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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Family Time

Yoga Poses

It is the school  holidays. Time to do more things together as a family. For us, there is no difference. Every weekend is family time. So is every weekday come to think of it. We do not schedule any activities for the kids during the weekend. No tuition or swimming lessons or ballet class or whatever.

Weekends is strictly for family time and since mommy is a SAHM and the kids are blessed with a daddy who is a family man, weekdays is pretty much for family time too accept, they are usually bogged down by school work so weekends are more fun for them.

Unfortunately, the little one is sick since the start of the school holidays. I hope that he recovers soon so he can enjoy his school holidays a little bit more.

We don't Yoga together but I thought these little froggies we have in our house are cute so I drew them but the message is the same. A family that spends time together, stays together.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happy Mid Term School Holidays

Happy Holidays
I can't imagine how fast half the school year has passed.  In fact, I can't imagine how fast the time has passed. I can't believe I have a Std 3 boy and a Std 5 girl now. It seems like not long ago they were just a baby and a toddler.

We look forward to the holidays. At least during the holidays, we don't have to worry about the morning rush or the nighttime homework rush.

The kids have been taking it easy with their piano practise but now its time to steam on ahead  with the piano practical exams just round the corner. Exams, Exams, Exams. I'm really tired of the word.

The girl's teacher told the over 40 students. "7 of you received Bs in one subject. That is not good. You are all expected to get As in every subject and not only that, for certain subject like Mathematics, you are expected to get the over 90s type of As." 

Its tough to be a student these days.

Happy Holidays to all students and parents. Hope you have a good one.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

School Holiday Programmes For Mid Term Holidays

Woman Pondering
The mid term holidays are here again and time for some child care centres to get busy making money..... offering school holiday programmes, workshops, holiday camps, tuition etc for school going children. :P

Usually during the last week of school, some staff from these institutes will line up outside the school gates distributing pamphlets and brochures to parents offering various supervised activities... at a price of course.

Fortunately I am a SAHM, so I don't have to worry about taking leave or spending extra money on some of these programmes. Some of the programmes are quite interesting too. Cooking workshops, storytelling programmes, outdoor camps, public speaking. There is a whole list of them. We didn't use to have any of these when I was in school. .

The woman pondering in the picture is not me. Usually we don't do any of those things she is thinking about. Being a SAHM, I usually device my own school holiday programme. I wonder what to do with the kids this holidays. Still haven't thought of anything yet. Two weeks is really very short. Before we know it, its over.

I may have to MIA for a while from my blogging.

Nilai Murni For Younger Primary Kids

I found a cute set of slides to introduce younger primary kids to the concept of "Nilai Murni" (Moral Values). Nilai Murni is included in the Bahasa Malaysia Paper 2 under Part C and carries 20 marks in the UPSR examination.

It is useful to introduce the younger primary students to the concept starting from Standard 3. When it is first taught, the children will find it hard to grasp because the words and vocab used are new to them.

Here is a nice set of slides to introduce some of the nilai murni vocabulary to them. The slides show the words but do not explain them in detail. I'm afraid that if you are the educator or the parent, you would have to do a little bit of homework and explain them to your child. If they already know some of the 16 nilai murni listed here, then this should be a quick reminder or a good mini checklist for them.

You may also like to check out my English translation for 55 commonly asked Nilai Murni. The exams are just over, so remember to bookmark these pages for your easy reference.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How To Stop Your Child From Making Careless Mistakes During Tests

Angry Mother
There is an old martial arts movie called "The Bride With The White Hair". Well, when I wed, I was The Bride With The Black Hair. Now, I'm turning into The Mom With White Hair.

You see, you spend all this time coaching your kids for their tests. The spouse is on your back to make sure they do well in their studies.

The day of the test comes and goes. Your child says "It was easy mom because I studied so hard" so you breath a sigh of relief and then they come home with the test paper and says......

"Ma, I forgot to do 10 questions." 

That's right. The boy missed out 10 questions on the last page which was on a separate sheet of paper but stapled along with the rest of the test papers. I wonder how he could have missed it. Each question carries 2 marks.

Then the girl comes to you and says

"Ma, I forgot to write my name on the answer sheet."


If anyone has the magic formula on How To Stop Your Child From Making Careless Mistakes During Tests... I'd really like to know it! Obviously my methods aren't working and they include

  • coaching
  • teaching test taking skills
  • telling them what to do
  • reminding them to check their papers thoroughly 
  • testing (in actual test environment)
  • trying to instil good habits
  • reminder checklist
  • training them to proofread their work. 
Nothing works. They still keep on making careless mistakes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Ironing Lady Watches Iron Man 3

Woman Ironing ClothesWith the exams over, we were finally able to take the kids to watch Iron Man 3. There were many kids in the cinema, and it was freezing cold as usual. We wore sweaters, shawls and double or triple layers of clothing as usual because it is always so cold at the cinema.

We did enjoy the movie but something wasn't quite right.......

I know. I think sometimes they try to make the superheroes too human. I want my superhero to be a real superhero. A fantasy figure out to fight the real Mandarin with his magic rings which can send out icy blasts or blasts of flames, not some pretend figure.

I didn't want my superhero to have panic attacks and other weaknesses. I want my superhero to be top secret, not an open secret.

I wanted to be taken away from my real world into a world of fantasy but I wasn't. Still, I enjoyed the show overall but it wasn't really a superhero show. It was just like any other action movie.

In every adult, there is always a child inside. A child who loves fantasy and magic and whose heart is filled with wonder.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Exams Are Over

Woman Jumping For Joy Cartoon
The childrens' mid year exams are finally coming to an end. Yes! We're gonna pig out, laze about, watch movies, sleep in, read books, play games and more. Then in 3 months time, we repeat the grind.

My girl has exams 4 times a year, my boy just 2. I think twice a year is much better. 4 times a  year is too much. Exams are usually over 1 week with 2-4 papers a day. Yesterday she had to sit for 4 papers. How tiring.

Its time for the kids and mom to get a well deserved break. Yahoo!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What To Do When Your Parenting Style And Values Differ

Man and Woman Arguing
Children are the glue to many relationships but like it or not, they are also the source of many problems. This is the case when your parenting styles and values differ. When you are dating, especially if you are younger at the time, you very rarely discuss parenting styles, do you?

Things like breastfeeding, feeding, toilet training, education and how you would handle them are never put to the test until you actually experience them. Then your true values, parenting styles which usually come from your own background and upbringing start to show. Then the problem starts.

So how do you handle these problems? What do you do when your parenting style and values differ?

The Negative Way: If we can't work as a team (if you don't do things MY way), then we will always be arguing over this all our lives and we will both never get to bring up the kids the way we want and the kids will lose out too.

The Positive Way: With both our different styles and our mutual love for the kids, we can provide a balanced environment for the children and they will benefit from the best of both worlds.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Teachers - The Good, The Bad And The Ones I Remember

The other day as I was shopping I saw some promotion for Teacher's Day gifts. I hadn't realised that Teacher's Day was just around the corner. In Malaysia, Teacher's Day is celebrated on May 16. Teacher's Day is celebrated on different days for different countries. The schools usually celebrate it according to their own schedule around this date. This year my kids told me that the head of the school had informed the students that they had received directive that celebration for Teacher's Day cannot be so elaborate. The kids were disappointed. "We have to go back to class after some performances by the students to continue with our lessons as usual. There will be no party."

That reminds me of the time when I was a student. I was just an average student, quiet and not noticed by the teachers. So none of the teachers made an impact on me either since I was not a teacher's pet. So I do not remember many teachers, certainly not their names but some faces do stand out.

Like the one who jeered and called me "Butter Fingers!" when I couldn't catch the ball during PE. I also remember the one who sighed and said "Both your sisters art are so good but look at yours.... I don't know how or why.....blah blah blah" followed by another sigh. Oh and I definitely remember the headmistress who shouted at us to smile when we were singing in the choir. How could we smile when she wasn't? She was also the one who called me up including others and cut my hair without warning, just because the pins that was holding my fringe up had fallen off. How humiliating.

Then I remember the one who taught us sewing for home science. She shared her love for cross stitch with us and taught me a lifelong skill, love and  hobby. Thanks to her I have many pretty cross stitch pictures hanging in my house today. Here is my cross stitch gallery on Squidoo. She didn't have to do that. She could have just followed the syllabus (sewing boring aprons etc which we did) but she went above that and got us pretty things to sew and we all loved it.

I remember the kind and calm one who couldn't quite control the naughty boys in Form Four. Then there was the almost retired Math teacher who always wore white and who was funny. I also remember the law lecturer who loved to teach using mnemonics. We used to pass notes around to each other during his class.

Teachers and memories. I realize from this memory trip that bad things stay fresh in my mind. I can remember the exact look of that teacher who called me "Butter Fingers", her curly hair and big round eyes and how they stared at me in disgust.

As a teacher now myself to my own kids, I should remember to look at the big picture and try to make the memories good instead of bad. I certainly don't want them to remember the bad moments for life!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How To Teach Children

Question Mark
I'm a disorganized person and this makes a lousy teacher. I find it so hard to teach the children.

Sometimes as I talk on and on, my son would be playing with his stationeries as I go on and then he would complain that he is hungry and then.... the list goes on.

Then I read somewhere that to make lessons interesting for children, there are more ways than one to teach. One way is to ask them to become the teacher. This makes them think and they will also enjoy playing pretend teacher.

So I tried it on the boy. I told him that he was going to be the teacher for the day and he said "Don't want like that lah." but afterwards he warmed up to the task. Before long, he was enjoying himself and really into it. After I wanted to strike off one topic as "learned", he said "No, you haven't done the exercises yet and proceeded to give me some exercises.

Then I told him that I was going to make some tea for him and he said "No, I'm busy. The teacher is very busy." I told him that he can prepare notes for his next lesson like I always do and he said okay. When I came back with his tea, I found this.

He had taken the trouble to find out all the Chinese words he needed to learn, then he looked the meaning up in the dictionary, drew a chart and told me these were for his last minute revision in class.

I must find even more innovative ways to teach children. If you have any ideas, please feel free to share.

Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?

Yesterday, my son told me that one of his classmates fell asleep during a test. His teacher and several classmates had to wake him up.

Of course the children found it very amusing but it really isn't a laughing matter. The question that begs to be asked is... "Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?"

Many of the kids in school today have a long day. Those in the morning session start school at 7.45am. at least an hour before the adults start work. Some of them stay back in school for activities till 3 or 4 pm. Then they are driven to a child care centre till mum or dad comes to pick them up at 6 or 7 pm.

Some of them are sent to tuition centres AFTER dinner. These tuition centres operate till as late as 10pm or maybe even later with classes for children as young as 7 for those hours. Some tuition centres offer classes for Std 1 kids from 8.30 to 9.45 pm. How can these kids have time to unwind before going to bed? What time will they eventually fall asleep?

According to my children, most of their classmates go to bed at 10 or 11 pm. It is no wonder that they have trouble getting up in the morning. Some of them continue their sleep in the car or busses on the way to school and sleep at their desks while waiting for class to start and sometimes during lessons and in this case during a test. School going children aged 5-12 still need around 10-11 hours of sleep.  Are our children getting enough sleep?

Monday, May 13, 2013

How To Teach Kids To Study

Children Studying
I used to sit with my girl to study but now that she is older, I don't do that anymore. I just tell her to do her revision for her exams, that is all.

The problem is, the only thing she seems to be studying all the time is her Chinese subject. I have a headache in trying to teach her how to study.

It would be a lot simpler if she had a lot of time but her homework schedule is very tight, there is hardly time left for any self study or revision.

I can't teach her to draw a schedule for her revision because she doesn't have time for it! We do not send the kids for any other activities apart from piano and whenever the school exams are near, we cut down piano time. So, her tight schedule comes 100 percent from her daily school homework.

I am really at a loss on how to teach the kids to study.

Friday, May 10, 2013


I love my family but sometimes in the morning, after everyone leaves for school and work, I heave a sigh of relief.

I treasure whatever little time I have for me. I enjoy the time I can take to walk to the nearby shops to buy breakfast on Sundays. I never used to enjoy walking that much before, always parking at the nearest place to my destination but now I enjoy walking alone.

I enjoy having showers because it means I can be alone for a while but sometimes even that gets interrupted by people walking in and out asking me for things and talking to me.

I love the mornings when I am alone to enjoy my own company doing the things I love WITHOUT interruption.

I treasure my solitude. Do you? Do you enjoy your own company?

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Exam Season And Exam Fever

The mid term tests are here again. Study, study, study. That includes kids AND mum.

My girl who is doing the KBSR syllabus has tests 4 times a year, my boy who is doing the KSSR syllabus has tests 2 times a year. I hate exam season and exam fever more than them.

I didn't think it would be this way. I used to smirk at the thought of mothers who feel more stressed up than their kids during exam season. Now, I am one of those mothers!

I feel a lot of pressure from my spouse. He expects the kids to do their best and to be their best and he expects me to teach them and to help bring the best out of them from the limited time we have. Of course he is not all talk. He helps out a lot. After a hard days work, he will teach the kids as well.

However, the bulk of the teaching and homework as well as project help has to come from me. We do not send the kids for any tuition class. We are a one income family so we do not have excess funds to send them to private school for their education. Therefore we have to rely on public school. So it is Chinese school for the kids in their primary years. We do not speak or read Chinese ourselves and I find it difficult to continue to learn and teach Chinese beyond Std 3 and Std 4. Not being able to help and support them is a minus point so we do not plan to have them continue their Chinese education in Secondary school. It is also too tough and we want them to broaden their horizons and improve in their other languages.

That leaves Kebangsaan school and how many good schools are there? Only a few and competition is fierce to get into them. Why do we want to join the competition? Because we are worried about uncommitted teachers and lack of discipline in some of the schools. Because we have been to a good school with very committed teachers with little disciplinary problems, no bullying or worse still, gangsterism. The bar of excellence has been set high for us in our current school, it would be harder to settle for less. Although we pay a small sum in the form of once or twice a year donation (certainly not anywhere near what one has to pay for a private school), we can see things moving, there is always some improvement in one area or another.

The spouse continually reminds me of this and the pressure to perform is always there. The pressure for mom to get the kids to perform. If the decision is left to me alone, I would probably just let the kids go to the nearest school there is and drop the pressure to perform but I am part of a team so the decision is not mine alone.

So now the exam season is here and I am gripped by the exam fever. I am tensed and stressed. I have become one of those mothers I once smirked at.

Trolley Bags Or Backpack?

Heavy School Bags
When the kids first started schooling, we took some time to decide which types of bags (trolley bags or backpacks) to get them because we knew whichever bag we chose would be loaded with books. Finally we decided on trolley bags for both of them. Fortunately, they were on the ground floor for two years.

In the third year, they moved upstairs and continued to drag their trolley bag up and down the stairs because they preferred it that way. They didn't mind dragging the bags up and down the stairs as long as they could roll it when they were on the ground floor as it was a distance from the stairs to the school lobby. So, their bags went thump, thump, thump as they dragged it up and down the stairs. I don't know how they did it.

However, the books and workbooks kept on increasing and finally, they had to resort to carrying another hand carry bag, usually a recycle bag. Soon, that recycle bag was filled to the brim especially my girl's as she is one diligent kid who likes to have her books around her so she won't miss any homework. So, we got her a backpack and she ended up carrying a backpack AND a trolley bag. On days when she has activities like art, she would take out her recycle bag to put her art stuff. So she had her backpack, her trolley bag AND a recycle bag.

Recently we got them new backpacks and proper hand carry bags instead of the flimsy recycle bags. We didn't realize that the backpack was too big for my boy, so on the first day he carried it, it slipped off his shoulders and stayed strapped onto his waist! Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident. He only had to put up with some laughter from other children and the teachers around him because he looked so strange carrying a backpack that was strapped to his waist.

Now both of my kids carry two bags to school and both bags are just as heavy. Trolley Bags or Backpack? Heck, they need both!

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