The first month of 2016 is almost done, and we're two weeks away to Baby #4's EDD! I admit I don't feel ready for her arrival, even though this is our fourth child. Perhaps it's because we have so much going on right now at home: homeschool, the new house, decluttering, and dealing with all those heart issues for our little boys. It has been quite a tough month, with everyone falling sick, but I know God has been gently leading us through.
I did mention we might be moving in a few months time, but didn't really elaborate since everything was still in the works. We're excited to share that we've sold off our place, and we managed to find a house that suits all our needs. We had to apply for approval to purchase the place, as hubby is only a permanent resident here, and after three over weeks of nail-biting waiting, we've received news that our application is successful. Thank God! It means the next few months will be a rather hectic period of more decluttering, packing and settling renovations, but I am so thankful that we will have a larger space for the kids to grow into. Homeschooling in our current place has been a tad challenging, since the boys sometimes are bouncing off the walls, and need space to spread out. That aside, the move would really force me to tidy and declutter, which is something we really need to do!
Homeschooling has been going on at a slow but steady pace. Most are surprised when they find out that Junior J only gets about one to two hours of sit-down lessons a day, and that the younger two don't really get lessons at all! However, that's all I think I can manage each day, since there's also the household chores and cooking to be done, and Junior J isn't able to sit down for so long. We aim for short lessons, and we've been working on Chinese, Math and Science. Chinese has been the biggest challenge, so right now it has just been a lot of reading aloud to him, and trying to get him conversant in the language. For Math, we've been using some of the MOE curricula as well as Math U See. Science has been a matter of winging it for now, and I hope to have something more structured planned soon. The younger two love sitting in for Junior J's lessons, and have been listening to the Chinese stories too! Sometimes, they disrupt our lessons, but these days I try to keep them busy with some simple activities too. Junior J usually spends most of his free time either playing with his brothers, working on one of his own projects (these days it's drawing all sorts of things), or reading. I love how homeschool gives him time and room to explore his own interests!
Home lessons aside, we are still attending a Chinese co-op as well swim class, and Junior J is currently learning how to play the cello. It's been getting harder to bring the kids out, since baby #4 is getting lower and heavier, but I'm taking it week by week.
Lil J has been the one that has been surprising me these days. He is quite the independent learner, and hasn't been keen on anything structured. I've kept an eye out for sensitive periods, and lately he's been showing an interest in writing alphabets. However, worksheets and activities don't work, since I tried printing alphabet writing worksheets for him, only to have him draw monsters on them and then run away! While he doesn't seem to be getting any structured lessons, I know he's actively learning each day. I've been giving him lots of half-used papers to draw on and plenty of art material, and he busies himself with writing, drawing, and cutting, all on his own accord. It generates a mess most days, and some would tsk tsk at how he's not doing any "proper" work at all... but thus far it has been working for him, so I am happy to leave him to it. I've learnt that learning really takes place all the time, and sometimes we just need to provide them with the resources, and nudge them along when we spot sensitive periods when they seem ready to pick up a certain skill.
Baby J has been quite happy to potter about, and joins his brothers for some of the activities that we try. These days the kids have been enjoying the stories by Julia Donaldson (we have been listening to her stories and songs in the car), and Baby J has been quite fascinated with the Gruffalo. The folks over at Kidsfest sent over these DIY Gruffalo puppets, and the three of them had so much fun making them! Now Junior J is asking if we can make more puppets for the rest of the characters in the Gruffalo, and is hoping that they can use the puppets to put up a Gruffalo show. I love the idea, and I think we'll be doing that soon!
I think one of the areas we've not explored much is the aspect of drama and theatre, and I've noticed the boys love play-acting and putting up "shows" these days. I'm hoping to include this aspect more, and this current season of Kidsfest couldn't be more timely. This year, Kidsfest would be bringing to life six different children's stories (the Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Snow Child, I Believe in Unicorns, Aliens Love Underpants and Little Red Riding Hood), and we're looking forward to watching Snow Child with the older two soon. (You can read more about the shows over at this post.) I am hoping that I don't pop before that!
I'm sort of glad to see the end of January... but now, time to prepare for Baby #4's arrival!