Little Ethan straightening out and reaching further with a friend’s help.

Friends sit on each other.  They stretch and straighten each other up.  They cause pain to each other, then massage each other to relieve the pain.  Friends laugh and play together.  They share fun and vulnerabilities.  They can trust each other because each is trustworthy.  As a result, both emerge stronger, more flexible and with the gumption to reach further because they know that someone is watching out for them.

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Fun-filled Music Conversations: My Son’s Ukulele

The ukulele I’m playing in this video belongs to my son.  I bought it for me, but I gave it to him as a birthday gift knowing that I’ld be the one enjoying it.  What sort of a horrid mum would buy her son a present that’s meant for herself?  Me! 🤣

But seriously, what better way to give your child the gift of music than to create an environment and culture for music appreciation to take place?  Here’s the truth: your child is a sponge, the younger he is, the more absorbent.  Whatever type of music you listen to, or sing, or play, or learn, and in whatever languages, your child will be absorbing them all, whether you like it or not!

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Our Usual Jam Session

Our Usual Jam Session

My friend Penny visited us one day and insisted on recording this part of our homeschool journey because she was amused by our routine. As it was usual for my son and me to do music together, we didn’t think it was anything special.  Anyway, little Ethan was sufficiently persuaded by Auntie Penny’s amusement to play for her camera.  I’m sharing this video with the other Auntie Pennys who might be curious about the stuff we did with so much time in our hands, and why we had so much fun.

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The Lunar Calendar

Counting time with 5 elements and 12 animals.

Fun facts about the lunar calendar and its naming conventions:

The Chinese built a 12-year cycle represented by twelve animals into a larger cycle of five elements:  metal, water, wood, fire, earth.  The animal changes every year, but the element changes every two years.  We are presently in the year of the Metal Rat – the first element paired with the first animal!  After this will come the year of the Metal Ox, followed by the Water Tiger, then the Water Rabbit, and so on.  The year of the Water Rat will arrive in 12 years.

12 animals x 5 elements = 60 years.

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The Real Life Challenge

Math in Real Life

 The Ministry Of Education writes in its Mathematics Syllabus for primary education, about their goal to raise students who understand math in real life.  It is a good objective, but I wonder how they expect their teachers to carry that out when a large part of real life takes place outside the classroom.  Multiply that problem across a class of 40 students, with each having his own unique “real life” experiences, and you will understand how difficult that task is. Is it possible for even the best math teacher to engage all her students in real life math within the limited periods of Math lessons?  What is math in “real life” in the first place?

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Facing My Dark Side

Facing My Dark Side
Facing My Dark Side

I named my first hamsters Bo Bo and Cha Cha, after my favourite dessert.  Cha Cha died at his 1 month old birthday party after being dropped from a height of 1.5 metres.  I grieved and cried for days over the loss of a loved pet. I was fifteen then.

Bo Bo lived on to have many babies with male hamsters that I borrowed from my friends.  The population in my little cage grew and I had lots of fun with that project.  Eventually, I grew lazy and got distracted with other interests, neglecting my little darlings despite constant reminders from my mom.

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Adapting To A New Body

Growing up, I recall one strange day when I crashed my head into a low hanging horizontal beam of the block of flat where I lived.  I’ve run below that beam a thousand times with no problem, until that day.  It wasn’t obvious to me that I had grown taller.

As a mom of 2 boisterious little boys, I used to grab them by the arms when they misbehaved.  They would struggle to free themselves of my hold, but I was strong enough to overpower them.  But one strange day, the same struggle with the elder son resulted in me being knocked over.  It wasn’t obvious to him that he had grown bigger and stronger. The same happened with my younger son.

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Counting Time

I don’t have much recordings of exciting moments 40 years ago, but I drew to self-entertained during boring moments and produced these precious drawings that I did of my family when I was 10.

There was only one thing that Christian scripture tells us to count.  It wasn’t money.  Neither was it blessings.

“Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

God is fair when it comes to time.  He allocates  to each one of us the same number of hours each day, and the same number of days each week.  What we make of it is up to us.

When our little children protest that we waste their time, are they justified?  Perhaps not when we require them to pick up their toys, clean up a mess they created, walk a distance to the market or visit an unlikeable relative.  But when we place our demand on their time above their own priorities by making them do more assessment papers or attend unnecessary enrichment classes, is it fair to them?

Now, let’s list some things our little children prefer to do with their time:

  1. Play with their friends.
  2. Play by themselves.
  3. Day-dream and watch the clouds.
  4. Read things that interest them.
  5. Dig a hole, build a house.
  6. Sew a dress for a doll.
  7. Draw and colour.
  8. Make music.

Can you name the skills and values that your children will acquire by engaging in these activities?

Some activities are age appropriate and cannot be delayed.  It is common to see 10 year olds playing “hide and seek” or “police and thief” with each other, but it will be odd to have 20 year olds making such play dates for themselves. 

A clinical psychologist taught me that unsocialised children often grow into awkard adults who have limited ability to navigate society.  Here are 2 examples of how children socialise each other during play in groups:

  1. If I behave badly, the others won’t want to play with me.
  2. I behaved badly yesterday.  If I humble myself, apologise and promise not to behave like I did yesterday, they might play with me today.

When we fill our children’s time with our priorities and insecurities in the name of their future’s sake, we rob them of time for THEIR personal discoveries.  Have you met grown-up high-achievers who refuse to work after graduation because they’ve waited all their lives to finish school so that they have permission to play?  Or those who do work and have resources to play, what sort of games do they engage in, what are the stakes?  What are your observations of these people?

Let’s be mindful that we are only stewards of children’s time, and grant them their god-given time to have a childhood they deserve.