Sunday, October 30, 2011


When we saw the developmental pediatrician a few months back, she said to introduce board games or games with rules to Reese. Today we went to Toys R Us and bought 2 games. Snakes and Ladders board game and Tumbling blocks. It took me quite a while to browse through the games section. 

When we got home, we played tumbling blocks. It was an instant hit. We all had a great time playing it. Great family bonding time. Our little family was laughing and cheering each other on. The loser had to do a loser dance which Reese demonstrated to us. Shaking our butts like mad! :) Reese truly enjoyed the game. 

Next up was Snakes and Ladders. This one was a little slower and thus less excitement compared to Tumbling Blocks. Reese even picked up a book and read while waiting for his turn! We did finish the game at the end. 

We played another round of Tumbling Blocks at night before Reese went to bed. Now we have a new routine of playing games! 

Reese is getting busier. We have biking sessions around the car park once or twice a week, morning exercise at Kiara Park once a week,  gymnastic class every Saturday morning and now games sessions probably 2 to 3 times a week. 

Reese has stopped going to his kindy and I have made adjustment to my work. Now I have more time to spend with Reese and do our schooling at home. I plan to have more frequent field trips, arts and craft and science experiments. Our schooling will be more fun and no rushing to complete our work within a time frame. 

Everything is beginning to fall in place and I have become a more hardworking homeschooling mother! :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Writing Fully in Cursive...

My boy is finally writing fully in cursive. He writes with confidence and it is getting nicer. Yippie! Another milestone for Reese.

Quite nice eh?

Reese is doing creative writing and narration 2 times a week. The copy work (2 sentences) from each lesson is used as part of his penmanship practice. So each week he is required to write 4 sentences (2 short and 2 long). Killing 2 birds with 1 stone. :)

Tips: Don't use the blue and red line exercise books! They are confusing. Use lines like the above. Just 3 lines (2 solid lines for the top and bottom and 1 dotted line in the middle). It is easier for children to write. I felt that children should learn the correct strokes and form of each alphabet without having to worry about whether each letter is written perfectly. Children gets demotivated and frustrated when their written letters are constantly erased. Those who can write beautifully are slow in speed. It takes them forever to write a short sentence! To me, as long as the child can form letters correctly, with reasonable speed and  is legible then it's good enough.

Do you find that children these days do not write in cursive anymore? I was taught cursive when I was in Standard 4 but it was only briefly. I write with a combination of print and cursive. It is a fact that you write faster with cursive.

Interesting article on cursive writing:

How Should We Teach Our Children To Write

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Learning about the Human Body

I think I am beginning to unschool my son. I am letting him lead me to what he wants to learn. Ever since he discovered The Magic School Bus on Human Body book, he became very interested in how our body works and what is inside it. I was so tempted to keep the book because it was part of his next year's science studies. I am glad I did not because he now knows more than me about our body (sort of). He can tell me how our digestive system works, what is in our blood, what germs are and how our body fights them, our 5 senses, he talks about our bones, he can easily tell you what our heart, lungs, intestines, stomach,liver, brain do... 

Oh... did i mentioned that he can also draw the different types of cells? All these by just reading, watching videos on digestion and The Magic School Bus. Sometimes we will sit down together and have discussion on things that he doesn't understand and have lots of fun along the way. No boring text books or worksheets. Amazing what a child can learn if you allow him to lead the way. 

I found this at BBW sale last year for RM15. It's worth it.
This morning he drew the different types of cells and labeled them. On the right are viruses and bacterias.
Books we read
Links to the videos:

Short video on digestion system - Link
The Magic School Bus - Inside Ralphie Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
The Magic School Bus - For Lunch Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
The Magic School Bus - Works Out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
The Magic School Bus - Flexes its muscles
The Magic School Buss - Goes Cell-ular

Math... Yawn....

When I first started math with Reese last year, he was very excited and enjoyed doing it. Then when addition was introduced and as it gets harder, my son begins to dislike it. He doesn't like repetition. Could it be too hard for him? Nope. He has no problem doing them. He just doesn't like doing the sums (addition or subtraction). He is fine with other areas of Math.  

Whenever he has to do math, he will whine a little or protest. Lately, he will actually feel sleepy and YAWN! Seriously. Just want to record this so that he knows. :)

My son is very much a right brain child. Need to find more creative ways to teach him! 

** It is very important that a child knows his addition and subtraction facts well. It makes doing sums easy and minimize counting up or down for the child. Reese hates doing these sums simply because he doesn't know his facts well enough and he has to do a lot of counting up or down. He hates repetition so that makes it even worse. 

We have started to work on some Singapore Math and gosh, it is truly challenging even for me initially. My boy seems to enjoy it. If you go to a bookstore, check out some of the challenging math books from Singapore. I think for some of you, your eyeballs might just pop out! :)

Just give you an idea, here is some of the questions they expect a Standard 1 kid to answer.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Finally made it to Logos Hope Ship!

2 weeks ago we went to Port Klang to visit the Logos Hope ship but the queue was way too long (The co-ordinator told us we needed to wait another 2 hours plus before going up the ship) and Reese urinated in his pants! I had to wash the entire pants and then spent 15+ minutes trying to dry his wet pants under the hand dryer! At the end, we left without going up the ship.

Today, we went to Klang for Bak Kut Teh and reach Port Klang around 12.30pm. The queue to the ship was long and around 1pm we managed to go in. Reese was happy and again, we got a few books and hubby was happy to get a few music CDs which were really cheap. Tomorrow the ship will be leaving Port Klang. We made it. Reese is one happy boy telling us how much he enjoyed the trip. :)

Books for his Geography lessons
After we came back, Reese sat down and drew Port Klang at night. 

Logos Ship in the middle with the very long pier that we had to walk to get to the ship on the right

Reese was totally excited about going on the ship 
Listening to the short presentation

I am captain!
Mummy, it is soooooo hot and I am sweating!

I am very happy mummy. I like the visit.
I told Reese when he finished his high school studies, mummy will give him a year (gap year) to explore the world before going to college. I told him he can apply to volunteer on the ship and sail round the world. He seems to like the idea. :) 

Art at 5 years old

 Lately Reese is into floods and 3D buildings. He is also learning (self learning) about the human body and it's functions. He has also started to 'invent' factories that produce things. Reese is kinda strange, he never likes to draw from looking at pictures or photos. He MUST draw from memory. He only draws spontaneously. Every piece of drawing is done in less than 15 minutes.

Below are some of the art work he did this month.

Tokyo, Japan - Tokyo Tower surrounded by power plants, factories (he drew smoke - pollution) and buildings

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil - Christ The Redeemer Statue, A celebration. 

Florence, Italy - Aerial view of the Duamo and the surrounding buildings decorated with hanging light bulbs

Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur - Flood in Petaling Street. You can see the Twin towers and KL tower at the far left end

London, England - Tower bridge and Big Ben can be seen here.  Another celebration scene. 

New York City, USA - A huge wave sweeping into NYC.

Giant plants invading Russia. See how a building in the middle was partially destroyed by the giant plants?

London, England - Big chandeliers were used as part decoration of the city

Paris, France - You can see Arc De Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower and a french statue

Statue of Liberty drowning!
1 of 2 complete human being in Reese's drawing. Here it shows a boy Arnold sneezing with mucus flying out! :)

The other complete human drawing! From left, Reese, Daddy (Fungi for hair), Mummy (wearing incredible t-shirt) and maternal grandfather with (buildings for hair)

Human body and organs. Those smily faces you see on the right are white and red blood cells and platelets

Cake factory

Food factory - Eggs are cracked followed by dashes of pepper into cone shaped bowls, then droplets of soup go into the bowls. Next noodles are dispensed and you have a nice bowl of noodle soup.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Science Through The Magic School Bus

Have you heard of the Magic School Bus?

I remembered playing one of the The Magic School Bus educational software back in the '90s. Fast forward 2011, my dear son is now into The Magic School Bus books. After reading the first book on human body, he was able to tell me about blood cells, white blood cells fighting disease germs, digestion and more! At first it might be a little overwhelming with facts all over the place in a single page. So take some time to digest it first before reading it with your child. 

The Magic School Bus is a series of children's books about science. They feature Ms. Frizzle, an elementary school teacher, and her class, who board a magical school bus which takes them on field trips to very interesting locations such as the solar system, clouds, and the human body. 

The original series titles:

  1. At the Waterworks
  2. Inside the Earth
  3. Inside the Human Body
  4. Lost in the Solar System
  5. On the Ocean Floor
  6. In the Time of the Dinosaurs
  7. Inside a Hurricane
  8. Inside a Beehive
  9. And the Electric Field Trip
  10. Explores the Senses
  11. And the Science Fair Expedition
  12. And the Climate Challenge

Now they have chapter books and many other titles based on The Magic School Bus.

They also have a TV series aired in the '90s. There are 52 episodes in all. You can actually find some of them on Youtube here. Each episode is about 25 minutes. The books and TV series are for children age 6 and up. I

You can visit The Magic School Bus website. Fun activities for kids to play and learn.

Things that interest Reese this month...

Reese can write in cursive comfortably now. In fact he has finished learning all 26 lower case letters. Now he is working on the upper case letters. Very soon he will be writing fully in cursive! Every opportunity he has, he will write in cursive. 

He is learning about the human body on his own. Found one of his next year's science books interesting and he has been reading it a lot. He tells me about esophagus, lungs, blood cells, tells me about disease germs and many others interesting facts. 

He is also into waterworks. How water is processed before it flows through pipes to our homes. 

He is riding his bicycle! Getting better at paddling! 

He is having fun at gym class. Learning some techniques and happily showing them to me. 

Playing with his microscope. Happily collecting leaves and stuff to view under the microscope. He knows how to prepare simple slides for view. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Read to your child!

Read a lot to your child. The vast mass of knowledge in the world can only be gained by reading, and if you want your kid to be smart, he has to acquire a love for reading. I can't stress enough the importance of reading. 

It is sad to see most kids these days don't read enough. Teachers at school (primary) rarely have story time. Ask your child when was the last time he heard a story from his teacher! So my dear parents, allocate 10-20 minutes to just quietly read a book to your child. 

Some benefits of reading to your child:

Basic speech skills
From birth, your child is learning critical language and enunciation skills. By listening to you read, your child is reinforcing the basic sounds that form language.

Better communication skills
When you read to your child, he will be much more likely to express himself and relate to others in a healthy way. Learning about the interactions between the characters in the books you read, as well as the contact with you during story time, your child is gaining valuable communication skills.

Improve concentration and discipline
Your child may initially squirm and become distracted during story time, but in time, he will eventually stay put for the duration of the book (Don't give up, just keep reading!). Along with reading comprehension comes a stronger self discipline, longer attention span, and better memory retention. These are vital skills your child needs when he start formal schooling.

Reading helps in creative writing 
Children who reads a lot tends to do be creative writers!

Improve critical thinking skills
By reading to your child,  he will learn to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognize cause and effect, and utilize good judgement. Your child will begin to enjoy the stories you tell him when he can relate the scenarios in the books to what's happening in his own world.

Reading can open up new worlds and enrich children's lives
Given the wealth of available resources such as Internet, libraries, bookstores and schools, if a child can read well and understand that reading is a source of information, then for the rest of his life he will have access to all of the accumulated knowledge of mankind, access to all of the great minds and ideas of the past and present. It is truly amazing! 

Reading can provide your child with plenty of good, clean fun
Reading can provide your child with endless hours of fun and entertainment. Stories can free up imaginations and open up exciting new worlds of fantasy or reality. They allow children to dream. 

Children are influenced by and imitate the world around them. It is very important that you carefully choose stories and books that can have a positive influence on your child, sensitizing him to the needs of others. For example books that encourage children to share, be kind, doing our part for mother nature.

So read to your children everyday!

Past tense anyone?

How much  should a 5 year old know about past tense? Not much.

3 days ago, I did some revision with a  standard 4 student while Reese quietly played at a corner. I was testing my student on past tenses and half the time he couldn't answer. Reese was listening and he answered for him. 

After my class, out of curiosity, I took a standard 6 (local English) grammar book and tested Reese on past tense and I was a little surprised that he got almost all right. 

 Reese is always in the classroom during my lessons. He has his own space with a drawing table, books and toys. Lately, whenever I do comprehension with my students, he will quietly listen. After the class he will hurried to me and ask questions about the stories and also words he didn't understand. Then he will try to use the new words he learned in his daily speech. He speaks grammatically correct English 95% of the time. He is into writing sentences and requires very little help from me. He is able to spell quite well too (own initiative). I guess whatever I am doing with him for Language Arts is working. He has a flair for the language. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reese's song...

Once there was a tree
the tree was taller than a house
it was also taller than a building
the tree was so high
and a storm came
thunder and lightning
zigzag everywhere
and struck the tree
and after the storm
was over
the sun shone
on the tree
meanwhile a man came out
of a house
and the man came into the woods
and chop that tree
and the tree fell down
with a boom boom boom
and that was the end
of the story.

 By Reese Matthew Kam

Reese was playing on his own and humming away. Then I heard him making up a song with words... It was funny the way he sang the song. It was half rhyming and singing. Later I got him to repeat the song and wrote the lyrics out! :) Not bad eh?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Should I sell or wait?

Lately, I have been thinking, should I sell Reese's baby stuff, books, shoes and clothes away? He is already 5 and yet I am undecided. Should I have another child? I want to but...

  • financially we may not be able to support a second child the way we want to
  • working will almost be impossible for me unless I hire a maid again *shutters*
  • having to start all over again, bringing up another child from birth... mmm...
  • at least 6 years difference between Reese and 2nd child... mmm...
  • will hubby be able to handle the kids and will they make him go crazy? :)

* I already selected the books that I want to sell and even set up a blog just to sell the things and yet... 

I want a second child...
  • so that Reese has a companion and someone to share responsibilities with when it comes to family matters. If we are gone, he still has family. I don't want him to be lonely.
  • I love kids. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Theatre shows, Orchestras and more...

When was the last time you took your child to a play/live performances, an orchestra or you have never done it before? Too expensive or totally have no idea that there are many such performances specially catered to children?

Well, it is about time you give it a try because it is a wonderful experience with lots of educational benefits for children.

The puppet shows/plays are wonderful and they engage with the audience all the time. Beautiful puppets are used and the actors are great. I started taking Reese to these plays 2 years ago. We saw 'The Giraffe can't Dance' and then early this year 'Elmer the Patchwork Elephant'.

These shows are brought in by Gardner & Wife.

Now 'The Selfish Crocodile' is showing till 22nd October 2011. Ticket prices are not very expensive. Starting as low as Rm45. You can get tickets online from here.

I always thought that orchestra performances are not very child friendly but I was dead wrong. There are many that cater to children and families. If you visit MPO's website and click under family fun concert, you will see some very interesting concerts. Again, ticket prices are not very expensive considering the kind of exposure you children can get from it.

I am planning to take Reese to 'Bach to the Future' concert. He has never been to one yet. Can't wait!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Google Earth is a fun learning tool!

We have heard how children use Google Search to find Youtube videos, games and websites. My son also does that but now he is into Google Earth. He expertly search for his favourite places around the world. He just showed me the Vatican City! Technology... it's just amazing. It sure makes a difference when it comes to learning geography. Children not only get to visually see these amazing places but also get to view them in 360 degrees(Ipad apps). Children these days are so fortunate though it is still not too late for us older ones to experience all these technological marvels. 

If you have fast internet connection, explore Google Earth with your children. It is fun and interesting. We were fascinated when it detected our current location and zoom right to our building! 

This is free geography lesson for your kids! You can learn about mapping, zonings, types of housing and many more.  :)

In my opinion, those who chose not to expose their children to computer and technology before 6 years of age is truely missing out. We live in a technological age and there is no way to escape it. Start early but have a balance. You can go wrong!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Box Day!!!

YES!! We got our books (exactly 1 week)! FedEx guy delivered 2 boxes (Roughly 34kgs). Took me a good 45 minutes to check through all 130+ books. I was so excited. Many great books for me and Reese to share for the next 2 years. 
Can't wait to look at his books!
Lots of books 
I think I am more excited than Reese with all the books!
A few years back a friend introduced Sonlight curriculum to me and instantly I was sold. I count myself really lucky to be able to homeschool Reese with full support from hubby. For the past 2 years as I homeschooled Reese, I came across many books from a few homeschool curriculum like AOP's Lifepac, ACE's books, Susan W. Bauer's books... they are all great curriculums but for us, Sonlight is what works best. 'Real' books is definitely more fun than text books! The selection of books by Sonlight are filled with illustrations, easy and straightforward text and yet very informative. Very kid friendly. 

Reading one of the books
Totally absorbed...
Mummy! Do you know....bla..bla..bla..
Reese's little library

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Great finds at BBW warehouse sale!

After the Big Bad Wold sale, I went through all the books and was surprise that I got some really great ones. :) Here are 3 of them.

Beautifully illustrated with a captivating story(Hard cover). Great for read aloud

Introduction to classical music, the great composers and instruments (Hard cover). It comes with a CD with 37 selections from the greatest composers. A great introduction that has just the right amount of information so as not to bored a child.

A nice little story with nice colorful illustration and it comes with a CD which includes the story, games and songs!
All of the above was only RM8 per book(less than USD3). Dirt cheap right? :)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale

Yesterday went for the preview sale at BBW warehouse sale. The venue was huge. There were so many books that I just got tired browsing! It's crazy. They have a really big children section. Their selection of children books were quite ok. Mostly books for toddlers. They did not have books from Usborne or Scholastic except the Horribles series. There are some reference books from DK and a lot of books from Disney and some other publishers. So if you have toddlers, this is the sale you don't want to miss. Books are dirt cheap. We are talking RM5-10 for most books in this section except box sets with toys and stuff(did not look at price but my guess is it shouldn't be more than RM20). 

My loot

Those looking for cookbooks, lots of selection but I only got Jamie Oliver for RM24. Did not browse through the fiction and non fiction. I was too tired after spending nearly 3 hours at the kids section! They also have quite a selection of coffee table books. 

I got some comics, two Horrible series box set and it's annuals, Mr. Men and Little Miss books, a story book, some books for myself and a comic for hubby. My damage was RM500. 

So that is it! I will impose a self ban, no book purchases for 1 year! I bought too many books this year.  I have spent over RM7000 on books this year alone. Almost all on Reese's books. My two new 6 feet bookshelves will be full by next week when Reese's homeschool books arrive from US. It's a shame that I only have 1 child to enjoy all the great books else it will be more worth it. :)

I am most happy with the Horrible series

Thursday, October 06, 2011

More fun using our Microscope

So after viewing those exciting organism swimming in the little droplet of stream water, I decided to hunt for more interesting things to view. I found this set of prepared micro-slides from Toys R Us. It's from Edu Science (Toys R Us house brand I think). 

The set comes with 12 slides with 38 assorted specimens. Retailing at Rm49.90. It has slides of animals, fibre, plastic, fungi, drinks and etc. It is quite worth it. You can see very interesting patterns/designs and colors of the different specimens. Both Reese and I were constantly 'wowing' away! :) But nothing beats our stream water. It is the best because it has living organism in there. Need to go get some yogurt and see some bacteria. That should be fun too.
Edu Science from Toys R Us

Parents, this is truly educational fun. I highly recommend getting a microscope and let your children see the microscopic world! Honestly, I am having a lot of fun myself. I have never seen so many slides in my life! When I was in school, I only saw a couple of slides during biology classes and that was it. There were too few microscopes to share among 30-40 students. :) 

I wish I could take some pictures of the things we saw and you will be in awe! 

Some images I found on the net that resembles what we saw with our microscope:

We saw bubbles in Reese's saliva. It was something like that but nicer with a white background. A lot more and some actually forms beautiful patterns with some rainbow color at the rims of each bubble.
Silk. What we saw is very close to this image but more colorful and brighter. 
Stream water. What we saw was almost like this but brighter. See those black dots? They are some kind of organism and they move real fast. We also saw a few other types of organism moving at different speed and one moves in a very interesting manner. All in a tiny drop of stream water. Amazing.
This is the wing of a fly. 
One of the first thing we saw through the microscope! It's hair.
** What we saw were a lot brighter (light source) and thus nicer as compared to the pictures above.

My previous post on the microscope:

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Art work at 4 years 10-11 months old

A tsunami hits a town. Check out the waves!
A ship wrecked. Big waves hitting the ship.
A sign which says GOGRTOWN(George Town). Penang bridge, crops planted on hills and houses 
Forbidden city, China
Notre Dame, Paris
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Tsunami hits Brasil