Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reese's First Chapter Book

Reese loves books with illustrations. He is not a fan of chapter books. His reading level has improved tremendously. He is reading at Grade 4 level (for 9 years old). He is a fast reader. Whenever we give him something to read out loud, before he reads to you, he will read in his heart the contents in that page in a blink of an eye. He tends to skip pages usually to pages with interesting illustrations first. If he really likes a book, he will read it over and  over again. 

We have a booklist of readers to read for this year and Reese has come to the last book. It is a chapter book with minimal illustrations. When I showed him the book he was not interested. He asked me to read to him instead. So to get him interested, I read some paragraphs and he did the rest. Only manage 1 chapter a day. As the story develops, he is slowly taking an interest in it. We are reading 'The Sword in the Tree'. 


there is one chapter book that he likes and is reading it all by himself! It is 'The Story of Dr. Dolittle'. It is one of the read aloud books that I am doing with him. The story is quite interesting with strange creatures and adventures of a human doctor who can speak animal languages, going about saving monkeys and sailing to strange places in Africa... no wonder my son is reading the book even though it has minimal illustration! It's really wonderful seeing him flipping page after page looking for his favorite parts in the book.  

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting is highly recommended The story contains suspense and adventure but there is little explicit violence. Great book to spur a child's imagination! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Microscopic World...

Reese was introduced to the microscopic world when he first read Greg's Microscope by Millicent E.Selsam a few months back. A lovely level 3 reader under the series An I Can Read Book. 

Reese enjoys reading this book

Toy Microscope - MicroPro by Educational Insights
For Reese's birthday, we bought him microscope (MicroPro-Educational Insights). It is pretty impressive. It came with some prepared slides for viewing and other tools for making your own slides. Reese was really happy. We had been looking at salt, sugar, saliva, sand, thread... all in 1 day. It's easy to use and it came with a light source that makes viewing easier. It allows magnification of up to 600x. Quite well built and friendly for kids. The microscope can easily be tilted to a child's viewing level. Adult supervision is necessary for a young child because you need to do adjustment to get a clear view of the slides. Very easy to use and so far, we are all enjoying it. There are so many things to look at. We have yet to go collect pond water, perhaps look at bacteria from yogurt! I am also getting The World of the Microscope (Usborne Science and Experiments). Read wonderful reviews about it. It will compliment our microscope really well. Can't wait to do more experiments!

Highly recommended for learning about microscope and its uses for children
Quite a child friendly microscope. It came with prepared slides and other tools for easy sample collection and slide making

I paid RM119 for it. I bought it from Think Toys at The Curve. It is truly an educational toy and hours of fun guaranteed. There are a few other brands of microscope available among the toyshops here. Some are more expensive and some cheaper. I did a research and MicroPro by Educational Insights seems to have the best reviews. I must say I am not disappointed. 

My dear son enjoying himself. Totally fascinated by the things he sees through the microscope.

Monday, September 26, 2011


We celebrated Reese's birthday yesterday. It was an early celebration. His actual birthday is this Friday. It was a simple celebration with family. Reese was very excited about it and can't wait to received his guests! Throughout the day he would asked us whether it was time for his party. 

 Ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins

Simple yummy food

Blowing his candles!

He had a great time with everyone. He had his first treasure hunt with simple clues to hunt for his presents. After the treasure hunt, he wanted more. Reese got a bicycle, ant artist (To observe ants' tunnelling) and microscope from me and hubby, a nice scooter from his aunt and uncle and ang pows from both maternal and paternal grandparents. 

My boy is 5. Five wonderful years with this amazing child. I am so blessed. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Introduction to Malaysian History

Being a homeschooling family, we rely heavily on materials mostly from US and thus, there isn't any support when it comes to learning about our own country. To find suitable material to teach Reese about our country's history which is not bias is definitely not easy. First of all, most history books are crap and it is in Bahasa Malaysia. I needed one that is in English and not too deep for a young child to understand.

Sometime back, I found History of Malaysia - A Children's Encyclopedia book by Tunku Halim. It is written in brief but comprehensive fashion. Just a nice introduction for children to our history. The book has lots of pictures and illustration. The book retailed at about RM65. The author has another book which is somewhat like a novel entitled A Children's History of Malaysia. I have not read that book yet but will do so soon.

I for see the only way to teach Reese Malaysian history is through books written by different independent authors and the internet. I cannot rely on school history text books which do not truly reflect the truth! 

With out recent visit to Melaka, Reese is beginning to learn more about our country. It's about time to teach him our country's history and be proud of it! Honestly, I have forgotten most of what I had learned in school. So it's going to be fun learning together with Reese and I have plans to visit every state in Malaysia as we learn about the past!

I also found Where Monsoons Meet (Not for young children) a very interesting book on Malaysian History in a different perspective. It is out of print but I found a forum that shares the book through scanned pages. Worth a read. :) I am trying to get my hands on this book!

Oh, I also found this little bookshop at Lot G35, The Summit USJ. Yes I know, it is a terrible shopping mall but I found this bookstore by accident and I like it. It is Bookalicious! The interesting thing about this bookstore is that they sell a lot of books on Malaysia. Their books are somewhat between the prices of Bookxcess and regular bookstore chains. Go check it out. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gymnastic YES!

YES! Finally there is something that Reese seems to enjoy and most importantly he listens/follows (80% of the time) instruction. He did not disrupt the class of 6 kids (including him). :)

Yesterday took him to Flykidz for a trial lesson and he loves it. Teachers were nice but strict at the same time. In fact they told off kids with stern voices when they misbehave but also praises the kids when they do well. It was really a good balance. Reese actually listened. 

The lesson is for an hour. 1 couch to 6 children max. It's quite a big place and each week children were trained to do different things with different routine. They have 3-4 stations. Each station has a 'magic' carpet where children are required to sit down and learn a particular routine/activity (Children are taught basic gymnastic movements). Then they will take turns to do it. Being Reese, he was not able to sit still and every time he tried to get up or move around too much he will be warn sternly. Thank God he listened and wait for his turn. 

Before they begin the lesson, they will do warm up with the kids and it was really fun watching little kids shaking their butts and moving they bodies! It was hilarious. Towards the end of the lesson, the children got to play a game or two and are allowed to make as much noise as they want and run around. My dear son truly enjoys his experience there. 

I am so glad to have found something that will help him to learn discipline and also socialize. Next on the to do list is perhaps to let him learn Chinese. This is an area I can't help him. 

** In case you wonder how much are the lessons, it is RM500 per term ( 3 months, once a week). So it's about RM41.70 per lesson. It's not cheap but the place is well equipped and teachers are dedicated. They have a centre in Solaris, Mont Kiara and Sunway Giza, Dataran Sunway. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day Trip to Melaka

It was a cloudy Sunday morning, just had our breakfast at Petaling Street and I was talking to husband about the food here made me think of food I had some 20 years ago. Then some how Melaka came into our conversation and the next thing we knew, we were on our way to Melaka braving the heavy rain and miraculously once we reached Melaka town centre, the rain stopped (Well, Reese prayed for the rain to stop!). We took Reese to try chicken rice balls which was terrible. Just do not understand why it is so famous! Then we went to see the sights, walk along Jonker street, had the umbrella shaped red bean with coconut ice cream, found some childhood toys, tasted some really good ice white coffee and cendol with very rich gula Melaka. Next, went to look for the famous crepe cake. It was packed but the cakes were really good. Layers after layers of crepe with cream. 

Next we went to another part of town and took a ride up the Gyro Tower (RM10 for adult and RM5 for kid). Saw the entire skyline of Melaka town. Next, Reese went on a car and motorbike ride and had so much fun. About 6pm we went out of Melaka town to look for one of the famous Malay seafood place and ended up eating at the wrong shop but it was still good and super cheap! We had a big stingray, big prawns and squids. It was only RM50. 

We really enjoy this impromptu trip blessed with cool weather. Will go back again soon.

Reese was one happy boy exploring Melaka

Mummy/Daddy and son photos

 White coffee served in a vase like glass filled with solid ice and it was really strong. They are also famous for cendol with durian topping

Can't wait to dig into the yummy cake. Reese had 1 whole slice to himself!

See the layers of crepe?

Gyro Tower

On his ride. He was big and thus the car moves rather slowly

Some of the yummy seafood we had for dinner

Work and Play

Some fun moments I would like Reese to remember. One moment he was playing soldier and another he was doing math. How I wish I had a chance to learn like him. 

 Soldier Reese took a break from fighting and sat down to work on a Math worksheet

Mom, check out my helmet!

After a lesson, both Reese and his new playmate decided to play restaurant

Check out the feast they prepared. A saw is handy in their kitchen :)

I cannot imagine what it would be like for Reese to go schooling in a regular school with rigid rules and lot's of discipline. I think he will have nightmare going to school! I really hope God will provide me with whatever I need to guide my son in his education journey all the way through high school. Thinking of it makes me shiver with a little uncertainty and fear. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


God is good. I have been scratching my head as to how I can find playmates for Reese to help him socialize better as time is always a luxury we do not have. 

A student of mine is now homeschooling with me for 4 months. So she comes twice a week and she is a year older than Reese. Last Wednesday was her first lesson in my home and it went really well. Both kids played well together. 

After the girl's lesson, she got to play with Reese for a good half hour. They turn the play room into their 'home'. They went marketing on their little bikes, cook and eat together in their 'home'. Then they turn their 'home' into a shopping mall! Again, ride their bikes in and out of their 'shop' shopping for things to be displayed in their shop. Observing, my boy is no different from a typical kid. Role play with his new friend with logic and creativity. At times he led in the play and vice versa. It's a good balance. They hold meaningful conversation and were truly happy playing with each other. My son is normal. He is capable to socialize with others provided they are at his level. He is already missing his new friend. The coming months, he will get to play and learn with my student. I am so happy. Planning to bring them for field trips together too. Ah, what fun it is going to be.

Friday, September 09, 2011

What if you got separated?

What do you teach your child to do when they accidentally got separated from you or during an emergency?

I have thought about this many times and yet not sure how to teach Reese to response in case he got separated. At almost 5, what can he do?

So I told him and explain to him that if he got separated from us, first thing to do is to look around and find a woman stranger (find a man only if there is no woman stranger around) or a security guard to help you. Tell her/him you got separated and ask her to help you call mummy/daddy.

I made Reese memorize our mobile numbers. Told him not to cry and be brave so that he can say our mobile numbers correctly to the stranger. Next week I will teach to remember our home address.

We live in a condo, so I taught him what to do if he was accidentally left in the lift alone. Told him to go straight up to our floor and wait there for us.

Another very important thing is to teach him how to dial 999 or is it another number in case of an emergency? Gosh... see how ignorant I am? I have to find out because I remember they have a different number that is for all emergency? Being a parent sure isn't easy.

We live in a scary and violent world. We may think that we will never be careless enough to lose our children or faint in the house... but we never know. Children are never too young to be educated to response to an emergency. Kids are smart! If you haven't started to educate them in this area.... start now! :)

Oh... if you have even better ways to help kids stay safe... share with me...

Monday, September 05, 2011

National Science Centre Positive Change!

If you have read some posts back on our visit to the National Science Centre, you will find that I said it was in a sorry state. Today I was so surprise to see that the place is better equipped and added some new playground/activities for children. Now I highly recommend that you bring your children there! Adult ticket is RM3 and children under 6 is free. We spent 3 hours there today. The place has been refurbished with some new exhibits and new play area for children. There is the Foam Factory where children can play with foam balls, some vacuum like machine and air guns for shooting foam balls (1U has a similar foam ball playground which you have to pay RM30?) Then it has a nice playground with a very tall tunnel for sliding. Lot's of fun. It even has a big bouncy area for kids to bounce around. Oh.... it even has a huge hamster wheel for kids to run on. We didn't get to try that because it was not open yet.

The foam factory. In the middle there is a fountain that shoots out foam balls

Bounce away!

We visited the nature park of some sort. Can't remember the name. We saw butterflies, different types of plants and creepy crawlies. It was a nice place. They have a lab in there where two young men show us around the place and explain the metamorphosis cycle, showing us bugs and caterpillars at various stages and cocoons too! They even have microscopes for kids to view slides of plants. Very interesting. 

 Holding a caterpillar

Stick Insect

Cocoons in various stages. We were lucky to see a newly 'hatched' butterfly

First time looking through a microscope

Then there were some really cool gadgets and experiments for kids to enjoy. By the way, we had almost the entire science centre to ourselves because it's a Monday and we were there at 9.30am. We get to do anything we want with no queues. We have yet to visit the outdoor playground which we saw water play as well. We will definitely go back now that it is full of fun things to do.

One of Reese's favorite activity. Moving balls to different place using different mechanism

Two gigantic moving dinosaurs at the centre court 

Having fun with the walking piano

Another fun activity. You have to paddle to move the 'plane'

Operating a crane to hook up a wire ball

An imprint of Reese's body

Resource centre for some reading

Currently there is an exhibition on Dinosaurs going on. Ticket price is RM8 for adult and children RM6 (roughly). We didn't bother to go because I don't think it's worth it. Hehehe...

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Cursive Writing

My dear son has taken an interest in cursive writing. It all started with one of the storybooks he read. It had a list written in cursive. So I search the net for a site that has cursive writing and started to print them out for Reese to write. He likes it. He is quite good at it too. So far we did 'a,g,d,c' with just one worksheet for each letter and he is able to remember how to write them correctly. 

I am just wondering, should a child at such a young age practise writing cursive when his manuscript writing is not that good (I do not practise handwriting with him). He tends to mix both upper and lower case together when he writes. He needs more practice. Maybe I should make him practice both. :) 

Cursive 'g' written by Reese

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Paper Toys for Free!

Did this in 20 minutes

I found a lovely site that allows you to print paper models of many different landmarks, vehicles, people and many other things for free. Yes, it's absolutely free. They are quite easy to make. You just need to print them out on paper and if you want a bigger version of the models, just bring it to a photocopy shop and have it enlarged! 

No need to spend money buying those paper models selling in bookshops! Check it out. I love it.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Some Great Books I Found this Month...

Great books

In the month of August, I bought 26 books and a box set of 50 books (Mr. Men). Crazy? Yeah... I think so. I just cannot resist buying great books and the best part is, these books are heavily discounted.

Let's see what I bought, first I found some books on empathy selling at RM5 per book if you buy 5 I think. Then I bought 3 books (Buy 2 free 1) Osborne Young Reading Series and Reese's first comic from MPH.

A few days back we found a little nice bookshop (Bookalicious!) in Summit. It has quite an interesting selection of books and in general it is cheaper than MPH, Borders and the like. Some of its books can be as cheap as Bookxcess. Oh, if you like books that are banned here in Malaysia, you might find them here. :) So here I found 'You Wouldn't Want to Be' series. Nice illustration (similar to MAD comics style). I like this series very much. It's an informal way of learning History and Geography of the World and they are cheap. Only RM9.90 per book. Retail price is about RM40. I found Scholastic Part-of-Speech and Part of Punctuation series a good way to introduce grammar to Reese. These are in story form so it's not technical at all. It's on promotion. Buy 2 free 1 at RM12.90 per book.

Yesterday, we went to Popular Bookfest and got the Readers' Digest Children Illustrated World Atlas at RM24.90 and oooohhhh.... my all time favorite Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree Series at RM9.90 per book and a craft book for boys at RM19.90. At the book fest, you can find some really good bargains and some books were even cheaper than Bookxcess.

So my damage for this month is about RM400 +.

Coming October there is the Big Bad Wolf sale.... another round of damage coming!! AND
Mid October I will be ordering Reese's homeschool books for the next 2 years and that is going to be even damaging. Crazy crazy crazy......

**I guess as long as it helps in Reese's learning process it is all worth it!