Our Wednesday – 28 August 2013

Yesterday was the MIL’s last day with us before her departure to Hong Kong today.  She will be in Hong Kong and New Zealand for several months.  Our kitchen was closed the whole of yesterday and we had dinner at a nearby restaurant as she wanted to spend time doing last minute packing.

While we were waiting for our food to arrive at the restaurant, Alycia did her homework, with full concentration  and not the least distracted when her 2 younger sisters were noisily watching a funny movie on daddy’s phone.  Yesterday was extra curricular day in Alycia’s school  and she only came home at 4:30pm. After a nap (this girl can only function if she takes a nap in the afternoon. Devoid of a nap, she can be the nastiest, grumpiest and most cantankerous girl ever) , she tried to quickly finish off a part of her homework and had to bring some along with her to the restaurant.  Back home, she hurriedly took a shower and then continued with her homework.

This is a typical lifestyle of a Year 4 student in a Chinese school. Homework load is always heavy and even heavier if you are from the top 2 elite classes.   I think Alycia has no problem with this level of academic stress but the same cannot be said for Sherilyn.  They both have characters and personalities that are a polar opposite.

Effective tomorrow, the role of chef will be relegated back to me, for the next few months. A few months ahead of her departure, I had already typed out on my computer a long list of easy-to-cook dishes (with links to the websites to get the recipe) and this Menu List is still being updated with new dishes added every week. After being pampered with a good chef and baker for half a year, I need time to warm up now to get myself back in action again in the kitchen. Wish me luck!

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Last Day Of School

Friday marked the last day of school for most students. Alycia and Sherilyn’s pre-school had a children’s day bash on that day. They didn’t have to wear uniform and were allowed to don on their best party clothes. Sherilyn who had long been yearning to wear her Princess Aurora costume which koo mah bought for her during her trip to Hong Kong Disneyland in March this year, finally got to wear the Princess costume.  It was her second time wearing the costume, the first time being in Hong Kong Disneyland.

A princess is not complete without a princess head gear, right?

Waltzing away to celebrate the start of 1.5 months of freedom…. but it’s the start of a 1.5-month long nightmare for me!

And a princess is not complete without a pair of princess clogs right? She made kakak search for her pair of princess clogs but mah mah said cannot wear!  Why? Because each time she wore the pair of stiff click-clock clogs, painful blisters will sprout out on her toes, OUCH!!

And so Princess-Wannabe wore her Dora Crocs, Alycia too. After all, shoes have to be removed before they enter the door of the school. See the contrast – one loves everything princessy and another a cincai, frumpy dresser who only likes to wear pants and t-shirt. See the denim Power Puff denim skirt on Alycia? I forced her to wear a dress but she refused. So she pleased me and opted for a skirt! Don’t know why she just hates wearing dresses, haiyah….

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Math – Too Difficult For 6-Year Olds?

Once again, do you think these equations are a tad too difficult for 6-year olds? Do note that the boxes are everywhere in the equations and I think that this is confusing the child coz sometimes they need to subtract and sometimes add in order to get the answer for the box.  I explained the basics/rules to Alycia but I don’t know if she remembers.

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Alycia’s Progress In Math And Abacus

This is Alycia’s Abacus work from pre-school.  She did them all on her own in school but had several mistakes.  Her teacher asked her to do the corrections at home.  When I saw the book, I was a tad lost on how to teach her coz I was never taught how to use the abacus in school.  But after studying the book and the abacus, I figured out how to solve them using the abacus.  I tell ya, it’s kinda fun learning new things from my daughter’s pre-school.  I’ve picked up Mandarin and abacus since last year. I am sure I’m going to learn more when Alycia goes to a Chinese primary school next year. 

Alycia has shown vast improvement in her Math and Abacus since early this year.  Lately, she has even been telling me that she loves Math, something that she didn’t quite like in the past!  I never liked Math when I was young. It was the subject that I hated most.

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Alycia Is Going To A Chinese Primary School Next Year

Alycia came home excitedly last week announcing that she got a pencil from the principal coz she got full marks for her Ting Xie again.  See how a little reward can bring so much joy to a 5 1/2-year old.   I’m glad that her pre-school uses rewards to motivate the kids to do well in their studies.

On another note, we received a letter from the MoE last week informing us that Alycia has been accepted into a Chinese school. It’s daddy’s unwavering decision to send the gals to a Chinese school but I’m not sure if my gals have the material to be in a Chinese school. After hearing lots of feedback on heavy homework, heavy trolley bags, caning as a form of disciplinary, etc. in a Chinese school, I really shudder at the thought of Alycia having to go through all these next year… not to mention the distance to/fro school/home and the horrendous traffic leading to the school. We will see how Alycia fares in a Chinese school next year and if she does not fit in, we can always pull her out and place her in a Kebangsaan school.   Let her be our guinea pig and if all is well, I will register Sherilyn and Baby C in a Chinese school, otherwise, #2 and #3 will go to a Kebangsaan school at our neighborhood… which is actually my plan but hubs is dead steadfast in his Chinese school decision, looooooong sigh…..

And by the way, does anyone know of any private tutor who is willing to come to my condo to provide Mandarin tuition to my gals? Please email me at shireenyong@gmail.com. Thanks peeps and have a great weekend!

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I’m Learning Too

The good side about coaching my 2 older gals in their homework is that I’m also learning. Being a yellow banana who only had a couple of years of tuition for Mandarin (when I was 7 and 8 years old), I’m now learning new Mandarin words everyday!

When I was doing revision on English with Alycia yesterday, I learned 2 things : a drake is a male duck and a sow is a female boar.   I may have come across these 2 words in the past but it’s only yesterday that I finally knew what they were hahaha!  Shame on mummy!

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Way Too Difficult For Pre-Schoolers?

In my opinion, I think these Math equations are way too difficult for 5 and 6-year old pre-schoolers :

Take a look at the boxes on the questions.  They are everywhere…. some in front and some behind, first set and second set.  I think even some adults would need some time to ponder how to solve the equations.

Alycia didn’t understand the concept and I had a very tough time explaining the rules to her and making her remember them.  She still doesn’t know how to do the questions on her own…. but has no problem with straight forward additions and deductions.

I then set some questions for her to practise to get a hang of it but had to guide her to solve them.

Check out Baby C under the table LOL!  That’s my typical afternoon – coaching the 2 older brats in their homework while Baby C would be crawling and walking everywhere.  Sometimes baby would make me search frantically for her and then I would find her happily picking up dirt from the floor, under the table … and almost putting them into her mouth! 

No. of times viewed = 413

Math For 5-Year Olds… Too Difficult?

Honestly, do you think that these equations are a tad too advanced for 5-year old pre-schoolers?

When I explained to her how to go about solving the equations, I really doubted that she remembered everything, i.e. what she has to do when the empty box is in front, when the empty box is behind, when it’s plus and when it’s minus. 

If my memory didn’t fail me, I think I was only taught these when I was in standard 2 or 3. I really don’t remember doing all these when I was a 5-yo pre-schooler. I only remembered I knew how to count from 1-100 when I was 5-yo and I remember playing and singing a lot in kindy…. definitely not doing Math equations.

I have to say that Alycia has improved and caught up with her peers by the leaps and bounds since early this year. She can now do her Math homework by herself (she always insists that she wants to do it by herself) though most times I still sit next to her to ensure that she did it correctly.
Alycia did this exercise on her own and she got almost all correct, with a couple of careless mistakes.

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How Alycia Gets Good Marks For Her Spelling, Ejaan And Ting Xie

Alycia has been progressing really well in her spelling, ejaan and Ting Xie. She has been getting full marks most of the time.   Guess what the secret is? 

bribe  reward her with Kit Kat (which koong koong gave) and Smarties (which aunty Barb gave) each time she could spell all the words during my practise sessions with her at home.  Also, before she could have access to the Astro remote control to switch to Disney Channel, she has to spell her words too.  This works pretty well on my junkie lover and TV addict girl (max of 2 hours of TV a day)! 

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Alycia’s Second Ting Xie (Spelling In Mandarin)

When Alycia sat for her first Ting Xie last week, her teacher only gave her 3 out of 5 words as she thought that Alycia would not be able to write them. However, Alycia proved her teacher wrong and got all 3 correct. This week, her teacher asked her to write 5 words and Alycia got them all correct!

Alycia seems to be showing vast improving in her Mandarin and I hope she improves in her Ejaan too (she’s the weakest in her BM).

No. of times viewed = 293

Alycia Has Spelling, Ejaan And Ting Xie Every Week

Alycia has just turned 5 years old (she’s a December child) but she’s in the class for 6 year olds. Last week when I checked her message book, I saw this message from her teacher:

I was a tad stumped to read the message. Oh dear, I can’t believe that my just turned 5-year old daughter will have to be given spelling every week… not only in English but in Bahasa Malaysia and in Mandarin. When I was in kindergarten, we never had spelling, never. I guess times have changed and the kindies now have to be really competitive to cater for kiasu parents.

See how tough the words for her spelling are… for beginners that is:

I thought that the pre-schoolers would be tested on easy first words like cat, dog, apple, pencil, etc but nope.

Thank God, Alycia could remember her spelling for some words. For the past several days, I’ve been making Alycia write the words Deepavali and Christmas. After making her write, I will ask her to spell out the words for me verbally and in written form. As of today, she could spell out both the words Deepavali and Christmas by memory. Tomorrow, I will drill her with the word Chinese New Year. Oh boy, this is quite stressful and she’s only 5 years old. When she’s in Primary 5, I think I’ll get even more stressed up.

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Coaching Alycia Mandarin

It’s a shame that I’m a yellow banana and every time Alycia or Sherilyn asks me “mummy, what Chinese word is this?”, I feel ashamed to tell them “mummy’s not sure” or “wait, let me check out the dictionary“. Alycia and Sherilyn’s pre-school emphasizes on Mandarin a lot and the standard of Mandarin taught to pre-schoolers is high as the school is working towards preparing the pre-schoolers for primary school.  The pre-school even sets Ting Xie or spelling in Mandarin for 6 year olds every week and Alycia will have to memorize writing her Mandarin characters starting from next week onwards.  On top of Ting Xie, she also has English spelling and Ejaan (spelling in Malay) every week and I’ve started to drill her with spelling this week. It’s really putting the stress on me… and she’s only in kindergarten!!

Right now, I’m already very lost when it comes to coaching the gals in their Mandarin homework. I’d asked the gals’ koo por (the hubs’ aunt) to help me buy a Chinese-English dictionary so that I can refer to it for help.  While the dictionary helps to explain the meaning of a word, it doesn’t help much with the pronounciation and sounding of each word (though there is hanyi pinyi). 

Alycia can write her Mandarin characters pretty well but most of the time, I think she does not know what she’s writing coz when I asked her what word she’s writing, she tells me that she doesn’t know. Sometimes her teacher writes the meaning of the word in hanyi pinyi but sometimes, she doesn’t.

I can foresee Alycia will have a hard time coping in a Chinese school primary school next year when she enters Primary 1. I will definitely send her for Mandarin tuition classes.

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Doing Revision With Alycia

I have been doing revision with Alycia since Friday last week to prepare her for her pre-school exam for 5 year olds this week. It ain’t easy coaching her as her mind tends to wander off somewhere else except to her books…..to the TV, to food or to the bed!  Sherilyn my brat would also be asking me tons of questions to get my attention, not to mention having to carry Baby C with my left hand and hold a pencil with my right hand.

Anyway, I find that Alycia and Sher’s pre-school has quite a tough syllabus for pre-schoolers. I really don’t remember learning all those things when I was 5 yo or even 6 yo and attended kindy.  And yet I turned out ok now!  Maybe most pre-schools these days are very competitive and have to raise the standard of their syllabus to entice kiasu parents… eerm like me?

I was teaching Alycia synonyms and antonyms, common nouns, proper nouns, punctuation marks and other things meant for Primary 1 and 2 kids! I doubt she remembered everything that I revised with her. Even I would forget.  Her Bahasa Malaysia is not easier either and they have been learning simpulan bahasa, kata kerja, kata tanya, antonim, sinonim, penjodoh bilangan and much more.   Not only is she feeling the stress, I am also feeling the stress and anxiety for her.   

I wonder how Alycia fared in her English and Bahasa Malaysia test today.

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Alycia’s School Concert

Today is Alycia’s school concert and it’s the first time she ever participated in a school concert.  They have been practising for almost a month and today’s finally her big day.

Parents were told to apply light make-up on the kids. Alycia hated it when I applied powder on her face and lipstick on her lips. She kept wiping the lipstick off.

After I had helped her put on the costume, I laughed at her coz she looked so cute and chubby in the sexy costume. But Alycia was crossed with me and said “don’t laugh, it’s not funny ok” lol!

Alycia practising the Mexican dance moments before she left for the concert hall. She danced and danced and jumped about so much that her face and head were all sweaty again, though I had just showered her. The make-up was also all gone. I think her teacher will touch up her make-up before the concert starts.

Daddy, mah mah and Sherilyn had just left the house to attend the concert.  Sher would have to sit on daddy’s lap as tickets are limited.  It’s a shame I am unable to attend her concert again. I just can’t wait for Baby C to grow up so that I can be more involved in Alycia and Sher’s extra-curricular activities.

My living room looks so horribly messy!  What an eye sore lol!

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Alycia’s Improvement In Her School Homework

Lately, Alycia has shown a great amount of discipline in completing her homework and now, she will do them without being told everyday.  She doesn’t even want me to coach her as she will tell me that she knows how to do them. 

Her math and abacus have improved and she can even do them on her own without me guiding her.

Alycia did this math exercise homework on her own and she got them all correct when I checked it.

This one is her abacus homework and she got them all correct too. And this time, she’s the one teaching me how to use the abacus.  I am really proud of her!

No. of times viewed = 410