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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kids - Kids Sites, Kids Games, Kids Stories, Kids Crafts, Kids Learning Online

If you are looking for good websites for kids, you will find lots of goodies on my Squidoo lenses. Check it out at this link. You may click either the text or the picture.

Chain Paper Dolls of Boys by Mumsgather

You will not be disappointed. I have compiled a lot of good websites for kids. I won't link them all here because there are too many. Just visit the link above and you will see the list of my lenses, most of which are for kids related things to do and kids sites to visit for children to learn and play online.

These sites for kids are suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and grade school up because those are the stages my children went through.

At the moment, I've got the following up:
  1. Online Stories for Children
  2. Learning Chinese Mandarin Online For Kids
  3. Learning Music Theory Online
  4. Children Songs Lyrics and Music
  5. Online Games for Boys
  6. Online Games for Girls Only
  7. Ben 10 vs Ben 10 Alien Force
  8. Captain America Games
  9. Barney and Friends Online
  10. Educational Sites for Children
  11. Online Games for Toddlers
  12. Math Games and Activities for Kids
  13. Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends Online
  14. Origami for Children
  15. Easy Crafts for Young Children
  16. Paper Crafts for Children
  17. Holiday Crafts for Children
I will be making more lenses for kids. If you have any request, go ahead and put them in my comment box. If I have the time, I will try to find and recommend more useful sites for kids. Do check out my squidoo profile above. I promise that you won't be disappointed as there are many useful sites for kids that I have used myself. I have also spent a significant amount of time to search, write and recomment useful resources for kids.

They also serve as a good bookmark for my kids to surf online safely. If my boy wants to play games, I just open up one of my games for boys online pages for him to navigate around as he wishes. I know it is safe because I put them up myself. :) You can bookmark them too for your own use. I have done the hard work for you!

I would rather have put them all on this blog but it is much easier and less time consuming to create visually attractive sites on Squidoo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

After school tuition hours

Yesterday, I received a call from one of the tuition centres that my daughter’s classmate attends. Her friend had given my telephone number to the tuition centre because she wants my daughter to attend the same tuition class as her very much.

Anyway, just out of interest, I asked her about the tuition hours. I forgot to ask her about the tuition fees as it would be interesting to find out.

She told me that she was the teacher for the Std 3 tuition and they had 3 sessions. They were:

  1. 5.30pm to 7pm
  2. 7pm to 8.30pm
  3. 8.30pm to 10pm

Gosh! These hours are rather late for a child (unless they are attending afternoon session school). They should really be having dinner and preparing for bed by then, not attending tuition!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Studying for Exams

The kids will be having their exams soon. School exams as well as piano exams and mommy is having exam fever again. Yes, mommy and not the kids. If they could, they would like to read storybooks all day and watch movies all night. And not forgetting computer games too but not mommy.

Mommy is looking at all the books and all the syllabus yet to cover and how much the little one still does not know. The problem is the school will give the syllabus as well as the books to read up. However, these books not only consist of the subject text book and activity book. It usually includes exercise books as well as several workbooks. How do you read up everything for every subject. That is a lot!

Worse still, when I look at the English book for example, it is extremely simple. However the workbooks and the exercises they have been doing are not the same as what is in the textbook. I guess I will just ignore the textbook.

The trick is what to study? Sometimes passing exams isn't about knowing everything but rather it is about studying the right thing. :P

Friday, July 22, 2011

Heavy School Bag

heavy school bagMy boy is in Primary One this year. I’ve noticed a difference in terms of work load and bag load. He does not have so much homework as his sister did. He also does not have as many books as his sister did. Most of his workbooks are left in the cupboard at school and the teacher monitors it. She only gives it to them if there is homework.
I think that is great. In the beginning of the year, when he packs his school bag, all he needs to do is switch one or two books for the next day and that was what he did. His school bag was not heavy at all.

Now, he has devised a new method for “packing” his school bag. He does not pack it at all! Eye rolling smile He has decided to bring all of his books everyday so that he does not need to take out any books and replace them with what is required the next day.

Today, I found his heavy bag of crayons and afternoon activity book for one of the days he has to stay back. When I wanted to remove them he said, no leave them there because he is too lazy to remember them.
This lazy boy of mine. I wonder whether I should take them out and insist that he packs his bag or just leave it since it does make sense not to have to pack. However, if he does not take his school books out, then he may accidentally forget to do some homework, which he hasn’t done so far.

Whatever it is, I am glad that his work load and bag load is lighter now this year as compared to his sister before him. At Primary 3, her work load and school bag is heavier than ever!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Young Kids Should be Banned From

Thank you, Lian for thinking of me for this meme. Well, I think that young kids should be banned from...

1. Treating household maids or helpers as their personal slave
2. Shouting and other rude behaviour
3. All handheld gadgets
4. Watching mobile dvds while everyone else is having a meal
5. Any form of bullying in school and anywhere else for that matter
6. Being disrespectful towards their elders
7. Being couch potatoes. Kids are meant to be active
8. Letting their parents finish their leftovers
9. Eating sweets and other junk foods as their meal!
10. Uttering swear words that they don't even know the meaning off

Having said that, my kids are guilty of item 2, 6 and 8. What about yours? Anyone can go ahead and tag yourself but I'd really like to hear the views of the bloggers from the blogs listed below.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Piano Trial Exam and Piano Concert

The kids will be sitting for their Piano Exam next month. The girl will be taking her Grade 3 exam while this is the first time for the boy who is taking the Grade 1 ABRSM Piano practical exam.

Recently they sat for their piano trial exam as well as played their exam pieces in a mini concert for exam candidates. They did reasonably well.

The boy was a bit nervous since it was his first time. He rushed through all his songs, playing them very quickly. He did not pause from his second to third song and later asked me...

"Mummy, why didn't anyone clap for my second song?"

He played it so fast without any gap between the second and third song, that is why. :)

Daddy had been making them practise their exam pieces a few times a day prior to the concert. Not long practises, just playing the songs once or twice but broken up into many sessions so they won't be bored.

"Yes, yes, think about it when you play, press every key, don't just guess." he would say. I had a good laugh and told him that this is the first time I have seen someone without musical background trying to teach piano. He even sings off key, that man but it is very sweet of him to encourage the kids. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sweet Gift for a Friend

The other day, I saw my girl making these sweets. When I asked them what they were for, she said they were for her friend. Each sweet had a writing on it. On some she had written "Happy", some "Sad" etc. She said they were for her friend to open on different occasions.

She had drawn little cartoons and written some jokes on small pieces of paper, then folded them up before wrapping them with another colored paper in the form of a sweet. She said she got the idea to make this gift for her friend after she read it in a Chinese Storybook she had been reading.

I pretended to pout and asked why didn't have any. So she made me these.... Mine is written in English because I don't read Chinese. I wonder what's in them. I am saving them up for a special occasion to read. I think it is a wonderful idea for a gift to a friend, young or old. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Best Friends Forever

BFF is an acronym for Best Friends Forever. Well, my girl has found a best friend, a girl who sits beside her. Since my girl is only 9, I am not sure about the "Forever" part but I am glad she has found a good friend.

A good friend is .....
  • someone who waits for you to finish your meal in the school canteen
  • someone who goes to the toilet and the school bookshop with you
  • someone who helps you carry your heavy school bag up and down the stairs when you hurt your foot
  • someone who insists you try her curry rice just because she likes curry too
  • someone who laughs at your jokes
  • someone who tells you jokes
  • someone who lends you books and borrows yours
  • someone to giggle with
I am glad that my girl finally has a special friend to do all these things with. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Helping your child with test taking

"Are you taking the test or is your child taking the test?"

Silly though this question may seem, it is frequently asked and some of the time there is some truth in it.

This thing is on my mind recently because the tests are coming again. It would sometimes seem as though we live from test to test!

I know there are many help your child with test taking articles on the internet but this one is not going to be one of them. This is a just a general discussion.

I believe that more help or "spoon-feeding" methods is required at an earlier stage so that the child will know what is required for later years.

During the early years of education, I believe it is necessary to sit with your child and guide them through their revision. After they have become used to this, then when you tell them "Go and revise your work" they will know what to do. You can't expect a young child to know exactly what to do just by saying "Go and study for your tests."

No, I am not afraid that by spoon-feeding my child now, he or she will become less independant later on. In fact, I think that going through the motions with them now will help them in later years.

However each child is different so how much help you give to each child may vary depending on your child. For example, my boy has never required me to help him to pack his school bags. He was independant right from the start. However, his sister who is older, still requires me to sit with her and help her from time to time. This is because their temperament and personality is very different.

I used to guide my girl step-by-step in her studies but now I can tell her, "Go and study for your test". I may remind her which chapters she should study and what she should emphasize on, but by now she is independant enough whereas the boy who just started taking formal tests in school this year requires more help. He is also more playful and his attention span is shorter, so for studying sessions, I will either have to sit with him or check on him reqularly.

Lastly, no matter how prepared in terms of revision, the child must also be taught some exam tips. No, I do not think that it is too young to teach a child test taking tips. It is better to inculcate a good habit and learn the right things from a young age.

Looking at the college dropout rates, students dropout of college due to lack of family support. I think support also comes in the form of teaching children to have the right attitude towards studies starting from a young age.

So what are your two cents about this subject: Helping your child with test taking. Care to share?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Teaching kids to write - From Sentences to Essay Writing

My other blog post Learning Different Languages was supposed to be on this blog but the other day blogger was giving me some problems so I posted it on my other blog. Bother!

Anyway, in that post I had listed out what I thought was the building blocks required for a child to progress from alphabets to words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs and finally essay writing. It is the same whatever language you are learning with slight differences in sentence construction and structure of course but you can use the same building blocks and thought processes.

Therefore I was very happy to find books to help me teach my child in this step-by-step manner. Annie? You hear? This one's for you again. :)

This book is from EPH Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd. It retails for RM6.90 each and is available for the step-by-step study of 3 languages, English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese. The malay title at the top of the book states "Siri Praktis Menulis Progresif Tahap 1 SJK(C)." Translated it means "Progresive Writing Level 1 for SJK(C) students. I was delighted to find it because it has all the steps which I had outlined in my building blocks for Learning Different Languages.

The 1.2.3 you see on the cover indicates that it is suitable for Std 1 to Std 3. Indeed, the earlier part of the book is easier and more suitable for the lower levels whereas the second half of the book is more suitable for my girl in learning how to compose essays and karangan. Since I also have a Std 1 boy, the book is just right for me!

The first half of the book has sentence construction practise whereas the second part guides the child towards more independant essay writing.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Teaching English at home

This one's for you Annie. You've asked me to do some primary school workbooks reviews. So here's one for starters. :)

I find that my girl's English is not as good as it should be coming from a home where both parents speak only English and a smattering of Chinese dialects. In school she is taught Chinese and Malay and English, in that order.

Jazz Up Writing

English is like the last resort of sorts and placed in the back burner of the classroom. As a result, I can see that her English is getting poorer compared to her preschool days.

I am not going to send her to English tuition to make up for it. So, I have to teach her myself.

Creative Writing Practise

Sometime ago, I found these books at the bookshop hidden somewhere in an obscure corner. It would seem that even English workbooks are placed at the back burner as other workbooks are placed in easily visible racks.

A little about the books. They are RM6.90 each and by the publishers SAP Publications (M) Sdn Bhd. There is another called Jazz Up Grammar but I did not get that one. I especially like the one on Jazz Up Writing because it has many creative writing exercises within. Some of the exercises include writing a movie review, writing a menu, pretend to be an ant for a day, what kind of parent you will be etc. My girl enjoys these guided exercises. They are very interesting.

Jazz Up Vocabulary

Well, she also enjoys copying out Chinese essays which her teacher says she must do, in order to master the Chinese Characters. However, although rote learning may be necessary for Chinese which has many Characters to learn, where constant practise is useful, copying kills creativity. So I got her this creative writing English book to supplement her learning.

The only problems I have with these books are not the book themselves but the time to do them! Sigh. Oh yes, I forget. The book also provides access code to free online activities from Smartyisland.com

Friday, July 01, 2011

Plaster Fridge Magnet Craft

This is a belated post. We did this during the school holidays. The girl had chosen to buy this Mould&Paint CupCake Craft for her birthday. We didn't have time to work on it, not till the school holidays. Remember her rant... "Mummy, why is it everytime I ask you when we will do this, you say, wait till the school holidays." Anyway, we managed to get it done eventually.

Contents in the box include a mould of 6 different designs, plaster powder, magnet, pins, paint strip of 5 colours, paint brush and detailed instructions. The contents are just enough for making 6 pieces of cupcakes which look good enough to eat!

The plaster is in powder form. First we have to mix the plaster powder with water in a container (container not provided). Then quickly (quickly because the plaster dries up very fast) pour them into the moulds.

Wait a while, then we pop them out of their moulds and then we paint them. Easy peasy.

I helped my girl with the mixing and pouring and she painted the cupcakes all by herself including mixing colours to get new colours etc. Here are our end results. Ok, they don't look as nice as illustrated on the box but the girl enjoyed doing them and there is always the satisfaction when you DIY.

Apart from this edible looking cupcakes, there are fairies, cars and other stuff to mould and paint.
I find that after starting primary school we haven't had that much time to do our own crafts so we have to settle for this store bought one. I'm glad I took the time to do crafting with my children when they were younger. Otherwise we would have missed out an opportunity to get creative. Now, they have so little time.....

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