Friday 31 May 2013


Lessons I Learned from My Grandmothers

This picture of granny and me was taken on a ferry trip to Kushu Island.

Whenever I see Milo in the Singapore Supermarket or drink Milo, I will think of my grannny. I stayed with her during the school holidays when I was a child. Once I was hungry at night. She got up and made me a cup of Milo. A very simple gesture, but I remembered it so well, the whole scene.

When I think of making memories with my child and my grandchild, I think I have learned something from both my grannies. Taking care of the child is what a child will remember, and what really created bonding. Don't delegate diaper changing, feeding, etc. to others such as maids. Do it myself. Don't just play with children and do the fun things. It is meeting the physical needs that bonding takes place.

God in His wisdom created babies totally helpless with every need. I think it is because in meeting a baby and a child's physical needs, real bonding and gratitude takes place.

My grannies took care of me. That bonded me to them. This is something I want to bear in mind, if I one day I become a grandmother.

J Summary (4Y2M27D) - Drawing Stick People

A self-portrait of J

Some children began to draw stick people earlier. I waited patiently, but did not steer him to draw them.

Finally at 4 years old, J has recently began to draw people - with eyes, nose and mouth (first noticed it about a week ago?). This is a milestone I want to remember.

Montessori Activity: Static Addition with Lego (加法 [jiāfǎ])

Age: From 4 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 30 minutes

Objective: To teach addition in a concrete and fun way with Lego bricks.


1. Lego cars or marbles
2. 2-3 felt clothes, one for each addend
3. Paper and pen
4. Plus and equal sign (if you don't have this, you can just draw them on a piece of small paper)
5. Number tablets if your child still cannot write
6. 1 mat


1. Write down a problem sum on paper.

2. Invite your child to read it e.g. 2 + 4 = ?

3. Invite your child to count the Lego car models (or marbles or anything he chooses to use) and place the appropriate pieces on the felt colth for the first addend.

4. Do the same to the second addend (and the third addend if you expand further).

5. Ask your child to make a guess what 2+4= is.

6. Invite your child to verify his answer by counting the number of Lego models all together, e.g. 1, 2, 3 & 4, say out the answer and place the correct answer number tablet next to the equal sign.

Additional Information:

J (4Y2M26D) thought of this game with Lego, following inspirations from the marbles, which was also his idea. It is nice, when it is child-led, as he was fully motivated, and we spent more than 30 minutes on this in the evening (here is where my FTWM schedule comes into conflict, and I wish I am a SAHM). We have been playing this for the past 2 evenings. J wanted to complete the sum for the whole paper. He could get the sum correct by counting the items in the Addends. He asked to try with 3 addends this evening.

The older J gets, the longer and more complex the activity becomes, the more time I need to spend on preparing the materials and the more time is spent on each activity. It was no longer "Montessori on a Potty" days when each activity takes a minute to prepare and 5 minutes to complete. This is one of the reason why I am considering the option of SAHM, so that I can be more involved in his childhoood and schooling.

J has been very much into building all these Lego car models and it is coming it ready for the academic work of Mathematics for preschooler as well :-)


J's Lunch Box

The state of J's lunch box is deterioriating again. So it's time to buck up and post them to keep a decent standard :-)

Plain wholemeal pasta, peas, cucumber, pecan, walnut, goji berries, carrot, pear and strawberries.
Came back with peas, cucumber, carrot and strawberries.

Cost-&-Benefit Analysis of FTWM vs. SAHM

The following are the advantages and disadvantages of FTWM and SAHM in my context.

Advantages of FTWM:
1. I stay in-touch with the latest cutting edge technology
2. I keep the employer contribution's part of my pension, which is 2:1 of what I am contributing, which I will lose if I am in less than 15 years of service. If I quit, this means that I am losing my hard-earned savings for the past 8 years!!!
3. I reduce the pressure off Daddy from being the sore bread-winner of the family and spread the risk in different baskets.
4. I get a break from being a 24/7 mom.
5. J gets exposed to other adults other than just me.
6. I learn to become highly efficient and productive with the limited time I have, which I might take it easy and waste it anyway if I am SAHM.
7. I have a decent income and can buy expensive educational toys without batting an eyelid.
8. I have a professional network, apart from being a mom (which ironically I currently have no time to spend with).
9. I have a job that others envy.
10. I gain respect from the Danish community, my in-laws and family.

Disadvantages of FTWM:
1. I am not there in the daily life of J, taking long walk, making meals for him, teaching him how to tie shoelaces, smelling the roses, watching ants, chatting, etc. etc. without watching my watch.
2. I am always juggling and in JIT survival mode.

Advantages of SAHM:
1. With more time, I can be a better mom, a better wife, a better daughter and a better friend.
2. I can be there for J during his childhood taking long walk, making meals for him, teaching him how to tie shoelaces, smelling the roses, watching ants, chatting, etc. etc. without watching my watch.
3. I can have more time for the other child, I mean Daddy.
4. I am able to bring J to swimming, piano, dancing class, tennis and football.
5. I can make proper lesson plans in Maths, Science, English, Chinese, Geography and Music.
6. I can dive deep into the research that I all along would like to do in the area of parenting, child development, brain development and learn along with J in his schooling.
7. I have more time to attend to home management.
8. I have more time to plan our vacation (but maybe no more excess money for vacation, and thus no need to plan vacation anymore)
9. I have more time to exercise.
10. I can attend to my parents and family in Singapore on a more frequent basis.
11. I don't have to bring home problems from the workplace.

Disadvantages of SAHM:
1. I might drive J nuts with my presence (read: expectations), if I am home with him.
2. Loss of income and my pension for the last 8 years.
3. I become part of the Danish unemployed statistics (even though being a mom is a 24/7 employment - just thankless and unpaid!!!) and have to brave myself from such self-esteem blows.
4. I have not much professional insights to talk about at cocktail and dinner parties (but then again, my profession is a mom, so what if that topic bores others to death, it is just their loss!)
5. The longer I am away from the work market, the harder it is to re-enter it. I may will have to accept this fact.
6. Our famiy will be more vulnerable in the changing globalization work market, as there is just one sole bread-winner.

Yes, now I have done my Cost-&-Benefit Analysis (CBA), but what is the conclusion?

There is no right or wrong choice. Every family's situation is different. Every person is different. It depends on what we value, as we all value different things in life. It also depends on what we find passionate about. For some moms, it will actually do their children good, if they go to work.

It all sounds so good on paper, the C&B analysis for FTWM, and it seems that it gives the best of both worlds, and it is doable. Having your cake and eat it. I am in the situation now, and how do I feel? I have all the advantages of FTWM now, but I don't get the feeling of fulfillment, but the feeling that I am short-changing things, short-changing everything.

If I do well at work, I slacken my standards at home. If I do well at home, I slacken my standards with my marriage. If I do well with my marriage, I slacken my standards with J. If I do well with J, I slacken my standards at work (and even then I can proudly say that I am still more productive than many in the quality of work I produce). If I do well in all, I fall sick from the lack of sleep. (Ok, I hear you, that I should lower down my standards in all areas- work, family, marriage, parenting and being a mom)

I am constantly going on a merry-go-round - making ít overall well and good. Looking very good indeed really, but who can see my inner struggles, my longing to be more with J, more time for Daddy, more time for my mum in Singapore, more time for my loved ones, more time to pursue my interests. The world only looks at the success outside. I seriously wonder how many FTWMs out there are really honest, especially those FTWMs blogs that I read, who seem to be able to have it all. Perhaps I am just not capable enough as a FTWM, and thus I stand at cross-road and have to make a choice.

FTWM looks like an intelligent choice, but SAHM allows me to spend time with people - both loved ones and people in need. To be there.

How I want to be remembered by J when he grows up and thinks back of his childhood and the things we did together as well as the things I did for him?

Providing a driver to bring J to activities or doing this personally?
Providing a maid to cook for J and us or cooking meals myself?
Providing a maid to clean for J, or teaching him how to clean and doing it together and leading a normal life?

At this point, I don't envy the royalty. They don't get a chance to live a normal life. They don't get a chance to raise their own kids, at least not in the olden days. Their pincelings are raised by others. Come to think of it - aren't all of us today modern day royalty, as we have all delegated our child-raising and practical life chores to maids, especially in Singapore? That's not what I want. I want to do these normal things myself, with my child, and through it grow together with my child. I don't get to do all this in a posh office - my royal palace.

When the journey's end, what's important? People isn't it?

Now that I have done my CBA, I am no more wiser than before.

If I follow my head, I will choose FTWM.
If I follow my heart, I will choose SAHM.

I will park my CBA here, ponder over it and come back to update it.

I will pray for God's wisdom to know what's best for my family and myself as a mom.

Here are some experiences from other mothers:

J Summary (4Y2M26D) - J at 4 Years Old

Now at the age of 4 years old, J started showng interest in drawing, and have been so for the last 2-3 weeks. He will do drawing in the morning, while waiting for mom and dad to get ready. The kindergarten showed us a drawing he made, which was very artistic. But the drawing he is doing at home is more like scribbing.

With snails and fruit people like in a film

Daddy, Mommy, J and God who created the sun

The lamb had its birthday and got a cake

Now at the age of 4 years old, J is interested in playing with Lego, and started to be able to build some car models. J is enjoying coloring, doing it with effort and more seriousness and self-motivation. He built the wooden toy track by himself last Sunday.

According to J, the one in the middle is a double-decker bus

He is not so self-motivated to play the piano though. He finds practising playing scales very boring. He likes to play melody, but of course have not learned enough to do so. I follow his direction, and is going slow with the piano, although the homework that our piano teacher gives is a lot, that will not allow us to take a slowe pace.

At 4 years old, J is still willingly eating his super-porridge every morning, meaning oatmeal with bean cubes, green vegetable cubes and carrot cube all mixed together, sweetened with banana and enhanced with wheat germ, flaxseeds or chia seeds.

At 4 years old, I started introducing the concept of addition to him, half wondering if it has sinked into his head. It seems to be so. He came up with the idea of using marbles and later LEGO for the addition activity. He initiated 3 addends today.

At 4 years old, J is still happy to do those Chinese pre-schooler fun assessment books that I bought from Popular bookshop, whenever I am back in Singapore. The other day, I did a little marathon of Chinese homework and the workbook is finally near completion. However, sadly, at 4 years old, his vocabulary is not catching up, since I am FTWM, and does not have so much time to spend with him to converse in Chinese. However, he is still talking Mandarin with me, never switching to Danish, unlike other mixed children, which I am grateful. There is hope, but I need to buck up.

At 4 years old, he started showing interest in cleaning, and on his own initiative, went to clean the BBQ pit yesterday. He waters the plants. He is doing more practical life things than I was a child.

Thursday 30 May 2013



Someone said to me that as moms, we should also have time apart from being a mom and have our own time and our own life to pursue our hobbies and leisure. According to her, it is so nice that she is going to work and time at work is an escape from being a mom for a moment. That's very good for her. She has found her balance.

I think hard about it. That's very true. We need to have time to pursuit our own hobbies, passion and leisure. I have to be true to myself.

If so, I will have to be a SAHM.

Precisely so that I can have my own time and my own life. And that is what I want for my time and for my life. Because stripping to the core, my passion, hobby and what I find most engaging is - being a mom.

If I could choose to pursue my next level of professional development, what subject specialization would I choose? It will be a PhD. And I will choose to do a PhD in parenting, child development and child psychology. I will choose to do a PhD in being a mom. Incidentally, this is also how I tagline my blog three years ago - Acquiring a life-long PhD in cross-cultural home-making.

That is really what I really want to do, if I have a choice, yet it is such a difficult choice. It is hard to serve two masters.

If I may be allowed to borrow from the Bible:

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." - Matthew 6:24

I love my job very much, and I am passionate about my work. It is hard to devote myself to the service of more than one. I want to give my whole heart to being a mom, but my energy is divided as a FTWM. It is hard to switch off from working on exciting projects and to come home on time. It is of course a matter of discipline, and I need to improve on it.

Do I have the courage to follow my heart to pursue the one true thing in my life that I want to do?

I am still thinking...

Friday 24 May 2013


Wisdom From Other Blogs: The Pain of Discipline

Although it is true that we should choose our battle wisely, the opposite is also true and I quote from Ingspirations:

"Sometimes, the easier way out is to close an eye on misbehaviours and give in. But real love does not allow us to do that. After each episode of discipline (especially with Isaac lately), I always ask myself or my husband, “Have we done the right thing?”

How true! I can so identify with it!

You can read the her full post here:

Wisdom from Other Blogs: The Importance of Parental Involvement in a Child’s Life

This post from Ingspirations teaches me about the importance of being involved in your child's life:

It is very true and a good reminder what the author wrote:

"Your children do not need your money.
They need YOU.

The least a parent can do for a child is to BE THERE for them,
especially during their growing up years."

Wisdom from Other Blogs: You Have to Walk This Path On Your Own (路要自己走)

Sharing with you a very touching song (it is in Chinese, but English translation provided) and a very touching post...

I think it will touch the heartstring of all mothers...

Have a lovely weekend!

Monday 20 May 2013


J Summary (4Y2M15D) - Independent Play Time

20.5.2013 - One of the first Lego models built by J without any help
Though they are very simple, I hold them close to my heart because of the efforts he put in. At 4 years old, J is beginning to show some symmetry in his work

Today is a Danish holiday, but I had to go to work, because I have used up all my vacation to attend to some matters in Singapore. So Daddy who has 7 weeks of annual leaves a year and still accumulating, stayed at home with J, because the kindergarten is closed.

Today, Daddy told me that J was very self-motivated.

  • J entertained himself with play dough for a good while...
  • J played with lego for a good while...
  • then did some drawing for a good while, before playing football with Daddy.

I was very happy to hear that, and I couldn't believe Daddy's achievement.

J has not played with Lego for a long long stretch of time at one go unlike like my then 4 years old nephew.

So I asked him: "So how did you manage to get J to entertain himself with all these "fun and educational" activities, instead of resorting to iPad, nintendo and videos?"

Daddy said: "I just told J that I am busy, and that he should play by himself. I suggested to J that he should play with Lego"

What!!! So easy!!! That will never work for me, if I simply say that to J.

J will always cling to me, wanting me to play with him, and will not let me go, the way he lets Daddy off.

Hmmm... maybe it's Daddy way of telling m that I should not be a SAHM... as I will not do it so well.

J actually did better, when I was at work!!!

Hmmm.... I had been thinking for sometime now, about how I wish to be a professional mom. How I envy those SAHM. Hmmm... maybe it is God's way of saying to me that it is not in His plan for me to be a professional mom, cos' if I will stay at home, Iwill drive J nuts... cos' if I will stay at home, J will never master independent playtime the way Daddy manages to do with J.

J playing with Lego on his own


What Produces Self-Motivation?

What is self-motivation?

Ever seen a baby so self-motivated to learn to walk? I have experienced it with J. What a joy it was.

This is usually lost by the time the child is 4 years old, especially in developed and affluence countries like Singapore and Denmark. I am afraid that I am seeing this happening in J too.

There is a lot of western theories on how to encourage self-motivation amongst are:

1. Child-led (Montessori concept)
2. Give your child freedom to decide
3. Do not make it too orderly and structured
4. Do not teach your child anything too soon, before he or she shows interest

I have seen a lot of real life examples, but I don't think that it really encourages self-motivation, at least not in the programme featuring the Danish students - out of a class of 25, only 2-3 students are self-motivated. The rest chose to play, come late and disrupt classes.

Another case in point, the experimental Hellerup Skole set up approx. 10 years ago is characterized by freedom and the lack of partitions has one of the lowest grade in the wealthy county in Denmark.

My Chinese friend in DK attributed to her teaching her daughter, A, too soon to write, and that she has lost interest, when the Danish kindergarten finally start. But I think it is mainly due to her lack of expectations.

I have written a post on the Chinese Education System.

What impressed me the most is not the discipline and the order, but the amount of self-motivation the whole class of Chinese students showed. The whole class of them.

Are they characterized by being child-led? No.

Freedom to come and go to class? No

The students not taught too many things too soon? No, in fact, it is a total opposite. Loads of curriculum cramped into a year's work, especially Maths.

So what produces self-motivation?

Maturity perhaps.

The class of Chinese students came across as very matured and sensible.

What produces maturity?

It leads me thinking...

It is hardship... I think

Maria Montessori achieved great success with "The Children House". But let us not forget - the children she had probably had a great deal of self-motivation already. What they lacked were resources, and she came and she gave it to them. The children in Maria Montessori's Children House were the poor, the less privileged, neglected by the society. In other words, these children had experienced for themselves tremendous hardship. When Maria Montessori came, they were hungry for all the knowledge, learning and activities that she was ready to impart.

How did Singapore reach the level of affluence it is today?

It was once a poor country poorer than the poorest African countries in the 1960s.

Our pioneers must have developed a lot of self-motivation through all the hardship they experienced first-hand that matured them. Some Many sadly did not survive under such extreme hardship. (The success of Singapore was also bought with a high price - human price).

Perhaps life in Denmark and Singapore are too good and soft now... Comforters, sweets, cakes, Nintendo, iPad, all come free and easy and is an everyday affair.

I think I might try something to encourage self-motivation in J.

And I think here is what making J soft and lacking self-motivation compared to the Chinese kids... we travel in style (relatively speaking), in comfortable hotels with nice bathroom, in cars, in planes. We eat in restaurants. We shopped for the latest gadgets... because we ourselves as parents have become soft. These things come easy to J, without him having to earn a penny for it.

I have to convince Daddy to forego the luxury... and myself too.

We are thinking of going to Australia for our next trip. But I will now make a priority to discuss with Daddy to change plan to visit Africa and China instead to see the amount of hardship people face there.

I will try to enrol him into a "hardship"camp with other children less fortunate than him.

Sunday 19 May 2013



Oh how I wish J is still a baby,
who is just sweet and will not talk back to you.

But I have forgotten of course,
 how I looked forward to the day he could talk,
so that I could understand him and have meaningful interaction.

Oh how I wish J is still a 1 year pre-toddler,
who is just so eager and determined to learn to walk,
despite falling down again and again and gain.

But I have forgotten of course,
how I looked forward to the day J could walk,
so that I didn't have to worry about him falling and hurting his head.

 Oh how I wish J is still a 2 years old toddler,
who is just happy with any selection I have made for him.

But I have forgotten of course,
how I looked forward to the day,
when I could hear his opinion.

Oh how I wish J is still a 3 years old preschooler,
who is just happy with the things I do for him.

But I have forgotten of course,
how I looked forward to the day,
when he could do more things himself.

Now at 4 years old,
J has his own will,
own opinion,
not as self-motivated to learn,
wants to do things his way,
and wants things right away!
demanding an explanation for every request...

It is so difficult to stand firm,
and be consistent,
and give explanations,
and to do all these without any yelling...

There are days when I want to tear my hair out and just give up,
with no more energy left...
but only confusion of whether I am doing anything right.

Where do I turn to for role model?
Who can show me the rope?
Who has traveled along this path before me?

In the moment of my cries and discouragements,
God led me to discover this blog:

Who has been so generously sharing her experience,
how she is raising her children to be:

Children of character,
and a shining light to the world

It gives me much food for thought,
and inspires me on in my journey of parenting.

Saturday 18 May 2013


Disciplined and Sturctured Environment and Its Influence on Creativity

Disciplined and Sturctured Environment and Its Influence on Creativity: A Documentary Comparing the Chinese and the Danish Education System

I believe in cultivating the good habit of doing homework at a young age, in the same manner as what many child development experts advocate parens to cultivate the love for reading right from the start by reading to children when they are babies.

I believe in making learning fun. However, no matter how one tries to make learning fun… one will reach a stage where it will require time, effort and determination to internalize learning, even for the smartest person. The challenge is how to guide your child to cultivate the ability to focus, to have the self-motivation and determination to learn so as to internalize learning.

Thus, I believe in cultivating discipline. And discipline should be cultivated at a young age. This means providing a structure to your child’s daily routine.

I have been warned by some people that my emphasis with J on learning and doing homework at a young age will kill a child’s creativity, love for learning and childhood. It does fill me with insecurity from time-to-time whether I am doing the right thing.

Deep down, my hypothesis is that I don’t think so it will kill a child’s creativity. One will need to be structured in order to create. One will need to have sufficient knowledge in order to create. There could be exceptions/outliers which fall out of the bell curve.

My belieft is based on the following:

1. God

I look at God. The Bible mentions that God is a God of order. The amazingly beautiful and creative universe that God created is one that is filled with logic and very systematic. God completed His creation in 7 days, each step building on top of the previous step. This shows an orderly method and process in creativity.

2. Chinese Educational System

The Asian way of rote-learning has long been critisized. I pesonally do not think that rote learning should be the way to go, but some parts of it are unavoidable. Learning language for example, there are aspects of the Chinese grammar, Danish grammar, English grammar and French grammar (and many other languages which I am not familiar with too) which cannot be explained, but simply to learn by heart. And of course, it is not sufficient just to learn it by heart, one needs to practice it.

However, the Asian way of learning is more than rote-learning. The Chinese and Singaporean curriculum are much larger than the Danish curriculum. In order words, the average Chinese and Singaporean student come out having learned a lot more than the Danish student after 9 years of education. However, in Denmark, the emphasis is on mastering the process of learning, not the "amount" of learning, which Singapore is working on improving.

Which is showing a better results?

First, we looked at the PISA results which showed the Asian students having higher scores.

Next, we ook at a comparison of the education system of China and Denmark, which was recently done by the Danish Broadcasting, and the documentary shown on 6th May 2013, consisting of a series of 4 documentaries.

The team followed and compared a typical and average class of Secondary 4 (14 years old) Chinese students from China and a class of Secondary 4 (15-16 years old) Danish students in Denmark in 4 areas: Reading, Mathematics, Team Work & Creativity and English.

The Chinese and Danish students were given the same test papers. The class size of the Chinese is 54 students. The Danish class is about the same size (combining two classes of 25+/- students each).

The Results

The Chinese did better especially in Mathematics by a strong margin and interestingly also markedly better in Team Work & Creativity, which was traditionally viewed as a strength of Danes. The Danes did better in English by a strong margin.

In the measure for creativity, the only student singled out with the ability to think out-of-the-box is surprisingly a Chinese student, who is rated as in a special class of creativity. This is interesting, considering that he is a product of a highly structured and disciplined schooling system.

A special class of creativity that show thinking out-of-the-box drawn by a Chinese student assessed by a Danish Expert

The Chinese schooling system is characterized by the following:

- Highly disciplined
- Highly structured
- Highly organized curriculum
- Long schooling hours (12 hours a day)
- Lots of homework

The Chinese students exhibited the following traits as can be seen from the video:

- Highly ambitious
- Highly self-motivated
- Highly respectful to teachers and authority.

The Danish schooling system is characterized by the following:

- Highly child-led: i.e. the child decide what he/she wants to do (you see many of the boys choosing to play with their computers during class instead and the teacher actually allowed it!)
- Laizze-faire
- High degree of freedom
- Short schooling hours (6 hours a day)
- Little homework

The Danish students exhibited the following traits as can be seen from the video:

- Lack of drive and ambition
- Lack of self-motivation
- Lack of respectful to teachers and authority (or may I say rude, coming and going as they wish, not following the class and disruptive)

Although it is a small sample size, it may not be conclusive, but it does provide some data.

From this research, I am convinced that discipline, homework and structure will not in anyway hinder creativity. I am thus less insecure in my beliefs now.

Videos of the Danish Documentaries

Video on Team Work and Creativity:

Here is the video of the documentary, but unfortunately, it is in Danish. However, you can get a feel of the culture of the Chinese class and the Danish class, and see the difference in the behaviour of the students in both classes.

For the Singaporean audience, please note that this video is RA rated because of the following:

In the test for creativity, the students were shown two circles and asked to use their imagination to create based on the two circles. The Danish students did not do as well in creativity measurement, but where the Danish students excel in creativity, they were mainly expressed towards sex. This is shown in the video (Could this be the result of exposure to pronography in the Danish society at a young age?)

Video on Reading:

Video on Mathemtics:

Video on English:

My After-Thought

What I take away from this documentary is that discipline, structure and homework is a vital part for learning, for learning to be effective; and that I don't have to worry so much that it will kill the child's creativity. For the more knowledgeable one is, the more one can draw from one’s wealth of knowledge and experience, when creating and innovating.

Will I follow the Chinese way?

I will cherry-pick, but not following fully the Chinese way. It produces results – excellent results in fact, but it takes away a child’s childhood. There is no time for play. It is a high price to pay. This could perhaps explain why China has such a high rate of suicide. Success does come with a price, and may not always bring your true joy. It is important to lead a balance life. I think China realizes that and is working towards it.

I will try to incorporate the Danish's emphasis on giving a child a fun and relaxed childhood with the Asian way of incorporating discipline, structure and a culture of doing homework in bringing up a child (or should I say the traditional way, since many modern Asian moms are moving away from this so-called "Asian" approach).

Thus, I will continue to pursue our School Time with homework with J.


The important thing is to have a good balance, which is a major challenge.

And I need wisdom to know how to strike a good balance.

Not just any wisdom. I need God's wisdom. For at times, I cannot see my own blindspots, swinging towards two extremes - being too lenient and too strict. It comes with getting down on my knees and pray. In our journey of parenting, we do not walk alone. God walks along with us, if only we let Him. If only I let Him! But in a time-pressed modern life, I often have neglected this area of my life. So I should remember to get down on my knees and pray for wisdom in our parenting journey.

Tuesday 14 May 2013


Packing List for Vacation with Children

I was sad that I didn't pack sufficiently for the Danish vacation. (The typical Danish family vacation is more like a retreat in a summer house, very relaxing, unlike the vacation back home to Singapore, where I will try to allocate slots for J to attend enrichment class or kindergarten as part of the "cultural exchange programme for preschoolers", so I had forgotten to pack many things).

I forgot to bring along board games for the children to play together. I also forgot to bring along CDs to entertain J for the long drives in the car during sight-seeing trips. Fortunately, he took it very well, and the car trips went fine. (No, I didn't have to resort to videos or iPad in the car yet and I am very thankful for that).

The following would be a complete list of what I should remember next time:

1. Workbooks
2. 2-3 story books
3. Case case with pencil, eraser and sharpener
4. Mini color pencils
5. Swimming costume and safety float
6. 1-2 board games
7. CDs with Chinese children songs, English children songs and Christian children songs, English phonics songs and Chinese story-telling.
8. Sunglasses
9. Raincoat
10. Umbrella

The list is only for myself to remember, it is not a recommendation to others.

Tuesday 7 May 2013


J Summary (4Y2M2D) - Growing up...

We were on a wonderful vacation to southern France with our extended family - grandma, grandpa, aunties, uncles and cousins from the Danish side. There were 2 tables. J surprised us today when he decided to sit at a dining table away from us this evening. That repeated the next evening.

At 4 years old now, he doesn't need us to sit by him, hold his hand or receive a hug anymore. To be honest, it hurt. But it is a milestone of growing up that he would rather be with others other than mom and dad, and that is normal. And we are both happy that he is growing more brave and bold, and no longer the shy little boy as before.

I am reminded that our children is a loan from God. We don't own them. I want to treasure every minute of J's childhood as much as I can, while he is still a little boy, before he grows up and moves away from us...

Thursday 2 May 2013


J Summary (4Y1M28D) - Homework On Vacation

We started the tradition of doing homework when we were on vacation last year when J was 3 years old, so I was excited to see if it was still possible to continue with this tradition this year. Today was our first evening and without exception, we started the routine of doing homework before retiring to dreamland. For the next few days would be more challenging, with his cousins joining us (as Danish kids don't do homework even on normal days, so doing so during vacation would be totally inconceivable in their mind)!!!

I wasn't ambitious and aimed at just one page. J was very happy to do his homework and we completed 2.5 more pages.

My aim wasn't to teach anything, but to cultivate discipline - and yes, also during vacation, for how can we slacken to nothingness just because we are on vacation?

However, I went a step further and tested coloring work. That was when J had enough, and that was the last page of our homework. That was also fine.

I continued wherever possible during the next few days, when we were with our family. To my pleasant surprise, J was very happy to do his homework. So he did  his homework early in the morning for 10 minutes before the start of day (breakfast, sight-seeing, playing with his cousins, etc.) and for 10 minutes at night just before bed time. Having said that, it was not every single morning and night, and there were days when we did not do so, which was also fine.

One evening I gave slip for homework, but J reminded me that I have forgotten homework and that he should do his homework, before he goes to bed. I asked why. He said that he preferred to be able to  stay up a little later than to have to go to bed. And doing homework allowed him to stay up later :-)

I think secretly, J was proud that he was doing homework and even wanted to inspire his Danish cousins (he did not succeed of course). 

The others may think that I have forced J to do homework, but seeing that he wanted to do homework on his own initiative, someone commented how I managed to sit J down to do homework without whining and complaining (not that they wanted to do the same).

So far, my secret is to go slow on iPad, Nintendo, TV, videos, etc... but I did not forbid it. The rule is that he can play with iPad and Nintendo with others and watch videos with others, just not at home (similar to social drinking that we practice - we drink when we are with others, but we just don't drink at home). That created a natural break or a natural routine that compartmentalize these activities. During this whole vacation, J had watched enough videos with his cousins than the entire summation of the video he watched for a full year last year, but we were on vacation, and so it was fine.

Going against the cultural norm of the society, I am realistic enough to know that I will not succeed for too long, but until that day comes, I will continue on. Hopefully, when that day comes, J would have reached a maturity that he would choose for himself, and it would be a wise balanced choice.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Favourite Books

Montessori Materials