#montessoriathome

There hasn’t been much update on this space because life is really busy and fun with two kids. I have not baked in ages even though I’ve been itching to make some baked goods. Fact is, whatever time I have with the kids is spent teaching and learning together with them. When they are asleep or napping, that’s the time for me to cook or create learning resources for them. Moreover, I am now going through an online Montessori course which makes life even busier for this mom.

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I’m not sure why I didn’t take up this course earlier. I had known about its existence two years ago from a friend who had graduated from it and she found it useful and so recommended me. Alas, procrastination took over and it was only until I found difficulty in teaching the girl the blue and green series in the language component that I decided to register for the one-year course. Moreover, I’m toying with NOT sending Dan to school next year.

I love the Montessori preschool that Faith is in now. But the timing for Dan’s and Faith’s level differs and that would mean I have to be on the road a lot if I was to send both to the same school. Time that could otherwise be spent teaching at home would reduce and perhaps frustration would set in?

With these thoughts, I decided to take the plunge and took up the course in late January. I might as well test out how ‘homeschooling’ Dan would be like and spend the morning effectively with both of them.

Before I took up the course, ideas for teaching Dan were gathered from Pinterest. They are good, no doubt, but since taking up the course, lessons have been more focussed and less sporadic.

There is so much to share with the two children that I feel time is running out. So, whatever time I have is dedicated to teaching them. It’s really fun!

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Dan is very into animals now, especially since we came back from the WA trip in which we visited a farm.

LivingMontessoriNow.com is now hosting an awesome giveaway of the KHT 12- month Montessori Online Certificate Course. I am currently going through this course and find it really useful for my personal homelearning use. If you are interested, why don’t you give it a try?

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Playdate + Chicken Stew = Comfort

I love playdates.

When Faith was younger, playdates gave me great relief from the mundane of everyday life with a young kid. I remember the first time Faith went for one with planned lesson, I was the more excited person. I could meet up with my friends at last! Apart from meeting up with friends to have a chit-chat session after the ‘lesson’, playdates enable us to observe how our children behave with their peers and track their development.

My SIL and I started to meet once weekly recently so that the children could have fun swimming together and enjoy their evening with some play time. When they were younger, they played alongside each other, not speaking much. Now, they were truly engaging each other in lively conversations and I  find myself amused by it. How they have grown!

Having playdates in the late afternoon means that I have to make sure that dinner is prepared before we set off so that when we return, we could come back to a decent meal. And, you know I love one-pot meal and I particularly like this chicken stew. I know, I know, chicken stew is so easy to make and there is really no need for a recipe. You just throw everything in the pot, cook and viola, you have one great meal!

Just for record’s sake.

Ingredients
400g chicken thighs (cut into smaller pieces)
2 sausages
1 onion (finely chopped)
2 carrots (cut into bit-sized pieces)
250g peas
500ml chicken stock
baby potatoes

  1. Empty the sausages out of the cases into a large pot.
  2. Cook the sausages for 2 to 3 minutes at medium heat until some of the juicy fat comes out of the sausage.
  3. Add the chopped onions and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until they have softened.
  4. Add the chicken thighs and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
  5. Once the chicken is lightly cooked on both sides, add the chicken stock, peas, carrots and potatoes.
  6. Set the stovetop temperature to the lowest setting, put the pot lid on and cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. Serve the chicken stew with rice.

#DIAL (Observation for HFMD)

It’s a usual Wednesday. My day started the moment da man stepped out of the apartment. The girl woke up and the boy stirred in the bed. It was 6am.

It’s the usual routine of getting the girl ready for school. But today, she was denied entry because there were some red spots on her palms and the school staff members decided that I should bring her home to monitor her development for the rest of the day. The school has three confirmed HFMD cases and it is understandable that vigilance is needed.

Oh well….it’s a homeschooling day for us then (I use this term loosely here). Here’s a record of such a day, a Day In A Life of a SAHM whose kid needs to stay at home. Please be warned that this is also a photo-dumping post.

9am. We reached home. The girl was not going to bum around because the mom had put on her teacher mode and hat on. First up is phonics and I’m using Jolly Phonics to teach her.

M: Why is your donkey so colourful?
F: 因为我喜欢五颜六色。

9.30am Practise writing 1 – 10. It’s a pain to teach when the brother was around because he wanted to be involved in the learning process. I’m sorry dude. I can only handle one of you at a time. 

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On normal days, I would be spending time reading and working on the muscles of the boy but today, he just had to learn together with the sister.

9.45am Faith had completed her numbers and wants to do cutting. Whatever. I have a cranky baby who needs to nap but he is struggling to stay awake.

She continued with pretend play while I put Dan in the cot. He had fallen asleep. I guess he’s just too tired.

10.05am Morning snack – strawberries

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Soon after, we baked madeleines. It’s a very good activity to share with the girl and she would definitely oblige because she liked them.

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The madeleines didn’t turn out to be to be picture perfect. I was rushing because I know the boy would wake up 30 minutes later.

10.45am The boy was up and I started steaming sweet potato because I wanted the girl to relate to the book which we have read earlier. And of course, to have a taste of the root vegetable.

11am I took out my secret weapon – Duplo – which we have acquired very recently at a very decent price. They are second hand but worked absolutely fine for us. While they played, I continued to wash the dishes. How I wish I have a dishwasher in times like this.

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11.30am Lunch was this set. Don’t judge please. It’s the best I could provide at this point in time. I wanted Dan to have a taste of the sweet potato too and he liked to disturb the sister during meal times.

12pm. Chinese.

6 months ago, I started getting her to recognise Chinese characters, first by flashing the cards and then subsequently reading text. Now she can read on her own.

Seven readers today. Her reading in Chinese is definitely much stronger than English. Time to step up on her English language!

12.30pm I wanted to get the girl to watch some TV programme but the boy would plaster himself to it. How???

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Have to keep carrying him away. I’ve my fair share of workout already.

12.50pm We continued with the study of the fruit of the spirit. Today we touched on self control.

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1.30pm Thankful for FIL who came to look after the kids. I wanted to cancel today’s minus calories workout but decided to just go ahead because the kids would be napping during this time anyway and FIL would not be overly taxed.

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I have given up a few things in life for the family/kids but I’m not willing to give up running/exercising which is a pleasure to me. Keeping fit and sane is important to me!

3.15pm Went to the library to borrow books for the children. Reckoned that the kids would still be napping so there is no real need to go back so soon. I wish I could spend more time to select books for the kids but I have to make do with whatever time that I have.

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 Borrowed a lot of books. I think I should bring a trolley along the next time.

4.15pm When I reached home, the kids suddenly awoke from their nap.It always happens this way. I have no idea why. It’s rather magical.

Asked FIL to stay for dinner and so I could cook in peace while he reads to the children.

Best arrangement.

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5.45pm
Dinner… It’s still a long way to go before I could take a break!!! Arghhhh. The boy was getting cranky. Too tired.
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I’m getting tired. I’ve mopped the floor four times already in the day. It’s time that you help out!
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7pm While I showered, the man spent time with the kids.
7.45pm Dan slept. The man left for a meeting in church and it’s the girl and I.

We spent time reading the books I borrowed from the library and after we read this ‘Katie Takes a Plane’, I decided that it was time that we take out the map and learn a little of the world we live in.

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8.30pm  It’s sticker book time! A routine before we turn in for the day.

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Good night.

I realised I truly enjoy teaching Faith and toy with the idea of homeschooling her. There are so many things that we can learn together. If she does not have to stay at home today, we would have gone to the museum, the park where she could skate-scoot or to the seaside to have a mini picnic. Each day, after she comes back from school and has her nap, I’m only left with an hour or two to teach her. Time is not on our side, really.

Kids grow up too fast!

Musical Exploration at Music Adventurer Workshop 

[Review]

How can you tell which instrument your kid is interested in apart from giving them the exposure to interact with them? At least this is what I believe. Workshops such as the Music Adventurer Workshop seeks to achieve that by getting young kids to explore real music and musical instruments, on top of the basics to introduce and prepare them in this musical journey.

Faith had completed all the sessions of the Music Adventurers Workshop (4-6 years old) by Musichaus during the June holidays (I wrote about the first session here). From those sessions, she was introduced and given the opportunity to play the various instruments such as the ukelele, keyboard, xylophone and wooden percussions. Apart from that, she also learnt musical terms such as Forte (loud) and Piano (soft) and got to play the instruments in 3 and 4 beats during the four sessions.

On my own, I wouldn’t be able to share such knowledge with her because I just am quite handicapped when it comes to music (I can sing all right). I couldn’t even understand the tau gey (musical notes)!

Besides introducing the various instruments, the children were treated to storytelling times in which Teacher Trina would incorporate music and movement based on what they have read. The children were also encouraged to use their vocals to, for example, imitate the sounds of the different animals as read from the story.

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In terms of movement, you bet there were lots of it. We (the parents) sat in for the first and last 10 minutes of each session and I could testify that the kids moved A LOT. So much so that I was a little uncomfortable. I mean, were they learning? It was definitely a different kind of learning environment in which the kids were encouraged to move about, dance to the music and to practise their beats using the instruments.

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After each session, Teacher Trina would give us feedback as to how our kid responded to the lesson. Based on her summary, I asked Faith what she had learnt when we got home and to tell me the musical instruments that she was introduced for that day. And she could! Oh, me of little faith! And I thought she wasn’t paying attention with all those running about. There were also occasions that she could tell me what she had learnt when we read a story that was similar to what Teacher Trina had shared. So, she did learn! It didn’t come immediately of course but she would share her learning with me when her memory was triggered.

I certainly like the idea of incorporating language arts and music in this workshop because I believe they can be intertwined. Teacher Trina termed this as musical story time where percussions and paino were used to enhance the experience of reading. I must also commend Teacher Trina for being patient with the young kids. If you have seen how she dealt with them, you would agree with me that it was truly admirable of her to be able to engage the kids for 90 minutes even though I think that time duration is too long for young children to stay focussed.

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At the end of the day, Faith did acquire some knowledge about the basics of music and the various musical instruments. Most of all, she had fun and looked forward to each session and that’s good enough for me. To me, it’s a good way to spend her school holiday though I’m rather reluctant to crowd her school days with enrichment classes. I’m hoping that Musichaus would continue to hold such workshops in December! Anyway, I have given feedback to Teacher Trina and she said she would consider. 😉

However, if you are thinking of sending your little ones to such a class on a regular basis, these sessions will be conducted every Thursday, 3 – 4pm at Trehaus and they will commence on 7th July 2016. The theme for the lesson is Classical Music and you can find out more via their website.

Trehaus Cowork
442 Orchard Road, #03-01
Singapore 238879
Tel: 9843 8077
Email: enquiries@trehauscowork.com

Disclaimer: Our sessions were sponsored in exchange for a review of the workshop. No other forms of monetary compensation was given and all opinions are mine. There are quite a few good coffee joints at Claymore Connect and since this is a drop off class, you could enjoy some time on your own with a cup of caffeine, i.e. if you enjoy it. 

ACM | Finding the Missing Mouse

The plan is this. We would meet up with Faith’s playmates to visit Asian Civilisations Museum since there is a Children’s Season Programme going on – Once Upon a time in Asia: The Missing Mouse. The mummies would read the story to the kids and perhaps attempt to work on some craft with them.

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It didn’t happen that way. Not at all. In fact, when the kids met up, they were so happy to see one another they just played, in their own ways. It’s not the setting that’s important; it’s the company that counts.

Faith was so happy when she saw N and Mummy Ade that she rushed to meet them. From then now, the two kids were inseparable, holding hands as they walked towards ACM. The last picture? Faith was frightened by the millipede and N gor gor reached out to protect her. Awwwww…

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Young tourists

Singaporeans enter the museum free and once they were in this hall, took off their shoes and went running into the maze. It happened really fast and we, the moms, had not much time to react. However, since it is a small space, we thought the kids would be fine on their own playing and exploring and we ended up chatting at the bench.

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The kids really had a jolly good time just running around in the maze. Kids at this age are so easy to please! They had so much energy that we didn’t bother to read them the story. Just let them have fun!

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Although this is a small space, the kids were entertained for 1.5 hours. Apparently, there are story-telling sessions in the afternoon and Fridays seem to be the best day to go! So if you haven’t been there, do drop by! Good for young kids, IMHO.

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We were all famished by noon. Thankfully, there is a cafe within ACM and ‘Kids eat for free’ yo! It didn’t take us long to settle for this place because…

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…there is a play area for kids within the cafe. Awwwwesome!

 Faith had her spaghetti while I had my overpriced laksa. The kids’ meal comes with dessert which was brownie and vanilla ice-cream for Faith and a vanilla milkshake for her drink. Not bad a deal at all. You just need to order a main and the kids could dine for free yo.

Such a playdate is soooo satisfying. The kids had their fun and the mummies got their rest. I need more of such outings.

If you still have the energy to go on, do pop by the National Gallery (Keppel Centre for Art Education) and have some fun in there too!

PS. Thank you Mummy F for the wonderful pictures!

Musichaus: Music Adventurers Workshop

“Mom, can I don’t go for the music class later?”

My heart sank a little. I had signed Faith up for a music holiday programme – Music Adventurers Workshop (4-6 years old) by Musichaus – that runs weekly for the month of June. Since we will not be going overseas, I thought it would be good to let her have some fun at some art and/or music classes. Besides, she has always enjoyed singing and has shown some interest in playing the ukelele, amongst other musical instruments . When I saw this holiday programme at Trehaus Cowork, I know I have to sign her up and am thankful to be given sponsorship for it.

 

Faith settled in very quickly. Perhaps, it was the non-threatening environment or maybe it’s the warmth that Teacher Trina exuded. Whatever it is, I was glad. Parents were not allowed to sit in the session but Teacher Trina has kindly allowed us to be around for the last 20 minutes just to observe how the children responded to the lesson.

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I left, with her smiling before the camera (I didn’t ask her to pose). Faith was obviously intrigued by the keyboard and was elated to be allowed to play with it.

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I returned at the last 30 minutes to see two kids running around to the sound of music. They were obviously engaged in some form of play and I was shortly told by Teacher Trina that they were participating in the music game – Stop! Or Freeze – for the music and movement section of the lesson.

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According to Teacher Trina, the objectives for this first lesson are to introduce the keyboard to the children which include the black and white keys, playing loud and soft and the musical count of 2 beats. The children were able to answer Teacher Trina’s questions as she summarised the lesson. Good! So, they had been paying attention in class!

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The children were introduced to some percussion instruments namely the tambourine, triangle and the maraca. The percussion were used as they sang along with songs and rhymes such as Old MacDonald has a jungle, Here we go round the Mulberry Bush, Humpty Dumpty, ABCGEFG and Baa baa black sheep. I was told that Faith loved the ABCGEFG song and triangle the most and could count two beats with it.

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Since the theme of this lesson is about tuning in with nature, the children learnt and were given the opportunity to guess the sounds made by frogs, breaking of branches, waterfall, gorilla and the like.

I was really impressed by the passion and patience of Teacher Trina. We had two very energetic preschoolers in the class who were obviously having a whale of a time playing the music game. There were times that they lost focus but Teacher Trina was able to bring them back with her melodious voice as she gave her instructions. I also appreciate the fact that she could give a detailed summary of what was taught during the lesson and provide feedback on how Faith progressed in class. And yes, her passion was clearly exhibited as she shared music-related information and tips with us.

As we left the premise, I asked Faith if she would like to go back for lesson the following week.

A resounding YES.

See, I knew she would enjoy!

Actually, I am the one who is more keen to return to the class. Just reading the description of the next few lessons excites me. It’s gonna be fun!

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There is also a Music Explorers Workshop that is suitable for children aged 1.5 to 3 YO. If you are keen, you could reply via this link (if you have a meetup group account) or just called Trehaus to express your interest in either of the workshops.

Oh, I just want to tell you that the Trehaus Kids Atelier is really an awesome space and you should definitely see it for yourself. Do pop by and have a tour!

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Trehaus Cowork
442 Orchard Road, #03-01
Singapore 238879
Tel: 9843 8077
Email: enquiries@trehauscowork.com