Friday, 27 June 2014

A Week of Duality

It has been a week of:
  1. being at home and going out; and
  2. learning about two very different cultures
At Home with Chinese
We spent most of this week at home focusing on Chinese. 

As the school year is coming to a close, Tiger has to prepare for his end-of-year Chinese exam and to complete the end-of-term projects set by his Chinese teacher.

There are six projects to complete, which contribute to 20% of his yearly assessment:
1.  to draw and label various parts of the body;
2.  to construct sentences using specific words;
3.  to translate a Chinese nursery rhyme into English;

The nursery rhyme that we chose to translate is a traditional one to Chinese children, in much the same way as Jack and Jill is to a Western child.

4.  to make a greeting card based on a traditional Chinese festival and write appropriate greetings inside the card;
5.  to research and write about a traditional Chinese festival;
6.  to research and write two sets of questions and answers about some geographical aspects of China.

Tiger wanted to make a Chinese New Year card because, being a typical boy who seeks the shortest way to get a job done, he finds that the illustrations of this year's (Year of the Horse) card can be easily done by a few brush strokes so that was what he did, using a reference photo from a google search and following along using gold paint.  The result turns out alright, as seen in the red card above.  The illustration shows a combination of the year 2014 with the word 'horse' in traditional Chinese character.

We decided to look into another traditional Chinese festival for our research project.  There are so many festivals to choose from, but we decided to learn more about one that has just passed (the Dragon Boat festival) quietly in our household because I couldn't get all the ingredients together to make the rice dumplings...

Note to myself: please stay on top of the festivals!

Why the dragon boats and rice dumplings?  Many traditional Chinese festive customs have to do with actual historical accounts.  It is no different on this occasion:

Outside with the Vikings
We just managed to catch the last bit of the Vikings exhibition at the British Museum before it closed.

Although we're not officially studying the Vikings at the moment, the flexibility of homeschooling has allowed us the opportunity to visit this rare exhibition -- the first Viking exhibition in England in 30 years -- and to see for ourselves the longest Viking warship that has ever been found!

Hence, even though Vikings are not on our current schedule, we feel it is certainly worth taking a little time out to refresh our memory about what we've learnt about the Vikings (we studied them two years ago) in addition to looking at real Viking artefacts that we hadn't seen before.

While we were at the exhibition, we were treated to additional interaction with the learning coordinators, both inside the exhibition and afterwards, who provided more directions and suggestions on looking at the exhibits to the children.

I wasn't sure whether Tiger remembers what he learnt from two years ago, but he apparently does, as shown by his enthusiastic and accurate responses to the quiz at the end of the visit.

This post is linked up to:
  1. Hip Homeschool Hop - 6/24/14
  2. History & Geography Meme #123
  3. Weekly Wrap-Up: The one with the relaxing week at home
  4. The Homeschool Mother's Journal (6/28/14)


  1. Hwee,

    Do you know what I love most about your post? It's the way you use the word 'we' as in 'we're not officially studying the Vikings at the moment'. Learning is obviously a family affair for you, just like it is for us!

    I remember going to the British Museum many, many years ago. A wonderful place!

    1. I hadn't thought of it until you pointed it out in your comment, about the use of 'we' in terms of learning in my house. You're right. I grew up being taught in a very different system and I was certainly not homeschooled so many things that are being learned in our homeschool are new to me as well. In many ways, this actually helps because Tiger sees how I approach learning so hopefully he catches that on as a model of how he is able to learn anything on his own without the need to have some external authority or expert to tell him how or what to learn. :-)

  2. Wow, his grasp of the Chinese language is quite impressive.

    1. Thank you, Phyllis. Tiger has attended a full year of weekly Chinese lessons, so that helps. Besides, the Chinese school works the children quite hard by giving many pages of homework each week. His improvement is all due to consistent, hard work.

  3. Congratulations to Tiger on his hard work - Phyllis is right, it's very impressive! I wish I had known about the Viking display. I really must keep my ears and eyes open and get out of the house a bit! You inspire me by all you do outside of the home.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Claire. I'd recommend getting yourself on the mailing lists of those venues that you're interested in so that you get notified of events that interest you. Going out adds variety to our learning. :-)

  4. Tiger has done so well with his Chinese. It looks like the exam required some really varied and interesting work.
    I am a bit embarrassed to admit that we went to the British Museum a few months ago and didn't make it up to the Vikings bit! In our defence, it was a flying visit on the way to the theatre... and we did see lots of Vikings exhibits in Norway last year. (Ahem.) I remember going on a school trip (from Wales) to see that last Vikings exhibition 30 years ago! :-D
    I hope you're having a lovely weekend.

    1. Oh Lucinda, you're funny! :-) Your Norwegian trip trumps any Viking exhibition that we can go to in England! What can be more authentic than to be in the land of the Vikings and to see the related exhibits there?!

      I spent an entire afternoon chatting with a good friend yesterday, and it was fantastic! I never knew I can talk for 4 hours non-stop! :-) Hope your weekend is very good too!

  5. The flexibility of homeschooling is part of what keeps us at it year after year. What a great exhibition to be able to visit!

    1. The more years I spend homeschooling, the more I appreciate the flexibility and freedom it gives us. :-)

  6. I envy you Brits having easy access to the British Museum. I loved going there on my honeymoon. I suppose it'd be kind of like if I lived near Washington DC and had relatively easy access to the Smithsonian, just the Smithsonian concentrates on much more recent history, so I don't like it AS much.

    1. The British Museum is really a wonderful place to learn ancient and medieval history, so I'm very glad to make the most of its accessibility. :-) The Smithsonian Institution is very impressive in its own right, so I suppose it's a matter of making use of whatever is available to us.


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