Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kidzania! Again!

We visited Kidzania again thanks buffafly who gave us vouchers for 50% off the published entry rates. Evan & Marissa went to Air Asia first to work as pilots and air cabin staff. After earning some Kidzos, they went over to the KPJ Hospital. Evan joined the surgical team - learning about the effects of smoking and performed a surgical procedure. Marissa went to the paediatric ward where she worked as a staff nurse bathing the babies and feeding them! Then she went into another room where she performed an endoscopy.

Then they went to a few factories within the same floor : the pic below shows the Dell computer factory - for older kids. They also visited the Vitagen factory - and after the visit, each received a Vitagen drink. Evan also visited the Seamaster water bottling factory and the Oreo cookie factory. He received a bottle of Seamaster mineral water and a mini pack of Oreo's.

 Evan & Lewis (a boy whom he met earlier at the hospital)

Since it's almost lunch time, I brought them to ground floor to learn how to make sushi at Sushi King. Here they spent some of their hard-earned Kidzos for the class and after that, get to bring back a box of their creations - which we ate immediately at the seating area right outside Sushi King. There's also a small shop selling expensive snacks (all food here is expensive) beside Sushi King.

After fueling up, the kids went over to the construction site. Evan worked as a window cleaning guy (pics below) and also worked at the construction site laying bricks. Then both of them worked as painters - using Nippon paint.

Marissa got all dolled up at the beauty salon! She had a make-over and hair-do done there. She didn't do her nails though.

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At Z-Mart just beside the construction site, Evan worked as the cashier while his friend Lewis was a shopper there.

Evan & Lewis together again working with Tenaga Nasional berhad - helping out the technician fix a street lamp.

Evan & Marissa both went to the fire station and helped put out the fire at the hotel. The fire station is highly popular - usually there's a queue.

Another popular attraction at Kidzania  - the spy training center: Evan was brave enough to jump down from this 2-storey building with a safety cord as part of the 'training'.

Marissa went over to Marrybrown where she joined other children in a hands-on burger making activity. Of course, we ate the burger as soon as it was prepared!

Evan & Marissa also worked at the petrol station as pump attendants, earning 8 Kidzos each. Evan also worked as a Poslaju courier guy. 

With all the Kidzos earned from this trip and the balance from the first trip, Evan went into the department store and spent it on a toy worth 220 Kidzos. Marissa also got to choose a toy from the smaller toy shop where everything is 50 Kidzos. Last stop before we left was the photo station where I paid RM20 each for a photos of Evan and Marissa. Then we left just before 4pm (it was Ramadhan hence it closes earlier than the usual 5pm). A most fun trip and looking forward to our 3rd trip (don't know when!) to explore other activities e.g. acting academy, journalist, newscaster, judge etc.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Happy 7th Birthday Evan

Evan turned 7 yesterday - 18th August 2012!
*sniff* my 'baby' is growing up so fast! 
He had a mini birthday celebration during his music appreciation class ahem! surrounded by pretty girls! Apparently, the boys were absent.... Anyway, I baked a butter cake with vanilla bean frosting in the shape of a keyboard plus 7 choc cupcakes.

A week later at the ballet school, Evan had another mini celebration with the pretty ballerinas in his class. This time I made sets of 2 cupcakes each, with ballet slippers and shimmery tutus. The girls were in awe of their treat! I also made a set of 4 Nutcracker ballet-themed cupcakes which were presented as a gift to Evan's ballet instructor : Ms. Alice.

Finally, another mini celebration during CG with a set of 6 Mr Men/Little Miss cupcakes! Evan is posing with Mr Birthday in the pic above. My dear boy shared his birthday wish with us... that he wishes to do everything well.... which reminds me of this verse from the bible i.e. Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men
My prayer for him is that he will grow up knowing, loving and serving God with all his heart.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In-House Concert

It's the last day of Term 2 at Anne Perreau's Music School. As usual, parents were treated to a series of in-house concerts. To kick off the series, the first session of in-house concerts started early in the morning at 9:20am. Evan was scheduled to perform in the first session.

I was so excited and nervous that I forgot that I was holding the camera in my hand! Managed to snap a photo and record the last part of his performance! It was a piano duet with his teacher entitled "A Happy Song".

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our Homeschool Curriculum

We use a variety of resources/curriculum in our homeschool program.

History/Geography/Language Arts(English):
Hubby and I chose Sonlight's curriculum for Evan as it's essentially, a literature-based curriculum whereby there's a lot of reading done from books both fiction & non-fiction.

I purchased Sonlight's Core B program with Grade 2 readers and also their Language Arts for Grade 2 Instructor Guide. Basically the core program is 'Intro to World History'. It includes an Instructor Guide, books and CD. The core program covers History, Bible study, Geography and Reading. The Language Arts Instructor Guide is basically English Language based on the books in the core program. 

Bible Study/Devotion: We've been using various books and children's bible for devotion with the kids.

Science: We purchased Biology I from Noeo Science. The program includes an Instructor Guide, books and experiment kits. It covers topics like weather, animals and the human body. Chemistry I and Physics I will follow. However, Evan learns a lot of Science just by watching and reading The Magic Schoolbus series. We also just started using Apologia's Junior Notebooking Journal on the human body and Ein-O's Science kits.

Math: I purchased Singapore syllabus Math textbooks & workbooks (1B & 2A) from the Discover Math series at University Bookstore (S.14 PJ). Popular @ IPC also carries the same books but with 10% off for members. We also use AOP's Horizon Math which I find very systematic and easy to understand. So far, Evan has completed Maths Grade 1 and is now in Grade 2. Marissa is also doing Horizon Math at K level.

Bahasa Malaysia: This is one tough nut to crack. Not much good literature around.... only workbooks which are so boring. So, for the moment, BM takes a back seat. 

Mandarin: I managed to get some nice picture books with large Chinese characters from MPH and Popular. I purchased Rosetta Stone's Chinese Language program for homeschool, Levels 1-3. So far, Evan has shown interest in learning Chinese. For me, the goal is to be able to appreciate Chinese culture and also learn basic conversational Mandarin. Reading - at least basic characters will be good enough. Probably may consider sending Evan & Marissa for some Chinese language edudrama program next year.

Art & Crafts: Evan's favourite subject. We do some art projects on and off. Evan and Marissa also enrolled in Joy Arts Center for arts & crafts (10 lessons) under a Groupon promotion. They will be going for a workshop on abstract art painting during the Raya break.

Sports: Evan has swimming lessons every week. The kids also love going to the play gyms. Other sports which we intend to do is cycling - after they graduate from scootering. Evan will also be going for trial classes in fencing. I also intend to enrol him for gymnastics & football next year if time/budget permits.

Music: Evan started his music appreciation classes at Ann Perreau's in February. He also started his piano lessons in May at Ann Perreau's as well. We also attended a series of concerts at the MPO and will continue to do so. I intend to start Marissa on music classes next year.

Dance: Marissa is joining baby ballet at STSDS while Evan continues with his Primary ballet syllabus. This year, we managed to attend 2 ballet concerts at Istana Budaya and a ballet appreciation session at the Esplanade Singapore.

Speech/Drama/Theatre: We joined Gardner & Wife (see previous post) as members. So far, we've enjoyed 2 theatre shows at PJ Live Arts. Evan & Marissa were both attending Blubrick's Speech & Drama classes at Hobby Hop In for a term (10 weeks). After that, they continued at KLPAC for a term of 10 weeks. 2nd term is scheduled to resume in September.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Homeschooling FAQs

A lot of friends and family have enquired about which school that Evan is attending.
When the question is directed to Evan, he will reply "homeschool." (HS)
We decided on HS because we feel that it's the best way for Evan.

This is an FAQ of some of the questions we've encountered.

Q: Are you sending Evan to a homeschool centre? or are you guys teaching him, yourselves?
A: 'Homeschooling' in a centre is akin to private schooling. In the truest sense, HS means parents educate their child(ren) at home (as well as outside our homes), rather than at a public or private learning institution. So, we are the main educators for our children. Thus, Evan stays at home instead of heading to a centre.

Q: By homeschooling, can Evan take public exams and enter university later?
A: This will depend on what he is interested to do in future. Of course, if he is interested to take up a course at a local university, he can sit for the SPM or STPM as a private candidate. Anyway, you don't need a university degree to be successful in life or to earn megabucks. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg is an example! Evan can choose to go to seminary or university - either way his choice will be dependant on his passion. By homeschooling, we hope to help him discover his passion. 

Q: Isn't HS boring for Evan? He won't have many friends at all.
A: Evan gets to socialize with people of all ages wherever he goes. There's church, cell group, ballet class, music school, field trips with homeschoolers etc. So, I am not too worried. Plus, HS will not be boring cos I've got lots of activities planned and lots of field trips in store too!

Q: Is HS legal?
A: Yes HS is legal in Malaysia. The Education Act 1996 states that primary education is compulsory and parents or guardians who do not send their children to school nor educate them in any way will be fined. Homeschoolers need to apply for school exemption from the Ministry of Education. However, more often than not, their applications are not successful. The authorities will allow HS for children who travel a lot with their parents due to the nature of their work and also if the child is gifted or has a learning disorder. Even with permission to HS, parents and guardians must ensure that the child is taught the KBSM syllabus and a progress report must be submitted.

Q: What's wrong with our schools now? We all went through the system and turned out OK.
A: Instead of elaborating on this, perhaps it's better if I just include the links to 2 talks by Sir Ken Robinson. The main points in the talks are:
- education in schools as we know it are outdated & outmoded. 
- traditional schooling do not cater for individual learning styles or take into account their talents, giftings and inclinations.
- schools and universities do not prepare our kids for the unpredictable future (the new world and new economy). 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Pretty Flower Girl!

Marissa was one of the flower girls at a church wedding recently.  She walked down the aisle hand-in-hand with little Emma, without any glitches! I was so proud of her!

The flower girl dresses were purchased by the bride from Flower Girl Boutique, 1 Utama. They stock a wide selection of lovely dresses at affordable prices. The dresses worn by the flower girls above costs RM79 each.

I made a 3-tier wedding cake for the couple. One of my CG members helped me with baking 180+ cupcakes for the lunch reception at Klang Wesley Methodist Church.

The butter cupcakes were frosted with vanilla bean butter icing and topped with a fondant heart.... and displayed on 2 cupcake stands. 

The wedding cake was actually a dummy cake just for display only! I used fresh imported white roses between the lower 2 tiers and crafted a pair of figurines during a private masterclass with my cake decorating sifu. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Playing Games

For his upcoming 7th birthday, I purchased Evan a portable junior carrom set from Toys R Us (RM85.90). I am keen to introduce this game to him cos I used to play it when I was a kid! My dad had a wooden carrom board and he taught my brother and me how to play.

Here's a pic of Evan having fun with his carrom set. He has already beaten me at the game!

Evan also enjoys playing draughts/checkers aka dam haji and has also beaten me numerous times (sometimes I give chance la....)! 

I've taught him chess too but we hardly play..... well, looks like it's time to dig out the old chess set and start strategizing! I still remember my brothers and I used represent our district for the state level chess championships and later on, representing Johor at national level. Yours truly played chess competitively for almost 10 yrs before retiring and venturing into Scrabble! Two weeks ago, I taught Evan how to play Scrabble and we enjoy playing each other although I get impatient waiting for his turn!

Now, I am looking into buying a portable congkak set cos Marissa is asking for it. Will see how the games go!