which are part of Middle East. Even i had fun with this! Daddy says Mommy's geography has improved (from hopeless) after researching and making this activity for the boy. That is quite true, LOL!

School holiday fun

Normally, i would turn into a headless chicken when the school holidays draw near but this March holiday was an exception because it last only one week! I had it all planned! I signed him up for holiday classes (so i could have him out of the house & keep my sanity) for the first half and daddy took off from work during the later half.

I was suppose to join some mummy bloggers for a holiday class. But due to a technical slip up (my email correspondence went into my 'bulk mail' folder without my realising and didn't prompt me with a notification), i missed it.
:( What a shame, i was so very looking forward to meeting the other mummies. I am so sorry, i hope i didn't caused any inconvenience to anyone. I do hope to join in the next round.

On a brighter note, sonshine had a packed week filled with activities.

Art class.
He came back with these beautiful Aboriginal art! Glad i signed him for it!

The later part of the week was spent aimlessly but meaningfully. Er, quite a paradox isn't it? Aimless because daddy & mommy didn't make any concrete plans and were clueless where we should head. Meaningful because, despite the last minute, impromptu dash to a place, it always turned out well & good.

So where did our unplan itinerary took us?

Singapore Science Center.

Sonshine was resistant at first because it was very dim and noisy. But we made a wise decision to head straight to the Mathematics section where he immediately warmed up!

He's favourite part were this spiral thing (sorry i didn't read the instruction, i have no idea what it is called) where you take a ball and throw the ball into it & watch the ball spiral down into a hole.

The other part of Science Center he was upbeat about. You place a ball right at the top and watch it roll down the slope. I took a second to explain about potential and kinetic energy but like he was listening!

A visit to his favourite Arcade.

He loves this bowling game & i don't mind him playing either because it's really about eye-hand coordination and involves some physics! Bwahahahaha!

Water play which didnt turn out well.

We thought he would love the water play but we forgot he isn't like a typical kid. He didn't like it and we left the place in 10 minutes and dry.

A trip to an outdoor playground (that boy in the picture is not sonshine by the way) where he played hysterically wild with an older girl. Later announcing to us that 'I AM SWEATING!'.

A trip to the Park.

Sonshine declared 'I don't want to go church. I am sick. I am coughing. I want to go Park'. So, being the obedient & responsible parents we are, we skipped church and head for the outdoors instead.

It was a nice leisure Sunday.

Dusting sand off his feet.

Taking a ride on a go-kart with daddy

It was a great one-week school holiday- well at least for me! Time to switch gears and back to school mode!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Practical life, practical ways

One of the advantage of not having a helper at home is that you would naturally (or more like forced by circumstances) train your child to acquire self help skills as quickly as possible.

Before babydoll, i used to (i am very ashamed to say) do everything for sonshine. From putting on his socks, school shoes, shirt, carrying his school bag etc and even taking them off for him. But now with the baby, i couldn't nanny the boy any longer. Hence, i started to take every opportunity to teach the boy how to put on his shirt and then how to take it off, and now button/unbutton his own shirt. I don't know about your child but sonshine isn't very good at practical skills (which is also why i didn't introduce this earlier as i felt it would dent his confidence). It took alot of encouragement and time to get his ego going. I am glad we persisted. So now, the boy goes to the toilet on his own, washes his own hands, put on/take off his own clothes, take off his shoes & socks and put them in the shoe cabinet, carries his own school bag, helps himself with his milk & snack from the refrigerator (we prepare it for him the night before), even climbing up and down the car (LOL!) etc.

I can finally say he's self help skills have went up a notch. I feel great that all i have to do is to give instructions and not be the one who acts on it! LOL. Perhaps his life skills are not as great as the kid next door but i'm still very proud of his acheivements. Well done my boy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Coming your way...

A little something something for one of YOU out there!
Holler when it reaches your shores! (Have not sent it out yet at this point! :I)

p/s: Sonshine wrote 'love sonshine !' himself! He insisted to add the exclamation mark! LOL! I just LOVE his handwriting!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Speech & other things

Having someone call me 'mummy' is music to my ears, i feel extremely blessed and grateful at so many levels. For one, to have someone to love and to love me unconditionally and so pure is just mind blowing. For another, it's a reminder how far sonshine has come with his speech progress.

Sonny boy's speech has always been slow. I remember 2 years ago, he could barely call me 'mummy'. He was already 2.5 years old, where most toddlers would be stringing sentences or phrases. Mine couldn't even manage the basic 'mummy, daddy'. I cried my eyeballs out, worried my brain cells out for him. He would make odd sounds like 'ngg, ggng' all without vowel sounds. But he began to slowly learnt how to to use his oral muscles to make certain sounds and eventually to where he is now.

I wouldn't say he has reached to his peers' level. He still finds it challenging to put his thoughts into words. Sometimes he may even compose his sentence erroneously like 'when i come to school, mei mei (little sister) don't want to destroy your lego'. He meant when he goes to school, he doesn't want his sister to destroy his lego. Sometimes, i cannot even figure out what he is trying to say. Still, he can express his needs and wants clearly enough for us all to understand- much to my great relief!

On another thought, sonshine has always been a different child who never seem to fit into the average kid. Put him in a sea of children, you'll instantly see he's different. He's developments, personality, preferences are mostly at the extreme end of the spectrum. Let' see there's 1) his speech...

2) He skipped the terrible twos tantrums.

I always say he rarely throws a tantrum, quite unbelievable right? I must be either deaf, dead or just plain ignorant of his tantrums! Well, seriously, i have heard & seen tantrum behaviours and i don't recognise them in my son. Yes, he does cry when he is upset, but he doesn't go into a fit. He just cries- sometimes screeching cries. Anger is not in his dictionary. I would like to take ALL the credit but no, it is just in his personality- maybe he has gotten it from his 'everything's cool man' papa.

3) He skipped the pointing and naming object stage

Most toddlers would go through the stage of pointing to things and naming them. Sonshine didn't go through that. He could point, he could name objects but would never do it voluntarily. For instance, if we walk past a cat. Most kids would point to the cat and say 'CAT!'. My son walks past it without even glancing at it and appears oblivious to it. But if i ask him 'where's the cat?' he would then point. Or if i point and ask him 'what's that?', he can say 'cat' unenthusiastically & annoyed like 'duh, don't you know that's a cat mummy?'.

3) slow to socialise

Correct me if i am wrong, but most kids are sociable creatures unless they are shy. They would respond when approach by adults and especially other kids. But my son tends to ignore them all, maybe even tries to walk away and avoid them like they are some roach! Though i have seen him happily playing with some of my friends' kids. He's rather selective in whom he wants to warm up to.

4) Others

Food wise- he doesn't enjoy French fries. He doesn't take ice-cream. Once my friend offered him one and was shocked that he refused because, which kid doesn't like ice cream & fries?

Drawing, coloring- most kids love to pick up a pen and just doodle, scribble, get fascinated by how a mere pen can create so many lines, circles and shapes. But mine, just refused to hold a pen, not intrigued by it. MUCH MUCH to my dismay- because i LOVE doodling- it's my thing!

(post note)

5) Kiddy rides

Most kids enjoy kiddy rides, mine doesn't. He likes to sit on them but would immediately scramble down when we attempt to insert the coins to start the ride. He'd rather sit on the rides stationery- duh.

6) Cartoons & TV

Sonshine isn't a television kid. Yes, there are some shows he would watch but selective. He does not like Mickey Mouse nor any Disney shows. When it comes to the television, he has limited attention span- not that i am complaining.

7) Movies

We have yet to successfully bring him for a movie. He doesn't enjoy any shows and as i said, has very short patience for it. Moreover, he dislike that the cinemas are dark and loud- totally freaks him out.

8) Concerts, shows

During the holidays, the malls would be filled with roadshows of various cartoon characters. Most kids would beg their parents to bring them to watch and be more than content to sit in the front row. Mine would just beg me to bring him far away!

9) Homebody

He prefers to stay home and play he's toys or just pretend play. Sometimes he would tell us he doesn't want to go out and we have to coax him to step out of the house. When we are out, he would sometimes ask to go home. :I Of course, there are places where he would happily trot to.

I have just made him sound like there's something wrong with him huh? At one point, i truly believed he has some form of development problems, actually occasionally i still do wonder. I've consulted doctors and all told me the same- it's his personality, it's in his character. My pediatrician even commanded me to 'LEAVE HIM ALONE!'. Ok, alright, YES MADAM! Also, he's been responding to us with two way conversations, looks us in the eye, well aware of his environment, gets tickled by a joke, behaves just like another kid in general etc etc. I guess he is ok.

So if you see us on the street- that is if you recognise us- ha ha ha, don't expect my sonshine to go 'I had carrot and chicken' or 'i just came back from school' when you ask him what he ate for lunch or where he's been. He'll probably reply with a sheepish grin and that's it. Ah, well, while i've been nagging him to be polite and respond...i have also resigned to the fact that that's my boy and at the same time hoping he'll warm up and be responsive soon!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A non-homeschooling thought

Okay, by writing this post, i may be inviting alot of bashing. But... i have a nagging question in my head that just wouldn't go away. I am, by no means,  judging anyone i am just thinking out loud & well curious.

Personally, i enjoy reading blogs, mostly educational ones. Recently, i discovered some local family blogs- i enjoy reading them too. It makes a difference when i get to see the face behind the blogs, their family and children, dog photos etc. It makes it more personal.

Still, i am quite baffled why most bloggers have no qualms putting their photos up for all to see. I mean, some post can be quite personal- it's like a diary, everyone reads it. By putting up photos, it makes it even more open because now not only everyone knows your inner thoughts, they also know who you are, your name, your wife's name, your children's name, your dog's name...!

Not only that, putting photos of their house, neighbourhood etc. Tell you something, i actually recognised one of the bloggers photos and i know where that blogger lives. How scary is that? I mean, i could be some stalker with evil intentions, you know?

Also, we may have common friends. I was once invited to a party by a church friend and lo & behold, a blogger was invited too. I didn't introduce myself (because we never really 'spoken' to each other on our blogs and I'm not sure she even reads my blog). I don't really read her blog either but i was just thinking what if someone else has been following her blog and knows her every thoughts, her likes, dislikes, what she has been up to recently or what classes her kids are attending, when she travelled recently etc etc? What if that someone, like me, choose not to introduce herself, but instead watch this blogger & her family from afar? Or worst, decides to follow the family? It's like the blogger is in the light but the well, you can call him, the stalker, is in the dark? Or or or what if, some nut case recognises the blogger's kids in school or in the streets and decides to lure them away by using all the personal information on the blogger's page? Like "oh your dog, bobby, is dying! i know where it is, let me take you there!".

I know, i know, i am paranoid. I am a worry wort. And such thing rarely happen. That i admit. But, really, i rather take precautions, thank you very much. I do not want to be recognise on the street or have some stranger come up to me and ask 'yo, so you are back from your holiday in Australia eh? How was it?'. That would absolutely freak me out!

So, i don't know. Is there something i am missing here? I feel like i am the only odd ball in this blogsphere who refuses to put her and her kids' photos up here. Not that i am feeling out of place, I will continue to be strictly private in this blog, all in the name of protecting my children. So, i am really sorry to that reader who had asked me to connect with him. I feel uncomfortable- unless i already know you personally. To all others who would like to connect with me, i apologise. But i would be happy to connect with you through this blog. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Problem Solving & alittle humour

I find it ironic that Singapore Math is commonly adopted by overseas homeschoolers while we, Singaporeans, are rolling our eye balls out at our Math curriculum. I really don't understand why our maths must be sooo difficult. I mean hello, how many of us encounter such degree of mathematical difficulty in our daily lives, let alone careers? 1%? No, wait maybe make it 0.5%.

Unfortunately, the son is born here and will be suck into the system. What should a mother to do? Prepare him, what else? I was told that our Problem sums are the real killers. To a certain extent, i do agree. I remember struggling with it and i would go '????!!!!??????!!' after reading the questions. Anyway, i learnt along the way that the key to cracking the problem sums is to practise lots. That is why, i have been slowly introducing him to solving problem sums.

I first started with very simple addition and subtraction questions from the above assessment book. Questions like 'If mama has 5 toys and sonshine as 4, how many toys are there altogether?' or 'Mama has 10 toys, she gives 4 away. How many toys are left?'. I didn't explain the questions, i made him read the questions himself and tell me the answers. I was pleased that he could understand the questions and derive the correct answers. After which, he dabbled simple multiplication questions.

Since he could solve the questions, we moved on to tougher questions like 'Peter has 5 boxes of sweets. In each box there are 6 sweets. Peter gave away 8 sweets, how many does he have?'. Of course, he couldn't solve it at first. So i gently guided him without showing him the workings (we did all problem sums verbally & mentally by the way). I read the first part of the question and asked how many sweets are there altogether? After he gave 8 away, how many sweets are left? With that, he can now solve such questions mentally. For some reason, the odd ball has been asking me for more such questions. I was like 'er...later'. I was too tired to entertain him. :I

I recently read a question on time to him. For instance 'Jane took her nap at 4 o'clock and wakes up 2 hours later. What time did she wake up?' Sonshine had no issues with that either.

So for fun, one night i randomly asked him,

Me: If the time now is 9 o'clock and mummy says you will bathe 15 minutes later. What time will you bathe?'

Sonshine: 10:15!

Me: Nooooo! I said it's 9 o'clock now....

Sonshine: It's 10 o'clock!

Me: (looks at the clock- oh okay, it IS 10 o'clock) Okay okay, So if it's 10 o'clock now, i say you bathe 15 minutes later, what time will you bathe?

Sonshine: 10:16!

Me: (about to say 'noooooo' when i realised the clock had turned to 10:01). Alright! Alright!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Multiple Fraction-completed!

The day after we did the multiplication in 1/2s activity, sonshine asked to do the 1/3s. Of course, i happily obliged. After completing 2-3 equations he asked to stop and i was ok with that too because i knew he has gotten it.

The point of this activity was so that sonshine understands why say 4 X 1/2 becomes 2. I just wanted to make this point loud and clear. When he understood that, i felt comfortable to show him that dividing 4 by 2 is the same as multiplying 4 by 1/2. So i randomly gave him other equations like what is 20 X 1/4 or what is 18 X 1/9 etc- equations we didn't practise at all. He was able to give me all the answers mentally and i knew he has gotten it. Awesome! I don't have to make the rest of the equations- yippee!!

四五快读- Part 2

I notice that the 四五快读 words that are close either in pronunciation or sight are deliberately selected such that the child learns them back to back. I don't know why is that so (did i miss something she said on the first 30 page?).

Anyway, i appreciate that it this way because it enables me to help sonshine to identify these words without confusion.

Here's how i teach him:

For instance these 2 words look very similar but they sound very differently and have different meanings. In the begnining, sonshine mixed the 2 words up which is quite understandable. But i told him that 学 has 3 'raindrops' on the top while 字 has only one. Straight away, he could differentiate the two words and had no problems reading these words.

These 2 words are different in sight but has the same hanyu pinyin but different sound. Since sonshine is very familiar with 学, so i told him that 雪 sounds the same except that we must say it lower (in tone). That worked too!

I shared this before. These 2 words sound exactly the same but written very differently and has meanings that are worlds apart. But it helped sonshine to recognise 目 after i told him it reads exactly like 木.

Ok ok, it's not very pro way of teaching but hey- i got the job done *dust hands*!
That aside, i made sure he also understands the meaning of each and every word. I think it is pointless if he can read but doesn't know the meaning. I, of course, had to explain the meanings in English. :I

Some of the post activity i did with sonshine. I made simple close passage worksheets for him. Note, i deliberately gave words that looks and sound the same in the multiple choice, as i wanted to make sure he knows which is the correct word for that particular phrase.

My own version of chinese scrabble! I made simple boards with different words as the key word. Here in this picture, the key word is 大 (highlighted in red). I wanted sonshine to know and learn that the word can be combined with other words to make new words (with different meanings). The game goes such that each of us had to draw a card and match it to the board. When that's done, we read out the words- and i explain the meaning to him at the same time.

I have to say, i am exhausted trying to whipped out post activities for him. This Mandarin words are endless, there are so many combinations to make with so many new meanings to learn. So, i guess i may not do again for the next few books, we'll see.

Books Galore!

Babydoll isn't very interested in Glenn Doman cards- much to my dismay. Although i know there are many other effective ways of teaching her ro read but that is really the only way i know how (and im lazy to research for new ways). Sigh.

BUT the fortunate thing is she enjoys our reading session. She perks up when i announce "Read book time!". Typically, before each flashcards session, i would read a few books. Once, i tried doing the flashcards without reading the books- she wasn't very pleased. Opps. MUST.READ.FIRST.MUMMY.

Her all time favourite book is the Usborne 'That's not my..' series. Her new found favourite are books by Karen Katz. I recently introduced to her Sandra Boynton's (my favourite author) book, 'Fuzzy Fuzzy, Fuzzy'- we both enjoy it very much. These books are interactive and she enjoys touching the different textures and lifting the flaps.

Lately, i borrowed a non-interactive book. As i was reading that book, the little doll reached out her hand and scratch the pages as i read- she was trying to look for flaps to lift! I thought that was adorable although that poor little darling was scratching the entire book only to find out there were no flaps! LOL!

She's also into opening books and turning its pages. I can always find her in a corner trying to pry open the books with her cute little fingers.

Now that we are reading to her, i find our library trips have become more challenging than before! We always max out all our cards- that's 24 books! And we visit the library every week! Yes, we read ALL the books- over and over and over again till i get really sick- that's why i insist we go change weekly! We must be a ridiculous sight after each trip with us lugging the kids and 2 very heavy bags!

Well, although our flashcards are not as successful as i like it to be, I'm still happy that she is taking to reading well- i sure hope it stays this way!
Related Posts with Thumbnails