Wednesday 31 December 2014


Our New Year's Eve 2014

A prepared a "menu" of games for the children to play on new year's eve


Monday 29 December 2014


Happy New Year - Remember to Plan in Your Family Traditions for the New Year :-)

The year is soon coming to a close, and as you plan ahead for the year 2015, here are some 135 ideas for cozy family traditions:

Here is a simple easy Excel tool I have made to help you plan your family traditions:

Hopefully you will find something that would be suitable for your family. May we all make wonderful memories with our families in 2015 :-)

Wishing you a blessed and fulfilling new year ahead.

J Summary (5Y9M24D) - Sledging

It has been snowing since 25 Dec 2014 Christmas Day, and the snow was quite perfect for sledging today. I am off today, and thus, after our morning routine with School Time and homework - doing first-thing-first, we went sledging at 10.45am. It was a really beautiful day with sunshine, blue sky and white snow covering the parks and forests. I just love Denmark for such beauty. But it was very cold. 

Our Little FECS was really excited about sledging, and we happily walked down as fast as we could to the nearby hill for sledging. He had great fun sledging down the first slope:

 But we didn't quite get on a good start. It went well for first round down the slope, but then our Little FECS had a fall. Snow got into his boots and made his socks wet. He was crying, annoyed  and cold, that he wanted to go home.

So we went home, although we just got there. What a let down, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I was glad that I kept up my spirit up. It gave me a chance to make memories - I got him a basin of hot water to soak his feet and made him hot chocolate. It was very cozy. He was also willing to put on long stockings after the wet socks incident (such a lesson learned is way more effective than what mommy had been trying to teach him all these while!)

Once he is well and on his feet again, we made another attempt back for sledging. He fell several times again. I told him that others are falling too, that helped to make him less discouraged and embarrassed and to show him that it is normal to fall. To encourage him and take the pressure off from being afraid of falling, I told him that he would be rewarded for hot chocolate, if he made falls. 

Despite falling again and again, he tried again and again. And I am glad to see his strong spirit.

Sledging is a good and economical way to improve body coordination (well, compared to skiing). I hope the snow will stay for a few more days, so that he could go sledging again.

Here is a view from our walk: The snow fall on the trees was really beautiful and awesome.

Sledging, making snowman and drinking hot chocolate are part of the family traditions that we hope to do once a year with our Little FECS. We got to do 2 out 3 today. The snow wasn't firm enough nor of sufficient volume to make snowman, so we have to wait with that :-)

Oh, I should add "Cozy Soaking Basin" to our family tradition for soaking our feet into basin of hot water after sledging. So thank God for the wet socks today, that gave me this idea of a cozy soaking of foot in hot water :-)

Montessori Activity: Static Addition Without Golden Beads - Vertical Presentation

Age: From 5 years old

1. Worksheets
2. Pencil and eraser

1. Start with single digit addition questions.

2. Show your child how to read the question by reading it to your child. E.g.

                                                                 + 3

(You could also show him the horizontal presentation first, and then write it in vertical presentation, for him to see the relation)

3. If your child could not derive the answer mentally without golden beads, teach him to draw "o's" to represent the quantity in place of the golden beads.

4. Ask your child to count the "o's" and show your child to write the answer on the unit place value space.

5. Ask your child to read the question and the answer again.

6. Let your child try with the next single digit question.

7. Move on to double digit addition questions.

8. Show your child how to read the question from left to right E.g.

                                                                + 24
                                                                    ?? <---

9. Put an arrow to the left of the space where the unit place value shall be and explain that when answering addition problems, start from the unit place value.

10. Starting from the unit place value, ask the child, what is 5+4=? Your child should say 9. If he has difficulties, encourage him to draw "o's" to represent each quantity next to the number.

11. Ask your child to write the answer "9" onto the unit place value answer space:

                                                                + 24
                                                                   ?9 <---

12. Move to the ten place value, and ask your child what is 2+2=? Your child should say 4. If not, encourage your child to draw appropriate number of "o's" next to the respective number.

13. Explain that the answer "4" is at the ten value place, and thus it represent "40".

14. Ask your child to write the answer "4" onto the ten place value answer space.

                                                                + 24
                                                                    49 <---
15. Ask your child to read the question and the answer again.

16. Let your child try with the next double digit question.

17. Do the same for the triple digit and quadruple digit addition questions.

Video Demonstration (in Chinese only):

Additional Information:
The golden bead materials are good to provide a very concrete illustration for teaching Maths. However, at some point, the child needs to be able to reduce his dependence on golden beads and move towards abstraction. This method, which I have learned from Brilliant Minds Montessori, is an excellent way to transit towards abstraction and mentally doing the addition.

Our Little FECS (5Y9M24D) tried this for the first time today 29 Dec. 2014. He could do the sum mentally and refuses to use the "o's", although I still want him to practise drawing x's. He has the tendency to forget that he should add by adding the unit place value to the far left and has to be reminded. He got a little confused with reading the question, and he tried to read it from the left. So I have to explain again to read from the right and add from the left. More practise will be needed. I suggested to see how long he would take for each question, and he suggested to use the stopwatch. So I went downstairs to fetch the stopwatch. For each practise sum that he did, he improved in the time taken.

The full curriculum and sequence of introduction is available from Brilliant Minds Montessori, which is available from Amazon:

Static Addition without Golden Beads - Thousand Place Value

Sunday 28 December 2014


LEGO Technic 42020 Twin-Rotor Helicopter Model Kit

My sister-in-law introduced me to LEGO Technic. Her budding engineer boy started to play with this since he was 5 years old. Technic is a line of LEGO, that is perhaps not so known and not so common, but it is very fun and educational.

Our Little FECS got this for Christmas. These few days have been spent playing with the toys he received for Christmas. This morning, Daddy and him started out with this. It was too difficult for our Little FECS, but he really like this helicopter and was very thrilled that it can rotate as you turn the gear. He had a cozy time building it with Daddy.

It is available from Amazon:

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