What My Five-Year-Old is Learning? (Part 2)

Continued from the last post

I feel the pressure because there are so many things for him to learn, and there is so little time for me to teach him. Learn to write, spell, count, doing additions and subtractions, read the Peter & Jane books, read the Basic Chinese 500 books, read assorted story books, learn the phonics, learn to tell time, learn to draw, and the list goes on.

Seriously, being a full-time working mother and without a helper, I have limited time to do all these activities with him. I also do not want to force him to do tons of worksheets and writings every night, because I feel that it’s important to spend quality family time together.

During the last parent-teacher meeting, his teacher shared with me that one of his classmates has to complete ten worksheets at home every day (on her mother’s request). I told her that we didn’t do that much, maybe just half of that amount.

Too much of writings turn him off. So, we spend about 20 minutes doing worksheets and the rest of the time will be on reading and other activities.

So, I made this time-table for him and I’m pushing myself to complete all six lessons with him every week. Of course he deserves one rest day every week – that is why this time-table only contains six days. Our rest day will usually be Friday because we dine out and return home late.

I think this time-table is well-balanced now. Did I miss out anything? We spend about 30 to 40 mins daily – that’s about 10 mins for each subject / activity.

While I was searching for educational materials for Kindergarten, I stumbled upon this wonderful website by IXL Learning. It has a list of skills for students in Kindergarten! The skills are organized into categories, and you can move your mouse over any skill name to see a sample question on the website.

You can also get your child to practice from your computer. Just click on any link, IXL will track their scores, and the questions will increase in difficulty as they improve!

Good try!


What a Five-Year-Old Should Be Learning? (Part 1)

Recently, I’ve been frantically researching about what a five-year-old should be learning and whether our boy is “on track” and knows everything that he should.

The pressure came after I read numerous posts on Facebook from mothers about what their kids are learning and have achieved. One mom posted that his son can count up to 100. Another mom posted about the spelling (in both Chinese and English) that her daughter is practicing. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew.

Gosh, I do understand that childhood shouldn’t be a race. But again, it is human nature to want to know how our children’s progress as compared to others, and to want to make sure we’re doing all that we can for them. Comparison also makes us realize what are the areas our children are lacking – or maybe it’s just us who haven’t happen to cover those areas.

Worst that we can do is to neglect this and assume that they will learn everything from school or when the time comes. This is because a child’s development is greatly influenced by the inputs from us and the experiences that he or she has. So, I’m pushing myself to be “on track” in order for my son to be “on track” too.

When I first heard of learning spelling at the age of five, I thought that it was too advanced. Then, I realized that I was wrong. We’ve been working on writing and spelling the number words from “one” to “ten” since last week, and we had our first spelling test last night.

Much to my surprise, he got them all correct. Now, he can spell and write “one” to “ten” all by himself. My plan is to get the Chinese words spelling started by mid of this year.

At this age, Little Edison is still unable to read very well but mathematics comes easy and naturally for him. Give him anything numerical, and he just breezes to it. He can do addition of 1 up to 30 and he is always eager to work on his sums.

This is one of the exercises that I made for him, and he completed it in less than five minutes – all by himself!

Back to my first question on whether our five-year-old is “on-track”, I read many articles on the internet, and these two articles are the most detailed and informative.

Child Development Tracker: Your Five Year Old by PBS Parents

Child Development Tracker: Mathematics From Age 5 to 6 by Education.com, Inc.

In short, an average five-year-old knows the characteristics of various shapes, can accurately count up to “20”, can name the number after / before a specified number, can make a reasonable estimate of the number of items up to “5”, can draw objects, can identify written number words from “one” through “nine”, can conduct simple addition and subtraction up to “four” and are learning to tell time.

To be continued in my next post


Starting His K1

The crying was very bad last week but it gets slightly better now. Not Little Edison, I’m referring to the children at the pre-nursery classes who have just started school last week.

Some of them started bawling the moment their parents leave the classroom. I can’t imagine those who take a school bus. They might be crying all the way from their home. Sigh.

The beginning of school is often very challenging for young children. Some of them may need more time to adjust to new people and environment than others. But with time, they will eventually settle down to the school routine. And they will gradually engage in the classroom activities and start making friends too.

So, don’t be despair if your child is crying at school. I experienced it two years ago when our boy started his pre-nursery. I also shared my 6-point plan on how to tackle separation anxiety in our children. Read it HERE, if you need.

Little Edison started his K1 this year. He was so excited about it, and he kept repeating, “I’m 5 years old now, I’m in K1. Next year, I’ll be 6 years old. I’ll be in K2.” And I said, “Yes, you’re a K1 big boy now!” He is very proud that he’s a big boy now.

This is his third year in the same kindergarten. So, he is very familiar with the classroom. He waltzed straight in, hung up his bag, dropped off his water bottle and walked up to the hall for his morning devotion. He is so excited to see his friends again.

For K1 and K2 children, the school offers a range of enrichment classes to enhance learning through creative activities. These classes are held once a week (one hour per lesson) after school hours. I signed-up two classes for Little Edison – the Chinese Integrated Program and IT Starter for Preschoolers.

Our choice of Primary School for Little Edison is a SAP school with strong emphasis on bilingualism. Thus, I signed-up the extra Chinese class for him so that he can have a good start in Chinese Language.

The IT Starter class, on the other hand, is to familiarize him with the use of computer and internet. It also equips him with the essential ICT skills, improve creativity and build-up his confidence through group projects.

I hope that he will enjoy these extra lessons this year.