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Monday, August 30, 2010

Blue and Yellow Colour Pencils

The kids each have a small box of colour pencils to bring to school. At home, we have a bigger multi coloured box which they can take from each time they run out of a certain colour from their school set. The problem is... they are always running out of blue and yellow so much so that the home set has no more blues and yellows.

Now, why hasn't anyone thought of selling just certain colours in a box. Why must it be the same old colours. If I were a coloured pencil box manufacturer, I would offer coloured pencils in various colours and sets to choose from. The first colour I would ditch are white and greys. Those almost never get used by the kids.

I want more blues, yellows and reds. Once I tried to find single coloured pencils. I was delighted to find them at an art store. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, each colour pencil cost almost as much as an entire box set!

I wonder how everyone else manages their colour pencils...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Colour me Crazy!

The boy was absent from kindy for a week because he was sick. He had some sort of bacterial infection and had flu like symptoms, fever plus a full body rash.

What did that leave him with? Some leftover marks on his body and lots and lots of homework to catch up with. It is a bit ridiculous since he is only 6. I suppose it is good training for what is to come for him. Standard 1 in a Chinese Primary School.

I don't push him on his homework at all, letting him do it at his own pace. (Next year may be a bit different). The boy wants to do all his homework which involves drawing and colouring first.

Boy oh boy. That drives me crazy. Absolutely crazy as he colours each and everything soooo beautifully with intricate details and clever use of colours. One little shirt can end up with the colours of the rainbow. Help! I'm going to tear my hair out very soon!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to teach your kid to ride a bicycle

Recently we rewarded the girl with a bicycle without training wheels for doing well in her studies. She was very eager to learn how to ride a bike.

We found this article and video on how to teach your kid to ride a bicycle very usefell and effective. This is different from the traditional method of running beside the bicycle and holding on to it until the child becomes stable before releasing. I learned the traditional way with my sister pushing me in the back street behind our house. It was a harsh stone gravel road. Oh, how I fell and how back aching it must have been for her. :)

In the method shown on the video, it breaks down the learning process into separate steps... balancing, pedaling, riding in a straight line before turning. The child starts to learn to ride a bike on a grassy slope before riding on level ground.

When her daddy first asked her to try this method, I was afraid to look. The slope that was available to us did not look so smooth like in the video. It was rough and wet with branches strewn on it and higher too.

However, after the first trip, the girl was able to balance on a bike. On the second trip, she was able to balance with her feet on the pedal, followed by pedaling a short distance and even turning.

Next trip, we will try on flat ground. It is a great method and like they said... Learn to ride a bicycle without pain, teach bicyling without strain. Absolutely.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Teachers, the good and the bad

I do not meet up with my girl's primary school teachers very much but from what she tells me, I know which ones are good, which ones are not, which ones work hard and which ones are lazy.

For example, I know that her Standard 1 English teacher was very lazy. There was hardly any work. Whenever he was in class, he used to play with the kids. Play with rubber bands, knocks playfully on their heads, plays play doh, do paper folding with strips of coloured paper etc, anything accept English. Mind you, he carries a rotan (cane) and has a rather loud voice but none of the kids are afraid of him. When he comes, they talk even louder.

Her Std 1 Malay teacher used to tell them all sorts of scary health stories. I think she meant well to try to teach the kids about personal health but I think she is overdoing the scare tactics for 7 year olds.

Her Chinese and class teacher from last year was strict, walks, talks and moves fast. Professional but not much rapport with the kids.

This year's English teacher is a bit better. She is a bit more innovative and quite strict so the kids are afraid of her. However her lessons are a bit more fun. Her lessons are not very evenly spaced out though. Sometimes there is no work and sometimes they have to complete an entire chapter of work in a day. Hmmm....

The Malay teacher teaches at a tremendous speed. Perhaps it is not really her fault but the fact that she has to rush through the syllabus to complete a school text book and activity book plus several other activity books. Most of the times she comes in the class and starts her lesson by talking or writing really fast and the kids have to copy really really fast or get left behind. Most of the time my girl comes home with perfectly copied answers and As but when I ask her what she has learned, she says she does not  understand what is going on.

When my girl is absent for a few days and asks the teacher for help on missed lessons, she says "later, later" then forgets all about it so absent days means missed school work unless you are good enough to borrow from a friend to copy on your own but who would want to lend you his or her book when they do not know when he or she needs it? They may need it for school work or to pass up to teacher.

The best teacher so far is my girl's chinese teacher and class teacher this year. Maybe it is the fact that she is the class teacher. She is very diligent in her work. Once my girl missed some work because she was sick, the teacher spent 30 minutes with her and another girl going through with them the work that they missed. She makes sure they do their missed homework by getting another child to lend the book to them for copying when she knows that the child does not need to hand in the book on that day. She is strict but kind and approachable. My girl is not afraid to ask her when she does not understand something because she says "teacher will always explain to me till I understand."

I wish for more teachers like this for my girl and boy. They are a treasure, so hard to find.

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