Archive for March, 2016

Boredom in School

March 9, 2016

Today, I asked Calvin what did he find the hardest when he was in school. I was somewhat expecting maybe some PE item since he is not as physically developed. He said “Sight words”. I was baffled. He should be pretty good at them since he has been reading very fluently.  (Some of the “sight words” are not even true sight words. Like they are learning “three” which can be sounded out phonetically. I thought sight words are the ones that you can’t sound out.) I asked him what he found hard about it. He said, ” We have to trace it, write it, find it, (and many other activities he mentioned) and we do it again and again.” From the tone of his voice, I finally figured it out. I asked, “Is it hard because you already know it and you don’t enjoy repeating it?”

Suddenly, I feel really glad that he is attending half day kindergarten. Their class has an hour of math in the afternoon and they are working on addition within 5. His old school was still doing patterns a week before he left and Calvin would be so bored he started drawing Ninjago comics at the back. At home, he seems very interested in our work with place values. He can tackle addition and subtraction without renaming and we are now trying to work on some addition with renaming. He seems to really understand what the numbers really mean now. Before, he would read 123 as 1, 2,3 but now he can recognize that as one hundred and twenty three. Well, I am biased in that I hope he will be good at math since I loved it so much. Or rather I just don’t want him to hate math because he doesn’t understand it.

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Karate

March 5, 2016

We decided to give karate another try since his first sensei was a bad fit for him and probably more suited to teaching older kids or adults. I went through many reviews and found a dojo that is reputed to have a fun sensei who is good at engaging the kids. Calvin just went for his second trial session and he indeed had a lot of fun even if I cringe inwardly many times at his inability to get his body to follow what he sees.

This last session, the other helpers had to physically move his body to get him into the right position. I could see from his face that he wasn’t happy about being corrected though I wasn’t sure if it was from being told he’s wrong or discomfort from their not too gentle corrections. I was also proud that he managed to rein in his obvious unhappiness and enjoyed the rest of the class. In fact, when I asked him if he liked the class, he said that he liked it despite his dislike of those corrections. In his words, “my body wasn’t made to move that way”

Anyway, I told him we could practice at home and get better so he won’t need to be corrected. He definitely needs more practice on his sit ups and push ups. Um…guess mum isn’t much of an athletic person so he becomes bookish like me too >_<

Homework

March 4, 2016

My goal for him this year is to get used to school life and teach him good academic habits and skills. His old school has fairly minimal, weekly school work that he can finish in 30 (40?) minutes in one sitting. When we moved, I gave him daily homework in Chinese, Math, word study or journal writing. His current school teacher gives him a set of weekly homework too. The homework has a lot more writing, which takes him a longer time to complete as his hand gets tired.  So we work on it everyday. The curriculum is also a little more advanced but that is not the daunting part for him. His problem lies more in his inverted letters and learning how to write on the line.

This Tuesday, he decided that he wanted to do work first the moment he got home, which I silently applauded. I got him a cup of water and noticed that he was drinking it halfheartedly, touching his lips to it without actually drinking much.  So I asked him what is the matter. He said he was too down to drink. I was somewhat puzzled – why is he down? And why can’t he drink water when he is down? He said when he feels down, he doesn’t feel like doing anything, which made sense to me, but he didn’t know why he was down. Except that he will feel better later after he’s done his homework. After some gentle coaxing, we figured out that he was feeling down because of homework. He was tired/ bored/ frustrated with how long it takes – part of his homework was to trace numbers from 1 – 100. He was probably too eager to start playing so we decided he could have a short 15 minute break and play before continuing.

So his new routine is now come home, play for about 30 minutes, start homework, then continue playing.

It was kinda funny because he would often say he doesn’t know why he is angry/ sad even though he knew it was about homework. Perhaps he understood that homework is important and he should do it but really wanted to do something else. He didn’t quite have the words for the conflicting feelings so he ends up saying he forgot or he doesn’t know. Maybe he was afraid that I would get angry if he said he didn’t enjoy homework. I mean he seemed perfectly happy with the homework I assign to him previously but I guess I never forced him to do a lot of copywork/ writing because I didn’t want to turn him off homework. It’s not a bad thing to teach him to deal with boring work that he just has to complete. Plus, he really does need the extra practice in writing…..