Posted by: angiefm | January 25, 2009

In Retrospect – Week of 19th Jan 09

The Ngs

We collected our new car this week!  We have been wanting to buy a 7-seater to transport our growing family.  And while we were actually going to wait until after Chinese New Year or closer to Baby #4’s scheduled arrival (in May), the low COE hastened that process and we ended up going out on New Year’s Day to check out cars! 

Now we have always been Japanese car owners but our cousin Christian and his wife Phyllis, whose collective opinions we value greatly on these things (because they are mad researchers unlike us), asked us to check out the Citroen C4.  Which we did.  This is what it looks like, minus the sea in the background.

c4

And we loved it, and bought it (who could resist getting a brand-new continental 7-seater car for under 80k?  Hey we paid 92k for our very first car back in 1999 and it was a Nissan Sunny!)  We didn’t have much choice over colours since it was the last one they had before bringing in a new model and they gave us a great deal on the price.  So who’s complaining eh?  🙂 

Mummy Angie

A legacy of my past “issues” with school.  I tried to do something punitive to my children twice this week but they responded so positively!  Obviously, and all thanks to homeschooling, they have a different perspective on life.  Here’s what happened …

Twice this week, they were late at breakfast.  So I said, we are going to start at 10 am regardless, because that’s what we have committed to do.  Breakfast will have to wait till they create time during lessons by finishing something in a shorter time than allocated.  (Usually this is copywork time since we only need 15 to 20 mins but schedule a half hour for this.)

Instead of getting all upset (which is unfortunately what I had hoped), Tim said very cheerfully, “Oh, okay Mom.  So I’ll just put my breakfast aside, then when I find the time during the morning, I will finish it.”  It was all so positive I just had to put aside my “upsetness” about the whole thing!  I’m learning everyday from my children.  In fact I was so chided by his response because I had intended it to be a punishment, when really I should have let “natural consequence” be their teacher.

We have just completed 3 weeks of school.  And I’m glad that I have scheduled for us to take a week off school next week!  (see calendar below)  I feel I already need one!  🙂  Here are some things we are going to change after our first 3 weeks of test-driving our new schedule.  I am glad to report that everything else has been working beautifully!

  • Decoupling Math and Chinese – I had scheduled the children to do math together and Chinese together.  But the 1-on-1 nature of these subjects meant I was all over the place during those sessions.  Also, because we are doing Right Start Math which is very Mummy-intensive curriculum, I could not fit doing it with both children into a half-hour slot.  SO … When Alethea does her Chinese at the computer using iFlashbook, (yes, we have delegated part of it to technology, and it’s the best use of 21 bucks all year!), I work with Tim on his math.  And vice versa.
  • Reading Literature Through the Day – In my weekly checklist, I have a list of all the readings we planned to get through in a single week. And on my calendar, I had planned to do literature readings at night.  But I have realised that if i use the little bits of time between lessons, I can actually finish all our readings during the school day and even better, the kids feel refreshed after a reading and ready to go on to another portion of their seat-work!  Charlotte Mason actually advocated this in her educational philosophy – the alternating of an active with a passive part of school – writing followed by reading then math followed by a picture study, etc.

calendar

Alethea

After we collected our new car, we went straightaway to Baby Hyperstore at Kaki Bukit Ave 1.  They are the distributors for the Maxi Cosi brand in Singapore, so a great place to get good prices.  We ended up buying Nathalie a Maxi Cosi Priori XP and Timothy a Maxi Cosi Rodi XP.

Now Alethea doesn’t need a car seat anymore.  She’s 8 and tall enough to use the regular seat-belt.  But it was clear that she really wanted to get in on the action.  Yet being the sensible child that she is, and being so “politically correct”, she hesistated then said she didn’t really want one.  She would just use the old booster seat that we had.  But the hesitation said it all.  So I pulled her aside and said that she should speak her mind with us.  It was okay (in fact good) to be sensitive when speaking with other people, but I said that we were family and if she couldn’t be honest with her feelings with us, a small thing can become big if she let it fester in her heart. 

The next day, after cruising around Singapore (we went for pre-Chinese New Year haircuts at Ang Mo Kio then to Turf City for gym classes then on to the airport to pick Daddy after work), Alethea came up to me and said, “You know Mummy, I really didn’t want to ask for a new car seat, but I thought about what you said and I really do want one.  So please may I have the one that Tim has?” 

Of course we were more than happy to go out and buy that car seat!  To hear Alethea learn to voice her thoughts is worth it!

Timothy

Tim is always making connections.  This week we were reading a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow titled A Psalm of Life. Here are my two favourite stanzas from it …

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

As soon as Tim heard “shipwrecked brother”, he said, “hey mom, that’s like the twin brother in Twelfth Night!” I have to say that in all my wildest dreams I never thought my children would get such a rich literary education!

Thank you Charlotte Mason for expounding your philosophy of education and thank you AmblesideOnline for putting together an awesome curriculum!  I’m so grateful to be able to homeschool our children and to share in these little but awesome moments!

tim-reading-to-nat

During the week, Nathalie picked up a book to “read” and Timothy went to her and said in a really sweet voice, “Mei, do you want Kor Kor to read to you?”  I am so grateful that because we spend so much time at home, our children are so close to each other!  Wouldn’t trade moments like these for the world.  🙂

Nathalie

On Monday, when the kids were playing around with some watercolour crayons, Nathalie accidentally drew on the dining table. Daddy looked over and said, “Mei, can you don’t dirty the table?”  (Our excellent Singlish at work here.) Nathalie responded, “Okay Daddy, I will try to NOT dirty the table.”  (Which is er … better sentence construction!)  I had to laugh!  😀

I have had a number of requests to post Nathalie’s curriculum for this year.  More than requests for Tim’s.  🙂  I guess most of us are concerned about what to do with our pre-schoolers, since firstly there is curriculum galore for the school-aged children and secondly there are many more people who homeschool pre-school aged children before sending them to school in Primary School.

So look out for that in a day or two! 

Miscellaneous

  • Hymn of the Week – A Mighty Fortress is our God
  • Verse of the Week – 1 Timothy 6:6,7 (this is also our family’s verse) “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”
  • Composer Studies – We are still doing the introductory pieces in the run-up to starting composers study proper.  This week our composition was Carnival of the Animals.  Non John-Lithgrow (of Third Rock from the Sun fame) should check out this other book/recording.
  • Picture Studies – This week’s painting was Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh.

sunflowers-small

Narrations

Okay.  Time to record the week’s narrations!  As always, feel free to skip this part.  It gets long sometimes.  🙂

But before we get there, here’s a little bit about Tim’s efforts this week. I have to say I was a little disappointed with his narration. He got the story right of course, but something was missing in the spirit of it. Sure the Spartans fought, and sure they all died. But nothing came through of the tenacity of the Spartans. He did not capture any of the “we will stay our ground and fight till the end” spirit of that battle which makes it famous till today (they made a movie about it two years ago, remember? Titled 300?) So I gave the kids a mini-lecture about narrations, and how they were not to just tell the story, but be able to capture the spirit and the mood, whatever that may be. Here’s looking forward to better narrations in future!

The Brave Three Hundred
From Fifty Famous Stories Retold
A Narration by Timothy Ng

Once there was a great King from Persia and he intended to defeat the Greeks and they were walking along the seashore. And in a few days they would be in Greece. But there was only one way they could get through Greece on that side, and that was through a narrow pass between two mountains and three hundred Spartans were guarding it. Their leader was Leonidas.

They intended to fight the King of Persia but they received a report telling them that there were twelve thousand with him but they knew they had to fight for their country. Some said that the King of Persia’s army were so many that their arrows darkened the sun. But their leader Leonidas said, “All the better. Then we shall fight in the shade.”

So when the King of Persia and his army arrived, the Spartans fought with braveness even though they knew they would die. There were only three hundred Spartans and twelve thousand Persian. The whole day they fought, but when the sun went down, there was not a single Spartan left standing and there were no more Persians.

This was hundreds of years before, but folks still like to talk about it.

IOU

A Narration by Alethea Ng

Here’s an IOU or rather an AOU (Alethea Owes You) because she hasn’t done her narration of the week yet.  We’ve been so busy running about getting ready for Chinese New Year this week.  Will update the post when we get it done.

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Responses

  1. Hey Angie, what do you do during exam weeks ??

    • Er … Exams perhaps? *grin* We prep and do the exam papers which we use in our report to MOE. Prep means the kids do one paper with us on the side explaining exam techniques, instructions, etc. Exam means we do another. 🙂 But this time unsupervised and for the specified duration.

      We don’t do more than that, unless it’s for Chinese which we usually do 3 papers for, because remember we are not the assessment book type, so our children don’t get very many opportunities to practice for an exam. For papers, we either use those given by kind souls who have bought too many from the nearest make-shift stall at some shopping centre foyer, or we download them from http://www.misskoh.com. ABSOLUTELY FREE!


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