Sunday, 2 April 2017

Number Recognition Activity For Preschoolers

My elder child, JS, loves to play handphone games, watching YouTube and DVDs. Since he was two, he was exposed to various electronic games and videos where he learnt his alphabets and numbers. When I started teaching him the old school way, he already could recognise all his alphabets, both capital and small letters and numbers one to ten. 

JE, on the other hand, does not have much interest in electronic games and videos. Thus, she was not really exposed to electronic games or videos like her brother. She could sing the Alphabet Song and recite numbers one to ten but she could barely recognise them. 

I decided to do what I did with JS. I started her with the alphabet charts. I don't have enough photos to do a post here yet so here is the link to an older post on the alphabet charts I did with JS.
JE loved it so much that we did it almost everyday. Sometimes, two alphabets in a day. 

Next, the numbers. I gave JE a different set of activity instead of the one I did with JS. This is because she actually knew how to count already but she still could not recognise the numbers. 

For her, the activity begins with counting the number of circles on her worksheet. In this case, five.  Then she would have to guess or choose the correct number from two numbers given. In this case, 5 and 6. 

Next, she learns to read the word "five" and “五” (which is five in Mandarin). 

Then she would have to paste them on the worksheet. 

Lastly, she would choose the correct number from the sticker sheet to stick in the box below. 
For this, she would always do two numbers in one session because I want her to learn to recognise and differentiate two different numbers at a time. And by looking for the correct number, which is a repetitive work, she would remember the number better. 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Recycling Old Learning Materials

Hi. It has been a long time since I updated this blog. I have been busy with JS and JE. All I could say is, we needed time for transitions and Mummy has been so busy that she could hardly find time to do a proper post. JS entering Primary One, JE attending Kindergarten on her own (without JS) and Mummy feeling lost for being without both kids in the mornings. Thank God both kids managed to adapt to this new chapter in no time. JS started learning mainly in Mandarin, a language which is quiet foreign to him although it is his mother tongue. JE attended school happily despite not having her brother with her. She was jolly in the mornings and very exhausted when I pick her up but still, that could not stop her from telling me what she did in school.

Lots of activities are still going on at home.. Mummy has been busy with new learning materials. JE needed extra help with alphabet and number recognition so we are working on the alphabet charts (exactly the same one I used for JS four years ago) and I was so glad that she loves working on her charts. JS is adopting to a new learning system. Learning three languages (Mandarin, English and Malay), Maths, Science and Moral Education. Of course, as predicted Art and Craft and Physical Education are his favourite sessions in school.

Thank God we had a "break" last week. It was school holidays and I decided that our usually schedule was not important during holidays. We want to sleep in a bit more (but the kids won't cooperate! They still wake up early.... *sigh*), laze around a bit, watch a movie, eat more junk food, play with friends, sleep late, etc.

So on the first day of JS' school holiday, we went to a book fair and bought some sticker books. My kids love them. He got himself two sticker books, about outer space and soldiers respectively. We got two Hello Kitty sticker books for JE as she is crazily in love with Hello  Kitty and the colour pink.

While reading his new books, I told JS to choose a theme to work on this school holidays. He could choose any and he decided on outer space. Immediately, he remembered the planets we made three years ago.

We also used the leftover foam stickers from his outer space art and craft he did four years ago to draw an astronaut.
Then we made a new rocket and JS built the inside of a small spaceship with his Lego bricks. 

Finally the kids put stars on a black backdrop and set everything on top of the table in their bedroom.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Learning A New Language

One of the advantages of growing up in Malaysia is that we are expected to learn at least two languages. The national school uses Bahasa Malaysia (which is the Malay Language) as the medium of instruction and communication for all subjects but English is being taught as a second language. Besides national schools, we also have vernacular schools, which is also supported by the government but uses either Mandarin or Tamil as the main medium of instruction and communication for all subjects. Both Bahasa Malaysia and English Language are compulsory subjects for students attending these schools. As such, the students here are either bilingual or trilingual. 

In our family, we speak both Mandarin and English so it is easy for the kids to pick up these languages when they started school but they would have difficulties with Malay. I did not really spend time teaching them the Malay language until recently. JS has learnt the basics from his teacher in school but he still did not have a clear idea of how to read in that language. He has started to pick up in English reading so I thought it was a good time to start giving him a clearer idea on how to read in Malay. 

Here, I would like to share with you a simple activity that we did in an effort to give him a clearer picture of how Malay words are being formed. 

Since he has already know most of the basic syllabus used, I chose a few groups of syllabus to help him form words. 

Here, I chose three sets - ba bo bi bu be, ca co ci cu ce, la lo li lu le. He is familiar where these syllabus so it helps him to find the correct syllabus easily, therefore, he finds the activity easy and it helps to build his confidence in completing this task without much struggle. 

Next, as you can see in the picture below, I would read two syllabus (to form a word) one at a time, and he would choose them and write the word down. 

And lastly, he would draw a picture of the word to help him remember its meaning. 

It was simple, straightforward, fun and most importantly, we completed the activity in less them 20 minutes. I think it is a good drill for beginners like him. 

If you have experiences teaching a foreign language, please share with us a simple and fun method to introduce a new language to a child. 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

A Family Of Shapes

Yes, it is time to start formal classes with JE and hopefully I will have more posts to share soon. I am starting with the things she has shown more interests in and that would be glue, stickers, masking tape, colours and shapes. Last week, we made a collage of a garden (which I have not found time to write a post about it) but it seems to me that she could not figure/or picture out what we were doing. Well, she knows grass, tree, flowers, sky, cloud, bird and butterfly but she did not show much interest in arranging or pasting the pieces of papers. She was more engrossed in putting glue on them. So this time round, I thought perhaps making a face would help her to learn how to form a picture (or rather, get a picture of what we are making)  because I assumed that she would know where to put the eyes, nose, mouth and hair. Hmmm... 

She was excited the moment she saw me arranging her table and chair to where she would do some work. She was more thrilled when she saw me taking out the bottle of glue. She started putting glue on a piece of yellow paper but after she was done, she just passed the paper to me. Yes, she still hasn't get the purpose of putting on a glue on a piece of paper but that's alright. I asked her where she wanted to put the paper and she pointed at the bottom right of the art block. Then she continued putting glue on the next piece of paper. 

JE putting glue on the yellow triangle. 
After sticking all four shapes, I asked her to pick a shape for each family member. She chose square for Daddy, circle for her big brother, rectangle for Mommy and triangle for herself. 

Next comes the fun part of putting on the eyes, nose, mouth and hair all according to the shape of the face. For the square face, she should stick on square eyes and for the circle face, she should stick on circle eyes and so on. I use labelling stickers which are a lot easier to handle and she could learn to peel them off. It's an important fine motor skill and also fun to do. 

JE peeling a labeling sticker. 

So this is Mommy and Daddy

and this is JS her big brother

and this is JE herself!

When JS came home from school and saw what JE did, he also wanted to make one. This is what he did. 

Monday, 28 March 2016

JE's First Encounters With Paint

I really salute parents who could homeschool a more than one kid. I only have two and I am already struggling. It is not easy to juggle homeschooling with housework and I have not been  seriously homeschooling my children for sometime now. I started "formally" homeschooling JS, my elder child when he was 2.5 years old so I have set that as the "appropriate" age to start with JE, my younger one, too. 

Since JE has just turned 2.5 years old this month, I am just starting to reorganise my schedule or daily rhythm (as I would prefer to call it) to start "properly" with her. 

I find teaching JE more challenging. Firstly, it is because she is being exposed to a lot of things much earlier than JS. With JS, (as I assume that it would be more or less the same case with all first borns), things were slowly being introduced to him. We did not have any colouring materials or any art and craft materials and no toys. So he got the opportunity to focus on one new toy or one new art material as we gradually add them to his collection. He did not have any elder sibling to observe too so perhaps that was why he was (to my opinion) mush easier to teach. Whereas for JE, she was exposed to many things at the same time and so it seems that she assumed that she knew how to use them and thus, she doesn't really take instructions. She would rather do things her own way. Or maybe that's just her character? 

So I decided that the best way to "teach" her new things is to give her something new to explore on her own (with me observing and not instructions given). If she shows interest, then I would try to show her new ways of using the "toy" that she was exploring. 

I found out that she loves to play with paint and thus, have introduced to her some of the ways to use it. 

Here are some of the pictures of her exploring paint in different forms. 

JE's very first encounter with paint. She was so excited and she spent almost an hour on this activity. 

JE's second encounter with paint. 

JE's third session with paint. Here, I introduced stamping. 

I think she decided that it was much more fun to use the brush!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Fun Fair At Home

Haze haze go away, come again another day, little children want to play, haze haze go away. Yes, the haze issue here in our country has affected our daily activities. Not only outdoor activities are being discouraged, the Ministry of Education also announced (on certain days due to high PSI readings) the closure of schools. 

To keep JS away from too much screen time, I suggested that we play fun fair at home. JS had not been to a fun fair so he was curious about this idea. I told him that it has game booths like those found at Legoland and indoor theme parks and also lots of stalls selling food, especially junk foods. He was thrilled. 

We list down several types of games and foods that we would like to have at our fun fair. Our game list include fishing, bowling and shooting at targets while our food stalls include french fries, marshmallow, hotdogs, chicken wings, pasta, popcorn, chocolates and chips. 

We started off by setting up the game booths. We decided to have three booths, fishing, bowling and shooting a ball into a hole. 

JS cutting a hole in a box for one of the games. 
JS making the signages.
The reward card and reward stickers. 
By the time we finished setting up the game booths, it was almost lunch time so we quickly prepared the food and started the play by buying food at the stalls. We only had pasta, chicken wings and hotdogs. 

JS preparing the food. 
JE: Can we eat now? I am so hungry!
To make this fun fair game more real, JS had to pay for the food and games. 

JS paying for his food.

JS paying for his food.

Next of course, was game time! 

JS started with the bowling. He had to pay one buck for five throws.

Next, the played the 'Shoot and Win'. This time, he had to pay two bucks for five throws. 

We ended with the fishing game which both of them enjoyed the most. JS had to pay one buck to play for one minute. He gets a sticker for every five Lego bricks he fished. 

JS counting the number of Lego bricks he was able to fish. 

JS counting the reward stickers to claim his prizes. 

It was a day full of play (and learning too!)

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Colourful Capsicums

Capsicums and more capsicums! I think this was the first time I bought so many capsicums at one time. All because my son loves them and the department store was offering five different colours. How could I not get them all? So, I ended up buying ten capsicums, two of each colours. 

Of course, JS was thrilled to see so many colourful capsicums and started taking them out from the plastic bags. Besides admiring the vibrant colours, we did some counting with them. 

Then, we cooked them! Or rather, JS, had his first experience cooking capsicum on his own. We (my hubby and I) do not really like the way capsicum is being cooked in Chinese dishes, especially when added in mixed vegetables. It was not something my husband would happily eat until I accidentally discovered the super simple  yet delicious way of preparing this very nutritious vegetable. 

One day, some years ago, I was pan frying salmon and after that, I did not want to waste all the "good" oil that remained in the pan after frying the fish so I just used it to stir fry some capsicums. Surprisingly, it turned out really good and sweet. 

We did not have pan fried salmon on that day when I bought the capsicums but of course, we could still have stir fry capsicums. It is JS' favourite so he happily learnt how to prepare it. 

I helped him to half the capsicums so he could remove the seeds (which he gathered in a small container because we wanted to try planting it in our garden). 

Next, he cut them lengthwise and sprinkled some salt. 

Then, I helped him to pour some cooking oil into the wok and he could do the rest. When the oil was heated, he put in the strips of colourful vegetables and stir fry them on medium to high fire. 

The dish doesn't look very good here, due to poor photography skill. It's taken using my iPhone and the lighting was poor too because we use amber lights at home. Nevertheless, JS was very satisfied with his cooking that he almost ate everything up!