In this exciting episode: the Ong family homeschool makes adjustments to life with six children, baby no. 6 update, no. 4 gets a neon green cast, and no. 1 our first PSLE guinea pig. Happy reading! :)
It's an interesting thing just to look back on family life over the 12 yrs we have been having children and compare how things change and get busier with each addition to the family. Of course things operate differently these days with six kids now and hubby and i need to adjust and come up with new strategies for the smoother running of things.
For example: ordering food at the food court. Our friends are quite amazed at how efficient we are at doing this. :)
As homeschoolers, our kids don't get to order food at the school canteen and when they were younger, I used to worry that they won't know how to do this fairly essential life skill of ordering food. Well, not anymore. No. 2 (10yrs) is quite good at choosing what she wants to eat, order two portions (for 4 kids to share) pay and calculate how much change she should be getting.
No. 2 will then portion some of her meal for her little 3 yr old sister, the two little boys will portion their own food too. Then no. 1 will order his own food, papa only has to decide on his and mine. These days, it comes up to 5 portions for our family.
That's our food court drill. ;)
Making Announcements. When the kids were younger, where we the adults wanted to go, we will just tell them to get changed, we're going gai gai (going out). These days, I have to answer a whole bunch of questions (especially from the oldest girl the Interrogator!) where are we going? Why are we going? What time are we leaving? Who is coming along? Etc.etc....
And I don't have just one person to answer. I have four!!
So, I have learned from the Duggers (you do know about the Duggers....): just round everyone up in at the room and give a detailed announcement. It's a whole lot more efficient. :))
With 8 members of the family, running errands sometimes needs tactical planning comparable to the army.
Take last Friday for instance. No. 1 is busy preparing for PSLE, so he was studying at his cousin's place instead of running around with us. No. 4 needed to get a cast done at KKH (more on that later) and no. 2 needed to renew her passport, and cutie baby no. 6 needs to make her first passport. And since no. 3's passport photo is one that he took when he was maybe three, though it is actually expiring next dec, we decided to lump him together with the other two so we can synchronise the passport expiries and hopefully we don't need to visit the ICA so often.
This was taken at the ICA building. The photographer was trying everything within his baby rattle power to get her attention and all she did was do a *roll eyes* whatever pout. lol...
So, I brought no. 2, 3 and 6 to the ICA, (me and not papa since I need to nurse no. 6). And papa took no. 4 and 5 to KKH, AFTER dropping us off at ICA. Where is no. 1? Studying at cousin's house, remember?
We managed to meet up for lunch and make it for no. 2's violin lesson at 2:30 and after that, fetch no. 1.
Crazy day! But I do thank God for two things: our vehicle and our handphones, without which, we could not have been able to accomplish that much.
Baby no. 6 update. She went for her 3 mth jab at the polyclinic the other day. I'm so thankful that these days, whenever I go out with baby (or even without), I'll have at least one able helper with me as an extra pair of arms to carry the diaper bag, fold the stroller and all that. Such a luxury! So that day at the polyclinic, no. 2 (10 yrs) was my able helper. She's really wonderful because she knows what help I am needing and she's proactive.
When the nurse found out that this baby is my sixth, she was like so happy for me, saying that it is such a good thing to have many children and have a happy, noisy, busy household. I do agree, of course. :)
More squishy tales...So, readers of this blog know how no. 5 (3yrs) is soooo in to kissing and squishing her baby sister.
The other day, I went into the bathroom, leaving baby asleep on the bed. When I came out, she was awake and crying and there was no. 5 next to her looking guilty. I questioned her, did you wake baby up? She nodded her head. After chiding her and reminding her not to do anything to wake baby when she's sleeping, I asked her to say sorry, which she did. Most apologetically. And I asked, sorry for what (specifically)? And she answered, sorry for not controlling myself.
No. 6 is 6 kg now and chubby wubby. She gets the attention and smiles from strangers constantly. I think it's because she's so round. But she's only on the 50th percentile! Boy, Singapore babies are well fed!
She gets lots of kisses and squishes all the time. This baby has so much attention from ALL her brothers and sisters....she is soooo loved!
Fall guy. The kids were playing as usual one evening while I was preparing dinner. I hear no. 4 crying loudly. He cries loudly for the smallest things so I can never tell if it's really serious or not. :p But big korkor (12yrs) comes in to inform me he thinks it's bad, probably a fracture. No. 4's right arm. I finish cutting up my fish and go out to take a look. I gave the sweaty, tear streaked boy a bath and asked him to lie still and wait for papa to bandage him up.
Papa brought him to the (same) polyclinic the next day and got an Xray done (I'm thankful that we have such wonderful government facilities) and, sure enough, it is a fracture. No. 2 had a hairline fracture before (see her as a rollerblading flower girl with a cast here ;) ). Poor no. 4's fracture is worse. The impact of him falling on it must have been stronger. And his being on the chubby side doesn't help either. ;)
The day he fell, the kids were talking about it like seasoned pros. That's because they all have had some kind of fracture, dislocation, gaping wound stitching experience. No. 4 already started choosing what colour cast he wanted. Green.
PSLE preparations. Would it be interesting to people out there to know, that as homeschoolers, besides not having the experience of taking an exam in a room full of other people the same age as yourself, and observing all the accompanying behaviour (no talking, walking around, looking around, etc.) they also need to learn things like writing their full name on the exam script? I forgot to remind no. 1 to do it until my sister (more senior and experienced homeschool mom) smsed me.
Remind him to write his full name.
On a separate note, homeschoolers also don't line up in twos. We were watching a childcare class going on a walk the other day. A class of about 10 little 2 year olds holding on to a ropey thing- apparatus to train the very young the drill of lining up in twos. Oh, and waiting, because one kid didn't want to cooperate and hold the apparatus.
Homeschoolers just don't do the lining up thing very well. :p
Back to our PSLE candidate. I was asking him the other day, perhaps we can go on a short trip somewhere to celebrate the end of PSLE and where did he want to go? He said he wanted to try snorkeling. :) but then he asked what if his actual PSLE results were bad?
I told him that is a separate matter and, to me, of lesser consequence. Coupled with the fact we don't intend to out him into public sec sch, the results don't have much bearing on the next step of his education. Because we have freed ourselves of that constraint, we tend to look on the broader picture, the longer term goals, like praying about what career to the Lord would have him to do.
I have have seen how diligent and serious he has been studying for this exam- I have not had to push him at all, he has been self directed in his studies and revision. In fact, I am the one asking him what work he was doing for that day and he would tell me, and at the end of the day, I'll have several school exam papers and assessments to mark. I hope all my other children will be like him! I had to chase him out of the house to go and play and relax in the evenings because he was at the desk for too long!
For hubby and I, this display of his good character is more worth rewarding than good grades. The good grades will in themselves, be a reward. In 10 years' time, no one will even bother how he faired in his PSLE, but his good character and positive work attitude will carry him through life.
I will certainly try to find the time to write more about our self directed learner and the PSLE experience.
For many homeschoolers, the PSLE is actually quite an interruption to the long term educational path we have mapped out for our children. I do wish that the MOE could at least have a feedback session with us as a community to hear how their policies are panning out at at our level!
To top off all this madness, I'm doing another wedding cake this weekend, plus I've been sewing.... stuff. Will share pics real soon. :)
The life of a SAHM is boring and mundane? Some days, I wish so. Lol!
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Truly, without Him, His wisdom and His guidance, we would not have this joy as a family.