Saturday, June 30, 2012

Besides drawing...

Reese also likes to:

Write Chinese characters he knew. He loves writing them. Everywhere we go, he will look for Chinese characters he knew. He learns 2 to 3 characters each week. 10 minutes or so with my mother. No revision until the next lesson with my mother and yet he remembers everything. He can orally tell you the strokes for each character and write them correctly too. My mother said his writing is nice.   
Drawing imaginary maps. He likes to read maps. 
Latest.... making up recipes. He helps me in the kitchen whenever possible. He enjoys washing and cutting vegetables.

Friday, June 29, 2012

I am...

 Reese loves to pretend. He can be quite creative with props. :)
He is one funny boy.

Armed with a bible story book and a toy; I am Statue of Liberty.

Lid for a shield, basket for a helmet, some medals and you have Reese the knight.

Healthy Food

When Reese was a baby and toddler, I put in a lot of effort to make nutritious food for him; only home cooked food. The past 2 years, due to laziness and work, Reese took a lot more outside food. The only thing that did not change since he started solid food is consuming lots of fruits. He loves fruits. Everyday he will have at least 2 to 3 kinds of whole fruits. He doesn't quite like vegetables but now he will take broccoli, cauliflower, french beans, carrots and 2 to 3 types of leafy greens cooked in soup. Here are some simple nutritious snack to share with your children. Takes 5 minutes to make and clean up!

Breakfast - Dragon fruit, grapes, banana and mango flavored yogurt.  I rotate different fruits and yogurt flavor  every week. Reese will have this once or twice a week. You can also add some cereal for the extra crunch! My husband who doesn't like yogurt finds this pretty good. :)

Green smoothie. Reese loves to help prepare the drink.

We use raw baby spinach, banana and mango to cover the raw taste of spinach.  Sometimes I will add cherry tomatoes  or zucchini. We blend the ingredients and add a little bit of water and ice. It's actually yummy. :)

The green color put me off initially but it actually tasted good. All natural and very healthy. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Reese debuts his art at Trails of Light

This will be Reese's first participation in an art event organized by LUMA. It is quite unexpected. We had to rush to get some of our favorite art pieces framed. Getting the framed art coming Monday and will pass it to the organizer to bring it to Penang. Too bad we can't make a trip there due to work. Reese's  art should be up for viewing by next weekend. :)

Screen capture from LUMA's Facebook page.

Event: Trails of Light
Venue: Lot 14A, First Floor, The Whiteaways Arcade, Lebuh Pantai, Georgetown.
Date: 19th June 2012 - 14th July 2012
Time: 11am to 6pm (Opens daily except Mondays)

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I thank God that Reese loves reading. There are two things that he loves the most, drawing and reading. I did not start reading until I was 10 years old. A late bloomer!

Reading is one of the best hobby you can have because it gives you immense pleasure with great benefits. Do you know that reading is an active mental process that improves your concentration and focus? It simply makes you use your brain! I used to love reading but these days, I hardly read books because I cannot concentrate and focus! Too much time spent on  iPad and the internet! What more for kids!

Reading nourishes your mind and soul. Agree? Reading encourages you to think and imagine the impossibles. We learn to read then read to learn! Given that reading is the means to gain knowledge, it's important to inculcate the habit of reading right from childhood. Reading good books to your children and help them understand the joys books hold. This habit will go a long way in making them better human beings.

Children who grow up reading GOOD books, definitely stand out. The way they think and act is way different from those who don't. See I capitalized the word 'GOOD'? Reading good books is important during the formative years of a child's development. It's during childhood and teenage years that reading inspiring stories can have a deep impact on a child's mind. There are lots of crappy books out there so choose wisely. Ideally reading should be split between fiction and nonfiction books. Fiction is definitely more exciting, but it does not yield long term knowledge benefits like nonfiction books do.

The more children read, the better they become at reading. It's as simple as that. The more enjoyable the things they read are, the more they'll stick with them and develop the reading skills that they'll need for full access to information in their adult lives. The more young children are read to, the greater their interest in mastering reading. Reading out loud exposes children to proper grammar and pharasing. It enhances the development of their spoken language skills and their ability to express themselves verbally.

The best part about reading is that it can provide children 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 and may give them a good start on the road to seeing reading as a life long source of pleasure. Read to your young children everyday. Inspire your older children to read. Give them access to plenty of reading material that they'll enjoy and discuss it with them. Try everything.

Some inspiring quotes:

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends: they are the most accessible and wisest of couselors, and the most patient of teachers. - Charles W. Eliot

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. - Dr. Seuss

"I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can't really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, 'If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we'll talk.' All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don't want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket. - Ray Bradbury

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How does Reese Learn?

Reese started reading at 2.5 years old, has a superb memory, learns effortlessly, draws incredibily and the last I checked he is reading comfortably at 11/12 year old level. He can read anything you give him with great comprehension. He has a vast vocabulary and speaks really well with almost no grammatical error. 

Teaching him is easy. Throw him a book and he will read and learn. If something interest him, he will dig deeper. My role is to supervise him. 

Reese doesn't like REPETITIVE work. He hates it. So whatever we learn has to be interesting and no repetition except math. Reese hates math because of the repetition. That I am trying my best to reduce to the minimum. 

He loves to draw. His drawings are very detailed and creative. How did he do it? It's an innate ability. No one taught him. One thing I observed, he has a habit of studying pictures/images of things he likes. If it's in a video, he will watch it and pause at his favourite building/structure and study it. He will do this repeatedly until he is bored. He is always on a look out for his favourite buildings/structures in books/videos/window displays and etc. He is very observant and no matter how minute a detail may be, Reese will notice it. He draws from memory and hardly makes mistakes in his drawing. He draws sponteneously. If you watch him draw, you will be amazed. No planning, no pausing... he just draws and in less than 15 minutes you will have an amazing piece of art! What's more, there is always a story behind each of his drawing.

When we had confirmation that he is a gifted child, I was all excited and happy. I was already planning what to teach him, accelerate his learning and even send him off to tertiary education when is around 13! Crazy mum huh? Well, Reese truly has the capacity to do that. BUT as time goes by, I realized that I am robbing his childhood. What's all the rush? If learning is easy for him then he should be allowed to enjoy the gift and use the additional spare time to pursue his interest or simply just have fun! Why does he need acceleration if he is not complaining? What good will that do him if he finishes his education early? Intellectually he may be advance but emotionally he is not. He has asynchronous development. 

I had tried using conventional materials to teach him but they are either too repetitive or boring. Reese does not need much pen and paper drills. I had to source for materials that are engaging with minimal repetition. 

Language Arts

He is doing 4th grade English.
We read books (Readers and read-aloud from Sonlight's core) and do discussion. Once in a while we do a worksheet or two on comprehension. Only problem is that he doesn't like to write sentences. Thus we often do worksheets orally. He will answer in full sentences. 

We are doing Jacob's Ladder Reading Comprehension Level 1 published by Prufrock Press for gifted children. It provides a map to follow which engages higher order thinking and takes the children far beyond the texts they are reading.

Grammar is also easy for him. Don't really need to teach him at this stage. I only taught him the parts of speech and some sentence structures. Worksheets for now is unnecessary. He just knows them even with 4th grade grammar!

Spelling comes naturally to him due to his strong foundation in phonetics. He is able to spell words easily. I just let him develop his spelling skills naturally.

Creative writing is one area that I am not really doing anything because Reese doesn't like to 'write'. In due time, I know he will excel in this area because he just has a flair for the English Language. 

Will be switching to Michael Clay Thompson: Language Arts Curriculum soon once I figure out how to get them to Malaysia. It is written specially for gifted children. The approach is totally different from what we are used to. Since MCT is written with gifted children in mind, there is basically no 'drill and kill' involved. 

MCT: “What I have tried to do is to create a language ecosystem, where all the texts confirm and involve the others, where every book is, in addition to propelling its own content forward, an environment of examples of the other books as well. I think this is essential; what we have done is to fragment the language arts, teaching vocabulary as though grammar did not exist, teaching grammar as though vocabulary was not relevant, teaching writing as though grammar was beside the point. Real language is interconnected and simultaneous, so the books need to be that way too. It is not a case of, we already did that, it is a case of, now we can see why the other study was so important. All of it applies to all of it.”


Reese likes science. Sonlight's Science module serves us well. Currently we are learning about animals around the world, land forms and the  countries that they are from. We also learn about magnetism and how certain things are made in factories.

We do this by reading, doing experiments/worksheets and watching documentaries. Reese especially likes how the human body works. His favorite set of science books has to be The Magic School Bus! 

Social Studies

We have been learning about cultures, people of the world and homes people stay in. Very soon we will be doing more in depth history of different civilizations. Reese is very good with mapping. He doesn't need practice with mapping. Just show him once or twice the location of a place, he will remember it. So far we have covered  many countries from all the 7 continents! Ask him where is Iraq or Hebrides and he will happily point out the places and he will also tell you what you can find there. We learn about different countries and places from books we read. They can be books from story books, science or social studies. Usually once we finish a story or chapter, I will take out the map and we search for the location of the places we read about. That is it. 


He is doing 2nd grade math. Taking his own sweet time. We have started multiplication and he is enjoying it. Reese is into word problems. We use Horizons Math as our core and just two days ago, as a supplement we use Challenging Maths published by  EPH Singapore. It has very challenging word problems which Reese enjoys. 

Very soon I will be getting Life of Fred Mathematics series to be used as a supplement. Written by Dr. Stanley Schmidt with the intent to make math come alive with lots of humor, clear explanations, and silly illustrations that stick in the mind. The student will learn to think mathematically. 

Critical Thinking Skills

We are doing a few books on a rotation basis. Usually 3-6 worksheets once a week or every 2 weeks. I use Mind Benders for deductive thinking skills and Building Critical Thinking Skills both by The Critical Thinking Co and for math we use Critical thinking Activities published by Dale Seymour Publication.


He sure learns fast! Not even 10 lessons with my mom and he recognizes and writes many Chinese characters. He only does about 10 to 20 minutes lesson with my mom. Glad that he likes it.

Bahasa Malaysia

Nil. Mummy has't started yet. :)


Reese is not into crafting. 


We have stopped his lessons because he is always bickering with the instructors and simply not very interested anymore. He also requested to stop going.

Field Trips

He enjoys them and love playing with the other kids. 


Reese's daddy constantly feeds him with new apps and games. Reese is quite an expert with his iPad. He is also very good at using Google search and Youtube. 


Not interested. Only occasionally dance to random music. Tried to expose him to piano but he is not interested.

To sum up, teaching Reese is very easy. All we do is read, read and read most of the time. I only dedicate 3 days a week for academic work that involves worksheets ( 90 mins). Other days are free and easy. We learn as and when we feel like it. Now I need to focus more on the physical side of things. Needs to get him to be closer to nature!! Really need to work on this area. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Math Progress

Math is one subject that Reese hates to do. He just hates to do addition/ subtraction because it involves some thinking/counting. Reese was taught to count without using fingers. He was taught addition and subtraction facts. At this stage, he can basically add and subtract by carrying one over or bringing forward one. He can add/subtract in thousands or more. BUT he still hates doing it. :)

Reese has started doing multiplication. Something new and thus not complaining. Just recently we set up a stall to sell some food at the homeschooler sports day. Reese had a chance to apply math when he sell his food. There on, he seemed to understand the use of math. Yesterday while driving, I made up some math problems orally and told Reese to help me solve the problems. He happily did them and ask for more. Today, while resting in the room, we made up word problems and solving them. Lots of fun and Reese was learning math without complaining. 

One of his problems goes like that:

A cow likes to eat dogs. One day, he ate two dogs. How many dogs did he eat in the month of May (the cow eats 2 dogs a day)?

2 x 31 days (month of May) = 62 dogs.

Can you believe it? My Reese who hates math made up this question! :)

I now realized that Reese is actually ok with math as long as there is no repetitive math practices. He is quite fast in math despite only doing 3 to 4 worksheets in a week. He almost completed the 1st book of Grade 2 math. He can read time very well including the minutes. He can spell number words up to thousands. I am getting him a set of math in story format meant for gifted children. With minimal practices and it teaches math through every day life of a 5 year old boy. Sounds interesting right? Can't wait to get it and use it with Reese. I think he will appreciate it and hopefully he will like math better.

Designed his own math worksheet

Friday, June 08, 2012

Trying his hands on excavation!

A couple of days ago Reese took an interest in dinosaurs. He has been reading about them in The Magic School Bus book. Last year I bought an excavation kit which was in storage. This morning, a very excited Reese got to 'excavate' and be a paleontologist for an hour plus. It was fun chiseling, knocking and brushing looking for fossil bones. Not recommended for younger children because of the dust from the plaster. Even with Reese, I had to constantly sweep the dust off to avoid a very dusty environment.

Love the book but had to constantly check the pronunciation of the various dino names and scientific terms! You can get the excavation kit from Popular and Toys R Us 
It comes in a block in plaster
A lot of hard work and has to be patient
Having lots of fun
Helping me to clean up every 10 minutes otherwise very messy and dusty
cleaning up the 'fossil' bones
We have yet to put the bones together. Will do so tonight.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Museum Negara Field Trip

Yesterday we went to the Museum with a group of homeschoolers. This is the 3rd time in 2 years we went to the museum. Another big improvement. Thumbs up! Now they have a volunteer program (mostly expatriate wives) where volunteers will bring groups of children on a walkthrough of the museum and highlight the important events of the Malaysian history. It is a 2 hour program where children follow the volunteer around the museum and work on some activities and worksheets as they do the walkthrough.  After that the children went to the activity room for some play dough time. They even have a mini excavation site for students to explore! Too bad, we were told that it is for older kids because sharp tools are involved. Certainly an educational trip. Adults Rm2 entrance fee and children are free.

Going into the old kingdom while the lovely volunteer told the kids what to expect
Busy doing some hands on activity about Pokok Pitis
Engrossed with guns from the Dutch

Activity centre
Play dough time
Excavation pit for older children

Monday, June 04, 2012

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

A few days ago, Reese and I sat down to view the beautiful postcards from our Europe trip. Today, he decided to draw one of his favorite places, Ponte Vecchio in Florence.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

We were featured in The Star paper

Click on picture to read the article
Online version:

Recently we were interviewed by The Star paper. I gave my input on nurturing children. Hopefully in the near future, they will do a feature on Reese's work! :)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

A Step Closer to Reese's Dream...

3 years 9 months old he started drawing... who would have taught he can draw so well!
 Reese's dream is to have his own solo art exhibition one day. Ever since we created his Facebook page, we have lots of encouraging messages and comments about his art. We even have people asking whether his work is for sale. Reese has been called a prodigy and even a genius but at the end of the day, he is still a child. Our sweet beautiful child.

Drawing while waiting for his food in Rome, Italy
St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican City
We have been approached recently to have some of his art to be on display in an artelier in Penang. We are busy scouting for a good frame shop to conserve and frame some of his artworks to be sent to Penang. It is an investment. From there, we will be working closely with the owner of the artelier towards a solo exhibition. We have been encouraged to sell his artworks but for now we have no such plans. All we want is to give Reese some exposure in the art scene.

 Art stationery is expensive

We hope to educate Reese about the value of his artworks and a possible path towards becoming a real artist. We want him to understand why people are interested in what he is doing and eventually selling his artwork to fund his art materials(slowly moving towards art materials used by professionals) and building a nest for his future!

Reese is very protective of his artworks. A mere mention about selling them, he will immediately said that they are not for sale. He only wants to have an exhibition to showcase his art! 

Yesterday in the car, Reese said:

"Mummy, I don't want to be famous. I only want my art to be famous."

Recently we were interviewed by The Star and the article will be out this Sunday in the StarEducate pullout. Do look out for it! :)

Friday, June 01, 2012

Books we bought in April/May

Books by David Macaulay with beautiful illustration. Gives detail explanation on how castles, cathedral, cities and the underground network are built.
'Roman Diary' tells the story of a slave girl's life in ancient Rome and this book has beautiful illustration, 'It could always be worse' is a sweet picture book about a Yiddish folk tale with beautiful illustration and 'The Case of the Gasping Garbage' is a mystery book. 
LIFE collection of beautiful photographs of sea creatures and wonders of the world.  'Eye Witness History' by National Geographic uses the timeline approach to give us a clear picture of world history whereas 'The History Book' by DK uses a more child friendly approach to present world history