Re-adjusting…we’re back!

Autumn-New-Zealand-Homeschool-Crafts.jpg

Hello!! Did you miss us?

It’s good to reclaim some normalcy in my life. We’ve had an adventure in the land of the long white cloud…6 weeks in New Zealand…in a camper van! Continue reading Re-adjusting…we’re back!

Advertisements

Dear SAHM, you impact the world…

Children running with the wind.

When I made the decision to be a stay-home mom, I was terrified and clueless. I wondered if my time at home was worthwhile (I still do at times). Most say, leaving your job before 30 is career suicide.

Like many young women, I had dreams of making a difference for God. Going into the marketplace and impact the world for His glory. Isn’t that what we often hear from the pulpit?

Instead of important business meetings and nailing that presentation, my priorities become getting through today’s Chinese lesson and laundry while also buying groceries and Popsicle sticks for my kid’s craft.

I start to feel like my all-consuming tasks aren’t very important…

How can I use my gift to serve Him? How can I be missional as a SAHM?

True, I’m making a difference in my family. However, can I impact MORE than just my family?

Yes, you can.

Continue reading Dear SAHM, you impact the world…

What We Do on a Rainy Day

It’s wet, wet, WET throughout this week (and more to come). Here are some things that keep us occupied while staying dry. 😉

Create a story box

Story boxes are a great tool to allow children be their own storyteller. They encourage creativity, imaginative play and literacy development. It can be a scene from your child’s favourite story book, a show, or anything they imagine!

Things needed: any empty boxes, paint, crepe paper, paint and any craft materials you find at home.

Story-box-play-scenes

Continue reading What We Do on a Rainy Day

Dealing with Late Talking and Sensory Processing

Dealing-With-Late-Talking-And-Sensory-Processing-Homeschool-Crafts.jpg

It’s almost 2 months since Elijah’s visit to the ENT specialist (read here).  He has been interacting with us a lot more and picking up new vocabulary; though his pronounced words aren’t clear.

After much reading about toe-walking and late talking, I thought I’d post some of the resources we’ve used and references I’ve found most helpful.  I hope it’ll be of use to someone reading this. Continue reading Dealing with Late Talking and Sensory Processing

Read Aloud Books by Karen Kingsbury: Father-Daughter / Mother-Son Bond

Daddys-Princess-Book-Review-Karen-Kingsbury-Homeschool-Crafts.jpg

Does your little girl look to her Daddy as if he’s her superhero? Does your little boy make footprints in your heart?

Written by Karen Kingsbury, this set of books make a lovely read for your little boy and girl. I love the fact that there’s one for little boys and their mother, and another for little girls and their father. It is especially useful for us! Continue reading Read Aloud Books by Karen Kingsbury: Father-Daughter / Mother-Son Bond

Heritage Fest 2016

Heritage-Fest-2016-Aliwal-St-Homeschool-Crafts.jpg

A belated May blog post on Heritage Fest 2016, Singapore.

Running its 13th year, Singapore HeritageFest brings to the public the diverse cultural heritage of this little city. From food trails to music recitals to experiencing Singapore’s last living kampong; Pulau Ubin. There’s something for everyone.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s our first year participating in Heritage Fest. We managed to catch two programmes:

Aliwal Arts Centre Open House

Heritage-Fest-2016-Aliwal-Arts-Centre-Homeschool-Crafts.jpg

Through the workshops, we learned various traditional art forms, such as the Malay dance by DIAN dancers and Chinese opera by Nam Hwa Opera.

Hannah liked the pretty DIAN dancers so much that she wanted to take a picture with them.

Heritage-Fest-2016-Chinese-Opera-Homeschool-Crafts.jpg

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that Hannah is a big fan of Chinese opera. She was excited to watch the opera up close!

We found out how opera singers use gestures, facial expressions and their props to express the emotions of the characters portrayed.

Here’s one opera-related activity you could do with your little one. Be sure to read these two (here, here) wonderful books on Chinese opera too!

Romance, Hope and Dreams @ Velocity, Novena Square

Heritage-Fest-2016-Weddings-Singapore-Homeschool-Crafts.jpg

Like most little girls, Hannah loves weddings! Ask her about the weddings she attended, and she’ll rattle off the names of the couple, and colour of the evening gowns those brides wore.

“Romance, Hope and Dreams” was the perfect exhibition for her to learn about the meanings of traditional wedding practices and beliefs of different ethnic communities.

Every traditional wedding ceremony had been modelled with clay.  See how intricate they are? They remind me of Alexandra Bruel’s clay pop art. Amazing.

Singapore HeritageFest happens from April to May every year. Be sure to check out www.heritagefest.sg for their latest happenings.

Late Talking: Looking Beyond the Mom Guilt and Whys

Over the past 5 months, our family struggled with a myriad of emotions.

My son who just turned 20 months hasn’t been speaking much. A lot of moms tell me that boys just develop at a slower pace. A part of me thought I was simply paranoid.

But something didn’t seem right when Elijah who was calling “Daddy”, “Mama”, “Jie Jie” (big sister in Chinese) suddenly stopped calling and spoke nothing.  He points to what he wants and scream when we don’t get him. He often try to drag us to the places he wants to go and grab our hands to show us what he wants.

As the main caregiver, one could imagine the kind of questions that went through my mind.

“Was it because of a head injury?” Elijah has always been an active child. He’s always climbing, running and prying into things.

“Could it be something I ate?” I wondered if the sashimi or caffeine I took affected my milk.

“Did I not pay enough attention to him?” The grandparents said this when they noticed Elijah’s lack of words.

A month ago, I finally had the courage to bring him to a friend who is a speech therapist for evaluation. She recommended some exercises to do with him, as she noticed he had difficulty focusing his attention.

Following that, I did more research.  I was now in “panic” mode. The red flags stated for Autism, Apraxia and ADD were relatively similar to Elijah’s situation.

I started to dread bedtime because my mind would try to reason for an answer in the stillness of the night. I was weary physically and spiritually. My pillow soaked in tears each night.

I had naturally assumed that talking would come quickly for Elijah because Hannah started talking early. By 18 months, she was already communicating fluently with us.

While I kept searching for the “why’s”, I persisted with my home exercises with Elijah. Things didn’t seem to improve after nearly a month. In fact, it seemed worse. He had more meltdowns and with that my firstborn felt left out. She started acting out more.

I tried to tell her that I needed more one-on-one time with her brother. Though it surely ain’t easy for someone whose love language is quality time to accept this.

She feels that Elijah is robbing away her time with her mother. And sometimes wish for her brother to go away. My heart broke when I heard those words.

Late talking: Siblings

I’m on my knees everyday. Asking for an answer. Praying for more love and understanding within the family. I couldn’t understand what God wanted us to learn.  I couldn’t understand why a perfect God allowed imperfection to enter into our lives. I am drained. I’ve ran out of logic.

By end of 3 weeks, I decided to bring Elijah to an ENT specialist to have his hearing checked.

The session was expensive because we didn’t seek a referral. But I knew I shouldn’t delay things. This nagging feeling of having his ears checked have been on my mind.

It turns out that it was a right decision. Elijah has impacted ear wax in both ears which affects his hearing (approx 10-20 decibels). We had the ear wax removed; terrifying experience for Elijah.

He then went for a hearing test. Results were positive. He has no hearing problems. The ENT specialist recommended a developmental pediatrician to evaluate Elijah’s development.

In the meantime, the husband reminded me of the upcoming church retreat in 2 weeks time.  I wasn’t looking forward to it having much dissonance within.

A week before we left for Malaysia, Elijah called out “Papa”.  My husband and I stared at each other in amazement.  He finally spoke something again!

I waited expectedly for more words. Nothing came.

The theme for our retreat was “Love Beyond Reason”. Dr. Peter Tan-chi of Christ’s Commission Fellowship was one of the guest speakers.  His sermons resonated most with us.  His sharing about his daughter’s tragedy; of pain and restoration were inspiring and compelling.

Did I receive a word from God during the camp?  No.  But I’m beginning to understand what Mother Teresa said:

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

Mother Teresa

I do not know how our journey will unfold; how God will write Elijah’s life story.  Please pray together with us while we cling on to God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

P/s: Elijah called “Mama” on the third day of our retreat, right after our service!  His every word spoken becomes so precious to me…

Happy Mother’s Day 2016

Happy Mother's Day 2016

Every year, on Mother’s Day, we thank our mothers for their selflessness and love. Although, we mothers, often question our choices and how we fall short of the idealistic image of a perfect mom.

Just a couple of days ago, a friend and I lamented about the weariness of raising a family.  We wondered why we chose to leave our careers and raise children who drive us insane.  There are times when we are envious of yummy mummies who get to dress up, wear high heels and still have time to head to the gym while we, in sweat-soaked tees, chase after monkeys children in our Mary Janes.

It is an intense period of hard work: physically, mentally and emotionally.  Often sleep deprived, we continue to entertain the little people in chirpy voices, singing the same song every time they say: “Sing again, Mama! We want to hear it.” and reading the same story until we’re able to rattle off every sentence without looking at the page.

On top of that, we handle “Hulk” moments a.k.a. spontaneous meltdowns and skilful negotiations.

Throw in cleaning, washing, cooking and picking up Lego pieces.

All these at an average of 12 hours a day. Every day.

Clearly, this isn’t going to end anytime soon.  So what’s a mother to do?

God reminds me that my children are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalms 139:14)

Look past the “Hulk” moments, the fidgeting as if they had ants in their pants, and past the “you can’t catch me…” even though you specifically told them to stop…

Those little hands and legs….their heart….them.

They are God’s masterpieces.

Fearfully and wonderfully made
Source: Darlene Schacht (Time-warp Wife)

It is extremely difficult to keep thinking the good when faced with a terrible, no good, very bad day.  It’s almost impossible to think that your child is God’s masterpiece when he/she is screaming right in your face.

The good news is, we aren’t to do everything on our own.  God promises us to be the source of help. (Psalms 73:26)  God is faithful. He will never give us more than what we can bear. (1 Cor 10:13)

God is the strength of my heart
Source: be-the-change via model me girl

As for my friend and I, we concluded we would make the very same choices, when given a second chance.

So why bother having such a conversation when the choice remains clear?  I’m not sure.  Perhaps, it’s just one of those things we had to talk it out of our system. 🙂

To you, weary mom who ask yourself the same question and yet raise your children anyway, Happy Mother’s Day!

Not forgetting you, yummy mummy, Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day 2016

 

Why We Homeschool

Why-We-Homeschool-Preschool-Singapore-Homeschool-Crafts

Every Chinese New Year, we are asked this question: Is Hannah attending school?  And when I tell people that she’s not attending a kindergarten or a childcare centre, they’ll naturally ask why homeschool?

My reasons to people are never quite complete.  I’ve learned to give different reasons to different people; mainly to avoid further questioning or run into a debate about homeschooling (or what’s best for my children).

Anyway, I’m penning down my reasons for homeschooling so as to remind myself why I grit my teeth and soldier on through those hair-pulling days (with a capital ‘S’).

It all started when Hannah around 16 months old.  After being a stay-home mom for nearly 3 months, I was kind of bored at home with a toddler (I truly had no idea how blissful life was then…)  Then I met up with a friend who homeschool her children.  The word, “homeschool” was really something new yet exciting to me.

After much research (…prayers, self-doubt and worry), we embarked our homeschooling journey when most of Hannah’s peers start to attend childcare or play groups.

Why-We-Homeschool-Preschool-3-Homeschool-Crafts

::  Learn together  ::

Homeschooling has showed me God’s world with fresh perspective.  It’s clearly evident that I don’t know a lot of things.  I thoroughly enjoy researching and discovering the new with Hannah.

I find it such privilege to be by my children when they start reading for the first time, or see their faces go “A-HA!” when they finally understood a concept.

Learning together with my children has taught me how to rely on God for wisdom and direction.  It has taught me to dig deeper into His word and to realise the marvellous creation He has made.

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

::  Learn at our own pace  ::

It’s generally acknowledged that school stress hits both children and parents in Singapore.   The number of hours put into enrichment classes and assessment worksheets just throws me off.

I hope to hold back the pressure for as long as I can.  We want our children to look at the world around with wonder and intrigue.  They are allowed to develop at their pace, not by peers or stated benchmarks.  We are created uniquely so why are we expected to perform uniformly?

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:13-14

Why-We-Homeschool-Preschool-2-Homeschool-Crafts

::  Grow as a family  ::

A relationship with a sibling is probably the longest relationship you’ll ever have.  Homeschooling has allowed the siblings to bond through tears and laughter.  They are still learning how to share and get along with each other.  Lots of squabbles and “..I was playing with this first…” But you know what?  It’s really something when you see them walking hand in hand.

A friend loveth at all times; And a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

::  Faith begins at home  ::

Life lessons cannot be found in textbooks but demonstrated by deeds and actions.  Christ should not be only found in Sunday School but in our daily lives.  People have jokingly said, “Are you thinking of raising a pastor?”

I’d say, “Why not?”  I don’t want my children to think of Bible stories as fairy tales that took place in Neverland.  What’s recorded in the Bible is true.  It happened for real.

Homeschooling allows us to recognise the truth of God.  If we don’t start now, then when?

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy  6:7-9

Why-We-Homeschool-Singapore-Preschool-Homeschool-Crafts

Having said all this, I don’t have everything mapped out.  I don’t know if I’m homeschooling through the primary school years.  It’s unnerving to have the weight of your children’s education upon your shoulders.

We are taking each year as it comes.  Our family schedule is ever changing.  But one thing’s for sure: No regrets taking this plunge!

Picture This: Community in Bloom (Queenstown Library)

Community-In-Bloom-Queenstown-Library-Main-Homeschool-Crafts

Maintaining a garden seemed almost impossible.  Like more than 80% of Singapore residents, we live in an HDB flat. That means limited space. It doesn’t help that our apartment receives little sunlight too. (Does it sound like I’m living in a cave?  LOL!)

When I discovered Queenstown Library’s Community in Bloom project, I quickly signed ourselves up!

Community-In-Bloom-Queenstown-Library-Singapore-Homeschool-Crafts

We attended a session run by a fellow homeschooling mom.  It was nice spending the morning, tending the community garden with other homeschooling families.

The session began with a short storytelling.  Then the kids went on to dig into the earth and pluck weeds.

Community-In-Bloom-Queenstown-Library-Singapore-2-Homeschool-Crafts

It was conducted in a casual manner with minimal supervision.  So if you’re a beginner gardener, this might be for you. 🙂

Useful things to bring:

1. Hat and Sunscreen: The children will be out in the sun all the time. It happened to be cloudy when these photos were taken.

2. Mosquito patch: I’m a mosquito magnet so this was my must-have.

3. Extra clothing: Children will feel more comfortable after a change especially when the dirt gets on them everywhere.

4. Watering can/trowel: Bring a watering can or trowel, if possible. There weren’t enough watering cans to go around that day.

Community-In-Bloom-Queenstown-Library-Singapore-3-Homeschool-Crafts

Join the Community in Bloom project:

Day: Alternate Saturdays, from 2 Jan 2016
Time: 11.30am to 12.30pm
Venue: Activity zone at Queenstown Library, 
              53 Margaret Drive, Singapore 149297