Monday, August 23, 2010

National Science Centre

Racing with daddy to the second floor of the Science Centre

Rocket demonstration

Putting water into a plastic bottle

Pumping air into the water filled bottle

Retrieving the rocket bottle

Two weeks ago we took Reese to the National Science Centre. A really great looking place from the outside. Upon entering, it was still great until we started exploring the various science exhibits. So disappointing. Many years ago, when it was all new, I was quite impressed but not anymore. Many of the exhibits are no longer working and the place was quite empty.

The place feels a little dead. I wish the government will do something to improve and upgrade the science centre. By the way, it's free entrance. They used to charge but not sure why it's free now.

Nevertheless, Reese enjoyed his first visit and we took him there again last Sunday and had a chance to participate in a science experiment. Only 3 families including ours participating in the experiment. Sad isn't it? Hardly anyone at Science Centre. I have yet to explore the outside of the Science Centre. We will definitely go back again. It's a great place for kids to play....lots of space! Reese did learn something from the Science Centre. He can tell you what plasma is! :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Making Melody In My Heart....

Reese in action.....

Making Melody in My Heart

Making melody in my heart [3]
unto the king of kings.

Now Thumbs in
Making melody in my heart [3]
unto the king of kings.

So Thumbs in, elbows out
Making melody in my heart [3]
unto the king of kings.

Thumbs in, elbows out, knees bend
Making melody in my heart [3]
unto the king of kings.

So Thumbs in, elbows out, knees bend, feet apart
Making melody in my heart [3]
unto the king of kings.

Thumbs in, elbows out, knees bend, feet apart, turn around
Making melody in my heart [3]
unto the king of kings.

So Thumbs in, elbows out, knees bend, feet apart, turn around, tongues out
Making melody in my heart [3]
unto the king of kings.

Reese's Education Route

Deciding to homeschool Reese has always been my choice even though I do not have any experience in doing so. I am thankful that hubby is with me on this and we will learn along the way and work hard together to educate our son well.

One of the main reasons for choosing the alternative route to learning is because of our poor education system that frequently changes whenever there is a new Education Minister. Not only is it not consistent, what children learn these days were not all relevant. Besides a bad education system, teachers at National/Chinese schools are just not good. I am not saying all teachers are bad, but let's face it, teaching profession is usually the last option for alot of graduates when they can't find better career opportunities!

Why let others educate your child when you can do it on your own? Anyway, another reason for homeschooling is so that my son is given proper guidance in life according to biblical values and be close to God. It is important that he is brought up to be a God fearing child. :)

Once Reese begins Grade 1 and beyond, there is no turning back. Should we have trouble homeschooling him for whatever reasons, we only have two options. Put him into an international school or hire teachers from international schools to teach him. He cannot go to national schools simply because of the medium of instruction (BM).

I did a survey on all the good international schools. They are DAMN expensive. Early grades is between 30-40k a year. Higher grades will go up to 60k a year! Not only that, when you enroll in these school, you have to pay a one time non refundable deposit/building fund which amount to more than RM15-20+k. It's no joke! It's a very big investment. Once you are in these schools, everything is about MONEY! Pure madness.

So after some discussion with hubby, we are going to homeschool Reese until Grade 9 (about 14 years old) and then put him into a good international school for two years to prepare him for SAT/IGCSE and then college and university.

In the mean time, Reese will continue to attend play school till he is six so that he can socialize and have fun. Next year we will let him join Little League football club, Fusion Academy and Yamaha music classes. These activities are non academic and they are focused on sports, performing arts and music. They will give Reese a good mix of social interaction with other children and at the same time a great chance for him to express himself creatively and have lots of fun!

So that is the plan for now.

Books have arrived!

Finally, after more than 3 weeks of waiting... the first batch of books came from U.S.A. I had to go all the way to Pejabat Pos Besar in town to get the big parcel. The books were just wonderful. I got a set of books on sight words and early reader level 1 and 2 and his Horizon Math program. So far, after 2 lessons with Reese on the math program, I love it. It uses the spiral method to teach where every lesson the child will learn something new and ample practice of the previous concept or skill. Reese actually enjoyed it. Phew! The reading books are good too. Beautiful illustrations. Ah... am happy with the purchase. Now waiting for the Science books to arrive and soon the core set from Sonlight. Yippie.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Play time

Dinner time! Reese will insist mummy and gong gong join him at the table to eat his food

Learning about money

Making food with play dough

Preparing mushroom soup by adding herbs and lemon juice

Making corals and fish eggs with play dough

Playtime is serious business. :)

I Can Read and Spell!

Spontaneous learning while waiting for food

Reese is now able to spell pretty well. He can't write but he can spell orally. Mind you it's not easy to spell orally without visual aids for a young child. I am really impressed with Reese's progress in reading and spelling. Today, while waiting for our food to be served at Old Town White Coffee.... I started to write words randomly for Reese to read. My dear son can read everything I wrote. Almost 80% of the words he has never seen before. That is the power of phonetics.

He can spell or read any word combination with ay, ee, oo,a..e, i..e, u..e and etc..
Example: kite, cake, play, take, shrub, plane, speck, track, spade, hook, tree, flute, cube, vane, sky, snow, swim etc...

I think for an almost 4 year old child to spell 5 letter words. It's pretty amazing. :)

I cannot stress enough that phonetics is really the best way to lay the foundation for reading and spelling in a young child. As the child progresses, you slowly introduce sight/high frequency words and then words that cannot be read phonetically.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A Veteran Mom...

I think after raising a child for almost 4 years I can call myself a veteran mom. :)

Why do I said that? Well, you see... whenever I observe a new mother tending to her baby or young child, it brought back all the great memories of me doing the same. Always very protective of the child, trying hard to be the cleanest, every little wimp or demand coming from the child will be immediately attended to and etc.... After witnessing these little actions from them, I can sit back and laugh a little. :)

Now as a veteran mom, I refused to be tricked by my own child. I no longer tried to be a clean freak. It is alright for Reese to be a little dirty. Time for him to learn to care a little more over his own hygiene.

I no longer give in to every demand coming from him. It's ok if he doesn't get everything done his way. It's ok for him to whine and cry.

I refuse to be over protective. He needs to learn to fend for himself sometimes.

I scold and punish when necessary. I no longer felt bad for doing so. He needs to learn to obey. There are rules that need to be adhered to.

I try to teach him some independence. My baby is no longer a baby.

I have also learned to say NO to my child.

I love being a mother.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Teaching Reese...


Just recently realized that Reese doesn't recognize written numbers above 20! Mmmmmm.... he used to. He can verbally say numbers up to 100. I guess it's because I haven't really spend time teaching him math! So a few days ago, I started to take out a few math workbooks to teach him. Then I realized it's not that easy to teach math. Can't just rely on the books! Need to prepare some manipulative to teach him math concepts. Using fingers are not enough... hehehe...

I am never good at math so I guess I need to put in more effort to teach him. Now patiently waiting for his homeschool math program to arrive from U.S. We are going to try Horizon's Grade K math program.

English Reading

At least reading he is doing very well. He can read sentences with 4 and 5 letter words. He will eagerly sound out words that interest him. By using his phonics knowledge he is able to verbally spell up to 5 letter words (He can't write yet.). He can also comprehend very well what he reads. This is important for a good reader.

I have also ordered many controlled vocabulary reading books for Reese and can't wait for them to arrive from U.S.

So far, his homeschooling is still very informal and I think I will keep it this way till he is 5 years old. He is a child that cannot sit still and he learns best when he is interested in the subject.

We will be starting him on a science program from Apologia. The first subject will be on Astronomy and we will spend 1 year on it. It is going to be really exciting and fun. Can't wait to do it.

As for general literacy, science, history and geography, we will be using Sonlight's Grade K program. The theme will be an Introduction to the World: Cultures .

Can't wait to receive all the materials!! Stay tune. I will definitely snap some pictures of all the wonderful books. :)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Is My Boy Naughty?

Mmmmm.... a difficult post to write. It has been six months since Reese started playschool. He loves going to school and never had separation anxiety. BUT.... there were some problems at school.

Problem 1
He doesn't like group time. He will opt to exclude himself when it comes to group time. The teachers allowed him to read or draw while the rest had group time hoping that he will join in eventually. It went on for a few months and still he doesn't want to join in. So the last few months, he was gently force to sit in during group time. It didn't work. He cried, fuss alot, screams, shouts and purposely disrupt the group time session.

Problem 2
He doesn't want to learn with the teachers. The moment he see worksheets he will run away to avoid the teachers. All he wants to do is play! So again, the teachers let him do what he wants for the first few months and then tried to coax him to do some learning. Sometimes it worked. At the end of the first term, every child went home with a file filled with their work but Reese... only a piece of drawing that too was not coloured(The other children coloured theirs). *sigh*
The teachers told me that he will only learn with them when he wants to. I don't mind if he is not learning much at the moment(mummy teaching him at home and he is way ahead of his peers), but I am concern about his attitude and lack of discipline. He doesn't follow instructions. That is not good.

Problem 3
I think Reese can't take pressure. Well, what kind of pressure? eerr... Mummy has been telling him to behave, must join group time and must read with teacher. Cannot throw tantrum, Cannot shout and scream..... threaten him a bit. Light punishment when he breaks his promise...... Teachers trying to be more firm with him....etc...
end result?

I don't want to go school! But..... the moment I said ok... lets go home... he will shout "I want to go school!"

Did alot of naughty things at school like:
1. Purposely scream and shout during group time so that the rest of his friends cannot listen to the story.
2. Spat at friends for fun!
3. Tore some pages of a book.
4. Once threw food on the floor.
5. Throw the materials (various learning tools) on the floor and even the bin!
6. Disturbed his friends while they work with their materials or worksheets.
7. When asked to do reading he will cry really loudly but sometimes he will read. And he can read well. He is reading sentence with 4 and 5 letter words with me at home.
8. Swept the materials from the tables.

* Doesn't do these things everyday. They were incidences from the last few weeks.
*At home he is an angel. Never did any of the above.

So my question is.... is he considered very naughty??? Why does he behave like that at school? What can we do to help him to behave better at school and take instructions better? Could it be because he is the only child in the family?

Birthday demands...

To date Reese had attended 2 to 3 birthday parties of his classmates at school. With the experience... he has started to ask for certain things for his up coming birthday! Yesterday evening while driving home we had a conversation about his birthday plans:

Reese: Mummy, I want 100 presents for my birthday!
Mummy: Eerrr... we will have a FEW.
Reese: No mummy.... I want 100 presents!
Mummy: (No point arguing) Oh...ok. What else do you want?
Reese: I want alottttt of balloons!
Mummy: Ahuh...
Reese: I want Mr. Frederickson's house with balloons birthday cake! I want alottttt of FOOOOODDD.
Mummy: What kind of food do you want?
Reese: I want nuggets, sandwiches, orange juice, cookies, KFC, mash potatoes, french fries....etc..etc..
Mummy: Can you and your friends finish all the food?
Reese: (Thinking hard) Nope...
Mummy: What about chicken wings? Do you want that?
Reese: YESSSSS!!
Mummy: What else do you want for your birthday party?
Reese: one hundred presents! thousands of presents!!
Mummy: mmmm....

How to get him 100 presents? :)