In March, I did a survey to understand your home practice / learning needs. Here are my replies to some of your questions:
Q1: I am a working mum and has little time to prepare resources or teach. But I try to spend at least 15 min with my child daily. May i know if there is any resources that I can tap on to cultivate the interest for my child’s learning and any good homeschool materials available?
Whenever time is limited for activities, I’d simply read aloud to my children. You may read interesting books that cover wide-ranging topics and in as many languages as you know.
Through regular read-aloud sessions, your child will learn languages and eventually reading skills.
Do both normal speed and high speed reading. High speed reading of simple picture books (with only a few lines of words per page) involves fast flipping of pages, and has a similar effect to flashing cards.
During my second pregnancy, I still remember vividly speed reading to 2.5yo Vee, up to 20 simple books per session. And it takes very little time, probably done in 15 minutes. Through such speed reading sessions, Vee developed a great interest in reading and recites text with ease.
Q2: Could you please provide more information regarding the right brain activities? Is there any book to share how to start home practice on our own?
I’m launching a Home Practice Intensive Workshop. Details will be announced soon.
Some Shichida books are listed here.
Q3: I am also at a loss of new flashcards category. It will be good if you can share the category and items list that you have.
Some of the topics we have:
- Amazing architecture
- Ancient world wonders
- Biggest, longest, largest human features
- Cable car rides photography
- Car brands
- Emergency & rescue vehicles
- Family members
- Hot air balloons
- Japanese food
- Lunar New Year
- Martial arts
- Musical instruments
- National flowers
- Important things about a city (e.g. London, Holland)
- Natural disasters
- World flags
- Water cycle
- World historians
- Various types of dot cards
- Animal records
- Animals – invertebrates, vertebrates (& sub-categories)
- Dinosaur body shapes
- Leaf shapes
- Star constellations
- The solar system
- Weird creatures
- Why animals have tails
- Zoo animals
- Chinese Zodiac 十二生肖
- Primary school vocabulary with pictures
- Collective nouns
- Sight words
- High frequency words in classic books
Q4: How do you get your children to focus on learning / home practice?
The first step is to set a regular routine for learning / home practice. For us, it has always been straight after breakfast until lunch time. My children have been used to this work period since babyhood. Choose a regular timing that suits your family best.
Ideally, the child should be well-rested and well-fed. I also eliminate sweet food at home and heavily restrict screen time for my young children because these could affect their attention span. (You’d need to do your own reading up for more info.)
Children will love learning if it’s enjoyable and taught with love. So before every learning session, it’s important to do relaxation and breathing exercises. Plus show your love to the child.
For home practice activities, I offer them some choices. For instance, “Would you like to play memory games with ‘Buses’ or ‘Aeroplanes’ cards today?”
There are activities we don’t do every day. So I may ask “Would you like to do Flash Memory or Linking Memory today?”
They’ve longer attention span for activities they’ve chosen. This freedom of choice follows the Montessori Method.
I display a big range of home practice and learning materials neatly on open shelves. Upon waking up and during free-choice learning time, they’d choose what they’d like to work on. This way, Vee could work on IQ blocks for up to 45 minutes and while Jae works on peg puzzles.
With freedom of choice, Vee didn’t choose to do much writing until 4+ years old. Then once he was ready, he practised for long stretches, up to 1-2 hours at times!
I also reduce distractions during learning time. Toys are kept away from sight and the walls at the learning area are bare. This brings their focus to the learning materials.
Finally, it’s important to know when to end the learning session. We rest and play freely the whole day when either the child or I am unwell or moody. If anyone starts to turn grumpy during a session, I’ll re-direct the child to an activity / game he’d enjoy. This way, our learning sessions are always joyous.
Q5: I am having difficult to make my girl seat on chair or highchair. She is hyperactive and the moment I bring out the flashcards, she wants to have it and I can never be able to start my home practice. What shall I do?
Refer to the points in the above FAQ.
In addition, is your child a toddler? Both Vee and Jae were very active for about 6 months from 1 to 2 years old. During meal time, my toddler is strapped up properly in a highchair. Then straight after eating, I’d put the tray of utensils away and bring out a set of picture cards to play senses and memory games.
Breakfast or tea break is better than lunch or dinner because she’d have spent only a short time in the highchair.
When he wants to move, I’d sing a song with hand movements. After that, a quick flash card session. This can be done in 15 minutes. Then he’s off to play.
Q6: Can you upload a video of you flashing the cards to your child?
You may refer to this video at Shichida Japan’s website.
Q7: Is there a time frame or table on what children have to learn or should know by a certain age?
One resource is this page at HealthyChildren.org from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Q8: I wanted to know is Shichida better or Heguru better? My girl, 4yrs old, just joined the course. Is it ok for such age to start? I am worried she might not be able to catch up, yet my husband & I have no much time for home practice. What would be your best suggestion? Thanks.
I’ve only heard about Heguru classes from friends, and haven’t attended one, so I can’t compare them. From my understanding, both are authentic right and left brain enrichment classes from Japan.
It’s fine to start right brain education at 4 years old or even as an adult. It’s just that children may find it easier the younger they are.
Home practice can also be applying the right brain learning techniques to real-life situations. For instance, Vee does relaxation and breathing exercises before piano practice. Days before a performance, he “rehearses” through the imaging technique.
Hope you’d find this helpful. Stay tuned for details of the Home Practice Intensive Workshop!
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