Thursday 31 July 2014

A New Rhythm

Suddenly realised I have not updated on school recently.
Honestly, it's because we no longer have a structured system with nice themes and trays.

And it's all because of this fireball.
This is how she looks like on any given school day.
How to attend a real school like this? 
Whenever I say no painting, she screams and starts painting the whole room orange/red.
 I pity her future teachers and I am expecting regular calls from them.

Her rhythm is paint, markers, trays, walk around the room, 
disturb Tiger and wander off.

When she is very quiet, it's because:
1. She's pooping in a corner
2. She has drawn something, somewhere (bed/wall usually)
3. She found food or some crap to eat
4. She has destroyed something and she is frantically trying to fix it.
5. She is flipping a book. Weird but true.
I personally like option number 5 only.

For Tiger, we are still doing his regular school work:

1. Workbooks (Math & English)
We use stickers, crayons, markers, magnets, dry erase, etc so that it's fun.
 Or he does whatever strikes his fancy.

2. Peter & Jane. 
We are still at book 6A because I limit it to a page per day.
It's a compromise because MIL thinks I am torturing him.
He does read more fluently now.

3. Chinese
Baobei and Odonata Flashcards (yucks)
Odonata books
Chinese Picture books

4. Lots and lots of games
Marble run
Blocks building

5. Toy Based Learning
This week: Moon & Cats
I hate to say it but he doesn't really like picture books.
Which makes me mad because they are so expensive.
Oh, except this Pete the Cat book we borrowed from the library
Here's a video on this book. I totally rock the chorus, which is why he likes it.

He prefers books about space with little tiny words
that I have to read repeatedly in an Indian accent.

We are starting some project based learning and here is what we did for moon/space:
A globe (earth), 
 Torchlight (Sun), 
Tennis ball as the moon  
(The moon is actually a quarter of Earth's size. 
Did you know that? No? That's why you must read more)

I used Nobita (from Doraemon) to represent Tiger
"Mama, I don't wear glasses. This is not me!"
"Ermmm, it's okay baby. Mama and papa also wear specs. This is you in 10 years time"
He stared at Nobita for 2 minutes while considering my words.
I waited.
"This is not me. This is kor-kor."
Okay. Whatever...We stuck Nobita on Malaysia, on the globe.

6. Art
We paint a lot more because of Dragon girl.
Sometimes we just paint the whole night.
They have a little art corner with all the materials displayed, 
except the glue gun and glitter.

He helped me with the frames for the PLAY, READ and HEART at the reading area.
We upcycled them with some poster colour from Buncho.

Msde confetti with some mini punchers from Mr DIY for rm1.80 each

7. Music
Practicing do-re-mi, mi-re-do at home.

8. Outdoors
We spent waaaay too much time outdoors.
Whenever I don't smell the bloody haze, we run outside and celebrate.

Dragon girl in her Jerry shoes. Tiger has a blue Tom pair.
You know, Tom & Jerry, since they are always fighting.

Running in the field.

 In our outdoor classroom with some green aquarium sand just for variation.
Nope, I do not have kinetic sand. Sand is sand la...
 If you cannot make a mess with sand...then, don't play with sand!
My 2 cents. I'd rather buy lots of paint with rm239.

Visited another animal farm over Raya break.
Poor boy was on the brink of crying cause the little duckling is scary.
Still forced him to smile :)

Only the ears grew from 2013.
Bwahahahahaha......he is taller, hihi...but that's not so obvious in pics.

Gangster girl and the poor rabbit.
She literally force-fed the poor bunny by stuffing feed into its mouth.
You should have seen our faces.
 We were like NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

We stayed at Thistle, Port Dickson for a night.
It was a last minute thing, hence we could only get this gigantic, overpriced room
The kids really enjoyed themselves. Obviously, since they are not paying.
Tiger wants to move to a hotel for the rest of his life.
Any hotel. Preferably no ghost one.
Last year, Dragon girl had post MMRV fever and rash, so we avoided the sea.
Tiger was disgusted with the idea of swimming in murky waters.
This year.....

  Guess who thought she was a mermaid?
One aunty commented, "She swims in the sea all the time? First time ! She is fearless!"
Haha, we've noticed :)

Tiger was a scientist as usual.
He threw the coconut into the sea ....lo and behold, it floated!
He was absolutely fascinated. 
Nothing like learning naturally.
It really made me think about project based learning.
Thank you, coconut.

And finally,
One for the album, for, you know....
 me, to look back at my 22 year old self when I am 30.
What, I was 22 last year? 
No laaaaa....I am 22 years old EVERY freaking year.

 It rained the next day, so we asked for lots of bath gel and did this :)

Mama is reading up on these:
Problem-based learning

So, what exactly is our rhythm?
Our homeschooling style is never fixed.
It changes with the nature of the children.
It follows their interest and that has always been our rhythm.

I can't say for sure that ours is the best method,
but I believe my children are capable beings,
they think,
they feel,
they are curious, 
they want to learn.
I do not believe children are empty vessels,
they are not waiting to be filled with information.
Hence we are moving away from right brain/rapid flashing.

Dragon is not going to read anytime soon,
so, paint and play she will.

Tiger is all about space and cars,
so that we will read about space every night,
weird accent and all.

There shouldn't be a standardized version of school for the convenience of adults.
I believe my children are special in their own ways,
as do you in your precious ones.
Why stifle their natural style with school?
Learn, play, love.
What is in store for us in years to come?
I have no idea.
But I am looking forward to it.

Goodness, I sound like I am 50.
I assure you I am 22 in internet years.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Happy Birthday, Dragon girl!

The girl is 2!
I can still remember lying on the cold OT table waiting for Dr B to cut me up.
I was very calm the entire time, imagining the layers he was cutting away to bring this breeched baby into the world.
And when she finally arrived, she announced it by peeing all over her mother. Sheesh....
And from that moment, I knew she is going to be a dramatic one and I was right. They don't call it maternal instinct for nothing.

She was this scrawny, dry looking baby but I was drowning in loving maternal hormones.
So, naturally I thought she was beautiful.
Looking back, nah, quite ugly actually....hihi. Sorry, my princess, must be honest laaaa...
But now, she is so darn cute, chubby, funny, cheeky and sweet.

I made this collage when her kakak complained that I forgot to compile one for her :p

This is going to be a photo overload post.
You know, for when I am old and I want to feel young again.
For Dragon girl's wedding.
For my grandchildren...
Oh God, I am going to cry.....they grow up so fast......
*wipes tears*

For her 2nd birthday, we went on a one day trip to Amverton Cove.
This is the monkey girl who loves to pretend she's driving.
That face....I so geram, you know!

Obviously she's got my eyes. 
Have you seen my hubby's eyes?
Looks like me, a little...from the side...whatever la....still my daughter.

 We went to the indoor playground immediately.
There were all these slides and balls but  all she wanted to do was cook :)

"Don't help me"

We went swimming in the evening

Too brave for floaties.
She cried when hubs tried to put her in the float with seat.
Only took me about 20 minutes to blow it biggie.

We brought a cake with us and she blew out the candles herself.

The rare smile for the camera

Another rare shot with a hint of smile.

Some 'model' shots hubs took :)

I look at her and I wonder what the future holds?
She is one of those kids with tons of attitude and fire.

 So independent and brave.

She is an artist. We paint every single day.
So, I bought this easel and created an art corner for her.

One day, while Tiger and I were reading outside, she went into the room by herself for sometime.
I expected her to be painting but to my surprise, I found her at the table.
She may look like she is reading but look closely and you will see
she is studying the picture intently.
Nope, still not reading.

She still leaves a trail of mess wherever she goes.
I guess that's how creative minds work.
Must learn to accept and embrace the mess....ohmmmmmmm

I must have frowned because she got up, grabbed the broom and started to sweep,
creating a bigger mess.
Tiger nearly cried when he saw his precious cards all over the floor.

Cognitively she is not as advanced as Tiger but socially, motor skills and 
creatively, she is way ahead.

Still not potty trained.
Still unable to recognize ABCs
Still as playful as ever.

Baby, you are so lucky you are not my firstborn.
Love you just the way you are.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Mama, please buy more books!

That was what Tiger said last night, after he scared me with his newly acquired ghost vision.
 Sheesh, with Ghost Festival coming up, this kid....Let's talk about books instead of ghost today.

I don't know about you but my kids tend to read the same books over and over again.
Tiger is all about the galaxy, space and planets and Dragon girl loves the Odonata series and her baby board books. The rest of our wonderful books are sitting on the shelves, waiting patiently for their turn. It saddens me.

So, I try to trick coax them into reading with me with toy-centered learning. It's very easy to set up. You just need one toy and several related books.  The idea is so simple, time-saving and you get to promote the less popular books. Very Asian and yet playful. I am going to trademark this idea.

 This is our moon display for Tiger

This is the CAT display for Dragon girl

Why read?
I asked Dr Seuss and he said:

I am soooooo funny, I know.
Having a reading area helps too.
Read about ours here
Every time I see them reading by themselves, I will have a stupid grin on my face.
Hubby will complain that I am nerding up his kids but better nerds that gangsters, right?

Sometimes, I will switch off the main lights so that we can just relax under the fairy lights
and pretend we are outdoors, looking at the stars.

Now, the shopping part.
 I love going to the bookstores. I can spend hours just browsing and walking around.
But now, with kids in tow, petrol hike and kidnappers/robbers/psychos in Malaysia,
I just order from Book Depository in the comfort of my own home.
Pro: Save time + free delivery 
Con: The wait....argghhhh. Sometimes it takes 3 -4 weeks.

Luckily for me, the pain of waiting is over.
Now, I can order from NoQ store, a Singapore-based online bookstore.
Free shipping to west Malaysia, delivery within 2 weeks
 and the pricing is also very competitive.

For these books, I did a price comparison with Book Depository 
(prices in Singapore Dollars)
NoQ Store: $25.23
Book Depository: $40.49
(The only difference was Richard Scarry's book was hardcover in Book Depository)

If you want to stock up on some quality books, you better do it now because
you can get a discount of 15% by using this code LITTLETIGER at checkout. 
They carry more than 14 million title, so you will definitely find something for your little darlings!
The discount code is valid until 30th November 2014!

I shall leave you with this quote from one of my favorite authors:
If you have never heard of Murakami, you've learnt something new today.
No need to thank me.

Sponsored post by NoQ store.
I was provided a S$30 book voucher for a short review.
Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Sunday 20 July 2014

A Bead in My Nose

by Tiger

Hello, aunties and uncles. I am pseudo blogging today because mama is very angry at me for getting a bead in my right nostril.

I know she trusts me with tiny things like googly eyes and nuts and stuff but the Montessori golden bead is too shiny and cute. I had to sniff it. I like to sniff things, I don't know why. I know it could be dangerous but I can always get it out later, right? I will just sniff it goes nothing....


Holy bananas, there is one in my nose....I can't get it out. Let's not panic and tell mama calmly, she's my Doc Mcstuffin, she can fix this.

"Mama, there is a bead in my nose. Cannot come out" (These were my exact words and I doubt Mama will ever forget it)

I saw mama's face turned white and the smile on her face replaced by a a frown. This is bad.

I tear up.

Mama grabbed my hands, looked up my nose and she cursed. I cannot tell you what she said, but it was a bad word. Then she shouted, "OMG! #$$#$%% Why did you do that?"

She counted the beads. Nine. Obviously, mama. One is in my nose. Ten minus one bead in my nose is NINE! I can count! Mama didn't praise me. She looks really worried and ANGRY. Oh shit, I am going to cry. Maybe she will be less angry if I cry

"DON'T CRY! Do you want the bead to go deeper?"

I stopped crying immediately.

She ran around looking for the nose bulb. She tried sucking it out using her mouth, I hated that. She gave me pepper to make me sneeze but SHE sneezed instead. Haha! In the end she took me to the hospital.

I don't understand what the fuss is all about. I am okay, mama. I can breathe. In fact, I would really like some chocolate now.


Ooops, okay. I will just sit very still.

At the hospital, mama tried to remove it with something called a yonker and she vacuumed my nose. The bead is as stubborn as me. After 30 minutes, she gave up and called another doctor to help me. We went for some cendol while we waited for him. At this point, I love papa more because he didn't yell at me or told everyone that I have a big nose but she just couldn't get it out.

Uncle's room had a nice blue chair that went up and down. I sat on mama's lap while he looked inside my nose. In one second, it was out. I WASN'T SCARED AT ALL. I  WAS SO BRAVE. Mama said I should be sacred. She is confusing me.

Overall, it was a great day for me even though I missed my nap, cancelled a trip to the seed playground, exhausted mama and papa, made the nice uncle with the up-and-down chair come on a Sunday, and scared everyone. I even got a toy egg with a car inside. Oh, and mama promised me a Cars puzzle.

At night, before bed, mama asked me if I will put stuff inside my nose again. I said no but she wasn't convinced. So she said very seriously, "Sweetie, do that again next time and I will cut open your nose"

I believed her, so I said, "I won't do it again"

She said I love you and that she was angry because she had higher expectations of my intelligence. On the other hand she was glad that I am a little more adventurous and curious.

Mama, stop it with the confusing statements already....sigh. I am only four. I am allowed to be mischievous and naughty. I love you very much, mama. You are still my best friend. And I get it, no more stuffing/sniffing things up my nose.

Before I forget, here's my souvenir from the whole experience.

Regards, Tiger.

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