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Notes from the schoolroom

With a very busy start to the year, and then Chinese New Year approaching really soon as well, we have had little time to focus on our art and craft activities, but I really hope to get this back on track.

However, whilst alphabet craft has taken a backseat in the last two weeks, the maternal grandparents should now be relieved upon reading this post that their daughter has finally decided to get off the lazy seat started initiating some kind of training on stringing letters into words, phonics and writing! 😀

I am very keenly cognizant of the fact that our decision to not put our daughter into a formal preschool program until next year, has implications on DD’s childhood development journey especially when compared to her age-peers. Having said that, everyone has their own needs and circumstances that drive the decisions they make, and this is not meant to be a statement blog about when is the right age to start a child in a formal preschool.

Our decision is based on a personal conviction that at the tender age of not quite yet three, she should be allowed to develop at her own pace and use the 12 months to discover her own strengths and talents along the way. There will be a time and place to buckle down to serious work, but for now a child should be allowed to enjoy childhood and all its inherent benefits.

The itsy-bitsy spider – entirely drawn and coloured by DD herself one morning while I was clearing up after bathtime.

Part of the reason why I have not started earlier on this is also because I subscribe to the belief that for any kind of skills development, a child should begin when she shows clear signs of having an interest or being ready. I think this calls for some wisdom on the parent’s part.

Certainly, we shouldn’t allow a child to walk all over us in the decision over when is a right age to start training a particular skill, but the truth of the matter is that if he or she is clearly not mentally or emotionally inclined toward applying themselves to learning the skill in question, but the parent chooses to persist, it then turns into a battle of wills and a showdown of whose patience can stretch further, or whose persistence can last it out. And we have to ask ourselves, is it absolutely unremittingly crucial that we start this now, or can we revisit it in a few months’ time?

So anyway here we are, at a point in time, when DD has recently started pointing to certain words on cereal boxes or signages and asking us, “What word is this?”

This is an activity sheet I drew up using the memory verse DD’s Sunday School class have been working on  (Deuteronomy 6:5). At first, I thought I would just let her colour the hearts, and read the verse to her, using the phonic sounds of the letters. But she decided to turn it into a “find and colour the letters with the designated marker colour” activity, which I happily went along with. And then it further developed into a “trace the letter” activity. It is very early days yet but I was very pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. 🙂  


I thought this was worthy of a separate post. Just. because.

This was actually the draft to our h is for horse Alphabet Wall craft but we ditched it because I wanted the horse’s head to be drawn facing the left.
Anyway, whilst we were busy drawing the “proper” horse on another sheet of paper, unbeknownst to us, DD had quietly picked it up together with a spare green marker from my pencilbox.

Aside from the outline of the horse’s head and back and its eye, the rest of the sketching and shading is DD’s own work. 🙂

Elves at work – our creation storyboard!

Genesis 1: 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Hehe, can you guess the reasons I used an envelope to represent Day 0?

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Shiiiiiiiiiing!!! Check out the glow 😉

6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

Clouds to represent the bodies of water in the sky!

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Day 3 - part one

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

Day 3 - part two

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

Starting to look really nice!

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

Turn the blue foam over on the reverse side, and ta dah - sea creatures! Ah ha, what's on the other side of the orange foam...?

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

Now that's really crowded! 🙂

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Click here for instructions on how to make a storyboard backing.  😀

Our cell group has just started an apologetics bible study series on DVD, and the first of the series is on the Creation account, which inspired me to do up a storyboard for the kids.  In our preparation, I found that when I tried to go through the frames from memory without referring to the Genesis account, I got the order all mixed up between Days 3-5.  That’s a 43% error rate, shame on me!  😛

So it turned out to be a really good and timely Sunday School revision.

Travel Scrapbook: Day 9

DD picked some leaves off the ground for her scrapbook page on Perth. 🙂

Leaves from Australia for my scrapbook!

Scrapbook-Kings Park Scrapbook-my trip

And that’s a wrap!  The My 1st Overseas Trip scrapbooks are now on the bookshelf along with the rest of our family albums and scrapbooks so the kids can look back at them again in the future. 😀

Travel Scrapbook: Day 8

Although we didn’t see any real ones, we still got to watch a couple of short films about dolphins.  I learnt that there is a darker side to the dolphins’ often portrayed friendly, playful and helpful image.  There’s more than meets the eye.


Travel Scrapbook: Day 6


Introducing the concept of Superlatives: Big, Bigger, Biggest. Small, smaller, smallest.

Travel Scrapbook: Day 5

Texture craft with real merino wool from the shearing shed ;-)

Texture craft with real merino wool from the shearing shed

Travel Scrapbook: Day 4

Animals on the farm

Animals on the farm

Lighthouses - What do they do?  and Caves - Stalactites and Stalagmites

What is a Lighthouse; Caves - Stalactites and Stalagmites

I think what we found with the scrapbook activity pages was the opportunity either way to turn simple pasting and colouring activities into fun wind-down exercises or potential stretch assignments for our kids.

For example,  “Animals on the farm” was an easy one for DD to work on fairly independently as a just-for-fun pasting activity but presented a bigger challenge for DS as an exercise in identifying various farm animals. 

In contrast – whereas it would have just been very simply a colouring and pasting exercise for DS because we wouldn’t expect him to be thinking about functions of lighthouses, and stalactites and stalagmites, we certainly took the opportunity to explain these to DD when working on the lighthouse and cave pages.  It’ll  probably be interesting to revisit these with DD later on – I have been amazed many a time with how much she remembers and absorbs from what she sees. 🙂

Travel Scrapbook: Day 3

Identifying and distinguishing sea and land creatures

Identifying and distinguishing sea and land creatures

For these pages, I asked DD to identify and place the sea creatures on the AQWA page and the land creatures on the Marapana page.
What’s funny is when it came to the duck, she quite rightly associated it with water…and so then I had to explain that ducks didn’t live in the sea but spent time both in water and on land! 🙂

I also thought it was hilarious how she pasted the shark diving straight downwards!

Travel Scrapbook: Day 2


Study in shapes – triangles (old concept), trapeziums (new concept)