[Learning Progress] Jae from 15 to 18 months old

Moving into 18 months old, Jae has settled a lot into various Shichida and Montessori homeschooling activities. Since he wants to do whatever Vee is doing, I just have to simplify most of Vee’s activities for him. For instance:

  • Shichida games: Vee works with 4 and more images / objects; Jae works with 2 to 3
  • Montessori nomenclature 3-part cards: Vee does ~10; Jae does ~3
  • Montessori pouring: Vee works with water and funnel; Jae works with ice and scoop
  • Montessori knobbed cylinders: Vee does 10 (blindfolded); Jae does 6 to 10

Quite an easy job for me! 🙂

(Please pardon the lack of photographs below because my camera has been sent for repair.)


Right Brain Education

Jae’s still attending Shichida weekly classes with Daddy. I accompanied him for a few make-up classes and he was rather cooperative. Perhaps he has settled down more or because Mummy knows him best!

  • Home Practice: We skipped home practice for about 2 months recently due to my pregnancy. We’re back to momentum now and he especially enjoys memory games, speed reading and flashcard sessions.
  • How to flash cards to both kids: Jae watches from inside the play yard while Vee watches from outside. This way, they’re side by side without disturbing each other.
  • Shichida Worksheets: He loves doodling over his worksheets, which are too advanced for him right now. Ha… so I hold his hand and get 1 page done quickly, then let him continue doodling on another sheet of paper.


Mummy's Homeschool - Montessori sandpaper sound bin nomenclature knobbed cylinders

Off-lessons, he’ll wander into the toddler area and bring out something to do (or throw about!) During lesson time, he wants to be very involved, so he works on a floor rug, on a small table, or waits inside the play yard (with several activities he should like).

  • Shelves: He’s doing quite a number of shelf activities. Either I supervise him VERY closely when he retrieves / returns them, or I’ll get them for him.
  • Practical Life: He’s a rather tidy boy — tries to get the floor rug for floor work, and tries to roll it back after he’s done. When he makes an accidental mark on the table with a marker pen, he’ll wipe it up with a damp cloth. When he’s hands are stained with ink, he’ll want to have them washed off. The best part is he remembers where each activity should go back onto the shelves, and tries to return them accordingly.
  • He’s good at feeding himself with fork, and getting better with the spoon. Also enjoys scooping and pouring small objects, helping to sort clean laundry, undoing velcro tabs, buckling and zipping. He loves the scoop so much that he’s been holding it everywhere and even to sleep for the past 2 nights!
  • Jae also loves kitchen pretend play, serving me a teacup or Lego bricks in a pot or plate. And he expects me to pretend too by making chewing sounds like him.
  • Hand Dominance: He tends to prefer using his left hand for some activities. Both my mum and I are ambidextrous, so we shall observe his preference.
  • Sensorial: He completed Sets 1 and 2 of the knobbed cylinders. It amazes me how he’s able to self-correct and fit each cylinder into the correct slot. Thanks to Dr. Montessori’s ingenius design!
  • He stacks more than 5 wooden blocks, fits more than 10 Lego Duplo 2 x 2 pieces into a tall tower, and likes to connect the Lego Duplo railway track.
  • He also completed the Melissa & Doug Fish Colors Mix N Match Peg Puzzle*, demonstrating his ability to match similar colours.
  • Language: Finally, he’s bringing books for me to read to him by saying “da” (for 读,meaning read). He enjoys it when I speed read and even imitates me doing so by flipping the pages real fast. Sometimes, he stops me from reading to Vee and insists on me reading HIS chosen book.
  • When he recognises objects in books, he’ll point excitedly and name them. Favourites: star, circle, fork, car, bus, motorcycle
  • Sound Bins: We’re going through initial sounds using the Sound Bins presentations in Karen Tyler’s album. Both boys love the cards and miniature objects (especially animals). (It took a lot of effort to prepare the materials. In the end, I simplified it by doing away with most cut-out felt alphabets.)
  • Mouthing stage: Once, he was scooping EXPIRED dried pasta. The moment I turned around to observe Vee, he ate one. Bleah! So he’s back to scooping bigger objects and definitely not food items yet. And this boy even puts stickers into his mouth!


  • Speech: He still isn’t talkative. When he talks, he tends to be loud and repetitive as before. Often, I’ll guess what he needs and he’ll nod his head like Noddy.
  • He’s calling almost everyone at home and loves sticking to his “ba ba” (爸爸 or Daddy) once he’s home. And wants him to “ba ba” (抱抱 or carry) him. Generally, his “ba ba” can mean several other things, including baobao (宝宝 for himself), book, ball, balloon and bubbles.
  • He tries using a few 2-syllabus words such as open, circle and 掉了 (or dropped).
  • Baby sign language: He uses sign language with some words he says, for instance “bird”. For words he doesn’t say, he’ll also sign. For instance, he simplified “please”, “sorry” and “thank you” by stroking his left hand in the same way. I was first quite surprised when he voluntarily signed “thank you” after Vee helped him. If he starts fussing at the dining table for food / snacks, I’ll ask “Where are your manners?” and he starts signing “please”.
  • Music: He responds well to music by clapping, shaking or making the relevant hand gestures.

Motor Skills

Jae’s still very active and daring.

  • These 3 months, he figured out how to walk backwards, then on tip-toes. Each time he discovers a new skill, he’ll display a huge grin on his face. 🙂
  • He also manages to climb down 2-3 steps without aid, and even while carrying a small stool. Of course, I watch him while he does these “stunts”.
  • He climbs onto his dining booster seat with ease. Recently, he’s less into climbing and more into jumping. He surprised me when he managed to lift both feet off the ground! Then he started jumping like a frog forward and also off my mattress (on the floor). Sometimes, both boys start jumping and pouncing on the mattresses before bedtime and I get a major headache.
  • These few months, we’ve been bringing Jae to swim once a week while Vee has his swimming lesson. He uses a floating vest (bought at Mothercare, when Vee was young) and is learning to kick water. He enjoys going down the slide and looking at the birds flying above us.

Behaviour & Social Skills

  • He picks up all kinds of behaviour from Vee, including making strange noises, shouting, throwing toys, jumping, etc.
  • On his own accord, Jae has also started pinching, using toys to hit Vee, and throwing toys at him. Of course, he does these only occasionally.

Handling inappropriate behaviour: When he does so, I’ll immediately intervene, try to distract him, use a firm voice to stop him, bring him somewhere to calm down, ask him to breathe, etc. I also ask Vee to come straight to me when “attacked”, so that Mummy can protect him. He’s not supposed to fight back.

  • He’s rather sociable nowadays, and will play closely with his cousins. When someone comes home, he’ll go to the main door and call out their names. He’ll also walk over to watch what kakak is doing and call her many times. He also likes Vee’s music teacher.

When Jae woke up earlier than Vee this morning, I brought him to the schoolroom so that Vee could sleep longer. He lounged on the armchair for a while, touched something from the toddler area, then climbed up to get colour pencils to doodle. After some doodling, he wanted to pull out the floor rug and work with the Sound Bin. When I saw the 18-month old’s enthusiasm in learning even before I was wide awake, I knew that our homeschool is moving in the right direction.

We’ll try to enjoy doing more activities these 5 months before baby #3 arrives and we take another long break. The rest of Jae’s updates on feeding, pre-potty training and sleeping are posted at Mummy’s Reviews here.

P.S. You’re invited to “Like” Mummy’s Homeschool Facebook page here.

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16 thoughts on “[Learning Progress] Jae from 15 to 18 months old”

  1. mievee,

    how do u flash to 2 children simultaneously? will two of them be in the mood? what if one is distracted ? do u just continue flashing?

    but most of the time, will they both watch you closely?

    my no2 is coming in july 🙂 hence i’d like to know how is it like most of the time.


    1. mievee @ mummyshomeschool.com

      Ha… i guess all kids are different and they go through phases.

      When Jae was a young baby, he watched everything calmly. When he started cruising and walking (~12-15 months old), he started moving about. So if he got distracted, I’d continue with Vee, and perhaps get to him at a later time. i.e. do super short sessions with him.

      At ~18 months old, he settled down again, so both of them watch together. They love “Which one” games, so I’d play this with them at the end or even in between, depending on their mood.

      So my conclusion is, do as much as you can when baby is not yet mobile. So easy to “teach”, haha! Then give him/her a few months to move about, and look forward to the “settled down” phase.

      Have fun! 🙂

      P.S. End of the year, I’d be flashing cards to 3 kids, haha… should be exciting how it works out!

  2. Hi,

    Can you share more abt the nomenclature cards, sound bind and knobbed cylinders? I wld love to try with my daughter who is 13 months old now:) thank you so much:)

    1. mievee @ mummyshomeschool.com

      Hihi Lee Ying, I’ve just included a photo of these materials into the post.
      – Nomenclature 3-part cards: Helps child match the image and its corresponding word to a control card (with both the image and its word) Builds reading skills and widens vocabulary. For young toddler, I don’t focus on teaching reading. It’s more like a fun hands-on activity to do some matching.

      – Sound Bin: to teach the initial sounds from “a” to “z” (except for “x”) Templates to print are from Karen Tyler’s course and the Reading Kits. (The link to my review of Karen’s course is embedded in this progress update article.) This is quite a fun and hands-on way to introduce the initial sounds.

      – Sandpaper Letters: I included this here because each corresponding letter is needed for the relevant sound bin. I’ve already made this set from Karen’s template previously, more for older Vee. Jae likes to touch them too. It helps the child remember the strokes for each letter, a pre-writing skill. Not necessary to introduce too early. If the toddler is interested, it’s fine too. 🙂

      – Knobbed cylinders: Gives the child a concrete feel of varying diameter, height and depth. Matching to the corresponding hole helps in visual discrimination. Holding the knob on each cylinder is a pre-writing skill, builds muscles to hold a pencil in future. BUT the smallest few knobs are choking hazards! Keep them away from a mouthing child. If working with these tiny knobs under your supervision, must be supervised every second.

      There’re many more useful Montessori materials that can be introduced progressively. Currently, these are what Jae does most of. Have fun! 🙂

      1. Hi Mievee,

        Thanks so much for your response:) I really take my hats off u! The materials are amazing!:) thanks so much for sharing:)

        Can I just check, the sand paper letters is background paper is sand paper and the letter is cut-out felt material?

        As for the knob cylinders, they r really interesting. Can we buy that?

        I really hope my daughter can learn like ur children. I m quite certain that if u made the sound bins with the small items like fan, she will snatch n crush them:( coz she crushed my laminated flash card too. I don’t know when she will get over this phase.

      2. mievee @ mummyshomeschool.com

        Haha… I only follow the Montessori method as close as I can, Dr. Montessori is the genius who invented most of the materials. The good thing about Montessori is that the syllabus is already very comprehensive by itself, so I only have to buy / make materials and follow Karen’s album presentations, according to what the child wants to learn at that stage.

        Sandpaper letters:
        – vanguard sheet: pink for consonants, blue for vowels. 1/4 A4 per letter.
        – laminating sheet: 1/4 A4 size
        – letters template: from Karen’s album, or try to search online. These are letters on the wrong side. Cut them out.
        – sandpaper (fine type, avoid medium / rough type, will scratch skin): Copy each letter from above on behind of sandpaper. Cut them out.
        – Stick sandpaper letter on laminated vanguard sheet. I use UHU superglue.

        To use Montessori materials effectively, it’s best to learn how to present them to the child. And attract them to do their own practice when they’re old enough. All these, I learnt from Karen’s course and Dr. Montessori’s book.

        I also made Sandpaper Numerals and Sandpaper Chinese Strokes. Very effective, Vee learnt to write rather neatly using these materials. Will share these 2 templates for downloading, check out Resources page soon.

        Knobbed Cylinders: Check out this page on where to buy Montessori materials

        Erm… I only let Jae handle what he’s able to, so the paper fan would be out too. He loves the animal figurines. He’s also rough with laminated cards, and occasionally tears a book or two. Just got to supervise him, else bring certain materials out only when he’s gentler. Till now, he can’t work with the Montessori Pink Tower cos he feels like throwing the cubes!

        Anyway, Vee’s only gentler at about 4 years old and can work under little supervision. But if he’s in a foul mood, I distract him to do something else, otherwise he may tend to break materials. Girls may be gentler sooner? 🙂

      3. Thanks so much dear:) I am really appreciative of what u have shared including the resources:) I will start printing them n make the sandpaper items soon:) the nonmemclature cards r very useful too thanks so much!:)

        I think u have the most rewarding job:) I wish I can homeschool my kid too:) but I gotta work to help our w expenses. U r really inspiring n I m sure ur kids have fun learning w u!:) can’t wait to hear frm u abt teaching 3 children:) it’s a whole new challenge:) thanks once again n hope to hear frm u again soon!:)

      4. mievee @ mummyshomeschool.com

        You’re most welcome! Yes, I’m thankful for being able to stay at home and do what I truly enjoy with the children. It’s a blessing, and I’m prepared to return to the workforce should circumstances require some day. Many working mums are also able to do some home learning activities with their children. All the best in managing well! :p

        P.S. I’ll be uploading Nomenclature cards and flashcards blank templates, so that you can customise them for any topic you like.

  3. Thanks so much for the additional resources dear!:) can I just check, do u flash pictures only or do u flash words for Jae? I m nt sure if I shld flash words too.

    Yes it’s indeed a blessing to b able to see the little ones grow every day. N I m sure u know what’s best for them given that u have attended courses and done research on their education. Yup I do enjoy doing little activities w her n time management is really important. Coz the time we have together aft my work is just so limited. Thanks so much for making my job in preparing the materials easier:)

    1. mievee @ mummyshomeschool.com

      For Jae, almost entirely pictures. Since I flash to both the children together, there may be 10 Chinese words and 10 English words among the pile of 100-200 flashcards in 1 session.

      If only for Jae, perhaps only about 5 Chinese and 5 English words within the pile.

      I don’t teach reading (via flashcards / sight words / phonics) until the child shows interest in reading words, at about 3-4 years old. At most, I introduce the basic sounds for a-z before that. I read and speed-read to the child often, without emphasising individual words until he’s in the reading phase. This form of smooth reading allow Vee to remember and recite stories (even long ones) easily, building a strong memory.

      If the child manages to decipher reading by himself at a young age, that’s fine. It’s just that I don’t initiate teaching him to read words.

      From my observation of Vee, learning through pictures enables him to think and memorise very fast. Hope this helps.

  4. Thank you so much for the beautiful website you’ve been building! Really helpful to many many mummies like myself wanting to do our best to teach the little ones within the limited time we have.
    Could you please tell me about the Nomenclature cards for English usage? How to make and some examples of using it, pictures, etc. Thanks again!

  5. Wow! Fitting 10 Lego blocks into a tall tower is truly awesome for an 18 month old! My son who’s about the same age now only likes to dismantle structures I build with his Lego. He doesn’t build anything yet even though I make him watch what I’m doing step by step and ask him to just put two blocks together. Could you please tell me how you taught him or “lured” him to learn from you to build towers with Lego….Thank you!

    1. mievee @ mummyshomeschool.com

      Hihi Divya, dismantling and knocking towers down is a phase toddlers go through for as long as they enjoy it. As long as you show him how to build things, some day he’ll just do it. Yes, showing how to stack 2 blocks first is a start.

      After you build a simple structure, you may also show how to dismantle it gently. Then let him try. When he wants to do it is a natural milestone, just like taking his first step. Have fun! 🙂

      P.S. Btw, Jae simply happens to have excellent motor skills. On the other hand, he barely spoke until about 2 years old. So each child will progress at his own pace. 🙂

      1. hmm..I’ll wait for little K (my son) to start building one day…Thank you for the tips 🙂

        Like you mentioned, I understood that every child is unique and progresses differently…K started speaking around 14-15 months and now has a very vast vocabulary!

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