Monday, March 28, 2011


In Singapore, I guess homeschooling is not entirely popular / common hence resources are not as wide and as comprehensive I wish it were. Some of my mummy friends have reached out to me in various stages of their parenting journey on how and how to start homeschooling, what can they do, how much to do, how often, etc.?

For Dumpling's homeschooling journey, we started with books and extending it to crafts when she was very young. It was mainly activities more for motor skills development and also as a FTWM, it gives me an avenue to bond with her through homeschooling. As she got older, we found lapbooking to be fun and yet a great method to "keep" all the resources properly - in a file.

Lapbooking may not be very heard off here in Singapore as yet but has far been a popular choice of homeschoolers in countries such as the US. Here's the lo down on lapbooking.

What is lapbooking?
As shared in Lapbooking 101, a lapbook is an inexpensive portfolio or collection of mini-books, flaps, and folded display material, that provides interactive space for drawings, stories, graphs, graphics, timelines, diagrams, and written work, from any topic, unit study, book you choose, gathered, glued, and creatively displayed in a coloured standard sized cardboard folder, often folded in a “shutter-fold” (though our family doesn’t), that fits in your lap.

What does it consist of?
It is a project book or folder, laid out in a creative manner, with many smaller elements such as "mini books", pockets, sleeves, etc. that are being pasted into a file folder and can then fit in the child’s lap, hence the name.

What does it do?
I do not know about other homeschooling mummies but personally, for me, lapbooking is a good way for me to organise and keep/preserve the resources as everything is being pasted / attached to the folder.
For me, in each of my lapbooking session, I would extend it out to cover perhaps writing readiness exercises or counting or even some bits on science activities. So with such a "format", it almost "trains" / "directs" me to research for materials / free printables systematically.

Where and how do I start?
I find working around a theme (e.g. a particular animal) / book easiest. Here's a link to a video to see how the various elements would look in an insects lapbook. The idea is you call the shots - if you want to add on more literature arts bit / math readiness and you plan out accordingly.
And if you are looking for some quick printables to start off, here's a good site to go to.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wow, you are doing a lot...

I get that statement a lot where mummy friends would say that to me constantly. It usually would follow on with that they wish that they are doing more with their kids after seeing some of the facebook updates I have.

I just wanted to say that I seem to be doing loads because these would be some of the things your child would learn from their preschools. Just that in this case, the teacher is a separate being from the parent so as a parent, you do not need to do so much. For my case, I am both the parent and from 7.45 / 8pm, I am the teacher. I guess most of you who comment on that only see my role as a mum and not a teacher and hence there is the comparison.

Since Dumpling is being sent to a daily pure mandarin playgroup class, if I do not homelearn with her, she would have 0% exposure to English, reading, math concepts, etc. Hence we do what we do at home. I guess the point of this post is, there is no need to compare / feel guilty about the "lack" of activities. Added to the fact that Dumpling depends on me for the exposure, it also is to do with individual personalities. As you probably can tell, I have an immense interest in Early Childhood Education and so, it is "easier" for me to continue on with the homeschooling path. Added to the fact that Dumpling has a strong sense of inquisitiveness, I guess we keep each other on our toes with our homeschooling. :)

It is perfectly alright to start with reading / pockets of activities. With children this young, I find that reading a book and then extending it to craft / a physical activity helps a lot to break the monotony. Also, when you first start, it would be unrealistic to think you can get your child to sit down for a full hour! So, start small with pockets of activities.

Where and how do you start? Here's some resources:
Lapbooking resources:

If you are reading books from the BFIAR list, she has a whole list of resources which you can print absolutely free of charge from the site

This site has great bibilical themes too

Some great homelearning websites for cool and fun ideas:

1) Confessions of a Homeschooler
this is one of my absolutely favourite sites with great ideas and links

2) A to Z teacher stuff

3) PBS
fun online games and interactive stuff though some stuff are limited to only in the US

this is jointly developed by Pauline and Rachel, 2 very unselfish and encouraging ladies whom I reach out to constantly for ideas, resources and advice. They even have homeschooling exercises on Chinese!

For crafts:

this is a superb site if you are doing thematic stuff as their crafts ideas can be filtered via themes, alphabetical order, etc. So, if you were for e.g. reading "The Gruffalo", you can extend this to include the various animals mentioned in the book mainly: fox, owl and snake. So you can search under themes->amphibians-> snake.

2) First School Preschool Activities

3) DLTK Kids
Even for kids as young as 1, you can start letting them play around with paints through craft. The idea is to start small and do small pockets of activities.

Even when your child is very young, they are still able to just play with finger paint. Dumpling started doing craft word when she was about 8+ months old. I realise that helped her in being less fussy about her fingers being dirty and she is more adventurous when it comes to tactile play.

These are some old pictures of Dumpling when she just turned 1.

Me guiding her to dab the various colours onto the paper plate

Thereafter, she did it on her own

The finished product. You can download the template here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Ocean, the ocean

I've always loved writing, not so much for work (though I was doing communications and PR work for a telco for almost 4 years and another 3 odd years with an IT company) but just for the joy of it and being able to air out my thoughts and possibly link up with like-minded people to exchange ideas and resources.

I have been toying with the idea for a bit as to how often I am able to sustain the updating of my blog especially when I am a FTWM (full time working mum) and a HS parent. But I will try and see where this lead us. :)

With that, this would be my first official post on homeschooling. :)

I did this theme with the little one quite a while ago and our style has since been improvised along the way but I believed the 2 of us enjoyed this theme a lot and hence, I wanted to share this.

With such a young child, I like the concept of lapbooks as it is thematic. I like that with a theme, it is easy for me to research on materials (easy for googling and for searching for books at the library). I also like that with a bit of creativity and web search, I am able to introduce to Dumpling, the concept of Science and Math.

Signing to whale

Pretend play - fish

Creating our own Ocean scenes from an Evan Moor eBook

Memory card games.

And I placed it all into a lapbook. Some of the books we used for this theme are in the background including a phonics reader from Usborne "Shark in the Park". Ocean is an easy theme and you can get many resources just by googling for it. But you can also locate some printables and craft ideas here and I printed a lot of them here.

What's salt to do with this theme? This is the science bit...

Learning about "sink"...

and "float"!

It seems like a simple exercise but this actually provides the child with good foundation for "Math" as it teaches the child about "differences" and "similarities". With an older child, you can start to encourage the child to think deeper by asking questions such as why things float, the difference between fresh water and sea water, density, etc.

And of course, with most of our homeschooling activities, a field trip!

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