Monthly Archives: November 2008

Stop Press for Stop-Motion Lego

Athos and Porthos have been majoring in Legos recently, especially since their collection more than doubled recently. Mustard Seed Mum sent over some from her gift stash, followed closely by a versatile expansion kit from Kong Kong J, and hot on the heels was Porthos’ birthday present from Aunty D at Camel Diaries, and then another whopper from Uncle J.

I jest not when I say that there are Legos EVERYWHERE. (We found one in a flowerpot today….)

Still, Legos are a toy that I am heartily supportive of because of the kind of mental skills and physical dexterity they seem to encourage.

Including some unexpected ones, like Athos’ discovery of stop-motion video. He got the idea from some Youtube videos he watched and bugged me to let him try making one. I demurred initially, worried that a 7-year-old and a functioning (even if old) digital camera didn’t seem like a very wise combination.

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On Spanking

Pilgrim Dad and I were latecomers to the school of spanking. We were both squeamish, hadn’t sat down to establish what the rules of engagement were, and were not particularly consistent.

Then one day, I heard a pastor expound on Proverbs 22:15; and 23:13-14. The same day, we had dinner with family friends, comprising mostly couples who were a generation older, and their grown-up children. I asked the elders if they had spanked their children, and they all looked at me as if that was an exceedingly naive question.

“Of course!” exclaimed one. The cane seemed to be the preferred implement. One person shared that for severe infringements the wrongdoer had the privilege of fetching the cane. Someone else said that there was one period where the children figured out how to hide the cane and she had to keep buying new ones.

I couldn’t help but wonder. Within this (statistically-not-very-representative) council of elders, there was a 100% incidence of caning. All their kids are now in their 20s and 30s, and as far as I can tell have good relationships with their parents, and seemed none the worse for wear. Of course, I don’t know what might have happened if their parents hadn’t caned them. Still, this group’s example, and the biblical admonition, seemed too sensible to ignore. (And this is Singapore after all, well-known in the international community for its position on corporal punishment as embodied in the famous case of Michael Fay.)

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Room for improvement in primary education? MOE wants to know.

In case you missed it in the news, MOE has begun a review of the primary education system in Singapore and is soliciting public views on the issues.

A committee chaired by Grace Fu is looking to “explore how schools can enhance holistic learning to better prepare our pupils for the future…. We want our children to be confident, retain a sense of curiosity and the desire to learn, be able to communicate clearly, and work well in teams and across cultures.”

The committee will be focusing on three areas:

  • Rebalancing the learning of content knowledge and the development of skills and values
  • Moving all primary schools to a single-session structure
  • Moving towards all-graduate teacher recruitment by 2015.

Athos started primary school this year, and Porthos will start next year. I am experiencing both the strengths and some of the challenges of our primary education system, and wholeheartedly support what MOE is trying to do with this review, in particular the rebalancing of curriculum.

If you care about primary education in Singapore, I encourage you to send MOE your feedback.If you don’t have the energy to craft a well-considered response, please leave your thoughts in the comment section and if there are enough views I’ll pull together a consolidated response.

TED: Mathemagician and Underwater Astonishments

I’ve mentioned TED before – Technology Entertainment Design, a conference that takes place every year in California, bringing together some of the most fascinating people and ideas into a potent brew.

Its organisers have made videos of the talks available for free viewing and I highly recommend exploring the site for a stimulating exploration of new ideas, practices and technologies.

Here are two of TED’s most-watched videos that I think kids might enjoy. An ovation to a mathematical mind, and the wonders of God’s creation.

Stuck in a carpark (or why I hate monopolies)

First, thanks to everyone for the good wishes and I’m pleased to say the quarantine is over and we once again have free access to God’s great wide world.

So it’s ironic that soon after the quarantine was lifted, I found myself stuck once again. [WARNING: this post has nothing to do with parenting, and everything to do with Pilgrim Mom the irritated customer. Please skip if you have better things to do with your time….]

I had gone to Bukit Merah Central to run some errands and parked at the multi-storey carpark, a Cashcard-only facility. After my errands I was about to leave when I realised I had left my Cashcard at home (we had sent our vehicle for servicing and had taken it out of the IU).

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