Book Review - Little Paper Crate: Crafting Stories

~ Posted on Friday, December 4, 2015 at 6:07 AM ~

I have been cutting down on doing product reviews ever since our 3rd kiddo came along in end of Sept 2013. I do still accept review pitches but only when time permits and if it is something that I can see it being useful and beneficial to our family. Also, as busy as I am with 3 kiddos, home cooking, taking care of hubby's administration site of the business and swamped up with managing my FB page and blog, I just can't say no to reviewing good books! Reading is my passion and coupled with books that are of parenting, children, family or religion or educational genre, all the more I gotta say yes!

Little Paper Crate

Little Paper Crate

Title: Little Paper Crate: Crafting Stories 
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing Sdn Bhd (Aug 31, 2015)
ISBN: 9789674153021
Paperback: 66 pages

Description from the product page:

"The Little Paper Crate book is a home-grown project dedicated to children with a penchant for creating. It features various chapters with activities and materials parents can easily obtain, and each project has been tried, tested and enjoyed by children of different ages. The aim of this craft book is for kids to make an imaginative mess through creativity, and we hope this book will kick-start an inspiring, artful adventure! Happy crafting!"
I'm a full-time mummyI'm glad I get to review this book! The first thing that caught my attention was the first project in the book! Foosball table using shoebox! I don't have some of the materials listed in the book (single hole puncher, cloth pegs) so I had to improvise from there with whatever materials I have on hand. I used my double hole puncher and colored ice cream sticks instead.

 Little Paper Crate

The book's layout is simple and easy to understand. Materials and tools required are neatly arranged for you to refer to. I would prefer if there are suggestions of alternatives for materials / tools in case you don't have the ones shown in the book. That would be nice hehehe... Also I'm a stickler for books with step-by-step tutorials, it would be awesome if there is close-up shots of the major steps taken to DIY the projects in this book. Picture below is the outcome of my DIY project.

Little Paper Crate

I explained to our girls how to play this game but being both under 4, they can't really understand the rules of it so I ended up just telling them to hold on to the chopsticks, to adjust left and right, and 'kick' the ball front or back. At least still can teach them about directions (left, right, front, back)

Little Paper Crate

One other thing that I can suggest for the improvements of this book is to add in some teaching and learning moments from the projects made. For example, by doing this project, children get to learn about the science of it or how things work and being applied to real-life scenarios and stuff.

I appreciate that the projects are separated by different categories in the book: games, fun with nature, party favorites and gifts by kiddos. The last category is interesting as it doubles up as a DIY project that the kiddos can make and give away as presents!

In summary, a fun book that you can count on to DIY something awesome with your kiddos!

I'm a full-time mummy

The book is available at all major bookstores such as MPHOnline.

I'm a full-time mummy

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a copy of the book in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine. And if you'd like to read my previous book reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My Book Reviews"

 

** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.

Sharing - Why Some Kids Can’t Spell And Why Spelling Tests Won’t Help

~ Posted on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 12:03 AM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys as I'm very interested to know your thoughts on this. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

Spelling remains the most relentlessly tested of all the literacy skills, but it is the least taught. Sending a list of words home on Monday to be tested on Friday is not teaching. Nor is getting children to write their spelling words out 10 times, even if they have to do it in rainbow colours.

Looking, covering, writing and checking does not teach spelling. Looking for little words inside other words, and doing word searches are just time fillers. And writing your “spelling” words in spirals or backwards is just plain stupid. And yet, this is a good summary of most of the current spelling programs in schools today. So, what should spelling teaching look like?

Finding meaning

Children should know the meanings of the words they spell, and as logical as that sounds - ask a child in your life what this week’s spelling words mean, and you might be surprised by their answers. If spelling words are simply strings of letters to be learnt by heart with no meaning attached and no investigation of how those words are constructed, then we are simply assigning our children a task equivalent to learning ten random seven-digit PINs each week. That is not only very very hard, it’s pointless.

More than sounds

 English is an alphabetic language; we use letters to write words. But it is not a phonetic language: there is no simple match between sounds and letters. We have 26 letters, but we have around 44 sounds (it’s not easy to be precise as different accents produce different sounds) and several hundred ways to write those sounds. So, while sounds - or phonics - are important in learning to spell, they are insufficient. When the only tool we give young children for spelling is to “sound it out”, we are making a phonological promise to them that English simply cannot keep.

 How words make their meanings

Sounds are important in learning to spell, but just as important are the morphemes in words. Morphemes are the meaningful parts of words. For example, “jumped” has two morphemes - “jump” and “ed”. “Jump” is easily recognised as meaningful, but “ed” is also meaningful because it tells us that the jump happened in the past.

Young spellers who are relying on the phonological promise given to them in their early years of schooling typically spell “jumped” as “jumt”. When attempting to spell a word, the first question we should teach children to ask is not “what sounds can I hear?” but “what does this word mean?”. This gives important information, which helps enormously with the spelling of the word.

In the example of “jumt” it brings us back to the base word “jump”; where the sound of “p” can now be heard, and the past marker “ed” , rather than the sound “t” which we hear when we say the word. Consider the author of the emergency text message at the beginning of this article as they pondered which of the many plausible letters they could use for the sound they could hear in “res - uh - dent”.

If they had asked themselves first, “What does this word mean?” the answer would have been people who “reside”, and then they would have heard the answer to their phonological dilemma.

Where words come from

English has a fascinating and constantly evolving history. Our words, and their spellings, come from many languages. Often we have kept the spellings from the original languages, while applying our own pronunciation.

As a result, only about 12% of words in English are spelt the way they sound. But that doesn’t mean that spelling is inexplicable, and therefore only learned by rote - it means that teaching spelling becomes a fascinating exploration of the remarkable history of the language - etymology. Some may think that etymology is the sole province of older and experienced learners, but it’s not.

Young children are incredibly responsive to stories about words, and these understandings about words are key to building their spelling skills, but also building their vocabulary. Yet poor spellers and young spellers are rarely given these additional tools to understand how words work and too often poor spellers are relegated to simply doing more phonics work.

Teaching - not testing

The only people who benefit from spelling tests are those who do well on them - and the benefit is to their self-esteem rather than their spelling ability. They were already good spellers. The people who don’t benefit from spelling tests are those who are poor at spelling. They struggled with spelling before the test, and they still struggle after the test. Testing is not teaching. Parents and teachers should consider these questions as they reflect on the ways in which spelling is approached in their school.

Are all children learning to love words from their very first years at school? Are they being fascinated by stories about where words come from and what those stories tell us about the spelling of those words?

Are they being excited by breaking the code, figuring how words are making their meanings and thrilled to find that what they’ve learned about one word helps them solve another word?

Put simply - is spelling your child’s favourite subject?

If the answer is no, then something needs to be done about the teaching.


What do you think?


** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.

Book Review - New Old-Fashioned Parenting

~ Posted on Monday, November 9, 2015 at 5:44 AM ~

I have been cutting down on doing product reviews ever since our 3rd kiddo came along in end of Sept 2013. I do still accept review pitches but only when time permits and if it is something that I can see it being useful and beneficial to our family. Also, as busy as I am with 3 kiddos, home cooking, taking care of hubby's administration site of the business and swamped up with managing my FB page and blog, I just can't say no to reviewing good books! Reading is my passion and coupled with books that are of parenting, children, family or religion or educational genre, all the more I gotta say yes!

The Adventures of Squirky the Alien #1: Why Am I Blue?

New Old-Fashioned Parenting

Title: New Old-Fashioned Parenting: A Guide to Help You Find the Balance Between Traditional and Modern Parenting
Author: Liat Hughes Joshi
Publisher: Vie (February 12, 2015)
ISBN: 978-1849536721
Paperback: 255 pages

Description from the product page:

"There's been a revolution in the family; it's now all about the kids. We've moved on from children being 'seen and not heard', but we're now plagued with the worry of ending up with 'that child' - the one who's running amok and is ill-prepared for life. This book combines contemporary and traditional childrearing methods, bringing fresh thinking to some of the essential parenting issues of our time:

* Managing screen use
* Encouraging independence
* Finding the balance between school and play
* Compromising between parenting that's pushy and not involved enough
* Establishing the 'best of both worlds' approach that works in the modern world for modern families.

In this manifesto of new old-fashioned parenting there's no pandering, no spoiling, and definitely no dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets at dinner time."
I'm a full-time mummyFirstly, I love the title. I came from a simple family, no spanking, no harsh discipline and I love it. I've always tried my best to emulate my parent's parenting style and I trully believed that theirs is the old-fashioned parenting that works (Look at me! Success story hahaha!) and hopefully will be able to make use of the good ones and apply them onto our parenting style in this modern world.

Some of the tips highlighted in this book that I agree with and love:

- Rewarding your kiddos. I believed it is a good motivational tool but should not be overused that it loses its power. Not all chores to be done around the house by kiddos need to be rewarded, I let them know they should contribute and help out as a teamwork.

New Old-Fashioned Parenting

- Letting off steam. Yes, I shout especially when things get too overwhelming for me to handle. Yes, of course I regret that the moment it happened. We are all human. But like the book said, don't do it too often and watch out as kiddos will easily observed and replicate what and how you behave and react around them. I always make sure I apologised to our kiddos for screaming, explaining to them that mummy is sorry for shouting and scolding etc that mummy need some time off to cool down and calm down as well.

New Old-Fashioned Parenting

- Training up little helpers. I've read somewhere before that young children do not process negative instructions well. So I make my instruction as simple and straightforward as possible. But unlike the book, I try not to use the word 'please' so often. My personal reason for this is because I don't want to be seen asking for help too often by saying please too many times. As the parent who are most often at home with them all the time, I would want to exert my authority and for our kiddos to remember what mummy said means business.

In addition, I also remember reading somewhere that young children cannot multitasks that well, so we as parent have to keep our instructions short and sweet. Don't go telling your young child 'Go clean up your toys then pack your books into the shelf and tidy up the room'. This sample already represents 3 tasks for them to do, of course for us adults we will understand but for kiddos, we need to give them instruction one by one.

New Old-Fashioned Parenting

Another page worth to take note of:

New Old-Fashioned Parenting

About the book structure, I like the 'Common barriers to the NOFP way' section where it highlights the usual doubts and worries on any parents' minds and gives you a better perspective on how to tackle these doubts and concerns.

We practised some of the tips listed in chapter 8 - "Less is More" such as toy rotation, though I wanted to share some other tips we practised which were not listed in the chapter such as:
- Our motto when deciding whether to purchase anything - Do we want it or do we need it?

- Buying preloved items (I've bought some awesome educational stuff and toys for our kiddos this way)

- Keep gifts by relatives and friends given during Christmas or birthdays and space them out for following year/occasions

I skipped chapter 11 which touches on children of preteen age (our kiddos are all below 7 still), chapter 12 as I personally feel with the crime rates in our country now, it is really hard to let go and let our kiddos venture out on their own and chapter 13 on divorce and not being a family unit.

 

In summary, I would totally recommend this book for any parents wanting to work on their parenting approaches, to take the best from both traditional old-fashioned approach and the modern new style of parenting nowadays.

I'm a full-time mummy

The book is available at all major bookstores. For international fans, you can find it at Amazon .

I'm a full-time mummy

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a copy of the book in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine. And if you'd like to read my previous book reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My Book Reviews"

 

** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.