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Computer Coding and Math Courses For Kids

Lorna Whiston

Free Trial Speech And Drama Class At Lorna Whiston

Tuesday, June 28, 2011



Kids Crafts

The Kids Crafts Category has moved here.

Monday, June 27, 2011



Parent Teacher's Conference


This year, I was more prepared during my children's Parent Teacher's Conference Day, the day where parents get together with teachers to collect their child's report card and talk about the child.

Yes, talk about the child and not about any other things because the time allocated for each child is short. Short is sweet because if it were long, it may mean that your child has some issues the teacher may want to bring up. If there is no issue, the teacher will probably want to just hand over the report card to you and get you out of the room ASAP, much the same way as some specialist consultants do. You wait for a long time, only to see this "specialist" for 10 minutes.

Knowing this, I went more prepared this year. I organised my thoughts by writing them down on a piece of paper. I listed down the questions I would like to ask teacher and an objective I would like to achieve. One objective was good enough because there isn't much time. Then I waited for the teacher to finish speaking to hear her thoughts before presenting my questions.

Eventually, I think it turned out well and my objective was achieved. For the boy, it was to remind teacher that we do not speak Mandarin at home and as a result sometimes, he does not quite understand what she says at times. She admitted that she "lost her temper and control" when she hit him because "he was just standing there not saying a thing and the rest of the class was waiting." That is exactly it. He was standing there because he had not understood the situation. I wanted to know whether she thought he needed extra help but she merely said, "you can if you want to" and did not stress the need because his results were ok. So I guess we will plod on ourselves first and see how it goes.

As for the girl, the objective was to let the teacher know that she was timid and though she likes teacher she is very afraid and this is affecting her sleep and stress level. Her homework is also overwhelming her. Teacher says that she gives time for them to do their homework in the classroom so that they won't have that much to bring home and we suggested to teacher to remind the kids about this because it will be a great help.

Teacher says that she is aware that this girl is timid although she is a good girl. She told us to tell the girl that we have spoken to teacher and she need not be afraid that teacher will scold her for occassionally forgetting her work. Teacher says to tell her that she is free to go to teacher at any time to talk to her but she should do so in the teacher's office, not in class unless it is lesson related. Teacher says that she will also speak to the girl personally and she circled her name in the list to remind herself to do this. Lets see if she follows through.

The boy was within top 15% in class and top 10% in the standard whereas the girl was within top 20% in class and top 3.5% in the standard. I suppose it is because this year's Std 1 paper was easy so every 1/2 or 1 mark made a big difference. Although the boy did quite well in some of the Chinese papers, it was due to practise and hard work rather than an understanding of the language. You can get away with this in Std 1 but not later on. So my job is to get him up to par in his Chinese Understanding.

As for the girl, the teacher told her that she has to depend on herself because her parents do not speak Mandarin. The teacher advised her to read up a lot of Chinese Essays and copy them. Teacher said that reading a lot will not be good enough, she has to copy them out. By reading a lot, she may be able to recognise the characters, but she will not be able to write them out so she has to familiarize herself by doing a lot of reading and copy work for a start.

One mother told me that the standard from Primary 4 onwards really take a big jump because of the Chinese Essay writing and BM Karangan requirements. I used to shake my head on how Chinese Students learn by memorizing essays but after speaking to the teacher, I now understand that learning the Chinese language is slightly different from other languages. There are just so many Chinese Characters to learn, you can't know them all. The only way is with constant practise, hence the need to copy passages.

If I have the time, I will share some Chinese, English and Malay Essay learning "jewels" I found at the bookstore not long ago. I know I was supposed to share some of the useful Primary School workbooks but I have been lazy....

Thursday, June 23, 2011



First Punishment

My girl is in Std 3 and so far she has not been hit by teacher before. Most of her teachers carry a rotan or ruler but most of the time it is only to threaten, she says. However, some naughty boys may be punished with the cane.

My boy is in Std 1. Yesterday, after school he showed me his arm. It was red. I had to ask 101 questions before I could find out why he was hit by teacher. Either because he did not know how to explain it to me in words or because he didn't quite understand what happened. I suspect it is both.

Finally, I was able to figure it out after questioning him. It was because of his Chinese Writing work. Now, usually exercise books will be handed out if you get the writing all correct. Those who make mistakes will have to go to teacher to collect the books. The boy made a mistake. He forgot to include a stroke in one of the Chinese Characters. So his book was not returned to him.

However, he did not realise that. He was still searching for his book when teacher called him to the front. "Why didn't you come to collect your book? You waiting to be called?" *Smack* Hit by ruler. She must have hit rather hard too because his arm was red till evening.

I asked him whether anyone else got hit. He said,  yes, one other boy because he made a lot of mistakes.

Well, that is his first punishment for something really minor I would say ie forgetting to collect the book back from teacher.

I really feel very bad for him. It is my fault for not preparing him well enough with his spoken Chinese Language. That is why he sometimes gets into situations like these... because he simply does not understand what is going on. He also has less friends because he can't interact with some of the other children who speaks Mandarin well.

So far he has not attended any Chinese tuition but I am wondering whether he needs it. It is still ok at Std 1 but what about later. Will he have trouble because his basic foundation is not good? I know his Math is very good but when I see how he does it, I know that he gets away by not reading the questions in Chinese. He merely picks up a few keywords and tries to do but he does not fully understand the questions in Chinese. I think he can get away with this in Std 1 but later on it will be hard for him.

I feel frustrated sometimes not being able to coach or guide the kids in Chinese. Sometimes I go like this....

"Ok.. so and so has 3 sets of don't know what book. His friend , don't know what name, never mind, don't worry about the name. When you compare him with his friend, he has 2 sets of this type of book less than his friend. How many books does his friend have?"

With a teacher like that, no wonder he ends up just picking keywords and not fully understanding the question. *Shakes head*

Tuesday, June 21, 2011



Negotiation

"Mummy, can I play computer games?"

No.

"Mummy, what if I finish my homework by 4 o'clock?"

No.

"What if I finish it by 3 o'clock?"

No.

"Mummy, please.... please....mummy?"

No.

You may play computer games on Thursdays AFTER you have finished your homework. Only Thursdays. I don't want to hear anything about computer games on any other day.

To end negotiation in the house, I have to be firm and consistent. The minute I give in or give up and say "Oklah, Oklah" either because I am too busy, distracted, annoyed or just simply want to stop all that pleading and negotiation, well, that is the end of it. That opens the door to more negotiation in the future, you can be sure about that.

So, its no playing computer games accept on Thursdays. No bringing storybooks to school. etc etc.

My mantra for the day: I must be firm. I must be firm. I must be consistent. I must be consistent.

Monday, June 20, 2011



Thank you


I just wanted to thank mom2kiddos for giving this pretty sunshine award to paste on my blog.

Thank you mom2kiddos for bringing a little bit of sunshine to my day and to my blog. :) I just want you to know that even though at times I may not reply to your comment, I still appreciate them very much. At the same time, sometimes I read your blog posts silently on my reader without leaving a comment but I'm there reading. :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011



Trip to Port Dickson with young kids in tow

I haven't been to Port Dickson in more than 10 years, maybe even closer to 20 years, I cannot remember. Anyway during the school holidays we decided to bring the kids to PD for an overnight stay since they have not been there before.

My impressions and memory of PD was lousy, dirty, crowded beaches with murky waters and ....nothing to do. I was pleasantly surprised that it did not turn out that way. Maybe because my expectations were so low.

Firstly, looking for a place to stay in PD is not easy, not because of the lack of places. On the contrary, there are too many places so if you don't know it is hard to decide. PD is like a bigger version of Batu Ferringghi in Penang, I think. With stretches of hotels and beaches. Only, there is much more space, so there are many more beaches and many more accommodations. However, it is either very expensive and beyond my means or within budget but poorly maintained.

Eventually we settled for Avillion Admiral Cove which is the sister hotel of Avillion. It is half the price of the original Avillion and therefore more affordable for us. I thought the Legend International Water Homes looked exciting for the kids with a private pool in each room but of course it is way above our budget.

Back to Avillion Admiral Cove, if you are looking for a nice place to relax with beaches right outside your hotel, then you'd probably be disappointed. We were looking for a place to stay overnight that was affordable so it was ok for us. We got a very lovely view and a clean beach that we could walk to nearby.



View from our room at Avillion Admiral Cove

The beach is not in front of the hotel but beside it so you have to walk a little, just a little. :) It was clean and not crowded even during the school holidays. When wading in the beach, we could still see our feet. That is clean enough for me, plus I spotted a tiny crab swimming about. If it is very dirty, you won't see those. Surprisingly, the beach was cleaner that Batu Feringghi beach. The water was much calmer too. Very nice for the kids to splash about in. The hotel pool was a tad small, crowded and not very clean. It is the peak season during the school holidays so I guess you could expect that. The room was big enough but the bed linens were a bit stained and the glasses and cups were a bit dirty. Food is nothing to shout about. That is my only complaint.

As for activities, we took the kids to the Army Museum. I had expected a few miserable army tanks and that was it. Again, I was nicely surprised. The museum had a good collection of army vehicles, trains, tanks, helicopters and planes. It even had an underground tunnel to explore. Not bad.


The Army Museum


Secret meeting in the  underground tunnel

We also went to the Lighthouse located at the Forest Reserve at Tanjung Tuan which is right next to the PNB Ilham Resort. To get to the lighthouse, you have to walk up 1 km of deserted road in the forest. You can hear birds and monkeys and my son insisted he heard a lion. :) The monkeys gave us a scare but we made it to the top and even managed to climb up the stairs that lead to the lighthouse. We were rewarded with a nice sunset. The place closes at 7pm. We went about 6pm.


Hutan Rekreasi Tanjung Tuan


The Cape Rachado Light House


Sunset viewed from outside the Lighthouse

Finally, we also did some bicycling, not on ordinary bicycles but on something called a KMX. It is a fusion of a go-Kart, BMX and mountain bike. It is low on the ground with a  go-kart kind of seat but has three wheels and you peddle it like you would a bike. It is available for rent at the hotel. We paid RM10 for half an hour on an adult bike and RM8 for a child bike. There is a small road with a little roundabout for you to ride your bikes there. They also rent out a Segway, which has two large wheels where you stand upright and hold on to a handle and move along on the beach. We also saw a couple riding on a two seat bicycle while their child ran beside them. Cute.

We're not very good at hunting for places to eat so we just ate at some restaurants we found along the way for our meals. Funnily, PD looked like a sleepy place with many shops closed even on a Thursday. (Maybe we weren't in the town itself but in the slight outskirts). That gave us the impression that it was a Sunday and the fact that we were on a holiday made us forget about parking tickets. We failed to buy and display a parking ticket and received a RM30 summons for it. Luckily, it was easily settled because PD is not very big. We managed to find the Majlis Perbandaran PD and promptly paid it. It was RM10 if paid within 7 days, probably the same amount a booklet of parking ticket would have cost. :)

Or you could try Thistle previously called Guoman, Port Dickson. Perhaps I can try there next time. I haven't been there but from what I see online, it is only slightly more expensive then Avillion Admiral Cove but the beach, pool and rooms look much bigger and more comfortable. Anyone who has been there that would like to share their experience, please feel free or if you have written about your trip on your blog, please leave me  your link in the comments. Thank you.

I left out many details but if you have anything to ask because you wish to bring your young kids there, just leave me a comment or email me. I will try my best to answer you. Better still, if you have been there with young kids, why not share your experience? I would most certainly like to go back there so I need as much info as I can. :).

Friday, June 03, 2011



Not all carbohydrates are sugars

I am a breastfeeding mum of two. However my breastfeeding journey has been anything but easy. I tried very hard and eventually I breastfed my babies for 1 ½ years and 3 years. When the times were tough though, especially for the first child, I supplemented my breast milk with a growing up milk that I had known about for years. My husband ran out and got a can of milk powder which was well known to us.

At the time, we just ran out and got our children a can of time tested brand of milk powder, the very first thing that came to our minds. As inexperienced first time parents with little help, we were too busy looking after our baby, we didn’t have time to study the labels then. My nephews, who are not breastfed, grew up on the same milk and they are fine looking, strong and intelligent young men.

My children are 7 and 9 now. They are not obese children. However, as a parent I'm still concerned when I read some advertisements recently about the high level of sugar content in some infant milk powders. Naturally I became worried especially since there was a website where you could calculate the sugar content which may give results of up to 13 teaspoons of sugars for some infant milk powders. However, a quick check on another site allayed my fears when I learned that not all carbohydrates are sugars.

There was also news on TV2 the other night where a professor from a university mentioned that there is no direct link with child obesity and consuming growing up milk formulas. He also mentioned that growing up milk formulas in the market meet the necessary standards.

A paediatrician said that consuming 13 teaspoons of sugars does not have a significant impact on a child’s health as long as they are active and exercise. They can burn it off easily. Children are mostly active anyway and it is our job as parents to make sure that they don’t turn into couch potatoes.

The mothers featured in the news look at labels before buying as I do. Apart from sugars, there are many other components that I look for, example vitamins, proteins, and other mineral content to meet their nutritional needs. I hope that I have made the right choice for my children by providing them with a good foundation for growth.

I think that we have to be careful when making choices for our children. Reading labels is one thing, we also have to do our own research and be careful about what we read. We should not rely on information from only one source. The internet is a good place to do research. There are a lot of information out there, some good and some false. It is up to us to read them all and make our own conclusions.


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