Archives for July 2010

A great day for the outdoors

Beautiful day, clear skies….what is best way to spend the morning?

Outdoors, at the park with friends of course!








In the late afternoon, as the family was feeling a little rather adventurous, we took a walk in Dairy Farm Nature Park and went to explore Grand-dad's latest discovery from the park.



We ventured a little off the beaten track and took a short hike through overgrown grass and shrubs to the place where Grand-dad wanted us to see…



finally we trekked our way to a bridge over-looking these tracks. 



While waiting for the train to pass, K kept himself busy,



And he was not the only one who was kept occupied while waiting …



K probably had more fun throwing rocks towards the train tracks, rather than anticipating for the train to pass.



Apart from this train discovery from the park, we have also discovered that K quite likes the challenge of seeing how far he can throw the rocks.



Finally, we got to see what we were originally here for…the train!





Which passed too quickly and was not that exciting, at least we got to see what we came here for that evening.

And K surely did not mind the wait one bit!


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There more to just learning how to read

Having a website on home-learning with kids made me realise how much focus parents place on certain areas when it comes to educating a child.

When we write about topics on general education; e.g., learning how to read (especially), the page views are all time high. Even topics of Math learning are less of interest versus articles about learning how to read.

Is learning how to read the panacea to educating a child? Hearing from a perpective from a middle aged lady with grown up children (my mom), she thinks that the child will be able to learn everything once they can read. Not to be-little her knowledge or her attitude towards child rearing, but I beg to differ.


Recently K surprised me by reading out the word 'GO' on a road sign. I have been teaching him the alphabetic principle and he knows almost 75% of the alphabet sounds, and somehow, something clicked in his understanding of how letters blend together to make words. He is showing signs of reading readiness and probably some parents in this situation might plan a full curriculum at home to ensure that he is exposed to sight words and will give him lots of new letters to learn and blend. Or maybe even reading the same books repeatedly and daily so that he will soon be able to read a 32 page book aloud by himself.

Am I not excited discover this development or motivated to hasten the progress? Indeed I am pleased to see some 'fruits' of my labour in my home-learning with him, but nothing much has changed. I still plan to take it at snail's pace, ensuring that he thoroughly enjoys the learning the remaining 25% of the alphabet sounds, read lots of new books every other week, play lots of learning games and have still plenty of time for free play. In reality, we spend less than 1.5 hours a week (cumulative) on home-learning.


Some might think that this almost like mis-representation for someone who has a home-learning site. Shouldn't home-learning be done on a daily basis to ensure that the child acquires the learning? For a young child, learning sessions are best managed within 15-30 minutes each time and will be most effective when it is child-led. In other words, K needs to be in the mood to do the learning activities, and his interest and learning is most effectively acquired when he is the one that initiates the activity.

I place his learning activities in file drawers in his room, and he helps himself to the activities whenever he feels like playing with the 'games'. For K, all these learning activities are games and not work. Every once in a while, when I feel that I need to allocate some free play time to learning, that's when I will initiate for him to do some activities with me. So far, this method works brilliantly for K. 

There is really so much more than to learning how to read. Reading is just a small part of educating a whole child.

We have started listening to Bach in the car, will then slowly progress to Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikowsky, Handel and Debussy. Read books on how honesty is important, how helpfulness is a virtue, learning how to respect others and himself, share and develop self-control. We are exploring new mediums to use in art, spending less time in craft. His art is still looking like multi-colored large blob plus lots of squiggles, and I have to make a point to remind myself that is the process and not the product that matters.

We will be resuming our nature walks on Saturday mornings, going for more excursions and spending more time talking about the wonders of God's creation, as well as our Creator's unrelenting love for us. Spend a more time dabbling in science experiments, training him to dawdle a little less and help around the house a little more. Reading books and more books on new concepts, countries, people of different cultures and creating lapbooks to accompany the books.

He can't read a 32 page book by himself (regardless of whether it is a brand new book or a book that he has seen countless of times). Neither can he read a simple sentence, as the only word he can read at this moment is 'Go'. He can't count to 100 either, in fact, not even 11-20 without getting the numbers mixed up. But he can recognise rhyme, knows the beginning sounds to words, knows spatial relationships, classification, patterning and one-to-one correspondence, and progressively, more concepts. Nonetheless, I am certain that he is having lots of fun doing all of that.


He can hit the golf ball fairly well with his golf clubs and manage a simple tennis volley with his grand-dad. Sports is still an area where I have yet to determine if it is his gift or just advanced motor skills, but I will be making sure that he will be spending a little more time in that area to ensure that he does not grow to become a pudgy 6 year old. 

Is there a need for haste when we can both enjoy the bonding and the joy that learning can bring?

This post will serve as a reminder that I should never be caught up in societal expectations or be swayed by what everyone else is doing with their kids.

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A rebel without a cause


Every parent have days when their child is defiant, challenges your authority and is plain disobedient. And I have been experiencing quite a number of days like these for the past few days.

I can't determine it is an attempt to get attention from me, or simply stems from his need to test his boundaries, he just refuses to take "No" as an answer. One days when he is a little more reasonable, he will try to reason it out with me. He reasons, provides lots of excuses, argues his point of view and when he realises that he will not be able to get his way, he ends it with a loud sigh and exclaims "Oh man…"


During other instances when he is feeling obstinate, when I tell him to stop his misbehaviour, he will display an expression of arrogance and refute with the words, "I will still do it!" I can get a series of varying responses, ranging from argumentative to obstinate, especially when there is someone else (other than dh) present.

It's strange how he is testing his boundaries whenever there is someone else present, as he is usually well-behaved when he is with me or when we are with dh. It's like as if having that additional person around somehow gives him that license to mis-behave. It could likely be that these bad habits are picked up from school or somehow he is getting a wrong message from somewhere that it is accepted behaviour in social situations.

Reasoning, time-out and taking away priviledges has little effect on him, so I am for this method. I am sure there will be many parents out there who will frown on this method of discipline, since spanking nowadays can be considered child abuse in some countries. However my question to them will be that, is your child strong-willed and obstinate? Or have you raised a strong-willed child, who has proven him/herself to be a disciplined and well-behaved teen, all without the use of spanking as a form of discipline in their early years? Until I find someone who have proven that they have brought up a strong-willed child well without using this discipline method, then I will re-evaluate my methods of discipline.

Unlike how dh and I were disciplined by our parents in our childhood, there will be no ranting or screaming, no harsh or hurtful words, only controlled spanking and then followed by calm explanation to why he was spanked, how much he is loved, and how to keep from being spanked in the future. The use of the paddle probably needs to be tapered off when he reaches nine or so.  I don't want to reach a point of regret 10-15 years for now for not enforcing obedience in my child and have to deal the heartache of managing a disobedient and rebellious teen. If K can show such defiance and disobedience at his age, I cannot imagine how he will be like if I do not discipline him. 

That's the harsh reality of parenting, it can sometimes get painful for the child and even more so for the parent.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it – Hebrews 12:11


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