To Homeschool or Go To School?

The word ‘homeschool’ was foreign to me until AJ was about 3. Many of my church friends started asking whether I would consider homeschooling AJ. Many encouraged me to.

I have been teaching AJ at home since he was 1. Even when I sent him to Kindergarten, he was still doing home learning with me. This has never stopped, we are still doing it.

‘Huh? What is that? You mean the boy does not need to go to school?’ I asked.

Then they started sharing with me what homeschooling is & its benefits.

Back then, the more I found out about it, the more I feared homeschooling. I doubted that I have the patience to teach him 4-5 hours a day & I thought I would not have the energy to do that too. & how do I ensure that the boy would not miss out anything when he is detached from school?

I began to observe many things happening in a Primary School when I started parent volunteer work. The more I observed, the more I am convinced that going to school need not be the way to go. There are several benefits of homeschooling:

(1) Efficient Use of Time – Homeschooling allows the child to learn academic stuff in a shorter time frame because of the personal attention a mother can give. This explains why 1-to-1 tutoring on specific weaker topics is more effective than group tuition.

There is quite a lot of time spent waiting during school hours: waiting during Assembly Time for everyone to arrive, waiting for the teacher to finish disciplining other students before he/she can continue with the lesson, waiting between lessons, etc. All these waiting can be a waste of time.

(2) Imparting of Values – It is much easier for the parents to impart certain values which they hold dear to to their children at home. Homeschooling curriculum can be planned around these values.

(3) Child-Paced Learning – Homeschooling allows the parents to plan the curriculum according to the strength & weaknesses of the child. The curriculum can be highly customized for effective learning rather than a one-for-all structure. The child can choose to take a longer time to master more difficult topics while cruising through other topics that are easier.


While I was battling within myself whether to homeschool AJ or not, I also started to see the positive part of sending him to school when he started Primary 1 this year:

(1) Varieties – Because schools work on shared resources, naturally, they have more things to offer than a typical home could. In school, a child gets to play all sorts of games/sports during physical education (PE) period, participate in speech & drama, exposure to different forms of arts, etc. All these are included in the curriculum, & unless you are wealthy enough to pay separately for private enrichment classes which will cost some money, the schools provide all these at minimal cost.

(2) Social Interaction – The child gets to meet with peers from different background every school day. In a class, the child has to learn to communicate with them & work with them whether he/she likes them or not. This gives the child the opportunity to learn about the kind of society that they live in.

(3) The ‘Me’ Time – Yes, I get my ‘Me’ time when AJ is in school. In that 6 hours, I get to do grocery shopping, prepare meals, have my breakfast & lunch, exercise, do my work, rest, etc. That helps me to keep my sanity.

Weighing all these pros & cons, I would still favour homeschooling. However, AJ loves school. He loves to play & work with his friends in school & as an only child, I must agree that that is important to him. So he goes to public school, but I have told him that he has the option to switch to homeschooling. It may not be now, it may be 3-4 years later, but the option remains open.

Meanwhile, homelearning continues.

RIP Glenn Doman

I was saddened by the news that popped up on my Facebook personal page this evening.



This man, whom I owe AJ's early literacy to, is no longer around.  I do not think I could teach AJ that effectively without knowing his teaching method.  I thank God for leading me to know his contributions, his method of teaching & his passion.

Glenn Doman (GD) was a very gracious person.  He founded The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP)in 1955, a non-profit organisation, to teach parents how to teach their brain-injured children. His teaching method was later used to teach the well children as well because he found out that the well siblings of the brain-injured children have benefited.  You can read more about it here.

This noble man did not want to patent his teaching method because he had wanted this effective method to be shared so that more people could benefit from it.  However, this also resulted the market flooded with so-called flash cards that are either of font size & colour not approved by IAHP or books/cards with words over the pictures. 

Glenn Doman's teaching method was more than just flashing cards, but the merchandise in the market were so watered down that brought much discredit to this great man.  

Many parents who started their children on GD method either did not have the patience to follow through or did not follow exactly what were stipulated & simply brushed it off that it did not work on their children.

I have read all his books thoroughly before I embarked on his method 6 years ago.  I followed what were stipulated closely & I saw great results.  There was such great conviction that his method works that I wanted to take up the distributorship but I was too late.  There is already a sole distributor here in Singapore.

I even thought of sending AJ to the Institute to study till he reaches high school level.  Of course, the cost involved was a barrier.

Though this great man had gone, his works continue & I trust that many souls will continue to benefit from them.  RIP Glenn.




Mastering Multiplication Table (Part I)

This is a guest post on the series of Homelearning Tips shared by me on School of Tutors portal, an online tuition agency.


Your child needs to master the full set of multiplication tables by Primary 3.  It is quite daunting if your child is still struggling with addition and subtraction, and is still using fingers to count.

I am constantly looking out for ways to make learning easier for my son AJ, who is a Primary-school goer.  And so I devised my own method to teach him the multiplication tables, which is what I am going to share with you here.  He is an auditory and visual learner, so this method will probably not suit a child who is a kinesthetic learner.

Please click here to read on.


http://schooloftutors.com/blog/mastering-multiplication-table-part-1/

Are you looking for a home tutor for your child?  Here's $20 voucher code for you if you look for a tutor via School of Tutor.  The voucher is valid for hiring of sports, music or academic tutors on its site & is valid till 31 Aug 2013.  You can use any of these 10 codes as long as it is not used by anyone else. 


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A Little Prayer Book

In attempt to help cultivating a self-praying initiative, I thought I should make a little prayer book for AJ to jot down the things that he should pray for everyday.  Slowly, & hopefully, we could instill in him a self-praying initiative, that he does not need us to pray with him together, that he will bring out this little book, jot down the prayer items & pray all by himself.




Vacation Bible School 13-14 Jun

Do you have any plans for your children this June Holiday?  If your children are available on 13 & 14 June, why not join us for Daily Vacation Bible School at Aloha Changi where your children (4-12 years of age) may have a good time of learning Bible stories, biblical songs, games and craft!

Interested? Click here to see more details.


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[Review] The Volkswagen Touran


During the Mother’s Day weekend, as an ambassador of Rise & Shine, I was invited for a test drive of the Volkswagen (VW) Touran Comfort 1.4 TSI at the MacPherson showroom.

Photo: Rise & Shine

The event was quite well-organised with many families visiting both the showrooms at Alexandra & MacPherson.  Moms, Dads & their children were treated to quick bites of mini burgers, baked potatoes & ice-cream.  The children got to enjoy themselves with food art, golf, colouring, etc. while the moms & dads tested out VW’s fleet of cars.  You can see more pictures of the event here & here.

Photo: Rise & Shine

When it comes to the interior of a car, I am not so particular as long as it is comfortable for the family. What I would expect of an MPV such as separate retractable 3rd row seats to accommodate large items at the back, plenty of reasonably-sized storage pockets, sufficient leg room in the 1st & 2nd row seats, etc., the  VW Touran has them all.

 Photos: Volkswagen

Photos: Volkswagen

The 17” Oakland Alloy Wheels, the Slimmer Headlights that give the Touran a more streamlined look, the Grey-tinted Rear & Side Windows, & the Panoramic Sunroof certainly add to enhancing the aesthetics of VW Touran.

Photos: Volkswagen 

However, the safety aspects of the car are what I like most.  As a mom, I rank safety of the car above all.  While airbags are a must for all cars that I am considering, the VW Touran Comfort 1.4 TSI did impress me with some of its safety features:

(1) ‘Rear Assist’ Reversing Camera which allows me to view the rear space of the car when I do reversing.  It is extremely helpful in tight parallel parking situations & when doing reverse parking into your driveway;
(2) Automatic Dimming Interior Rear View Mirror that automatically dims out annoying high beam headlights from behind;
(3) Rain Sensor that detects rain droplets & turns on the wipers automatically
(4) Automatic Headlight Activation so that I do not even need to meddle with the lights when I go into a multi-storey carpark.

Much to my surprise, this beauty comes with only 1400cc engine.  Thanks to its TSI EcoFuel engine that allows high performance with low consumption.  The car can carry a family of 4 to 5 pretty comfortably, yet it is economical in terms of fuel consumption, road tax & Certification of Entitlement (COE).  The dual clutch gearbox DSG enables changing of gears smoothly without interruption of power flow.  This is what I appreciate most in an automatic gearbox because I would not feel the pull-back when the next gear is engaged while cruising.
                                                
Overall, the VW Touran Comfort 1.4 TSI is quite a darling for a young family.  With its price tag of less than $150,000 & the features it offers, I must agree that it is a very attractive compact MPV.








* This is a sponsored review. All opinions & text are my own.

[Review] Museo - A Contemporary Fusion Dining Experience

Photo: olx.com.sg

How romantic it can be to dine with your date with such a view?  Yes, you can.  Museo (pronounced as Moo-Zay-O), which means museum in Italian, brings to mind fine exhibits by world-renowned art masters, all displayed in an elegant & refined setting.  Incorporating its unique take to the term, Museo has translated the concept into gastronomic treats exquisitely presented with a contemporary twist.  Every single detail of its offerings, as well as interiors atmosphere, down to its lighting, wall displays & musics, are crafted with deliberate care to reflect a fine taste in food & art which all art enthusiasts would appreciate.

Let's take a walk to the restaurant for a closer look. 

Photo: Museo

Outdoor seating
Photo: Museo

Dine with a view
Photo: Museo


Photo: Museo



Photo: Museo


向云, Media Corp's artist, was there when we went that evening

Open concept kitchen


Photo: Museo

We were invited for food tasting by Museo.  It is a very refreshing dining concept: Dine-In-A-Cup.  It is certainly a hit among the young, trendy & sophisticated, who craved intimacy & convenience even when dining more formally.

Chef Yip is the sole genius mastermind behind the conceptualisation of Museo's elaborate food menu.  He has more than 10 years of culinary experience in fusion food.  Some of his signature recommendations are Pan Roast Cod Fillet, Two Way Lamb, Salmon & Red Pesto Spaghetti, just to name a few.  We tried a few of these.

Starter



I am a salad person. I must have my green.

Parma ham is thinly-sliced uncooked dry-cured ham.  Because of the way Parma ham is processed, the texture & flavour are very pleasant.  Parma ham generally goes well with salad as it does not give the salad an overwhelming taste. The accompanied green is crisp & fresh though it will be good if they are cut into smaller pieces to make dishing out easier as it is served in a cup. 

  

The next salad we tried was this.  It is a must try if you like seafood & green.  The saltiness of the smoked salmon is just nice & it blends in very well with the fine asparagus that were wrapped inside.  I can easily order another one but I chose not to as I have to keep my stomach for other food. 



The soup came still steaming hot & we simply love the double-layered glass cup as it has the thermal pot effect, keeping the soup warm for a long while.  This soup is best drunk while it is warm.  The roasted bacon added made the creamy vegetable soup savoury.

Mezzanine


We got to know that Museo named its Mezzanine range after some of the most eminent & celebrated art pieces in the world.  Museo offers its diners free rein in customising their own unique Mezzanine set by choosing 4 of the 12 Mezzanines available for just $39.  You may also choose its Signature consisting of Joys of Life (smoke roasted port-belly served with hot sauce), Smile of Mona Lisa (deep fried camembert cheese served with cranberry sauce), Matisse's God (deep fried silver fish served with hot sauce) & 3 Musicians (soft shell chilli crab served with sweet & savoury tomato-chilli sauce) at $38 

We had Joys of Life, 3 Musicians, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island (chicken satay served with cucumbers & pineapple sauce) & Flaming June (salmon curry with lady fingers).

Joys of Life has lived up to its name.  The fatty meat was well roasted, not oily, yet tasty.  I could not stop munching on it.  It was the first cup, out of the 4, to go empty.

3 Musicians were nice too.  The soft shell crabs were deep fried to give it a crispy bite.

The chicken meat of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island was very tender.  There was no fatty parts, & it was easy to bite & chew on.  The sauce pineapple peanut sauce brought back memories of older days when we ate satay with peanut sauce having real pineapple in it.  I like the pineapple crunch in the peanut sauce.  It is difficult to find such sauce these days.  I am glad that Museo serves that.

The Flaming June reminded me of my mom's fish curry except she used other type of fish & this one was not as spicy as hers.

The Mezzanine set can be a nice meal for 2, coupled with some starters & cocktails if you are not a big eater.

Entrees
  

The shepherd pie was served in a small cup.  Interesting.  The portion was just nice for one person.  The lamb was lovely done, so tender & juicy.


I must have my fish whether it is for lunch, dinner or both. So we had Pan Roasted Cod Fillet.  But in this dish, I would say the scallop is the star.  How lovely if it is more than just 1 :). 


For those into seafood, River Prawns & Linguine will not disappoint you.  The baked cheese prawns sliced into halves were fresh & sweet.  The linguine was nicely cooked with the texture just nice for a good chew.

Desserts


If you like green tea & egg custard, you will like this.  Yes, I like it very much.  It is not too sweet & the brittle caramel topping gave the soft custard a nice crispy bite each spoon you put into your mouth. 


This is Museo's signature dessert, not without reason.  Chocolate lovers will love the warm gooey chocolate that oozed out of the rich chocolate cake.  Please note that sharing is not recommended, you should have the cake all by yourself!

Cocktails
It was a shame that we have only tasted 1 of their 30 cocktails because it was getting really late & that we had to leave.  I order the Alexis, which is something citrus & refreshing.  I should have ordered this before the starter, it is certainly very appetising.

Night view when we left

We love Museo for the ambience, warm service, unique dining experience & great drinks!  It is certainly a great place to hangout with friends or have a nice meal with your date.

Museo
31 Ocean Way #01-22
Quayside Isle
Singapore 098375
Tel: 6734 8066
www.mu-se-o.com

Opening hours:
Sunday to Thursday: 1.30pm to 1am
Friday and Saturday: 1.30pm to 2am



Don't forget to like their Facebook Fanpage too!  
They always update their promotion on their fanpage.  
This is one way you get to be informed of great deals.

* We were invited for food tasting by Museo. All opinions & text are my own.

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Bay East Cycling Route

As you may have known it by now, we are quite into exploring cycling routes around our place.   Let me share with you another of our favourite cycling route - from Geylang River to Marina Reservoir.  A cool 6km ride one-way!



The beauty of this route is:
(1) It is safe. The entire route is on a park connector.  No crossing of busy roads is needed, with the exception of crossing 1 overhead bridge that has ramp for bicycles;

(2) You will get to immerse yourself in the lush of green at Kampong Arang area, the peace & tranquility is beyond description; 



(2) You will get to admire the posh condominiums along Tanjong Rhu Road, drooling away; 



(3) You will enjoy the scene of Singapore Flyer & Marina Bay Sand on the opposite; 



(4) The road along Gardens by the Bay East will lead you to Marina Bridge, where you could take a panoramic shot like I did with my Android phone; 



(5) & lastly, you will arrive at Marina Barrage.  You could continue the cycling journey in Gardens by the Bay South, but we would stop here. 

Are you into cycling like me?  Would you like to join me for a ride?


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Favourite Cycling Route to Favourite Food Outlet

Hans @ Paya Lebar Trinity Church is 1 of our favourite hangout places when we could not think of where else to go for a meal.  It is 1 of the more family friendly restaurants I have come across.

We would usually bring AJ to cycle or scoot from our place.  It is a good workout for him considering that it is about 4km to & fro.


 AJ cycling while mom is on her bike taking photo

The father managed to catch up.

I have attached the route we usually take here.  We would cut through Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) to Circuit Road via an overhead bridge to get to the park connector along Pelton Canal, above Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE).  It is also 1 of our favourite cycling/scooting routes too.



There are few reasons why we like Hans @ Paya Lebar Trinity Church.  Here are 5 to start with:

(1) It is not crowded
Yup, it is not crowded on weekdays or even weekends when there are no church activities.  We went there today (May Day) & it was pretty empty.


(2) There are ample seating
Because of its size, Hans in this location has plenty of seats.  When there is no crowd, yet with plenty of seats to choose from, you can be sure you can dine in peace.


 Almost empty


 There is outdoor seating too!

(3) The place is spacious
The church premise is huge, it has a lot of space for the children to explore & play.




Huge outdoor space

(4) Reasonable quality at reasonable price
I think you would concur with me that the food in Hans is nothing to shout about.  For that price we pay (which is only slightly above food court prices), the food there is considered of reasonable standard.


Grilled Fish for AJ, Salmon & Green Pepper for the father & Vegetarian Hor Fun for me

(5) There is free WiFi
Oh, a bonus here is that there is free WiFi.  So you can bring your notebook along to work, tablets/smartphones to surf & play without having to pay data charges.

The boys like to play Secret Code while waiting for their food to be served.  Today, the father came out with this that almost killed half of our brain cells.  We managed to crack the code with a hint graciously given by the father.  Do you want to take up the challenge to break the code?

Guess the alphabets for the Triangle & the Question Mark.
Hint: the Question Mark is a vowel, & it represents any vowels.


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