Archive for March, 2019

Screen Time

March 29, 2019

Recently, there’s been spate of talks/ discussions and PTA sponsored movies about screen time. Maybe it’s the people falling out of love with Facebook. For the longest time (and in fact still is) I’ve been a light user of social media. In fact most of my computer/ smart phone use is related to games, news and a whole lot of googling.

But the thing that gets me is the demonizing of media use. It reminds me of the people who talk about TV in the old days and how it would make vegetables of the people who watch it. At the end of the day, it’s all about moderation. I think especially when referencing how games trigger spikes of dopamine and “dopamine is what you get when you do drugs, therefore games/ screen time make you addicted”. I’ve never seen any research or data to suggest that games trigger the same massive spike in dopamine as drug use. I mean at the end of the day dopamine is what our body generates when we are enjoying ourselves, whether it is a game, food or even sex. Certainly not every enjoyable activity is “addicting”? I need to look into the actual amount, after all the dose makes the poison.

After doing some research, it seems that gaming addiction is being considered for entry as a medical condition. Currently, no other activity addictions are in it, for example, shopping, food, exercise.

I don’t know. In my mind, I think it’s all about moderation. I don’t understand the parents who let kids have laptops, consoles or smartphones and let them decide when and where they get to use it.

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Striving for Better

March 28, 2019

Sometimes, I think I go too far in making my son think about how he could make things better. It just irks me when I hear helpless language around things that could improve if you researched, thought about it or asked for help.

Yesterday, that was about a paper airplane they made that flew over a fence and how sad they were about it. I should have focused more on the feelings but instead I tried to find a fix to the problem by asking why they couldn’t just make another one…. And I made my son show me how to do it at home so I could give him pointers on how to make the creases better.

I’m trying to be better at mentoring him and I make mistakes in how hard I push but I’m trying and adjusting as I go along.

Riding Stamina

March 27, 2019

I might have to change my mind about little C not riding very fast. He can certainly ride for a long time. We went to the cemetery over the weekend (before the puncture happened)  and we were all jelly legged after two laps each and he was still going strong. I think he went 6 laps total while I did 2 and 3 for his dad. The downhill turn, plus multiple potholes after that was kinda difficult for me. I bumped my way through ALL the potholes the first time round. Not very kind on my bum I’d say.

Tire Change

March 26, 2019

Trying to change the tire of the bike. Got a puncture on our third ride out. I’m trying to figure out how to get it done while watching videos but I’m getting stuck, literally, on a too tight axle nut. Looks like I’ll have to take it to a bike shop. I’m slightly disappointed that I can’t do it but I’m not exactly sure what I’m disappointed about. Maybe that I’m not as handy as I thought? Or maybe I had expected it to be easy based on what I read. This is starting to sound like a diy plumbing job – after a flooded bathroom, you realize it’s always harder than it looks.

P.S: With some hammering, J got the axle nut out but had trouble removing the tire without a tire lever. I managed to get it done the next day with the help of some spoons.  I patched up the inner tube and it’s now reassembled and reinflated. Will have to see if I did a proper job of it, but Yay for my attempt at self-sufficiency! I even patched up that wubble ball that had sprung a leak while I was at it.

History

March 25, 2019

I always tell the story about how I really disliked history. I’ve only learned it through school and the textbooks were full of dry text full of random names and dates to memorize. The people never came alive for me. Fortunately for us, we have found a plethora of interesting resources to learn history like Story of the World, historic graphic novels and this scholastic series, “You wouldn’t want to be…” So I’m learning history afresh.

I looked into lapbooking and unit studies many years ago, when I needed more structure to our home learning. I am inspired by the many homeschoolers to incorporate we more hands on activities to supplement the reading. We are going through ancient Egypt now and was looking at hieroglyphs.

ADD

March 23, 2019

I was obsessed with it today, wondering if he has it and if we need to get him a diagnosis. A diagnosis would be expensive (was quoted 5k. Not sure how much of that is covered by insurance) and it is time-consuming (8-10 hours of testing + initial interview + parent conference), plus it needs to be repeated every 3-5 years.

The way it is diagnosed is problematic too because the symptoms are what normal functioning children have except more intense and the diagnosis is dependent on questionnaires filled in by the parent and teacher. It is such a subjective thing. There isn’t a medical/ genetic cause that can be isolated right now. some argue that because it runs in families it must be genetic; and since symptoms go away with medication, it must be a disease. I’m not so sure I’m convinced since the medication is a stimulant that apparently also helps non-ADHD kids concentrate better as well (See college Ritalin/ Adderall abuse)

To add to the confusion, giftedness and ADHD can look very similar. It’s a matter of teasing out if the problems happen at all times, in all settings or only under certain circumstances.

I guess a bit of FOMO is at play here because I’m worried that he might miss out on services that might help him if I don’t get him diagnosed now. But in reality, he’s dealing well with school so far and I really do not want him dependent on medication. So I’m not sure what a diagnosis would do for him. I worry about the side effects of relying on medication in the long run. Where does it stop? I can’t fathom him taking a drug for his whole life just to function normally.

For now, we’ll work on mitigating strategies and building good habits as a defense and if/ when things make a turn for the worse, we’ll look into a medical diagnosis.

Math

March 22, 2019

Recently, little C said that he doesn’t mind/ kinda like/ feels he is good at Math now even though he used to dislike it before. I’ve also seen him reading the Murderous Maths books I bought for him. I guess he has reached a level of competency where it starts to feel interesting. I recall that I didn’t have much feeling for math in the lower primary years. It was only when I started learning higher level algebra and geometry that things started becoming ‘fun’ and I felt like I was good at it. So I’m glad that I’ve helped him along enough that he no longer feels it is the one subject he dislikes the most.

Practice!

March 19, 2019

Finally rode on the new bike yesterday. Surprisingly, after so many years and a total lack of practice, I can still do it. In fact, I probably did better now than before since I know a bit more beyond just pedal and balance on the bike while that happens. Watching little C learn was very helpful 😄 He’s pretty good on his bike now, more control and confidence. I’m still pretty nervous when I ride too close to obstacles and my turns, esp left turning is pretty weak. I’ll have to practice more so we can bike around together!

The bike was exactly what I wanted. It’s so cool that it can be folded up. J had no problems riding on it too. It definitely doesn’t go very fast but that is fine because I don’t think C can go very fast anyway.

Well Trained Mind

March 17, 2019

I had a bit of (lack of) tiger mum panic over the weekend when I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to prepare little C for college. Maybe the college admissions scandal reminded me of how tough it is to get admitted to a good college. Somehow, meeting other parents at a birthday party kinda triggered me too.  I was already worried about not doing enough science the day before and was checking out the Singapore science curriculum for ideas.

When I’ve calmed down enough, I think about how it’s more important to keep working on his social skills and perseverance. The good thing about it all, is that I feel motivated to do more sports with him and we’re moving on to interest-led projects – which right now is history.  Maybe we can do one on the Oregon trail since we are visiting next month.

I’ve been referring to this homeschooling book I really like. It introduced Story of the World to me. I’ve hated history for ages and the stories in there were much more fun than boring old textbooks.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” — Theodore Roosevelt

 

My Sweet Son

March 16, 2019

Really enjoying time with our son. He’s really sweet and sensible and easy to reason with.

He was telling me about how these Yo Mama jokes are being banned in school and he cheered when they announced it. Apparently, it’s been rampant in school and on the bus. In C’s words, “they are not even funny. And sometimes you know the mum of the person they are talking about, and she’s actually really nice.”

He calls a certain girl in the school bus, the “video game girl”.

J has been reading the Terry Pratchet book, The Wee Free Men to him and they are both enjoying it. Welcome to discworld, my little guy.