The Stress in Comparing Your Child With Others...

~ Posted on Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 2:52 PM ~

The other day in Ben's Sunday class, I experienced for the first time how stressful it is to compare my own child with others... FYI, I have shifted Ben to the 3-4 years old children group 3 weeks back and as he is still new in this class, I can still accompany him. Plus, I think he is still too attached with me and insisted I sit next to him everytime.

So anyway, in the first class Ben obviously hated being in a new environment, new teachers, new kids, new everything. Unlike the 1.5-3 years old class group he was previously in, now there are no more taking off shoes in the class, no more sitting on carpeted floors, no more being able to play the toys freely.

During activities time, I realised Ben was a bit advanced then the rest of the kids in his table when it comes to the glue and paste task. This was mainly because I do quite a number of such tasks with him in our learning lessons everyday.

In the recent class, the children were given a printed paper with 3 sections, each section showing a child doing a particular task such as cleaning up toys, throwing rubbish into the dustbin and so on. Each children in the class had to color the printed paper and then glue this colored piece of paper that matches the same image on the printed paper.

Ben went on excitedly and chose his favorite red color pencil and draw - everywhere. I kept reminding him to color within the shapes. I looked on his left, a little girl named Melissa was slowly coloring this little cube on her paper, when I said slowly, she really was very slow in coloring. Another girl on Ben's right was accompanied by her mum was coloring herself while her mother looked on.

After Ben finished his coloring (which he trailed off with his doodling when he lost interest in coloring), he looked at me tiredly and told me he is 'tired and no energy and hungry'. Sigh... Then I checked back at Melissa who is STILL coloring the same cube. Then I looked at the girl on Ben's right, most of the colors were inside the shapes which was pretty neat.

I nudged Ben to color somemore but he wouldn't have it. He leaned on my legs and started whining the tired-no energy-hungry phrase. Then I realised he's telling the truth. He was hungry. Yikes, my bad. So I kept comforting him to wait a little while as after crafts time, the teachers will hand out snacks for the children. Of course I do have some snacks in my bag but I thought better to wait for the rest of the kids.

I glanced around and noticed kids from the other tables are gluing the colored pieces. All except the kids on our table. So I signalled to one of the teacher that we don't have any glue. Then the teacher handed a glue to us and when it was Ben's turn to glue his colored pieces, he immediately got his correctly, matching the colored pieces and gluing them himself.

I checked out Melissa again, she was coloring the shelf on her paper while the girl on Ben's right sits patiently waiting for her mum to put on the glue for her. I looked further and saw a dad telling his daughter where to put the colored pieces.

Then I looked back at Ben who was happily matching the colored pieces and trying to paste the last one... when the teacher came over and snatched his colored piece and tried helping him to glue it onto his paper.

Oh my... Ben look pissed. He immediately crossed his arms and kept real quiet and I quickly told the teacher there is no need for her to help my boy out as he was managing pretty fine. She passed back the colored piece to him but he refused to take it. I just told the teacher is OK, let me handle him and then I had to comfort my boy, telling him that the teacher thought he is having problems matching the item and gluing it and that she's just trying to help.

Ben told me he doesn't want to do anymore, that he can't do anymore. Sigh... I think I understand why he reacted this way. If I were him, I'd be pissed too. I mean, here I am, trying to glue something which I know where it matches to and someone else just swooped in and thinks I can't do anything at all. Of course I am pissed if I was him. It's like I'm being made useless and stupid.

So anyway, after much coaxing, Ben finally took the colored pieces and glued it back onto his printed paper.

Picture above taken after Ben completed pasting the colored pieces that matches the printed paper. You can see the teacher trying to help Melissa on the left in gluing the colored pieces.

Now lessons learned from this:

- I should not compare my child with others. True, he doesn't color within the shapes this time and it's all over the page but he does his matching and gluing by himself. What he is not capable of (at this moment) or slow in (again, at this moment), he does better in other areas. Each child has their own characteristics and abilities.

- That said, I should also not give myself stress over small things like this! I mean, my boy is behaving and does not disturb the class nor run around doing other things (well there is a boy at our table who keeps passing color pencils to us instead of coloring his paper), in fact, I should be happy that my boy is attending the class!

- We as adults should not help our children too much. Guide yes, nudged abit OK, but not to the extent of taking over what the child is trying to do and doing it for them. Sorry teacher in the class, I think what you did (yes, good intention I understand) are not helping my child. It makes him feel he is not capable of doing something. It might also make a child lazy since there will be an adult to help him.

There you go, just another mummy rant of mine...

Music Review - The Magic Continues - Celebrity Series Vol. 1

~ Posted on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 7:14 AM ~

I received an email pitch seeking bloggers to review this children CD. The few things that caught my attention were:

- children CD!

- packed with 20 classic songs and stories!

- combines the beautifully orchestrated original recordings with the talent of today’s biggest and brightest stars!

In case you don't know, I often play music and songs in the background while my 3 years old boy do his activities (Lego or pretend play mostly) as we were told that children learned even though they just listen to the sound or songs or music. In fact, my SIL even recommended me to play the National Geography videos or series on the TV and just let my kids listened to it. She said we'll be surprised to know how much our kids can absorb and learned by just listening!

Because of that I went on a search to look for nice, educational and fun songs to play as background music. The song I have on my list is Luther Frank's "Manners Can Be Fun" which I think really helps as I found my boy humming and singing parts of the song back to me! Of course, I also used the opportunity to teach my boy about manners and that it is a fun thing to watch out for our manners too!

So yes, I am so so so happy to be able to review this album as I get to add more songs and wonderful stories to my background music/song album now! Anyway, without further delay, here goes my review...

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* Title: Golden Records: The Magic Continues - Celebrity Series Vol. 1
* Price: $9.99 Audio CD (September 4th, 2012)
  * ASIN: B008SUE9LU
 * Label: Verse Music Group

About Golden Records:

"Golden Records was one of the first and ultimately most successful children’s record labels in America. Grammy Award-winning producer Arthur Shimkin imagined the iconic label in 1948. Through rich orchestration and the use of A-list talent, Golden Records created a timeless, one of a kind sound, releasing beloved songs and stories that entertained and educated children for decades.

Back by popular demand, Golden Records returns to release a series of highly anticipated albums, launching a series of instant classics and remastered original recordings to come. Award-winning music producer Tony Shimkin, son of Golden Records creator, Arthur Shimkin, has carried on his father’s legacy, producing each of the releases, reimagined for the child in all of us!"

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What a wonderful collection of songs and stories in this album! Some fun and entertaining songs such as "Yankee Doodle (Didi Conn)", "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf (Did Conn)" and "The Muffin Man (Didi Conn)" and "Jack B. Nimble (Ed Asner)" really brings back memories to me! I love the fact that my kids can now enjoy listening to these timeless classics!

As for stories, I really love listening to "Cinderella (Busy Philipps)", it just reminds me of the giant Disney story book I used to have when I was a little girl. I also used the opportunity in the "The Story of Goldilocks (Alicia Silverstone)" to teach my 3 years old boy manners, that we have to ask permission before using other people's things/properties.

Some of the celebrities' voices are so so convincing and soothing to listen to! I never expected Alicia Silverstone's voice could be so captivating! And Susan Sarandon's voice is truly charming and one of a kind! I also find myself dreaming while I listened to Ed Asner's voice in "The Little Engine That Could".

Not only is this album truly fun and entertaining, it also open up my eyes and I learned some new things too! To be honest, until I listened to the "Snow White And Rose Red (Cheryl Hines)" I did not know there is a Rose Red character!

To sum up my review, this album is a must to have! Seriously, you really really REALLY need to get yourself a copy of the album NOW NOW NOW!

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You can purchase it from Amazon, Wal-mart and iTunes Store.

* You can download a free music from their Facebook page too!

** Btw, I am so privileged to be given the opportunity to giveaway a copy of this album to 1 lucky US resident! Watch out for the giveaway on 8th Sept 2012!

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I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with the 20-tracks album in MP3 format to assist 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.

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iPad App Review - Pocket Charts! Pro

~ Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 9:45 PM ~

If you have been following my blog and Facebook page, you would've known that I am currently busy with our learning life (unofficially teaching my 3 years old) and that I teach and explain to him whenever the opportunities arises. So the moment I saw this app which states that it help young learners develop early childhood basic skills, I immediately request for the promo code to redeem and review this app. Anyway, my review as below...

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* Title: Pocket Charts! Pro
* Price: $4.99
* Category: Education
* Released: Apr 07, 2012
* Version: 1.0
* Size: 72.6 MB
* Language: English
* Seller: Good Neighbor Press, Inc.
* Rated: 4+
* Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 3.2 or later

Description from the product page:

"20 games in one app! Help young learners develop early childhood basic skills! These simple matching games emulate the classic classroom pocket chart learning system. Happy music and cheerful voice prompts encourage learning fun. Here’s what’s included:
* Upper and Lowercase Letter Matching
* Beginning Letter Sounds
* Colors and Color Words
* Counting
* Shape Matching
* Long and Short Vowel Sounds
* Rhyming Words
* Consonant Blends and Digraphs
* Ending Letter Sounds
* Position Words
* Numbers and Number Words
* Pre-Number Category Sorting
* Compound Words
* Spelling 3-Letter Words
* Word Families
* Fractions
* Single-digit Addition and Subtraction
* Halloween Match
* Thanksgiving Match
* Christmas/Hanukkah Match

Developed for your iPad, these clear and easy matching games will teach and reinforce basic skills. Each game requires 3-5 minutes for a young learner to complete, making this iPad app ideal for students with limited attention spans or those requiring highly visual or tactile learning experiences. Additionally, these activities have been uniquely designed to lock and play only in the portrait mode in order to simplify game play and eliminate an orientation switch if young learners jostle the iPad while playing."

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What's good?

* Who does not love 20 activities in 1 app? The fact that this app came jam packed with 20 games to play and learn at the same thing sounds awesome enough!

* There are currently a few games in this app that I can try on with my 3 years old boy as we have not started with alphabets recognition yet though I am thrilled to be able to review this app as I believe it will help in our learning activities one day!

* I am amazed at how well my boy did in the "Shape Matching" game as I see him slowly and steadily finding and matching the shapes of the objects.

Room for Improvement?

* Nothing that I can think of for now! I will definitely revisit this app in future when my boy is ready with his alphabet skills!

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You can purchase the "Pocket Charts! Pro" app from the iTunes App Store.

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I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with the promo code to redeem the application for free from iTunes Store 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 iPad Apps reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My iPad App Reviews"

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