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Monday, November 30, 2009

Bonding day!

Today is bonding day! We dedicate 2 such full days in a week and then scatter them generously throughout the week. Bonding creates security in a child and allows child to obey us easily.

Bonding day is a day where mummy spends time and follows child's leading most of the time. Activities are spontaneous. There is no unit studies and we follow no curriculum. We do anything and play anything within boundary. Character training is as always, first.

We started worship on Piano. Mummy plays "God is good" and child plays drums. We went on to "jingle bells" and Theo picks the guitar to play. After that Theo asked to play the piano and suggested for mummy to play the guitar. We played that for awhile. Little Elias was having his breakfast.

We moved along to a music & movement and pretended to move like various animals. Then we played 'freeze', both to songs on a CD, by Greg & Steve. Little Elias was given a shaker as he sat on his highchair looking on. (He is put on highchair with a toy in hand for awhile after meal as he is too full to move about. Doing so will risk him throwing up)

Breakfast time
Theo started his breakfast on his own. Mummy took little Elias to play in playpen.
Mummy sat down with Theo for breakfast.

Mummy took Elias to the bedroom and read a book. Put him to bed and went out to spend time with Theo.

Mummy sat on the floor and asked child what he likes to play.
Child picks Lego but mummy suggest BBQ. (background: Lego is often a family game and in a bid to break away from old habit of always playing Leogo, mummy was thinking playing something we left off for some time.)

Child was happy, he took out the BBQ pit, mummy took out some toy food and plates and Theo took the food to roast on the BBQ pit. Mummy noticed the BBQ pit was dusty. I asked Theo to get a pink clothe to clean the BBQ pit. Theo helped mummy cleaned it up.

I took the opporunity to toss out my $1 coin and $2 notes puts it in a wallet (a transparent box) and pass it to him. He is now a customer who will patronise my BBQ shop. he helped me set up my stall by putting everything on grill! I sold a piece of drumstick for $1 and he bought it while I throw in a free drink. I sold an Eclair for $2. When he is done eating, I kept all the food in the basket. Customer was so smart, he retrieved all his money from me before leaving home on a bus. He remembers his wallet and taps it against the validator with a "beep".

Then its time for snack. I took out a bowl of papapa and fed him on the sofa (this is a treat, since he usually feed himself!). We pretended that the sofa is a boat and we had to put our feet up. I threw two big cushions on the floor and pretended that they are huge boulders. We took out the fish and Theo went fishing.

Papaya's finished and so is the fishing game. Mummy took out a worksheet for pasting and colouring. Theo tells me ahead of pasting where each each animals should go. Then he did the pasting and waited for glue to dry.

We read some books and did "spot the items" on a page filled with so many pictures. Theo picked out the items one by one.

We returned to to do pencil rubbings on the $1 coin. We observed the picture on both coin and notes. Theo spotted the 'flower' on the coin. After that we practise colouring with both hands. Theo drew circles of all sizes concurently with both hands, using different coloured crayons each time, creating a riot of colourful circles. Theo clips them on the window grille for daddy to see when he comes home tonite.

Weather was good and cool and we went downstairs to play "hide-and-seek" and kicked a ball. Theo put the ball in the bathroom and await bath time to wash the ball himself.

We returned and Theo went on to colour his boat & sea animals. I surfed the web. Theo continues game of hawker. Now he is hawker, I am his customer. I order 4 items and Theo got it all right first time.

End of school.

Skills learnt: Imaginative play (hawker, boating, bus), fine motor skills (Handling glue, pasting, colouring), Observation skills (picture on currency, items on page), Math (buy & sell, counting), Large motor & co-odination (kicking ball) Creativity of left, right brain (random drawing with both hands), Art (pencil rubbing), memory (order of food items), music exposure.

Character traits: Following instructions, First time obedience, responsibility.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Teaching our kids

This is an important post that I should have done it ages ago. So here it is. When I read this verse, my heart skipped abit. I didnt know where to begin but I felt a stirring in my spirit and then a burden in my soul.

Deut 11: 18-21 - Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

For a few weeks my burden grew. What exactly did God want me to do? How can I do it? I knew, that God had sent a child / children to me for a special purpose. My job is to steward them well.

I bumped into a friend recently and I tell her I never knew I could teach. Teaching wasn't even my gifting much less a vocation. Teaching was just something other 'knowledgeable' people do, those who can remember 101 facts and answer every questions with precision. Boy! Was I wrong. Two years on today. I am learning as my toddler is learning. I found out that 'Toucan' is a bird with colourful beak and there are more drains in our country compared to lakes, oceans or rivers! I learnt that boys love to press buttons, turn knobs, fix things, take them apart, then fix them again. I learnt that my boy prefers noodles and western food over asian dishes. I also learnt that he is motivated by praise and usually performs up to my expectation of him. I learnt that my younger boy is a very determined boy and moves swiftly towards his goal.

Gone are the preconcieved idea of what a teacher should be. I was taking daily walks with my child, discovering nature as I talked about God's creation. I can't believed he saw mushrooms the other day in this concrete jungle we lived it! It was a 'high' for him. kids gets motivated when they make the discovery and not us. I know because he remembered it in his prayer at bedtime.
we picked up different flowers that had fallen to the ground and talked about their size and colours.

We discovered the drain and he wanted to throw a leaf inside to watch it float by. I know he gets excited when it rains because he will run to the window and look at the flooded drain. We talk about how quickly the water flows and look how dangerous it is to go near the drain full of water. At the kitchen sink we sometimes lift him up to wash his hands, he tells my helper "don't drop me inside the water!"

Staying home as a mother gives me the time and pleasure to discover and learn with him. I have gradually become a teacher I never thought I would. As surely as God had laid that burden in my heart to steward my child, he had transform me into who he has purposed me to be when he sent a child into my life. Now I have two boys. I am looking forward to discover more with them in this lifelong journey!

Homeschool sure thrills with young ones.

Read the full passage here: Deuteronomy 11

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Homeschooling Benefits

Children less preoccupied with peer acceptance

Friday, March 19, 1999

MOST FOLKS who have never met a homeschooling family imagine that the kids are about as socially isolated (and as socially awkward) as Bobby Boucher, the Cajun ``Momma's boy'' Adam Sandler portrays in the recent hit film, ``The Waterboy.''
But some new research by Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute suggests otherwise. Indeed, Ray's research helps to explain why the number of homeschoolers in America continues to grow and now totals more than 1.4 million children. Ray reports the typical homeschooled child is involved in 5.2 social activities outside the home each week. These activities include afternoon and weekend programs with conventionally schooled kids, such as ballet classes, Little League teams, Scout troops, church groups and neighborhood play. They include midday field trips and cooperative learning programs organized by groups of homeschooling families. For example, some Washington, D.C., families run a homeschool drama troupe that performs at a local dinner theater.
So, what most distinguishes a homeschooler's social life from that of a conventionally schooled child? Ray says homeschooled children tend to interact more with people of different ages.
This is actually more akin to the ``real world'' -- what businessperson's social interaction is largely restricted to those born in the same year? It reduces the degree to which children find themselves constantly being compared to, and comparing themselves with, other kids their age. Interestingly, this reduced consciousness about age tends to help homeschooled ``late bloomers'' avoid being stigmatized as ``slow learners'' -- which is one of the many reasons homeschoolers, on average, score 30 to 37 percentile points higher than conventionally schooled students on the most commonly administered K-8 standardized tests.
Moreover, homeschooled children tend to draw their primary social identity from their membership in a particular family rather than from their membership in ``a tribe apart.'' That's the phrase author Patricia Hersch uses to describe the conventionally schooled kids she followed through adolescence. According to Hersch, many school kids today feel isolated from the grown-up world and alienated from parents who fail to take an interest in their lives and to set boundaries for their behavior.
Now, Hersch's intention isn't to make a case for homeschooling. (She doesn't significantly address the issue.) But the angst- ridden teens she describes in her book closely resemble the peer-obsessed students Seattle public high school teacher David Guterson talks about in his compelling book, ``Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense,'' (Harcourt-Brace Jovanovich, 1992). Guterson reports that the kids in his conventional school often have difficulty navigating the turbulent social scene at school, with ``its cliques, rumors and relentless gossip, its shifting alliances and expedient betrayals.'' Guterson says that their preoccupation with peer acceptance often encourages young people to become ``acutely attuned to a pre-adult commercial culture that usurps their attention (M-TV, Nintendo, fashion magazines, teen cinema)'' and frequently fosters a sense of alien ation from people of other ages.
Interestingly, educational researcher Susannah Sheffer of Cambridge, Mass., says facilitating peer-dependency is part of ``how schools shortchange girls'' (to borrow the title of a highly publicized report issued several years ago by the American Association of University Women). In a recent study of self-esteem among adolescent girls, Sheffer found that unlike their conventionally schooled counterparts, homeschooled girls did not typically lose confidence in themselves when their ideas and opinions weren't embraced by their friends.
Now, none of this means that every homeschooler is socially well-adjusted. Or that homeschooling is the only way for parents to raise children successfully. Or that good things never happen in conventional schools. But these studies do suggest that homeschooling offers more than just educational benefits. No wonder a growing number of families are now giving home education a try.
This article appeared on page A - 23 of the San Francisco Chronicle