Monday, October 29, 2012

English this week

I am still trying to find a rhythm in our homeschooling schedule. At first, i thought i would do a subject a day. But i realised i can't cover much per subject in a week. 15-20 minutes a day of homeschooling is barely enough for me to cover much. So i thought to try one subject a week. Last week, i made it an English week. So far so good. But, i am still unsure. I'll have to see how this week (Chinese theme) goes.
So anyway, for English, we worked on Composition, Grammar & copywork.

Composition wasn't about writing a story. I just used the above assessment workbook and let sonshine do. It's more like a close passage really. At the same time, i made him read aloud the passage (preparing him for oral, perhaps?).

Continued with our copywork from previous week.

We worked on Grammar. This week we learn about adjectives; how we use them to describe a noun. We also worked when to use 'a & an'.
On a separate note, i bought a Kingfisher dictionary for my son. It's a simple, beginner dictionary just nice for kids. I taught him how to use the dictionary. As we stumble onto new words, i would suggest looking up the word in the dictionary. One day, we came across a new word and i asked if he knew the meaning & he did! Naturally, i asked how he knew, he said 'I checked the dictionary'. Ah, what a proud moment for me!
On a haste, i went out to buy him a bigger & more detailed Webster's dictionary- also for kids. I was frustrated with the first one because we couldn't find many words in it. However, this bigger dictionary is probably still a tad pre-schooler unfriendly. The words they used to describe another word may be too difficult & sonshine wasn't as enthusiastic about checking as he was with the first. Oh well!

Match-y match-y

Thanks to one of my favourite montessori blogs, i was reminded that i could start matching activity with my toddler. So we did quite a few match-y match-y stuff last week!
As we worked on each category, i try to name all the items so that as she 'play', she also learns the name of each item. Sometimes i would ask her to point to the item as i call them out just to make sure she knows.
Matching colored Melissa & doug shape sorters to colored cards.
Matching plastic food toy to pictures
Matching animals
Matching household/everyday stuff.
Matching shapes
It was fun watching her working on this activity. I didn't had to guide her much but the mess she made after that...oh boy!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In our class this week...

I have decided to pursue copywork as part of my homeschool curriculum. There are too many benefits of copywork to give it up though its boring. You can read more about copywork here. But to each his own. Before you jump in, i suggest you take a second to think if it suits your child's learning style. I don't think every child will benefit from this style of learning. For sonshine, i think he needs this type of drilling to help highlight the sentence structure, punctuation marks, capital letters etc.
I gave him a simple book to copy. The key thing i was looking for was minimal punctuation marks (just commas and periods) and repetitive sentences (hoping that he can magically learn the spelling of the words he wrote several times over). Pelangi books are right up my alley for this purpose.
On a separate note, we had quite a frustrating time doing this on one of the days. I had him re-write some letters because it was not written accurately (he wrote '0' like a '6'). I ended up scolding and caning him. Not because of his error but his 'i can't do it' mentality which made him cry in despair. I didn't like that he cried over such a small matter (not the first time) and told him that it is okay if he doesn't know or needs more time but its not okay to cry and give up! 
Do you have days like these? I do! So, don't ever think its all bed of roses for us. Just keeping it real.
He did some Maths on calculating money. I had him do this since he was taught this in school last week.
He continuously surprise me with his ability to understand and solve mathematical questions. For instance, a question he encountered was  "Jim had 3 five-dollar notes. He bought something and left $3. What did he buy?" I was certain he needed help and was just about to explain to him when he said 'car' (see diagram above).
As for the girl, she did some sensory play. Squeezing sponge and spilling water all over herself and the floor. She even used a towel to wipe herself and the floor with each spillage. It was very amusing to watch to say the least.
She enjoyed this scooping activity. Actually, she is able to handle the utensils and self feed very well. Now when we are out eating, she would insist to feed herself and i am proud to say she is getting quite professional!
I secretly think she loves the scooping activity because she loves the beads. She poured them in a tray and decided that it was more fun to step on it.
Oh, how about 'bathing' in it?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nikitin Material

I saw Niktitin Block game splashed all over on the Internet quite long ago but i gave no thought to it. I think only parents whose kids attend Shichida school would know about this. But recently, i was looking for some pattern block game & this came to mind. I decided to give it a try despite not knowing what exactly it is about.
This particular set is probably the easiest of the lot. There are 16 cubes in all. Each cube comes in 6 different colored sides; blue, red, yellow, white, half red-white and half blue-yellow. There are 4 levels (if memory didn't fail me) in this series. The first level, being the easiest, requires the player to use 4 cubes to build a 2-D, 2 cubes by 2 cubes model, progressing to 9 (3 by 3) cubes at the second level and 16 cubes (4 by 4) at the third. The last level requires the player to build alphabet letters using the cubes. This is the toughest level because there is no telling what framework to use.

The first level is relatively 'no sweat'. But it gets a little challenging especially when you need to use those half colored sides and when the number of cubes increases. I got visually confused (if there is such a term) as we tackle the higher levels.
But, i love it! I love the visual stimulation and challenge. This game is not meant for kids only, it is also for the young at heart. In fact, i would think its a great game for senior citizens who need some brain challenge.
I would say this series is relatively easy for the adults. With a little patience and persistence plus a little trial & error, one would be able to conquer each level. I think its particularly addictive as one clear each level, you just want to do more!
For the kids, i think its quite challenging but not impossible. Sonshine was alittle put off at the first play. I had to stack it away, out of sight, out of mind for a few weeks so that he would forget his dislike for it. :P Somehow, at the second try, he got hooked. I learnt that it is important, very important, to let the kids do the easiest first. With some encouragement and guidance, sonshine got the hang of it. Although, whenever he feels that its too difficult, he would lay back and let me do all the work.
That said, i don't think it is worth to pay SGD $70 for it. You can easily create this game at home with a little creativity, using lego bricks or colored blocks you have at home. I decided to let the money fly away because i just had no time to DIY.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Playtime with babydoll

Here are more activities i did with doll.
Before you throw away that empty tissue box, ask yourself if you can convert it into a plaything for the tot! It was "All things round" theme, i dumped anything with a circular shape in the box for doll to dig her puny hands in.

I made a sensory bag using zip lock bag.

The bag lasted to a ripe old age of ... 60 minutes. That's when babydoll decided it was way more fun to poke the bag with a pencil causing mini holes to appear on the bag.

Playing with big brother's marble race and watching the ball roll down the structure.

Her daily activity. The crayons and pencils are readily available and well within her reach. She goes over to the table anytime she wishes.

I thought it was time to take out my montessori kit for her. Here, she is matching the shapes. Not wanting to overwhelm her, i took out 3 shapes only.

She blew me away with this one. Her visual perception is really good. She is able to match most of the cylinders into place at one go.

 Sorting Melissa & doug shape  blocks by colors. I am pleasantly suprised she could match the colors though she tend to get confuse purple for blue.

Of course, she gets lots of nature & outdoor.

Not forgetting sand play!

A day at homeschool@sg

The Day in a Life link up is so inspiring that I can't help but want to join in! It is really interesting to read about how other mummies days are like! How ever similar or different our days are, we all play the same role everyday- juggling!
If you've ever wondered how my day is like, well here is a peek into my daily, mundane life.
My eyes struggle to open. Umm, yes you saw it right. I am usually up at 9am, of course by now the husband has gone off to work.
(I hereby apologise to all you moms who have to wake up even before the sun breaks. But, i beg you to consider that i've interrupted sleep for the past year (and counting). No, not a good excuse? Umm, how about that my day peaks at the second i open my eyes? No? Ok! Moving right along!)
I wash myself up before heading to sonshine's room (who is usually up before me) and order him to wash up. He does everything himself except brushing his teeth. I don't quite trust him with this task yet. If babydoll's up too, i wash her up as well.  
Sonshine dresses himself up & gets his fresh milk (which has been prepared by daddy- my hero).  Babydoll starts her day by roaming around and messing the living room. As for me, I  attempt to wake myself up with a cuppa and squeeze in some time on my ipad. When i feel  awake, i walk sluggishly to the kitchen to prepare the kids' breakfast.

Mostly it is simple bread and butter. But recently, i am trying to be alittle more hardworking. I try to make breakfast more interesting in bid to make him eat faster and more. Not that he has a liking for Hello Kitty, it just makes my morning prettier.
 While sonshine is having his breakfast and babydoll wandering around the house, i scoot back to the kitchen. This time its to prepare babydoll's lunch. This early, you say? Yes, i prepare it early so that she can have her lunch immediately after we return from school. This is my most dreaded time of the day because i got to chop, wash, scream, chop, boil etc.
After the boy is done with his milk, we would head over to the activity table. This would be our homeschool time. Babydoll sits on my left, doodling with color pencils, crayons while sonshine sits on my right working on 'mummy's work'.
When he is done with work and breakfast, he goes to the toy room and play with his lego or toys for a while. This is my chance to steal some time out- but not for long.
Sonshine's cue to dress himself up for school. He also packs his own bag and reminds me to fill his water bottle.
Off to school! I love being greeted by this row of trees. Somehow it makes my journey more lovely.

Back home! You would think i'd have the luxury to go out shopping and do the 'tai tai' thing but no. I got to rush home to feed the girl before she is due for her first nap of the day. Today, i allow myself to be a lazy mama and give her 'anything goes' lunch. If time permits, i will read to her and do a little activity with her.
 12pm -1pm
The girl takes her nap! Phew! It's my peace and quiet time. This is where i take my lunch, space out into the Internet world.
Here we go again! My day peaks back up. Back to the car and on the road. Babydoll fools around in the car while we wait for big brother.
Sonshine's back! He has a little snack before play time.
Time for his noon milk. All 3 of us adjourn to the kids room where the kids would read books or just goof around the room. Again, i space out or read books to babydoll.
A common sight  in the kids' room every noonday. By now, i am really exhuasted.
Time for sonshine to nap! WoooHOOO! Babydoll's 2nd nap coincides with his nap which means...mummy gets to catch a snooze too! HOOORAAAAH! Or its my second quiet time of the day.
5pm - 6pm
Time for me to prepare dinner. During this time one of the kids would wake up. I will spend some one on one moment with whoever wakes up first.
7pm- 8pm
Dinner time! Also, my life-time helper returns home! AAAAh, i can feel my tense body starting to relax now. Some days my sweet man would sense that i need a break so he takes me out for a cup of nice teh tarik. Otherwise, Daddy plays with the kids in the toy room while i give myself a break.
9pm- 10pm
Kids bath time, babydoll first. I read bedtime books before she crash out. By the time i am out, sonshine is done with his bath. I read to him while he drinks his 3rd cup of fresh milk of the day.
I space out. My husband space out. We crash for the day!
A good day would go by without me yelling my head off at the kids. A bad day would see me jumping at sonshine for every wrong thing he does and he shrieks & apologises in response. So before you think i have a perfect day or a super mama, well i am not. I still need to learn how to not be an angsty mother and wife. :I
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