Mar Hols: Kids Cook, Create and Catch Up with Work!

How was your March Holidays? Having this hols meant a great deal to me. As I take a break from my job as a teacher and wear my mummy teacher hat at home. I had much more energy to refocus on the kids’ basic routine. As A is now in P3, the jump in standard became evident after 1 term. He struggles with the higher standards/expectations which requires much effort on his part than before. It resulted in a ‘denial’ to learn phase because it was ‘difficult’. His ‘cruising’ days are over. As I had limited capacity after work in Term 1, I did not pay much attention to his studies and trusted him to work independently. After discovering his struggles, it was time to help him through this transition period and regain some confidence. We spent the mornings creating illustrations from the bible, catching up on studies and left the rest of the day free and easy with play, trip to the library, watching television, reading and resting.

Our daily routine consist of –

Morning devotional time, spending time on reading and this time, illustrating our favourite verses. In between breaks, boys play their ping pong squash game and jiggle about in the house. I don’t allow reading as it defeats the purpose of an eye break from studying.

        CREATE

Ta-Dah! The week’s devotional illustrations.

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CATCH UP

Catch up on kids’ school learning till afternoon.

As science is a new subject, it requires a lot of content knowledge and specific skills in answering questions. I went through with A, a few of his practice tests corrections thoroughly to check his understanding. I also started a few weeks ago, on using post-it notes to write down key definitions or important content he had learnt in his textbook. By the end of each chapter, the  textbook has a ‘mapped out’ chart for them to summarise the chapter. We then used all his notes to do a simple mind map of the chapter following the chart.

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This helped him learn how to pick out definitions and important information. Instead of just copying the ‘mapped out’ chart from the textbook, this post-it notes forces him to review his facts. The act of arranging his post-it notes under the relevant categories in a mind map imparts a practical skill in sorting. As he does that, the mind-map/ chart summary becomes more meaningful with his additional written content. When he needs to do his revision, he can go through these macro perspective at a glance in a ‘chart/map’ with ease. All the effort taken in the process above thus helps him internalise the mind map.

Additional examples or notes can also be added along the way if he comes across similar ideas/concepts related to his mind map. The beauty of mind-mapping is in its sheer capacity to be as simple or complex as a topic warrants. For now there’s a lot of words in a bid to beef content. Once he gets the idea, he can use drawings/symbols etc. to make his mind map work for him.

We finally plowed through 4 chapters in the hols and ‘caught up’ with his current lessons in school. Instead of merely practising assessments, I wish to impart studying skills for the kids’ future self-revision purposes. We wish to encourage self-study and active paying attention in class. My hubby and I feel that our role is to support them by providing the environment, instilling values and imparting life skills. The specific content or academic assessments should be taken care by the school. We do not wish to let our children depend on us or tuition for ‘teaching’ what should be paid attention for in class.

Having said that, we are also open to tuition if in future they cannot cope with a subject and fails badly after trying their best. For now, we are content to let them learn through trial and error. Suitable assessment practices will come in only if they grasp the basic concepts in their daily work.

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Both boys resist a lot in learning their chinese. Instead of doing assessments, which requires every ounce of my attention with them, I taught them how to revise their Textbook and activity books after school. It is basically just going through what teacher has taught, covering the Han Yu Pin Yin, they will read and check for words they do not know, write it out on an exercise book and learn the new words. I will try to check and review with them those words. For J, his flashcards came in handy. As the kids are used to my strategy of teaching, he automatically draws and illustrates his own interpretation of the word to aid memory. This brought great comfort as he effectively recognises the words in a jiffy! Instead of fearing to learn ‘tough’ words, now he welcomes chinese revision cheerfully! Imagine my relief and delight! Sometimes, his drawing is ‘unorthodox’ but as long as he learns his character and knows the meaning in context, who cares? ; p

e.g. 新 – He wrote behind the card- as Singapore 新加坡- Xingapore. New.

原 yuan (2) – he drew a circle to represent the same sound as 圆圈, thus helping him to remember the pronunciation. However, he was able to tell me it is 原来的原。

Having said that, I started this chinese revision habit since December. We finally had a breakthrough in J’s attitude only after a whole term of working at their textbook. This is only 1 subject, and a simple task. But with this in place, we can slowly make our way to other subjects and areas to lay the habit to independent study.

The hols is really just 3 – 4 short 30mins session of completing school homework and revision of the above with a 15mins break.

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As for my girl, I only managed to do our lapbook series on ‘How to make an apple pie and see the world’ with her since my focus was on the boys. We had a good session of learning about the different seasons of an apple tree. We also made apples from air-dried clay using a real stalk that we saved from our treats. For the details of the four seasons in the below chinese characters, do check out on my instagram Here.

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Short daily Playground time and Cycling at Sports Hub during weekend.

Precious playground time with all 3 playing together! I marvel at how they have grown. Now, their tiny hands and feet are long enough to hang and swing independently….

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We also had friends’ company and the great celebration of my sister’s birthday! The boys developed a keen interest in cooking and they have been pestering to help me cook since the beginning of the year, so I had to satisfy them. We brainstormed the below and cooked up a storm.

COOK

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  1. J and E made a batch of muffins with me from measuring the weight of each ingredients, to cracking an egg which J succeeded in this attempt (see in this Instagram video). E had her first try in slicing up the mushrooms and stirring the tomato soup. However, the heat was not welcomed by her and she gave up after a few minutes.

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2. A did his first batch of muffin all by himself from scratch reading the recipe book. In between, there were spills and a cracked egg in his palm which he had to clear up before continuing. I taught him how to place all the necessary ingredients orderly in a tray to aid efficiency and clarity of the baking steps. While clearing up the messy table of flour and coconut oil, he exclaimed,’ Whoa, I didn’t know how tiring it is to cook!’ With that, I smiled and added that he still has to wash the mess in the sink. But because he has other siblings, he only needed to wash up half of the load. This gave him much relief!

He was also in charge of the red potatoes – wash, boil, cut and marinate before popping into the preheated oven. This time, he only helped cut the beef and tried placing the beef into the scorching pan squirming. I took over the frying from there. I loved the chopping of garlic by Julia Child’s method as it is so safe and easy to do! See how A does it in this short instagram video Here.

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3. J rose to the occasion by using the real sharp paring knife to slice the capsicums. I was really afraid of a bleeding finger but thank God for steadying the nimble hands. His boundless energy was used on opening of the tomato cans. Both J and E carefully bundled the bacon capsicums and Kale in pretty bunches ready for baking and spread the garlic paste onto the baguette slices.

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4. On our part, we made a simple turnip and kudzu root soup base to be used as stock for the sautéed yellow onions in teriyaki sauce. We had worked since 2.30pm till 6pm and the children were understandably worn out. I handled the rest of the sauteed asparagus and mushrooms while my helper completed the tomato soup.

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5. The result was a labour of our Yeows’ love presented to the kids’ aunties! They were of course as all aunts do, full of praise for their efforts and the kids devoured their food like a pack of wolves enjoying their own hunt!

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On hindsight, I was a bit too ambitious to do everything in 1 day. I could have prepared the muffins the day before to ease the burden of cooking so many things simultaneously. Nontheless, it was all worthwhile when i witness how each child takes up their tasks with much enthusiasm and a joyful spirit! Kids also experienced the time and energy taken to prepare a full meal to bless their aunts and thank especially Da Yee for her generous love to the Yeows! I hope with more of such cooking, they will be a hospitable host in their future homes. I started cooking with them since young and they did a bolognese meal then.

How did you spend your holidays?

I am thankful and content for this ordinary but fruitful holidays to spend with the family. We are now ready for a fresh term to roll!

Let’s Rock and Roll Term Two!

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13 comments

  1. You are a good teacher to your kids! I like your creative ideas to teach each subject and your kids can keep up with morning reading! Kudos to you! My kids start and stop and recently start again on reading, meaning now they read everywhere in the house. It really takes a good book to entice them to read. I hope your health is much better and enjoy the time spent at home with the kids 🙂

    • Awww… So sweet of you Christy! Thank you for your concern. Am doing better just have to slowly build up my stamina in juggling in and out of home. : ) As you said, it’s a habit to read since young, so it’s part of their lifestyle. You are also doing great, inspiring your children to read as you model it for them! It’s not easy, but once the habit maintains, it’ll be with them : ) Thanks for taking time to pop by!!

    • Cool! It needn’t be a big thing, can start small, like chopping or the likes so it won’t be too stressful? : ) Most importantly, have fun!! Thanks for letting me know! Look forward to your posts on cooking. : )

  2. Sounds like a fun and fulfilling holiday. Nice to have your kid help in the kitchen. I’ve been trying to get my girl to help fry the pancakes but even then she’s afraid of the heat. Hope you had a good break from school as well 🙂

    • Yes, it is nice haha but also energy consuming! I see. Perhaps she prefers baking? Cooking is such a lot of steps, I think once they are confident in a few steps, the frying can come in when they’re ready? I guess what motivates my kids are the fact – they can choose the food they really want to cook and Eat them! ; P It was a good break from work for me. Hope you had fun too! Always delightful to have you pop by.

  3. […] Instead of the extreme, if ‘I cannot do it’ and give up mentality, he is now willing to give it a try until he gets it right, or approach for help for the setback/problem faced. This recent month nearing the exams, he stepped up in his own revision without my nagging or prompting. He also tackled his weakest subject (science) daily  in the systematic way I taught him. He used to detest this new subject and escaped doing many papers until I discovered his struggles. […]

  4. […] Instead of the extreme, if ‘I cannot do it’ and give up mentality, he is now willing to give it a try until he gets it right, or approach for help for the setback/problem faced. This recent month nearing the exams, he stepped up in his own revision without my nagging or prompting. He also tackled his weakest subject (science) daily  in the systematic way I taught him. He used to detest this new subject and escaped doing many papers until I discovered his struggles. […]

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