Quick guide on how to tutor your child

Quick guide on how to tutor your child

Parents with children in primary schools know that it’s kinda stressful nowadays. Maybe some of you don’t feel anything at all but I do. The first month of gor gor’s school, I got a list of dates on when he will be having his tests. Although it sounds less intimating compared to the word “exam” but nonetheless, a test is still a test where you go through the procedure of establishing or/and measuring your performance, your level of knowledge, your skills, your intelligence, etc.

As stressful as it may sounds, the role of the parents is to reduce the stress and not adding to it. We, as parents, need to tutor our own child on an ongoing basis, not when the tests/exams period is just around the corner.

What?!? Tutor my own child?!?
Ah ha…scary isn’t it?

What for?? My child has his/her own tutor.
I know you have hired a tutor but tutor won’t be available for you all the time, right?

How do I tutor my child when I don’t even know how to teach and/or what’s going on?
Don’t fret! You don’t need to be a teacher or an expert in order to teach your child.
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For your information, a parent being a tutor to your child is to assist and guide them through their learning journey. If you rewind back the clock, who’s the one teaching your child to say the first word? Who’s the one teaching your child how to walk, to eat and to talk? It’s YOU! So, what makes you think that you can’t tutor your own child? You are their role model, therefore you are the best person to tutor him/her. On top of that, it increases your closeness between you and your child.

Alright, I’ll try. So how do I tutor my child?
Firstly, set a routine where you and your child can sit down together and focus on the work. Once it becomes a habit, you won’t have to worry about your child not doing it.

Secondly, you don’t really have to teach. All you need to do is to guide.

  1. Revise with them what they have learned in school.
    The school teacher will teach what your child needs to learn. All you have to do is to ask your child what he/she learned in the school today and revise with them. Check out their textbooks, workbooks, exercise books. What have they done? Any mistakes? Revise!
  2. Show them how you find the solutions
    There may be times where you don’t even know how to answer some of the questions. Don’t panic. You don’t have to show your macho side by pretending to know or hiding somewhere to find the answer. Just let them know that you don’t know. Do research and find the solution TOGETHER. There are times when we don’t know how to solve a problem and that’s ok. Just admit it and find the solutions. Finding solutions together also demonstrates your interest in learning. Thus, indirectly you are influencing them the love and interest of learning something new.

Thirdly, have mini breaks during the revision time. Taking short breaks allow one to maintain the alertness and focus. This also allows time for you to maintain your calmness and time for your child to absorb what he/she has just learned.

Lastly, praise your child. I don’t mean “Good job!” or “You are so smart/clever!”. What I mean is that you praise them for their effort on their hard work that they have put in in order to learn. Praising them in this way shows that you appreciate and they will put in more effort into studying. Even if you really need to criticize your child for not knowing something no matter how much you teach them, do start with a positive feedback before moving on to the negative so that he/she won’t get demoralized.
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Being a parent-tutor doesn’t mean you have to know everything under the sun.
Being a parent-tutor doesn’t mean just for the sake of getting a distinction.

Being a parent-tutor is to enhance the bond between you and your child.
Being a parent-tutor is to model to them the love of learning and being motivated.

If you have more to add, do feel free to comment. Would love to have more feedbacks on how different parents tutor their own child.

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Cool craft activity after reading children’s book

Cool craft activity after reading children’s book

We love to make reading and learning fun. One of the ways to make it fun is to include activity before, during or/and after reading a children’s storybook. Not forgetting to read it with loads of love, actions, and emotions so that your child can feel you and feel the story.

This week we went to the library and borrowed a book called Leafy the Pet Leaf. The book was bright, colorful and not too many words. The story can be easily related to the life of little children too.
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The interior of the book wasn’t too messy as well and lots of happy faces to cheer up your child.
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We read together and mei mei was listening very attentively to it. We even acted out some of the emotions felt by the characters in the book as well. After reading, we decided to make a craft related to the story we have just read. I allowed mei mei to choose which pet she wants to make from the story. She chose the cat. As usual, we went for a treasure hunt in the house and find what are the materials we can use to make the cat. It wasn’t long before we managed to collect all the required materials needed.

Here are the materials:
– a box
– cat’s head and tail cut out from cardboard
– paint
– paint palette
– scissor
– glue
– paint brush
– wiggly eyes
– cotton
– a pompom for the nose
– a ribbon to make the collar of the cat
– a bell or a button to decorate the collar
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Mei mei couldn’t wait to get started on making her pet cat! She patiently put everything in place and painted the cat with her favorite color: blue. Yes, the cat is going to be blue in color. No, I don’t restrict the color she chooses during craft sessions because this is where and how they express their ideas through creativity.
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Want to know how the pet cat turned out? Taaaa daaa!! Here is her little blue pet cat from Leafy the Pet Leaf children’s storybook.
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We had a little discussion session where we talk about her little pet cat. The purpose of this is to develop her language skills when she talked and described the color, shape, and size of her little pet cat and how she felt during the process of the craft session. It also trained her patience when she slowly painted the whole cat and waiting for it to dry up before she could further decorate it. She enjoyed both the story and craft sessions a lot and she’s asking for more.

Here’s a video on the process of her craft. Enjoy and do stay tuned for more updates on what we will be reading and working on next! 😉

*PS: Pardon the poor lighting as we were working on this during the evening. 

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Science experiment: Sound Waves

Science experiment: Sound Waves

Ever wonder about sound and how it travels? Here we are working on a really really super simple but awesome Science experiment about the sound waves. As you can’t really see how it works, you get to hear and feel how it works. In some schools, they call this the invisible Science experiment. Now let’s get started!

What you need (Don’t panic! I’m sure you can easily find these items around the house):
– a hanger
– a string
– chopstick or pencil (optional)
– mini speaker (optional)
– mobile phone (optional)
– empty bowls or cups with paper to cover the openings (optional)
– beans or pasta or mini objects to be placed on the bowls or cups (optional)
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What you need to do:
1. Tie the string on the hanger’s hook. Make sure is tight and the hanger is hanging in the center when you hold both ends of the strings up.
2. Take each end of the string and wrap them around your child’s finger on each hand. Then push the string against each ear (NOT INTO the ear but just outside).

Ok, now get ready…

3. You GENTLY (take note is GENTLY) hit the hanger with a chopstick or a pencil
4. QUICKLY, watch the look on your child’s face!

I did the experiment with mei mei and her expression was priceless! Too bad, I missed the “ah ha” moment on her face when I first hit the hanger. She looked so amazed how the sound travels through the string to her ears and she requested me to try hitting it a few more times. I tried with different strength and she would tell me how it sounds. Sometimes she would say it sounds like a small bell or a big church bell, at times like a drum. She got excited and began to hit the hanger on the furniture around her to check out the effect.
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What’s going on:
When you hit the hanger, it creates sound waves. Sound waves are created by the vibration of an object. These vibrations move up through the objects and to your ears. Your brain will then interprets these vibrations as sound. Sound waves travel through liquid, solid and air. In our experiment, the sound waves are traveling through solid. As sound waves travel more quickly though solid, we get to hear the sound more clearly.

To test sound waves through air, we used the speaker and the mobile phone.

To see the vibrations, we placed the bowl (as shown in the above picture) on top of the speaker. Once we turned on the speaker, we can see that the beans and the pasta started “dancing”. It was truly a fascinating scene, especially for mei mei.

What are the properties of sound:
Volume – loud and soft
Pitch – high and low
Frequency – how fast a sound wave moves (high frequency = short wavelength = high pitch)

Interesting fact:
As sound waves travel slower than light waves, that explains why during a thunderstorm you see the lightning first before hearing the thunder. In actual fact, they happened at the same time. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

Alrighty, that’s all for sound waves experiment today. Do stay tuned for more Science experiments in our next blog posts. Meanwhile, check out this awesome video that explains how sound works.

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Rainbow Water Experiment

Rainbow Water Experiment

Explain to young children, who have not started any Science subject in school, about density and mass and they will go “HUH?”. Yes, you get to see that blur and confused look on their face. Just like when they asked you where do they come from and you go “HUH?”.

How do we teach and explain to them about density?
The easier way is to show them and have them do the experiment to see it themselves. The most straightforward, uncomplicated way is to use what you can find at home to demonstrate density and that is non other than suger, food colourings and water. Effortless. Affordable.

What do we do with sugar and water?
Prepare some cups with the same amount of water (we prepared 4 cups of water for this experiment). Add different amount of sugar in each cup of water and stir till the sugar is fully dissolved. Add colourings to each cup. This is to differentiate each different cup of sugar content.

In our experiment, we started with 1 tablespoon of sugar for the first cup of water and subsequently added 1 more tablespoon but it didn’t show the effect. Therefore we added double for each cup of water. For example: 1st cup of water, add 2 tablespoons of sugar. 2nd cup with 4 tablespoons. 3rd cup with 8 tablespoons. Double the amount of tablespoons as you work your way through the cups of water.
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What’s next? 
Get an empty tube or small container and a syringe. Or you can just use a spoon. Slowly and gently pour each cup of sugared water into the empty container with the cup that has the highest amount of sugar first, followed by the next higher amount of sugar. In short, most dense water to next dense water until you have a stacked of colours from all 4 cups.

Because each cup of water is of different colours, you will be able to see each layer of sugared water sitting on top of each other with the most dense water at the bottom.
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Explanation with the experiment on-hand
Density is about compactness of stuff in a space. For this experiment,  you are adding sugar into the water. The more sugar in the a cup of water, the more closely and neatly is the sugar packed together. Hence, the greater the density (same amount water, but different amount of sugar in it). The cup with the most sugar in it is the most dense, while the cup with the least amount of sugar is the least dense.

Still confused?
Imagine you have 3 containers of the same size. Place a metal ball in the 1st container, 2 metal balls in the 2nd container, 3 metal balls in the 3rd container.  Guess which one will be the heaviest? That’s right! The 3rd container followed by 2nd and lastly the 1st container. The heavier the object, the more likely it will sink. The rainbow sugared water experiment is to demonstrate this while having fun.

Check out the rainbow sugared water we have made. Pretty isn’t it? Smarties simply love it and they tested and played with different amount of sugar and colours after the 1st try. They even explored putting in different density of water at different times to test out what they get.
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We have created a short video clip on how to play and have fun while learning about density with rainbow sugared water experiment. Enjoy!

 

 

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How to keep your lunchbox food safe

How to keep your lunchbox food safe

Since my boy has started schooling, I have been making lunchbox for him to enjoy during his recess time. I have totally no idea what to do and like everyone else, I turned to the Internet for help. Just typing in bento or lunch box ideas, you will get swarmed with tons and tons of beautiful pictures. It’s so tempting to make all of them. Don’t you think?

It’s easy to find ideas but how about maintaining and making sure your food is safe for your child to eat. I started to get stressed over this instead of what to prepare and did some research. After researching on food safety, I realized these are the basic 5 precautionary steps we need to take note of. If you follow these 5 steps, the precious food that you have spent your precious time to prepare should potentially be safe to tuck in.

Step 1: Clean hands, utensils, and equipment/tools
Make sure all your utensils and equipment that you used for making your lunch boxes are thoroughly washed and cleaned. Not forgetting your hands too! This may sound really simple and easy but waking up in the wee hours preparing lunch boxes can make one’s mind unfocus and hazy.

Step 2: Fully cooked food and fully cooled down food before packing (unless you are using thermal container)
Make sure your food is fully, 100% cooked! No uncooked or undercooked food. Thoroughly cooked food destroy the bacteria or microorganisms. This is particularly important when you are dealing with meat, fish, and even vegetable proteins e.g. tofu.

Reheat
If you are reheating food, please use a pan instead of the microwave because bacteria or microorganisms are usually formed on the surface. Using a pan will kill all of them immediately.

Undercooked meat/proteins
Avoid undercooked meat/proteins e.g. tofu that is undercooked is not safe. It is best avoided especially under our hot and humid weather as it will breed uninviting little things on your food. Tofu especially turned bad rather easily and quickly. Do take note of this when you are preparing tofu in the lunch boxes.

Salads
Packing pre-made salads is fine to have it packed directly from the fridge. But, please remember, DO NOT pack food that is more than 3 days old. I don’t even pack food that are 2 days old! When you are in any slightest doubt about the food, heat it thoroughly and cool it down thoroughly before packing otherwise chuck it away!

Step 3: Use freshly cooked rice or frozen rice
Understand that all, if not most, of our children are in the morning session and you have very limited to cook the rice and prepare the dishes all at the same time. It’s so tempting to cook the rice the day before or even days before so that you can ration and prepare few days of lunch boxes for your child. Be warned! Plain rice can actually go bad pretty fast since it is extremely moist and bacteria love love love to grow in this kind of warm moist environment.

Try to prepare it fresh on the day. Best if you have a rice cooker with a timer, make use of that! If time is really an issue and you really need to cook rice the day before then make sure it is wrapped up completely before storing in the refrigerator. Or if you want to prepare cooked rice days before and ration it for few days then it is best that you freeze it.  When you use the frozen rice, just make sure you heat it up completely in the microwave or by steaming, and let it cool down completely before packing.

bowl of garlic rice with carrots and eggs fried in butter.

Step 4: To keep foods longer and fresher
Salt and vinegar are preservers: food that you put salt in is not just for flavor, it is also to keep the food fresher for a longer period of time.
Sugar act as a preservative as well, but do use it in small quantity because you don’t want a hyperactive child later on and get a call from the teacher.
Salty or vinegary foods keep longer than foods with little or no seasoning.

Step 5: Try not to over-handle the food
Bentos are really cute and pretty and it helps to entice your child to eat too. But do note that too much handling of the food using hands, can be really dangerous. Those bento experts always use tools to doll up their bento NOT hands. Remember that!

Conclusion:
Always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your food!

Hope this little tips helped and if you are still wondering what should or should not be done, do feel free to comment or drop me a message. I’ll be sharing our bento/lunch box ideas next…do stay tuned!

Life of a stay home mum: when school starts, the making of snack boxes and lunch boxes start too…

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Our little chicky craft for CNY

Our little chicky craft for CNY

This year is the year of the Rooster. To get smarties into the mood and understand better what rooster year is all about, we went to the library and borrowed some books about Rooster year (according to the Chinese Zodiac) and about Chinese New Year. We read the book together and even for me, I learned something new!

  1. 春节
    The book shown on the left was talking about a monster called nián 年. This monster will appear every Spring, during New Year’s Eve, to eat the villagers, destroy their homes and farms. One year, while the villagers were burning bamboo to keep themselves warm. The monster came to the village again but it didn’t disturb the villagers because it was frightened away by the cracking noise of the burning bamboo. The villagers noticed how scared the monster was and so they used the burning bamboo to drive away the monster and keep themselves safe every Spring. As time passed and technology advanced, firecrackers were being invented and replaced the burning of bamboo. Nowadays, lighting firecrackers is a major custom performed to scare off evil spirits and celebrate the coming of the New Year.

  2. Long ago, the Jade Emperor wanted to select 12 animals to be his guards and they have to be able to provide contributions to human beings. As rooster used to always sought to prevail over others and fought all around, it has no chance of getting selected. One day, the rooster found the horse who have been selected by the Jade Emporer and asked what it had done to get chosen. The horse replied that it helped the human beings to plow, do transportation and fighting the war together with them. Hence, human beings love him. Rooster went back and thought about how he could contribute to the human beings. It decided to wake people up with his golden voice. However, it still didn’t get selected. Rooster was really upset and explained to the Jade Emporer that it did make contributions to the people by waking people up. Jade Emporer agreed and allowed the rooster to join the competition which determined the position of the 12 animals which is this year, the year of the Rooster.
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After reading, it was time for some craft works. We made used of the recycled materials to create the chicky craft here. Materials required are really simple:
1. cardboard
2. toilet rolls
3. egg carton
4. water/poster colors
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Smarties couldn’t wait to start working on it. Firstly, we started giving the egg cartons and toilet rolls a beautiful coat of colors.
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Look how focused they were during the process.
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Next, we had a cardboard cut into a shape of a chicken and coloring is to be done too.
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Drawing of the eye and its wing…
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followed by sticking on the feathers. Smarties were free to design how their chicken crafts to look like.
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Finally, all’s done and here we are with our final product. We called them the chicky family! Simple and it can easily take up some time for the smarties to work on, so mummies are free to do their household chores while they are working on their crafts. How cool is that?
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House painting by Smarties and its benefits

House painting by Smarties and its benefits

Last weekend was a really busy one as we were revamping our living room with a new look and fresh coat of paint. It’s really tough work if it’s only the parents doing it, so we got smarties involved as well. In fact, the minute they saw daddy bought the paint back, they requested to help out in painting the walls.

Smarties woke up feeling real thrilled! Never have I seen them got up so quickly without nagging to brush the teeth, get changed and have their breakfast. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on the “paint brush” and start working!
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This was also the time where they got to legally draw and messed up the wall. Check out how happy they were messing around.
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Of course, not forgetting their responsibility of keeping the place clean too.
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The first layer of paint was nicely done and they moved on to other walls while waiting for this to dry up.
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Once it was dried, the final layer went up without delay and it’s smarties favourite colour. This area has become gor gor’s study corner too.
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At the end of the day, smarties felt really contented for being able to help the family out and getting the job done. Although tiring, we had spent our weekend bonding over painting and having fun at the same time. Smarties are always on a look out on how they can help with our home and am very pleased with how they are taking up more responsibilities at home as they get older.

Although they have been assisting me since young, it’s never too late to start now if you have not started yet. All these household chores are not only beneficial to them physically, but mentally as well. Children who are being assigned (of course, we, adults need to guide and teach them as well at the start) with a set of chores tend to have higher self-esteem and better in dealing with emotions.

Children who helped out in household chores will see themselves as important contributors to the family because they have the opportunity to give back to their parents. As a result, they will have a better connection to the family too. In short, do not overlook the importance of chores in developing your children’s character. Make it as part of their routine and you will see the effects.

To read more about chores and children, check out this link: Chores and Children

On how and what chores to assign for different ages, check out: Involving children in household chores

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Unschooling: Road Trip to KL Rabbit Fun Land (Finale)

Unschooling: Road Trip to KL Rabbit Fun Land (Finale)

Before going back home, smarties requested to go to a place where there are animals and nature. So here we are at the Rabbit Fun Land! Rabbit Fun Land is the largest rabbit farm in Malaysia and it has been established for more than 20 years with total numbers of 30,000 rabbits, breed from different countries. Smarties were really excited and couldn’t wait to see the animals, unfortunately, it was drizzling quite a bit and we had to wait for the rain to stop before we can proceed.
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Looking out from our waiting area was a lush green garden and there, we spotted a caged monkey and a rabbit hut.
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Smarties couldn’t wait any longer and decided to hold the umbrella and started to explore the place. They found that they could actually just cross over the low gate and without further ado, they went straight in!
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Luckily, the rabbit’s hut has a big shelter. Smarties had a great time interacting, feeding and playing with them.
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The rabbits were really friendly and hungry too. Once they saw us bringing out the carrots, they quickly hopped towards us. Smarties spent a great deal of time learning about rabbits here. They noticed that some of them bonded with us really well and when they were happy, they would hop gleefully around us.
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Some of them even allowed us to carry and hug them. We found one of the rabbits with a missing leg and mei mei just couldn’t let that rabbit out of sight. She kept on petting, feeding and giving as much love to it as possible.
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Time was really well spent at the rabbit hut as smarties were full of joy playing with them while learning about them. Rain has finally stopped and we moved on to find other animals. Sadly most of the animals were being caged or locked up due to the rain to keep them sheltered as we were told.
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At the other side of the fun land, there are horses, donkeys and deer. We couldn’t get really near to the horses and donkeys so we just looked from a far. There was even a short introduction at the side for people to learn a little bit more about them.
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Next was the deer area. There were many types of deer in different “cages”. We managed to feed the deer as we could stand right beside them and they looked pretty hungry too. They were even fighting with each other for space to get to the carrots.
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There are over 100 different sub species of deer in the world and they live in all locations except for Antarctica because it is way too cold for them when they don’t have that much fur on their bodies. Do you know that male deer are called bucks and female deer are called does? Now you know. Psst… male deer also fight for female deer just like human. ys_klroadtrip12_2-1

After saying hi to all animals and feeding them, it was time for ice-cream and…
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to enjoy some exercises at the suspended bridge.
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Directly opposite the Rabbit Fun Land is a chilli plantation. We went over for a visit. It was just nice that they were harvesting the chillies and smarties got to see how the chillies were planted and harvested.
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Smarties even had some fun posing with the chillies. If you are wondering whether they like hot and spicy food, they do not. Anything hot and spicy, they will shun far far away. After the visit to the chilli plantation, smarties had the urge to grow chillies at home too! We shall see as we have limited space now due to our baby basil, lettuce and cherry tomatoes.
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It started to drizzle again and we have to make a move. Although the weather wasn’t good that day, we enjoyed the time spent feeding and playing with the rabbits at the Rabbit Fun Land and the chilli plantation. But we were not very happy with the small cages that the animals were being locked in. Hope it is temporary and not long term though.

That marked our final roadtrip of December 2016. We hope you have enjoyed our road tripping blog and learn something too! It’s always good to bring children out and learn out of the classroom because
– learning becomes more interactive and engaging
– children feel more connected
– it nuture their creativity and imagination
– it reduces behavioural problems and improve attention
– it makes them more aware of their environment and surroundings

Do follow us if you like our learning experiences and we welcome new ideas of learning and on learning too! Do share with us if you have any.

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Unschooling: Road Trip to Ipoh Old Town (Part 4)

Unschooling: Road Trip to Ipoh Old Town (Part 4)

Tell someone you are going to Ipoh Old Town, the first thing that comes to their mind are white coffee and kway teow. Yes, food and this particular trip will be evolved around food and heritage. Talking about food, smarties were always hungry whenever we are on a road trip. Luckily for us, they are open to trying out new food unless it looked really creepy to them. Our first stop was the kway teow stall. Ahhh… now you know why people think about kway teow when you mentioned Ipoh Old Town because it’s famous for that.

Smarties are used to coming to old coffee houses to eat and they love the happening and exciting vibes at such places especially in Malaysia. Here we were at the famous Hor Hee noodle store where it serves really nice noodle soup with not just fish balls but fish cakes and other ingredients too! Look at the store and you can roughly guessed what’s there…
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Did smarties enjoy the food? You bet! Oops…realised we didn’t take any pictures of the food as we were very hungry by the time the food was served and we just started eating right away.
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After filling up our tummy and fueled up ourselves, it was time for exploration. A few stalls away from Hor Hee, we found a pastry shop and we got to watch them bake right in front of us and try out their pastries right on the spot, fresh from the oven! Guess what were they making in this picture below? That’s the famous Ipoh Kaya Puff! Smarties were standing there throughout their preparation of the kaya puffs. The aroma at the shop that surrounded us made us hungry again!
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Time to move on before we purchased more and more food here. Walking through the shop led us to the Concubine Lane, a historical street that provides a very nice heritage trail for tourists. It was extremely lively, not forgetting crowded too. Check out the crowd in the picture below. The place was filled with stalls and shops selling souvenirs and food on both sides of the lane.

So why is this place known as Concubine Lane or Yi Lai Hong?
It was rumored that in the olden days, the rich Chinese tycoons kept their concubines and mistresses in the townhouses here. This place was also a notorious opium den.
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After a brief explanation on the history of this lane, as expected, loads of what and why from the smarties.
“What is opium?”
“Why people smoke opium?”
“Why this lane and not somewhere else?”
“Why hide them?”
“What happened to the children?”

But the main conversation that got me taken aback was as below:
Gor gor: “Why would a man want so many wives? It’s so exhausting to look after so many people.”
Mei mei: “Because the man want to make many babies”
Being a parent is really amazing because you never know how the kids’ conversation goes especially when you least expected it.

We didn’t manage to take many shots of the place as we were being pushed to walk. With 2 children in tow, it made it even more difficult. After walking through and exploring the Concubine Lane, we went on to the 2nd Concubine Lane which was almost empty as there wasn’t any shops or stalls except 1 shop selling souvenirs and there were umbrellas over your head to spice up the place.
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Along the way, they have mural art on the walls that decorated and brought some life to the place. Smarties had a fun time posing for pictures with the mural art.
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Smarties enjoyed the trail a lot as they got to see the colorful stalls and nicely painted wall art. They had an interesting time marveling at all the colorful decorations, unique signages, and souvenirs. Best of all, they enjoyed the good food at the famous street of Ipoh Old Town.

Do stay tuned to our next destination!

 

 

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Unschooling: Road Trip to Gopeng (Part 3)

Unschooling: Road Trip to Gopeng (Part 3)

After the nostalgia trip to the museum, we headed off to the Gaharu Tea Valley. (Note: if you missed the part 2 of our trip. Click here.) The moment we got off the car, the cool air started blowing our way. We felt like we were in Genting Highlands. The weather was pretty nice to us as it stopped drizzling once we started our tour at the valley.

You will know when you reached the place when you see The Great Wall of Gopeng at Gaharu Tea Valley. This well-protected fortress resembling The Great Wall of China was built to keep the plantation safe from any possible intrusion, especially from wild animals. It also allows visitors to take nice pictures and enjoy great views from the wall.
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We boarded the minibus right outside the Hoga outlet and deli. The guide explained that they would drop us at 3 main stations where we get to explore each station at our own sweet time. Once we were done, we would have to wait for the next minibus to pick us up. We found that pretty cool as we did not need to be restricted by time in order to enjoy each station.

1st station: Viewing Stage
This is the highest point of the Gaharu Tea Valley and it enables us to enjoy the lush picturesque view of all the trees planted on the terraced hills. For your information, the valley was set up some 20 years ago, covering 300 acres of elevated grounds and at one time, there are approximately 200,000 Gaharu trees.
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On top of the scenic view that we could enjoy on the stage, there were 2 3D paintings on the wall for visitors to take pictures and have fun too.
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2nd station: Hugging Park
The moment we alighted at this station, smarties noticed the paintings on the trees and they ran towards it to observe, touch and feel, and then hugged it! Now we know why it is called the Hugging Park. The paintings on the trees were so adorable that the children couldn’t resist hugging it. Of course, you could also create your own poses as well.
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There is a small pond with many tortoises in it. Smarties were enjoying the time petting them. We bought some tea drinks at the mini drink stall and it was refreshing.
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We explored a little further into the park and found rows of trees planted rather neatly. We couldn’t resist taking a nice picture of it too! The air here is really fresh and we were told that it is filled with negative ions released by the plants.
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3rd station: Lover’s Park
This place is called a Lover’s Park because it has an intertwining pair of centuries-old trees that grows together and embraces each other like lovers. Hence, the locals named them as “Lover Trees”. It was believed that couples who pledge their love for each other beneath the tree will be blessed with everlasting romance and will never part.
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Check out the colorful entrance.
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There is a big fishing pond for visitors to feed the fishes too. Smarties were not very interested in the trees instead, they couldn’t wait to feed the fishes. The moment the fishes noticed someone standing at the side, they were all swarming towards that direction waiting for food. Guess they were really hungry…
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The trip to the Gaharu Tea Valley was interesting and enriching. We got to learn about how they organically cultivated trees of various ages to help to conserve the aquilaria species to exploring their retail shop that sells their own products such as their special made tea, cookies, fragrance, etc for visitors to purchase. Smarties had a great time spent there learning about nature, trees and tea.

Immediately after completed our tour, it started drizzling again. Pretty lucky for us huh? We quickly walked over to our car and headed off to the next destination: Ling Sen Tong temple, a beautiful Taoist cave temple located at the foot of a limestone hill.
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It was pretty crowded when we reached, nonetheless, we managed to take some nice shots with the statues. The main area of the temple is adorned with many statues of various designs such as animals, deities, and other characters from the Chinese folklore. The garden in front of the temple is decorated with colourful statues of characters from Chinese mythology such as the Monkey King from the classic tale Journey to the West.
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It was a good timing as we saw the caretaker brought some food to feed the monkeys. It was an eye-opener for them (we don’t get to see this in Singapore as we are not allowed to feed the monkeys that are in the wild) when they saw monkeys rushing forward to the food from all over the temple. We even managed to figure out who was the leader of the group. This was the one because when it was eating, no one else dared to go near it until it had its fill and moved off…
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then we saw the rest of the monkeys rushing towards the leftovers.
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Check out the video and I bet you could tell who’s the leader of the group too 😉

Stay tuned for part 3 of our road trip as there will be loads of food, art, and entertainment!

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