Sunday, June 20, 2010

Home School for Pearce

When Connor was three, we put him in the best private preschool around. I assumed that a pricey start to his education meant a better start to kindergarten. But the opposite was true. The basics weren't covered and Connor started behind rather than ahead. Lesson learned. Now that Pearce is four, instead of a preschool, I decided to started home schooling him. This is what I have been using:

Workbooks from Kumon for writing numbers and letters.

The first couple of lessons focus on writing numbers from one to ten.

Pearce's first math test.

Pearce was so upset with himself when I showed him he got two answers wrong. He got up from the table and ran into his room. I explained he still did really well, but he wasn't happy until he wrote in the correct answers. Eric and I apply very little pressure on Pearce, so I have no idea why he's so hard on himself, but he's been like that from birth.

I give stars for neat letters. Pearce started to give himself stars too.

Then Pearce started giving himself smiley faces for good work.

For the letter tests, Pearce had to write and name the letter and then give a word that started with that letter to get a star a.k.a a correct answer.

Boys tend to have slower fine motor skills, making hand writing a slow or sloppy process but the Kumon workbooks helped Pearce tackle both of those problems.

Pearce's concentration lip. My mom says I did the same thing.

Video clip of Pearce writing his name.

Pearce Mastering his name after practicing for a couple of weeks. He was so proud of himself.

Computer Programs.

The PBS Kids Computer Curriculum includes seven major areas:

1. Healthy Development (emotional development, self care and safety)
2. Creativity ( art, reasoning and problem solving, music, invention and imagination)
3. Science (inquiry skills, life sciences, earth and space, and sound and light)
4. Language (Vocabulary, listening comprehension, and sentence formation)
5. Literacy (letters, early reading, rhyming words, phonics skills and spelling)
6. Math (patterns and classifications, measurement, numbers, geometry, adding and subtraction)
7. Social studies (history, maps and direction, rules and fairness, people and environment.

*also promotes computer skills.

This is the Chart that PBS provides with the computer program to help your child keep track of their progress. Once Pearce completes a level in a certain area, the program rewards him with the sticker (below) to place on this chart.

Pearce loves the computer. He has since he was 1, when he'd sit and look at pictures or videos of himself all day. He still does that.

I also have Pearce using the computer program Hooked on Math.
Thanks Mom and Dad for sending it to us.

*My only complaint with the PBS computer program is that the upload from one game to the next takes a little long. Patience tends to be an undeveloped trait among their target audience.

A picture journal.

In the past, Pearce and I had only been into arts and crafts, not really anything with drawing. I decided to try and change that. This picture journal we started will be some of his first drawings. He comes up with the pictures, then tells me what to write. It's been great so far. It's helped channel his creativity, learn to identify his pictures with captions, learn to write in sentences that he creates himself, and gives him practice writing his letters. I also have him sign his name after each entry, giving him extra practice, and trace the sentences I write for practice.

Pearce's picture journal for June.
Pearce's illustrations started off mostly monochromatic and simple. He'd sign each with PP until I taught him how to write his name. I like these entries because it really shows his progress.

Sometimes Pearce wanted to do more than one journal entry a day. Like his Karate Kid entries. They could have been never ending. We just saw the Karate Kid Movie and he was all charged up.

I love the red blood.

After watching Monsters vs. Alien Halloween special. Pearce watched it like 70 times in a row.

I've also gotten Pearce involved in Music and sports out here, but that's for a different blog. I'd love to hear other ideas or suggestions.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I dare anyone to achieve free cable from that rat's nest. Actually those cable wires are pretty organized for Vietnam. I've seen much worst while whipping around Hanoi or Saigon by motorbike. Just a constant black mess of wires occupying the skyline of every street. In this pictures, it's a total view killer for the lady looking off her balcony.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blood on the Highway Part 2

During our last extended stay in Vietnam in 2008, Eric postulated that Hanoi was the most dangerous city to drive in on the planet. He was wrong. Saigon is worse. Simply put, there are more cars and bikes than there is road space. About a million times more. Add the fact that Vietnamese don't know the traffic laws or don't want to follow them, and that buses don't count people on motorbikes as human, and you have a road fatality rate that rivals countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. You know. Places where there's terrorists; road side bombs; tanks; snipers; etc. War zones.

However. We love riding motorbikes around here. Even preggers. There's no other way to get where you want quick, but also experience the sounds, smells, and weather of the city. Cabs and cars separate you from the chaos that is real Saigon. Plus, it's better than any roller coaster I've ever been on.

Eric, Pearce and I on our motorbike. My baby bump is 5 months and 2 weeks.

No parking lots in the city. So parking is on the sidewalk.

The parking garage at the Intercontinental.

Pearce poses with his hands up. Not sure why. He loves going on the bike. He usually pretends the other motorists are "bad guys," and spends our transits shooting them with his fingers. The locals stare a lot.

A short driving montage of Saigon.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pearce's Birthday

Even though we celebrated Pearce's birthday in Hawaii, when it came to his actual birthday on June 9, we decided to throw a little family party for him. The festivities started at lunch at the Annam cafe and bakery in downtown Saigon. Pearce got to pick out four cup cakes because he was turning four. We figured this would take care of his birthday cake needs.

Double Chocolate, Red Velvet Creme, Lemon Merange, and Rasberry Vanilla.

Pearce dusting off his first cup cake, chocolate of course.

Later in the afternoon, one of Eric's friends (Duy) brought over an entire birthday cake. This was cake #2.

Blowing out his four candles.

Then, after dinner the staff at our apartment brought Pearce a birthday surprise. Cake #3.

The card they gave with the cake. I really like the line about him being taller. What, after three days since first meeting?

That night, we took Pearce bowling for his first time. He loved it.

They didn't have bowling shoes for kids, but they did have bowling balls.

His first roll!

Pearce cooling off in the air vent. This lasted 10 minutes, and came with all sorts of re-enactments of superhero wind-in-the-hair moments.

Bowling montage.

Bowling with my baby bump 20 weeks and 3 days.

Eric bringing the thunder.

Pearce scored a 38!

In sum, bowling was a blast here. No smoking. Clean. Fresh fruit smoothies. Only $5 for all of us to play two games each. Across the street. Best of all, we actually got to bowl. Whenever we've tried in Hawaii, it's either a four-hour wait, or there's a tournament going on. I think this may turn into a favorite family activity in Vietnam.