Archive for January, 2015


January 21, 2015

This week we get to enjoy uncharacteristically warm winter weather. Yesterday, me and Calvin went on a hike on the Riv Trail on a whim. The trail starts from the parking lot of the law school and follows the Rivanna River. We ended up walking for more than an hour without rest and I’m surprised that Calvin posted no complaints. Maybe all the outdoor activity and running about the past month has improved his stamina.

Ever since I found out I ran slower than others in kindergarten, I wonder if I’ve harbored the thought that I am naturally not athletic because my parents are not. I still loved running about with the boys in primary school though. Now that I think about it, maybe it was because we rarely play outside since we live in a suburban area with mainly houses and roads. Sometimes, maybe we are too quick to attribute our weaknesses to lack of talent than lack of practice.

I am glad that we moved to our new apartment. It is so easy to go out and enjoy the outdoors. The place is well maintained. The playground is right outside, there is a hiking trail within walking distance, there is a little stream for the kids to play in, I can walk to the grocery store or take a bus to pick Calvin up from school.

Driving Test

January 14, 2015

I failed my first driving test. Boohoo! We were going to do a second try last week when the car battery won’t start. (Is that a sign?!?) So this week, we will try again. I am nervous about it. The last time I tried, almost everything that could go wrong went wrong – we forgot to stick the car registration sticker on our plate, I couldn’t remember where the headlights are, I tried to drive off with the parking brake on, tried to reverse when only the electronics are on. When we finally started driving, I was jittery like I had ants in my pants. Most of the driving test actually went pretty well despite all that.

Except at the end, we had to do a lane change to drive back to the DMV. I was in the go straight lane so I frantically tried to switch lanes and there was a car right behind me who had to slam on her brakes and honked me, which was an automatic fail =( I think I was more freaked out by how I really didn’t even see the car there. I am worried about driving around by myself. What if I get into an accident? What if the car breaks down? What if I have a tire puncture? Well I guess if I knew where I was going and I drive slowly, I probably will be fine. No one will blame me for driving like an old lady on the highway, right?

Calvin is Reading

January 7, 2015

What I meant is reading in English. He has actually started reading Chinese sentences since summer. We’ve slowed down on this since I have to come up with my own lessons. We were using a set called 基础汉字 but I couldn’t find book 4 of the first set.

At the beginning of the school year in September, I knew my goal would be to teach Calvin to read independently and also to write in English. We are not that advanced for Chinese so it will have to wait for a while though he actually wrote 不 (“no” in chinese) in one of his notes of his own accord.

He already knew his alphabet sounds and was starting to read some cvc words so I knew he was ready for the next step which is word families and sight words. We did some word sort (like what the 1st graders were doing), word family wheels (where you change the first letter to get different words of the family) and also sight word mazes. It was somewhat unstructured and we didn’t always get to sit down for formal learning.

For the past two months, I’ve set aside short reading sessions everyday, right before his video time, capitalizing on his eagerness to get started on his favorite hour. Initially, Calvin was reluctant. He told me that he didn’t enjoy it but will do it anyway. I am so proud of him for keeping at it in spite of it. Each session is short (about < 5 mins) so I figured even if it is torturous, it ends quickly. We’ve been using the phonics readers from The Measured Mom. Calvin is now starting set 7 of her books and we are very pleased to see that he has improved tremendously. He can read simple sentences fluently and he has no trouble with consonant blends (e.g.  st-, bl-, cr-) or even the tricky ones like sh- and ch-. He also knows a good handful of sight words now. It’ll still be a while before he can read by himself but I’m glad to see him progressing well.