Too Difficult For A 4-Year Old?

I bet many of you do not know what animal lives in a hutch eh? Some of you don’t even know the meaning of a hutch. Admit it if you’re one of them ūüôā

When I was flashing this pile of cards to Alycia on the name of the place that animals live in, I admit that I had to search the dictionary to see what animal lives in a hutch.

A hutch is a wooden box or cage with a front made of wire, used for keeping rabbits, etc. in. Pre-schoolers are becoming more advance in their vocab these days. I’m also learning new things everyday when I coach Alycia in her homework, especially in the use of the abacus and Mandarin. I really don’t remember learning all these things when I was in pre-school. All I remember is that I used to play a lot in pre-school.

Do you find that the things your kids learn in pre-school a little too advance for their age?

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Alycia Has Finally Mastered Writing

Two weeks ago, when Alycia came back from school, she excitedly told me that her teacher has given her lots of homework to do. After lunch, she excitedly took our her homework and began writing. From what used to be at least an hour coaching her to do writing, Alycia managed to complete writing her ‘suku kata‘ (phonics in Malay language) in just minutes. I was really impressed and amazed that she has really picked up in her writing in just a matter of weeks after attending pre-school this year.

Alycia can now complete a page of writing in just a few minutes and her writing has also improved by the leaps and bounds. She can also finally write the letter ‘S’ in the correct order, legibly.

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That’s My PaPa

That’s Alycia’s drawing of papa (father in Mandarin). Don’t you think it looks like a scarecrow?¬†

I had a hard time teaching Alycia write the character papa in Mandarin.  Though I had dotted out the word for her, she still could not remember the order of the strokes.  Each time she does her Mandarin homework, I will have to watch her carefully and ensure that the strokes are written in the right order.  Towards the last few words, Alycia finally managed to follow the dots on the words in the correct order.    She has no problems writing words with simple and few strokes (even if they are without dotted lines) but when the word has more than 6 strokes, she tends to forget the order.  Alycia can now recognize a few Chinese words.

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Alycia Finally Understands

Alycia finally understands how to do this Math exercise :

and she did the entire exercise on her own with only a few mistakes made. Her writing has also improved by the leaps and bounds.

However, Alycia still could not do the exercise where she has to rearrange all the numbers from 0 through 30 in descending order, but I am confident she will be able to grasp the concept very soon.

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Back To School Again

Today is the first day of the second school term for school kids after a week-long school holidays.¬† Alycia woke up early and reached school early today.¬† Today is also the first day of Alycia’s computer enrichment class.¬†¬† School hours are also extended by 15 minutes because of the computer class.¬†

As expected, Alycia came home with a bag full of books and homework.¬† The homework is more than usual as it includes the exercises that she had missed out during the 1 week that she missed school when she fell ill.¬† She will definitely be unable to complete all the homework in a day.¬† The Math is as usual really tough for 5-year old kids (in Aly’s case, 4 year-old).¬† Today her Math homework include the following :

1.  ascending and descending order within 30,

2.  fill in the missing numbers in the ascending order (within 30)

3.  rearrange these numbers in descending order (within 30).  In this exercise, numbers from 1 Р30 are all jumbled up and the kids are to rearrange the numbers in descending order. 

4.  fill in the missing numbers in descending order (within 30)

My mum and I are of the opinion that this exercise is really too tough for 5-year olds. Alycia was completely lost as she had missed the¬†lessons when her teacher taught the kids this exercise 2 weeks ago.¬† Now, my mum and I have to take over the teacher’s job to teach her. When my mum taught her, Alycia’s mind was wandering¬†somewhere else. She also complained of being sleepy and there wasn’t any interest shown in her in the exercise.¬† I am really worried Alycia will not be able to catch up as she has missed out too many lessons.¬†

When I bumped into¬†Alycia’s teacher last Saturday, she was also of the opinion that the syllabus taught to pre-schoolers in Alycia’s school is a tad too tough.¬† However, some parents are complaining that the syllabus is not up to standard and that homework is not enough!¬† I really think we¬†should not put too much pressure on our kids.¬† Some young kids in Singapore are already seeking psychiatric treatments for mental problems, as reported in today’s newspapers!¬†

Frankly, do you think that the Math syllabus taught in Alycia’s pre-school too tough or is this the norm in all pre-schools for 5 year olds?

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Alycia’s pre-school gives tons of flashcards (English, BM and Mandarin) to students each week. For kids with busy working parents, I wonder if anyone at home ever flashes the cards to them.¬† While it is really good to be receiving the flashcards from the school, the parent really needs to spend some time everyday to flash these cards to their child to reap the benefits of the flashcards.¬†¬† Do I flash them to Alycia consistently everyday?¬† Nope, coz Alycia’s daily¬†homework is enough to bore her and is taking up a lot of time till she does not even have time to go out to play.¬†¬† I still do flash the cards to her several times in a week, but definitely not daily.¬† Saturday mornings are the best time for me to flash the cards to both my gals – they wake up fresh and they absorb better first thing in the morning, usually during breakfast when they are seated down.

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Mathematics For 5-Year Olds

Don’t you think this is a tad tough for a 5-year old (in Aly’s case, a 4-year old)?¬† Or is this the norm?¬† Alycia can only count and recognize numbers¬†from 1 through 20+ but her pre-school is already teaching the 5-year olds in her class numbers up to 30. Alycia is the youngest in the class being a December child.

I don’t think Aly¬†really comprehends¬†what ‘comes between’ means.¬† So I think this exercise is really tough for¬†her.¬† ¬†


When I coached her in this exercise, I had to write down the numbers from 1 through 30 on a sheet of A4 paper and point out to her to show her where the correct numbers should be in the exercise.

Frankly, do¬†you think this is tough or your 4-year old child already knows the whole concept of this exercise?¬†¬†Looking at Alycia’s homework each day she brings them¬†home¬†¬†really scares me big time¬†as I find them to be really tough for a 4¬†year old. Luckily I am a SAHM who can coach her.¬† If¬†I were still working and leave her in the care of the sitter, I wonder who will coach her in her homework.¬† Gosh, I¬†feel like one kiasu mum who is overly concern of her daughter!

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Is This Too Tough For A 4-Year Old?

Frankly, do you think the word ‘xiao’ or smile in Mandarin is a tad too tough for a 4-year old to write? Though the meaning is straightforward, the word itself has so many strokes that even we adults find it difficult to remember to write, well at least for me, a yellow banana who speaks¬† smattering Mandarin and can only write my own Chinese name and a handful of Chinese words.

The Mandarin enrichment class teacher had expected her to know how to write this word and her homework was to write a page full of the word ‘xiao’. Even after I had dotted the lines for Alycia to trace the word, she could still not remember the correct order of the strokes.¬† She was merely tracing for the sake of completing her homework.

Now, I’m really worried how Alycia is going to catch up if I were to send her to a Chinese¬†school in future.¬† I know nuts about Mandarin and I don’t want to lead her blindly, just as how I had led her blindly on the use of the abacus, coz we were never taught how to use the abacus during our time.¬† I guess I will have to send her for tuition in future.

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Abacus Calculation And Chinese School

Alycia’s pre-school is using the abacus method¬†to teach the preschoolers Maths.¬†¬†Her pre-school is¬†gravitated towards¬†Mandarin and most of the preschoolers there eventually go to a Chinese school. ¬†Last week,¬†Alycia brought home an abacus to be used¬†for her Maths homework.¬†¬† When I taught her to use the abacus, she¬†appeared¬†lost.¬† I had a tough time trying to teach her the concept of the abacus and calculations.¬†¬† This week, she missed the entire week of school again due to her sickness.¬†¬† If she continues to fall sick regularly, I am really worried she will have a tough time catching up.¬† As it is now, she is already very far lagging behind her peers as she¬†had¬†missed more than half a year of school last year.

Hubby is really adamant that Alycia has to go to a Chinese primary school in future.  He plans to register Alycia at Kuen Cheng 2 Primary school, despite the horrendous one-way traffic jam leading to the school.  I am really worried that Alycia would not be able to catch up with her studies and homework as Chinese schools are well-known for heavy load of homework. 

For those of you who send your kids to a Chinese school, how is the workload like?  Is it true that kids who go to a Chinese school have very little time for play as they spend most of their time trying to finish off homework and attend tuitions?  If it is, that is really unhealthy for a kid. All work and no play can really bore a child to the core and create a feeling of hatred going to school in the child.  I really need some enlightment in this Chinese school thing.

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Alycia’s 1st Day Of School – Year 2

Yesterday was Alycia’s first day of school this year. Though this is her 2nd year in pre-school, she had only attended less than 4 months of classes last year. During the first month of pre-school, she kept falling ill (twice a month) and I pulled her out from pre-school in the second month. She only resumed pre-school in September 2007.

Everything went well yesterday Рshe looked forward to school and did not cry. The teachers also gave her stickers to give her a little motivation. Homework has increased this year and everyday, she brings home a bag full of books for homework.   Luckily my mum is here to coach her with her homework.  My mum who is a retired school teacher commented that the syllabus for 5 year olds is a tad heavy and tough, which I totally agree.     When my mum goes back to Ipoh, I will have to take over her role as the tutor.

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Junk Food

Whenever there are birthday parties or children’s day party in Alycia’s pre-school, I would be worried about what junk food she would be bringing home coz it would be almost impossible to stop her from eating them.¬† All hell would break loose if I ever try to stop¬†Alycia from eating them.¬† Last Friday, Alycia brought home a bag full of MSG, sugar and color laden junk food – sweet colorful jellies, sweets, chocolates, Mamee, Cheezels, etc.¬† Sometimes I just¬†don’t understand¬†how the teachers¬†and parents think to be buying and giving away these unhealthy food to toddlers.¬†¬†¬†

I was trying to find a way to trade these junk food with her and finally, I thought of a way;  and it was oh so easy.  With that item that I had bought, she volunteered to give away all these junkies to me with no threats or bribes. 

to be continued………

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School Holidays Are Coming!

Are you happy that the school holidays¬†are just days away?¬†¬† For me, I am happy coz I don’t have to wake the girls up early and prepare Alycia for school.¬† This means I get an hour extra to work in the morning.¬† I’m also worried coz I know Alycia will definitely be restless being cooped up at home.¬† I’m contemplating sending Alycia to her pre-school’s holiday programs but they are damn expensive.¬† There are cooking classes, drama and speech classes, arts and craft classes,¬† music classes and much more and the school is charging RM150 per class¬†that only lasts 1 week!¬†¬† If I send her to 4 types of classes for 1 month, that would cost us a whopping RM600!¬†

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Food’s The Great Motivator

That’s Alycia’s mid-morning snack in school today. It’s toasted black sesame and wheatgerm bread (2¬†slices)¬†with boiled chicken ham (I¬†only buy deli meat once in a blue moon¬†coz it’s not very healthy), cheese and crispy seaweed.

Every Tuesday and Thursday,¬†Alycia has extra¬†Mandarin class after school from 11:45am – 12:45pm. So¬†on these days, I’ll prepare something more filling for her like sandwiches or fried meehoon (put inside a tiny Thermos flask).¬† Her lunch box is something that motivates her to go to school coz she just loves eating!

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Pre-School Fun and Junk Food

One of the things that motivates Alycia to go to school is that she gets to bring her lunchbox filled with her favorite snacks to school every morning. When her classmates celebrate their birthdays, she gets to eat cakes, junk food and bring home birthday packs. Last week, Alycia got this birthday pack when her classmate celebrated her birthday. The birthday pack was filled with MSG, sugar and coloring laden addictives junk food. Sometimes I wonder how some parents think – encouraging their young kids to eat such unhealthy junk food. When she reached home, she was so happy and showed me the birthday pack. I told her she couldn’t eat most of the snacks in there as they are not very healthy but she wouldn’t listen. She was willing to part with a packet of spicy keropok and some biscuits but she wouldn’t want to part with the sweets and jellies. When she was asleep, I quickly hid them.

The other thing that Alycia loves about attending pre-school is that she gets to make crafts. This is what the teacher helped her make last week, a bunny paper lantern.

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Lantern Party

Alycia got well in time to attend the lantern party held at her pre-school yesterday evening. There were hundred over people – kids, their parents and maids and the garden of the school was an ocean of human. We had to wait for almost an hour for everyone to arrive before the walk round the neighborhood with the lanterns. Whilst walking, Alycia accidentally tripped and bruised her left knee. She then demanded that daddy carried her like a princess all the way back to her school!

It was the very first time the gals had celebrated mooncake festival in such a grand scale with so many friends. They enjoyed the walk and also the food….food that I rarely feed them with – KFC nuggets, sausages, pizza, fishballs and crab balls, jellies, cakes and fried meehoon.

After the party, daddy brought them to the bakery and asked them to choose a cake. Alycia chosed a cheese cake and we had cheese cake for supper. It was certainly a day of ‘food freedom’ for the gals.

Alycia and Sherilyn waited patiently for the walk round the neighborhood with their lanterns.

Whilst walking round the neighborhood, Alycia accidentally tripped and fell and bruised her left knee.

The girls enjoying their food inside the class.

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