Showing posts with label School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label School. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My week as a SAHM: Adam's new Nursery and maid updates.

I'm on leave this week - Yay!
Adam starts Nursery in his new school this month, so I decided to be with him the first couple of days.
This is our daily routine:
6AM: Wake up and get myself ready for the day.

6:30M: Ashton wakes up for milk.

7:30AM: Wakes sleepyhead Adam up to wash up and get changed into his uniform.
 7:50AM: Waits for school bus downstairs. Needs to hold Mummy's hand before boarding bus.
Love my Mama's boy so much!
8:15AM: The kids reach school. I arrived early on my own to wait for him since I'm not allowed onto the kiddy bus.
This is the canteen where the kids have tea break at 9:15AM - 9:30AM.
 8:30AM: Assembly and into their classrooms they go. This is their courtyard and classroom area.
Different classes take turns at the playground.
They have such large premises!
Surprise, surprise!! From my Facebook status, I found out my cousin's daughter, Noelle, is studying in the same school! But in another class in Pre-N.
Such coincidence! These are my cousin's lovely girls Noelle(3) and Nellie(2).

And since she's not working at the moment, we went for breakfast at Changi City Point la kopi and chatted for hours about our maids/ husbands/ children, while I whatsapped my Aunt about it.
Aunty-ism runs in my family.

My pretty cousin and my niece Nellie!
After school, Adam reaches home at 12:30PM. He has his lunch, drinks milk and watches his iPad, then naps for 2-3 hours.
During this time, if I'm lucky, both kids are asleep and I get to do my blogging / reading etc.
In the evening, we go to the nearby playground:
Ashton #likeaboss. Dig ears and kar-kui kui, watching his brother play.

Back home, at about 9PM, the kids play a bit before bed. By 10PM, I chase them into their room as I'm quite ready to collapse.
By the way, as I was telling you about the topic of my Indonesian maid in the previous post, she dropped the bombshell that she does not intend to extend her work permit and that she would like to go back.
Her WP is due to expire by 31st July 2013.
That leaves us less than a month to have the admin sorted out - closing her bank account and getting them to stop sending her statements to our residence, booking her flight, cancelling her WP, asking our agent to find a replacement maid, etc.
Andy & I browsed through several Biodata but have yet to come across anyone suitable (1 Burmese is a Bach of Arts holder but English is rated poor; the others are either asking too much or do not fit our criteria).
All new candidates request for 2 days off per month. Weekends are the busiest period for us and without the help on 2 out of 4 weekends, it defeats the purpose of my hiring a maid really.
Bottom line: It's hard to get good help these days!

So here I am, stranded with 2 under 5 and still very much holding my full-time job.
Thankfully, Andy & I are alike in many ways. We share the same attitudes toward finances, holiday choices, and most other things in life.
He's Ok with me either decision I make - and I intend to go maid-less for the time being and enjoy some of the privacy we lost over the past year. Until we throw in the towel, that is.
It sure feels great not having an extra mouth to feed/ person to clothe/ pay $600 per month for.
The only downside is: we get no babysitter when out for meals with family & friends. A bit overwhelming when both kids demand attention at the same time!
Let's see how long we can go maid-less.
To all the working Mums out there managing your household without a helper, you rock!
I would also love to hear tips from you.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: LolliBox.

As you might have read from my previous post, we bought our first LolliBox from Smartkids Asia 2013. Here's our review:

A nice surprise for children - goodies filled to the brim to keep those active brains and busy hands occupied! In case you're wondering, we got the Itsy Bitsy Bugs box.

Adam checking out each packet of activity with keen interest.

He chose his first project - Incy Wincy Spider. Consists of a roll of black yarn, pipe cleaners, plastic plates and googly eyes. Comes complete with colorfully illustrated step-by-step instructions to enable parents to work together with their young ones, or older kids to comprehend on their own.

Adam pasting on Incy Wincy's googly eyes.

After Incy Wincy Spider was completed, we went on to make other itsy bitsy insects from LolliBox.

We made a Ladybug and grasshopper with the assorted colorful plasticine provided.

We saved the best bit for last - a glow-in-the-dark bug. Adam is thrilled!

Adam is pasting the wings on the Firefly.

The dark moment he's been waiting for all evening. Finally can see the glow-in-the-dark effect of his hard work!

and finally, a badge of honour to reward Adam!

Thank you, LolliBox. Adam enjoyed his first activity box loads. He made me do all the stuff with him in one evening and it gave us a lot of good, clean fun learning:
+ Math (counting number of googly eyes, legs, wings),
+ Science (insects, their habitats, nature),
+ Hand-eye coordination,
+ Development of Fine motor skills,
+ Problem-solving and Logical thinking (following instructions to build things from scratch with allocated resources).
Hope you found our review useful and interesting. We definitely look forward to future LolliBoxes!
You can go to their website HERE:

**Get yours today to keep your tots busy this March holidays! :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Adam's Show-and-tell in School

Adam did Show-and-tell in school this week. The topic was "My Family".
As I quote his teacher, he "showcased confidence and pride in his work" and in speaking in front of the class and teachers.

Adam is confident in show-and-tell to his classmates and teacher and articulates every member of the family well. I am so proud of him!

This is the art work which he had done with the help of his teacher with some family photos I printed.

 He also depicted drawings of his parents, ie. Andy and I.

I look to be of porcine resemblance
whereas Andy looks like something out of Star Wars

Adam used to be a very reserved boy in class, especially during his N1 year, which was last year. His teachers told us he was not confident in expressing himself and did not seem to know how to speak up or answer questions when asked.
I admit that with my second pregnancy and subsequently the birth of Ashton, followed by dealing with Ashton's diagnosis and endless doctors' appointments (from his normal Peadiatrician checkups / vaccinations to the Neurosurgeon; from MAH to KKH; from Ultrasound scan to MRI to Urodynamics study etc), we had neglected Adam in more ways than we had imagined.
I then tried to spend my time between my two children and because they had different priorities / needs,  it was stressful at many points. If you ask me how I managed to keep everything together without breaking down, I seriously don't know.

I did not sign Adam up for any enrichment classes and he does not go to any "branded" preschool (he used to attend Learning Vision when I started working in KKH but he didn't like the environment and was miserable on a daily basis so we switched him back to PCF below my MIL's).
Instead, I spent my free time after work with him, coaching him bit by bit. On weekends we usually go to kid-friendly places and let him enjoy being a child (you can check out our Out and About section).
There is no secret recipe in dealing with your child - the key ingredients are love, patience and the belief that both your child and you can achieve things together.
Today, he expresses himself well in both Mandarin and English and is confident in speaking in front of his class. His teachers at school and swim lessons also tell me he's an enthusiastic learner who raises his hand and offers to answer/ go first. This is more than enough to make my day.
I do not require my children to be Top 10 in school or LKY Scholars, I only require that they try and that they do their best.
I am also not the best mommy in the whole wide world - I scream at the top of my lungs and throw tantrums too - but I try my best to be the best Mom I can be to them.

Having a child is like planting a tree. The more you water and add fertiliser to it, the taller and more beautiful it grows; and the more rewarding it is for you to continue nurturing it.
This is all in hope that one day, your tree will bear fruit and provide shade for all those who come upon it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Homeschool practices under 10 minutes.

We mummies are a busy bunch. We need to juggle work and our families and struggle to keep everything together. Even if you're a stay-home mum, it is a full time job altogether.
When time is scarce, or if you're perpetually tired like me, here are some home exercises that can be done in under 10 minutes.


Mazes, lacing, simple puzzles, shape stackers... they foster manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination,  problem-solving skills, shape sorting and visual discrimination.
When Adam was younger, he made a mess of his stacker toys, mouthing and misplacing the pieces.
Now he can better appreciate these toys and sort them over and over according to color, shapes, big to small, and small to big.

Memory exercises:
Right brain training anyone? Include picture cards, grids, mandalas...


I was lucky enough to purchase this Montessori spindle set for only $6. It was on sale!! *shakes  booty*
Right now I use it to teach Adam counting.
Not only can you do counting, this math set allows you to teach + - x as well.

ABCs and English:

When I first started teaching Adam the letters of the alphabet, I did the typical old-school way of "A for Apple, B for Ball..."
I have since modified my method by outsourcing the subject to Leapfrog.
This fridge magnet word builder is a supplement to our Letter Factory DVD.
Leapfrog produces an impressive range of educational toys and DVDs which I adore, not to mention they provide me lots of free-babysitting when I am lazy / busy. So brilliant right!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Right brain exercises

I introduced Right brain exercises to Adam last week, in addition to our daily routine of doing mazes, counting and learning the letters of the alphabet.
Considering both Adam & I have the attention spans of goldfish, this is a major achievement.

Photographic memory:
I used picture cards from his Brainbox, but actually just about any picture or flash card will do.
I use the sand timer from the Brainbox (which runs 10sec) to allow Adam to memorise as many details of the cards as possible within the time frame. I will then ask him questions related to the picture cards.

I found out this is not as easy as it sounds. Initially, Adam lacked concentration and could not focus on the cards long enough, because he didn't know what was expected of him. After I did some demos and examples to show him, he eventually grasped the concept of this memory game and could answer some questions correctly.
As an added bonus, he sometimes even opens the Brainbox and initiates this game.

Memory grid:
I printed grids of 3 and 4 and slotted the papers into clear plastic folders.
I also realised I have picture cards which fit nicely into the grids. Brilliant!
I started him off by using grids of 3. First I arranged the cards onto the grids and asked him to memorise the sequence of the pictures.
After 10 seconds, I turned the cards over and asked him to replicate the sequence on his own grid sheet (the picture cards I bought come in pairs so there are 2 sets of every same picture, which is superb).
When he is done, I flip the cards on the answer sheet over and see whether he got them correct.
This is easier than the Photographic memory exercise and as Adam gets the hang of it, I will move on to grids of 4.

Seriously, learning with your child is highly encouraged. Imagine all the money you can save from not having to go for enrichment classes.
By the way if you are interested in doing some homeschool exercises with your children, you can go read up on a fellow Mummy-blogger's site: Mummy's Homeschool
She has many brilliant ideas on homeschooling, so do check it out.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Some stuff Adam has been up to.

We're back from Perth and all the laundry is just horrendous!
We stayed on a farm with no internet, no wifi, nothing! Adam enjoyed himself loads going on pony rides and bottle-feeding the baby lambs.
We even went whale-watching with the kids and spotted several hump-backs.

Will get to work on those photos. Soon. Promise.

By the way, here's what Adam has been doing at home with my "home-schooling" material.
Concept of time: Adam made a clock in school and I proudly pinned it up on his bedroom wall. He knows the concept of time, like Mornings are for going to school, Evenings are time with Mummy, Daddy & Ah-ma etc.
I point to him the number on the hour-hand and tell him now it is 9 O'Clock at night, time to read a book then go to bed.

Workbook time: he can draw lines to match objects / animals.

Problem solving skills: He can also do simple maze puzzles.

He's getting better at the Maze puzzles. I printed them free from Google Images so he can do them over and over.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Learning with my Pre-schooler

Adam is about the least scholarly Pre-schooler I know. Instead of filling his weekends with Enrichment classes - Music, phonics, math genius, science club etc - we bring him out and about, exploring new places, revisiting old ones, or simply going to my parents'.

If I had all the time in the world, I would even want to homeschool him. But of course that is not possible otherwise we would live like church mice.
So the next best thing to do is to spend as much free time I can with him.
I try to spend my evenings alone with him, giving him one-to-one attention. It's still do-able now that Ashton spends most his time sleeping and feeding and my helper is very good with him.

Remember I made some color magnets here to teach Adam colors?
Well, he has mastered the basic colors of the Color Wheel now and I've upped the stakes by making Color Boxes, filling plastic containers with different objects found around the house, to let him explore his sensory and motor skills.
The boxes come in a variety of sizes and cost $2 for 3 at Daiso.
The items to fill up the boxes cost practically nothing because I find whatever I can use in the house.
I only made these today. I will get down to making more Color Boxes over the next few days depending on what I can find.

School after school - I poured out the objects from the boxes and got Adam to sort them according to color into their respective boxes.

The red dots on the floor are actually stickers which we use to teach Math and counting by pasting them on unwanted cardboard from previous toy purchases. For a start, we did 1-4.
It is tempting to slide into my lazy mode and just put on the iPad so I can get on the internet or iPhone so I need ALOT of discipline and patience when doing these stuff with Adam.
Endure Veron, you can do it!

I'm not sure at 3.5 years old how "advanced" should a pre-schooler be but I've realized I googled the topic on Child developmental milestones and every child develop at different paces so I shall refrain from being a kiasu parent (easier said than done!).

Obviously I'm not a trained early childhood teacher so if anyone has any great ideas how to "homeschool" your children do share with me! Much appreciated! :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Leapfrog Tag reading system

I chanced upon Leapfrog reading system when I was browsing toys with Adam at Kiddy Palace.
Not sure why I didn't even come across this sort of gadget before, I went home to do some research before deciding to buy Adam a set.
During the 90s, I grew up with sets of encyclopedias which my parents spent a fortune on.
Now, reading systems come in an array of colorful picture books and electronic "magic" pens which read word-by-word out loud to teach Phonics, Vocabulary, Math and Science!
$59.90 for the Tag reader pen only. Comes in Green or Purple.
I chose Purple because the color looks nicer. I'm superficial like that!

Left of the picture shows the Green pen, together with some books.
Each hard cover book costs $18.00.

There are so manny books to choose from - these boxes are Book Sets which cost $32 per set of 6 or 7 books.

I chose these 2 books for a start.

At home and finished downloading the Leapfrog App.


Pros of Leapfrog Tag reading system:
- Works like magic, reading word by word or by the entire page. Some book series even read each individual letter.
- Available also in Games, puzzles and stories.
- The book apps can be downloaded into the Tag pen by plugging into a PC with Internet connection and the provided cable.
- Unlike the Vtech Bugsby reading system which loads catridges for every book, no worry about catridge getting misplaced.
- Many books to choose from.
- Tag can be used to read Tag Junior books but not vice versa.
- You can track your child's progress by logging on to the Leapfrog App on your PC.
- Suitable for 4-8 years old

- The tip of the pen is quite small and sharp so for younger or destructive children, the pen tip may get destroyed easily.
- Needs 2 AAA batteries, which I personally think is a hassle to keep on buying and replacing.
- Limited memory space. Can only download max 5 books. As you add on to your child's book collection, you need to delete the previously downloaded books from your pen.
- For those parents / Grandparents who are not tech-savvy, downloading the App and the books to the pen may be a problem.

More selection of books:

Hope you find this review useful if you're intending to purchase a reading system for your child!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The life of a 3 year-old

Does turning THREE come with a newfound independence?
A mummy-friend of mine warned that if I think Terrible Twos are bad, I'd better beware of my kid turning 3, because that's when tantrums and opinions hit a new high.
I didn't really understand her at first, until now I'm experiencing for my very first time - the Throes of Three.

For eg, Adam will ask us where we are going? And if that place doesn't sound enticing to him, he will decide that he doesn't wanna: leave the house/ get off the car.
So if we have to go somewhere he really needs to go, like his 3rd year MMR vaccination & PD assessment, we have to tell him the clinic is filled with toys he doesn't have at home.
When he watches videos on his iPad, it's no longer "Adam, let's watch Incy Wincy spider", but instead, some nights it's Dinosaurs, or Madagascar, or Fireman Sam, or Sharks, which he decides for himself.
Lately- especially this week - he's been reluctant to go to school, finding all sorts of excuses in the mornings and he even said he wanna change schools (???!!!?!)
I dont know if it's due to the fact that I'm on HL this week so he wants to be with me, or is he just trying to reinstate to us that "Hey Mom I'm 3 and can decide for myself what I want to do".

Same goes for my cousin's daughter Emily who is only 1 day younger than Adam. In order to make her want to come to my parents', my aunt & cousin told her there're many toys there, but when emily arrived at my parents' to find that actually there are not many toys (most of which are destroyed by Adam/ thrown away/ taken home by Adam), she started questioning and got disappointed.

My child is no longer the sweet little baby who will go anywhere with us as long as there is a pram and milk. I guess sooner or later I will come to the stage where he will grow apart from Andy & I but deep down inside me, as a Mom, he will always be my baby no matter how old he is.

Anyway, just to sidetrack.. I've (secretly) snapped some photos of Adam at GUG. I've instigated convinced my neighbour to try out GUG for her 1yr-old daughter Lyndsey. She's been looking for enrichment programs to prep Lyndsey for full-day childcare when she hits 18-mths because my neighbour is now Preggers with No.2. So when she heard that I brought Adam to GUG, she was interested as well.
Doing some art & craft

Back at home...Can you guess what Adam is drawing??

Thursday, May 24, 2012

June: School reports back

Before the school holidays begin, it's the bi-annual teacher-parent meeting session.
Yeap. Even for Pre-nursery grade kids also need to meet teachers. *stress*
What can the school possibly report for a 3 yr old Pre-nursery kid? you wonder.
If you're thinking the same wavelength as I, then you will be in for quite a shock.

Apart from diet and physical development, children as young as 3 these days are assessed on their:
- Social development (helpful & cooperative/ willingness to share/ enjoys company of teachers & peers/ shows care & concern toward others)
- Emotional development (confident/ has initiative/ independence/ expression/ verbalise feelings)
- Moral development (shows respect/ responsibility/ leadership qualities/ respect rights & properties of others)
- Intellectual development (Aural/ visual/ follow instructions/ understand instructions & requirements/ concentration / memory)
- Aesthetic development (music & movement / art & craft)
- Self help (eating/ wear shoes/ dress & undress/ use toothbrush/ verbalise toileting needs)
- Activities & Skills (Speech/ Story/ Reading/ Writing/ Math)
- Structured play (constructive play ie. Blocks / Puzzles/ manipulative play ie. play dough, beads/ Imaginative play)

So many aspects!! For a 3 yr-old???
No wonder my friends sign their kids up for all sorts of enrichment programs (additional classes apart from the regular childcare centre's curriculum, like Science, Speech & Drama, $100-$150 per subject per month. Yup. For as young as their 3 yr-olds).
To be honest, my brothers and I didn't even know any form of formal education until we were 5 and went to K1, but in our family, we managed to nurture 2 Hwa Chong scholars and I would consider my siblings & I as doing reasonably well in our own rights.

I feel sad for children of today's era.
They are clearly missing out alot on their childhood and are in my opinion, forced to grow up too quickly.
I wish I can strike a healthy balance between play and education for my own children.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Enrichment classes at GUG

Today is Adam's 2nd lesson at Growing Up Gifted (United Square), and also his first time joining an enrichment class.
Our classes are every Sunday, and he is in their Bilingual Playclub which is actually a 1.5hr drop-off independent program.
On our first lesson (which was last Sunday), I stayed with him throughout the entire session because he was wary/shy, and didn't want me out of his sight. He clung on to me like a koala bear, nevermind that I had a huge bump in his way.
Today, he was actually much MUCH better - he waved Bye bye to me at drop-off. However, when the other kids started streaming in and a new boy started wailing, Adam also started crying and looking for me.
The teachers and I had to keep assuring him that I'm not leaving him, I'll be waiting right outside his class.
And guess what happened next?? I started crying as well. Geesh... Must be the hormones, hormones!
Andy asked me "Hon what happened to you, what are you doing?!" and quickly led me away. What an embarrassment I was!
But when we picked Adam at the end of lesson, he was his chirpy self again and greeted me with a bear hug and showed me his art work. *Melts*
Besides, the 1.5hours away from Adam gave Andy & I some quality time together. We had a long, unrushed lunch at Boon Tong Kee! A luxury of the past ever since Adam came.

Ok, I digressed. At the Bilingual Playclub, they actually incorporate Music & movement, Art & craft, ZooPhonics, Numbers and Mandarin in the 1.5hour session. 1st hour conducted in English, the last half hour conducted in Mandarin.

We signed up for the whole term. I hope he enjoys the enrichment classes and actually gain something out of them. I really don't mind sitting in with him in the class so I can also learn a thing or two about childhood teaching but I think my presence will hinder his involvement because he'll be distracted and keep wanting to stick to me.
More updates next time. Meanwhile, any questions regarding GUG can be directed to me under Comments for other parents who are interested in signing their kids up for enrichment classes =)

Waving Bye bye to Andy & I