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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

School's Out!

School's Out

It's really fast how time flies. School's Out again and the first half of the schooling year is over. This year is a hard year for my girl, for all of us in fact. The girl has to sit for her UPSR tests in September this year and she is being pushed hard at school to prepare for the test. Even with school out, she has to attend extra classes in school. Fortunately, it is only for a couple of days and not more than a week. At least, she can still have a holiday before she goes back to school to face tests in July, August and September. 

As for the boy, he will be having tests in July and October. Ouch!  Tests for every month! Anyway, school's out, so I'm not going to be thinking about tests for now. Happy School Holidays to everyone.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

When Is Dumpling Festival 2014

Dumpling Festival also called Dragon Boat Festival or Duanwu Festival 端午节in Chinese falls on the 5th day of the 5th Month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar annually. This means that in 2014 Dumpling Festival or Dragon Boat Festival falls on June 2, 2014.

While we are on the subject, here are some delightful videos you can watch together with your children to teach them about this Chinese culture and celebration.

Video 1: The Dragon Boat Festival Story (A video story in bilingual language English and Mandarin), great for English speakers who are learning Chinese as a second language.

Video 2: The Story Of Qu Yuan. You can watch this video together with your children while telling them about the famous poet. Parents can tell the children the story of Qu Yuan by watching this video together. This video is in English. So if you your child is learning Chinese, while you don't know Chinese, this one will be good for you.

Video 3: The Duan Wu Festival explained to the kids in Mandarin. This is a Chinese Mandarin video that is excellent for kids learning Chinese as it will help them to recognize the Chinese character or words associated with this festival.

Video 4: Wrap up your Dragon Boat Festival lesson by letting the kids watch this video on how to make Chinese Sticky Rice Dumplings or Zong Zi 粽子。If you don't know how to make rice dumplings yourself (like me) then this video will be very interesting for the kids to watch as a way to let them know what goes inside the sticky rice dumplings and how they are made.

Ah.. this makes me feel like running out to buy some zong zi now. :) I hope you enjoy this compilation of videos on Duan Wu Jie.

Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5 Reasons Why You Need To Buy Your Own KSSR Textbooks

KSSR Textbooks
KSSR Textbooks

My kids are studying in Std 4 and Std 6 at a Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina. They receive school textbooks on loan.

My son always gets his "四年级课本" (Standard 4 Textbooks) in great form because he is the first one using the new KSSR syllabus. However, the next child who gets his books won't get them nice and lovely like he does. His bag is so full and heavy that no matter how I try to tell him to take care of his books, they always look bad at the end of the year because they are all squashed up in the school bag.

My daughter who is in Standard 6 gets hand me downs used by students from previous years. If she is lucky, she gets the old textbooks from someone who has taken good care of it previously but most of the time, they look bad with dog ears and tears which we have to mend with a tape.

Since our children are given school textbooks on loan each year, this means that we do not have to buy them or do we? I know many parents who buy their own KSSR Textbooks even though they are using the textbooks on loan. I didn't know that you could buy your own set at first but when my daughter was in Standard 2, we received a whole set of textbooks from another mum who didn't need them anymore. I found them really useful.

Here are 5 Reasons Why You Need Your Own KSSR Textbooks
  1. Reduce The Load On Your Child's Back. It reduces your child's bag load. You can ask your child to leave their on loaned textbooks in school while you have a set of spare books at home for them to refer to. This means they will never forget to bring it home when they need it. It is also useful for times when your child is absent from school and he needs to refer to his textbook for homework. You don't have to drive all the way to school to get that textbook that you asked him to leave in school to lighten his bag.
  2. Make Notes, Write Or Draw Relevant Information On The Book. You want to write and make notes on the book itself. You can't do that with the on loan textbooks. For example I find it especially useful to translate words by writing the pinyin and English meaning in the "华语课本" or Chinese Textbook.
  3. Repetition and Reinforcement By Revising Using The Same KSSR Activity Books At Home Just Before Tests. You can get the KSSR Activity Books that come in a set with the KSSR Textbooks instead of other workbooks. You can use this for extra revision and practice because it is directly relevant and repetition  helps your child to remember better.
  4. A Spare Or Backup Is Useful When Your Child Has To Move His Textbook Around A Lot. If your child goes to an after school tuition center or "An Ching Pan", it helps to keep an extra set of textbooks at the center so you don't have to go through the hassle of forgotten textbooks. The same applies if your child goes to grandma's place after school before heading home. 
  5. A Spare Textbook Is Useful For Others Who Need To Refer To It Like A Tutor Or Yourself If your child is having one to one tuition, it will be a good idea to let the tuition teacher have access to a spare textbook from home easily so that they can follow the school syllabus closely.
However, having said this, I must mention that having a spare textbook is not an excuse for a child to be disorganized or forgetful. We should always still teach our children to take care of their books and to be mindful of their belongings.

What do you think of owning extra textbooks? Do you find it useful or wasteful?

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