Book Review - Parenting for Education

~ Posted on Monday, September 9, 2013 at 8:27 AM ~

I received an email pitch to review this parenting book over 2 months ago, and finally able to read through everything! I have always been interested and keen to read books on parenting, teaching children and so on, hence I requested for a PDF copy (since I read books on my iPad most often nowadays and it is so convenient for me to bookmarks certain important points and tips in the book) Here goes my review...

Title: Parenting for Education
Author: Vivian W. Owens

Publisher: Eschar Publications, LLC (2013)
ISBN-13/-10:  978-1929221011 / 1929221010
Paperback:  233 pages

Description from the product page:
"Simple educational how-to, why-to, and what-to-do book. Practical guidelines assist parents with helping their children at home to build basic learning foundations. Motivational and inspiring.  Many topics will lead you to help your children raise academic performance in math or reading. Particularly useful to parents of children aged six months to fourteen years old."

I'm a full-time mummy

The book comes in 10 chapters touching on topics like guidelines to start off our young ones to learning, examining the root causes of learning and the solutions, how to raise academic performances and deal with underachievers, setting goals for future and using your home as a learning environment.

In Page 19, I agree with the statement of "Think not of grades and test scores as the school year begins. Instead, think of individuals. Your child is a unique human being with feelings and needs unlike another. He needs your love, guidance, and support in order to rise to his best potential. You are the over-seer of his education, and good things happen when you take that responsibility seriously." Each child is different and we progress in our own pace and it is because of this factor that I am looking after our kiddos at the moment.

While we are still on page 19, I also try to implement one of the tips which is "Children need to hear parents say, “I know you can do it!” ". Whenever I see our 4.5 years old boy struggling to do something, I quickly assure and calm him down before he erupts into a tantrum believeing he is a failure and everything is going against him. And when our boy is finally able to do a task, I also make sure and gently reminded him 'See, mummy knows you can do it!'

I also agree with the statement of "Celebrate your child’s unique personality. Compliment him for the strengths that enable him to be a productive human being, and you increase his sense of self worth." also on page 19. I mean, not just our child, even us adults would appreciate some words of compliments every now and then.

I find myself nodding with the tips on page 39 'Look for your child’s good actions. Catch him in the act of controlling his temper, doing homework without needing to be reminded, talking less while working, cleaning his room'. I try to make sure our kiddos know mummy is watching him and knows he is doing good things and behaving well, not just scrutinising and scolding / nagging when he's not behaving well.

On page 55, "Playtime is very important to young minds. It allows creative, intellectual expression as well as motor development. And, we, parents should not intrude on playtime with our suggestions and our ways of doing—most of the time. Playtime without intrusion is called “Free Play.”" I have recently registered both my kiddos to a playgroup sessions (twice a week, each session 2 hours and parent must be around to accompany their children, which is what I like) and the playgroup sessions incorporate freeplay time as well so I really appreciate and thank God we managed to find this playgroup sessions!

I learned a new thing from this book, on page 65, something about Underachievers, according to the book, "a category of underachievers who are generally highly creative and intellectually inclined. Students such as they quite often do poorly on tests because test masters expect you to choose one best answer, and these children have insight into several correct answers." Wow! I've never thought of this. So this statement is an eye opener for me!

However, I personally do not agree with the statement on the same page "Additionally, parents should assist their child by seeing to it that they prepare for quizzes, tests, and exams. Carefully review questions with them, showing them how to arrive at conventional answer" as I believe if we are trying to coerce child into conventional answers, it would stifle their creativity and confidence.

In page 80 "Help For Dyslexia", I also need to pay more attention and observe our boy as he had some signs of this, for example writing in mirror image and he occassionally has trouble with left-right coordination.

In summary, this is a helpful book that opens up my eyes towards understanding our child more, that each child matures at a different rate; and there are many other factors that affect that maturity and we should not gauge a child's development and progress based on their age as it does not confer readiness.

I'm a full-time mummy

You can get this book from Amazon and many more.

I'm a full-time mummy

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a PDF copy of the book by the author in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine. And if you'd like to read my previous book reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My Book Reviews" I'm a full-time mummy

An Outing to Our Local Fire Station...

~ Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 8:26 AM ~

Last week, I brought our 2 kiddos to a nearby church to find out about their children's playgroup session. Apparently they have just set up this playgroup sessions recently and I was looking for a nice playgroup place where I can bring our kiddos to and at the same time be with them during the session.

God works in miraculous ways, I was clearing some books I have and posted pictures of them in my SAHM group in FB to give away to mums who are interested to be their new owners and one mum responded with regards to one of the books and after chatting over FB, I found out that she sends her children to this church for preschool and she mentioned to me about the new playgroup program.

So yeah, last week, I brought my kiddos to the playgroup center to find out more and they were having one of the playgroup session that time. We can see about 10 kids there with their parent and/or grandparent and I can see my 2 kiddos curious and wanted to join in the fun too. So anyway, I found out that they are organising an outing to our local fire station and immediately I asked whether we could join in the outing.

And yes, I was told we can join in of course! I think I was more excited than my kiddos as I know very well how they both love watching Fireman Sam and I think they would be thrilled to see a fire engine and fireman up close, and perhaps even sit in a fire engine!

On the outing day, we arrived just in time at the playgroup center (took me about 10 minutes to look for a parking spot) and just as we walked up to the playgroup center, I saw everybody leaving and walking towards the fire station. Lugging our 2 years old ninja, I took my 4.5 years old boy's hand and walked faster to tag along the rest.

We reached the fire station and was then allowed to take pictures up close at a fire engine parked right in the fire station. We were then told that we can sit in the fire engine and one of the fireman offered to bring us parents and kiddos for a short trip around the neighborhood to have a feel of riding in a fire engine. WoooooO!!!

We were the 2nd batch of parents and kiddos to ride in the fire engine and I admit, I was being selfish, the moment the fire engine drove into the station, I quickly queue up to get the front seats with the fireman. Anything for my kiddos, I tell you! And so, yes, we got the front seats of course! Plus I think it is better anyway for us to sit in front since I have 2 kiddos with me and a preggy bump as well, wouldn't be comfortable and nice squeezing at the back passenger seats right? Hehehehe...

The fireman initially turned on the loud siren, immediately I can see Benjamin getting excited but suddenly one of the younger boy at the back started crying and was terrified at the sudden noise. The fireman immediately turned off the siren. Oh well, the thrill was short lived but better than nothing. Once we reached back at the station, we sat on the floor and listened to a short briefing on how to use the fire extinguishers.

Once it was over, we say goodbye, thanked the firemen and I got Ben to shake hands with one of the fireman. We walked back to the playgroup center, I lugged our 2 years old ninja all the way back of course with Benjamin walking beside me. Chatted with a parents and I shared the tips and how I potty trained Benjamin as well since they asked me how I potty trained Ben.

Once we were back at the playgroup center, the kiddos were treated to a light snacks and we also sang goodbye song to those who are leaving earlier. I can see my kiddos enjoying their snacks while I chatted with another mum. I also paid for our September playgroup sessions in advance for both kiddos.

Back home, I asked Ben whether he likes this class and he said 'Yes' so we'll see how it goes. For now, I'm very thankful we found this playgroup session and prayed that it will help my kiddos to socialise with others more and I get to make more mummy friends as well. Thank you God for pointing us to this place and thank you Abigail for your help in getting the contact number to this playgroup center for me!

**Personal notes: Apologies but due to my paranoia of privacy and security of myself, my family and my kiddos, I am not going to reveal what is the SAHM group I'm in, the playgroup name, the area and so on. Apologies but like I said, I am really paranoid and with info like this being shown in public, I hope you can understand my reasons for doing so.

Are We Expecting Too Much From Our Children?

~ Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 7:48 AM ~

Are we expecting too much from our children?

This question lingered on my mind for the past week. It all happened when our 4 years old boy started refusing to attend his Sunday school classes and insisted to stay on with grandma (she's always the one remaining in the main service as either hubby and I will be taking our kiddos and accompanying them in their classes).

Benjamin is in the 3-4 years old age group and hence do not require parent to be around. As for Alyson, she's in the 1.5 to 3 years old age group and required 1 parent to be around during her classes. So lately it has been hubby who does the shift as I get tired pretty easily and can't cope with a hyper active ninja in the class already.

Anyway, back to my question for today...

Are we expecting too much from our children?

Why am I asking this question? You see, 2 Sundays back, just to get Ben to attend his class, I told hubby I will go along in his class and stay at the back. That way, I'm still around and he does not have any excuse of not wanting to attend his class. The class goes on its usual routine, singing and dancing followed by story telling and then craftworks and snacks at the end.

During storytelling time, the teacher was explaining to the children in the class about the 10 commandments. And as the teacher stuck each commandment printout (in easy to understand children language) onto the whiteboard, the children listened attentively and repeated what the teacher said.

And after a while, the teacher asked them to repeat the commandments on the whiteboard. None responded. The teacher looked frustrated and annoyed at the silence from the class.

Even I panicked for a moment there, wondering, 'These are just 3-4 years old children...I'm not sure about the rest but my boy sure can't read yet.' And I know majority of the children in the class that day attended preschool and kindy, unlike our boy.

But 3 to 4 years old kiddos... being asked to read! I think I only learned ABCs when I went kindy at 6 years old!

Are we expecting too much from our children?

It does not help when I have also been reading postings from mummies in my FB group about their plans to send their 3, 4, even 5 years old children to preschool and asking for recommendations on what to look out for, where to go to, etc etc. And then some mummies responded with the syllabus taught in their children's kindy/preschool etc and even having homeworks, exams and essays to learn in preparation to being enrolled to primary 1 at 6/7 years old.

Exams and essays before 5 years old! In preparation for primary 1 schools?!

I don't know... I clammed up when I hear the word 'SCHOOL'. I just can't take it now. I can't imagine sending off my children at this young tender age, burdened with homeworks, exams and essays...

Why the rush? What's the hurry?

Some mums said they were told by the kindy/preschool staff that the homeworks, exams and essays are a must so that their children are well-prepared when they go to primary 1 and not slagging behind their schoolmates.

Because of pressure from these, our children are being made the victims... at such young tender age when they should be playing and enjoying their childhood.

Sure, some parents will say going to daycare/kindy/preschools at young age helped their child to build up their social skills and learned to discipline well. I agree to some extent, in terms of socializing, compared to my kiddos being couped up at home all day with me and not getting to mix with kids around their age, maybe it is a good idea for them to be in a different environment to build up their social skills.

But some mums also reported that their children also picked up bad habits from their classmates. Rebellions, disrespect (talk back to their parents), bad manners etc. This is where I find a wee bit comfort that at least I can have some form of control still with my kiddos still at home with me. I'm responsible for their manners and discipline, not outside influences.

I have yet to slowly digest this and think through what our plans is with our kiddos. He is going to be 5 years old next year, the age required to register for primary 1 later. Am I ready to let him go? Is he ready to learn and be exposed to heavy homeworks, exams and essays at this young age? I really don't know...

Are we expecting too much from our children?