I wrote an introduction here a year and a half ago, but things have changed a
bit. So, here is a new one (with some
Meet the Family:
Daddy is a hairy whitey with a big
nose. Born and raised in New Zealand,
Daddy has been calling China “home” since 2005. Before moving to China, he spent 10 years studying
at the University of Auckland. After
moving to China, he spent three years teaching English at a
business university then two years studying at Zhongshan University
(story here). Now, Daddy is
I have decided to change to a new site for my blog. There were several reasons, but
mostly it was simply that I finally got around to doing
My new blog site is http://homeschoolingwithdad.blog.co.nz/ Let’s just hope that China doesn’t
bother to try to block it.
PS: Recently, Sina has made a few changes to its layout.
It seems that they have deleted some of the conversations I had
here on some of my posts. They also seem to have deleted some
of my pictures on some of my posts. Pity :-(
They must be Chinese cats. They think it is cold.
For the past few weeks, we haven’t been doing any formal maths
lessons at all. (We
typically work on one book at a time during our daily English
“school times”, and at the moment we have been doing an English
But just because we haven’t been doing formal maths lessons, it
doesn’t mean to say that Mulan has been doing no maths at
A couple of days ago, as we were finishing our breakfast
together, Mulan suddenly asked, “why is it that when we add two odd
numbers together we always get an even number?”
There was nothing in our earlier conversation that was anything
about this at all; this must have been something that Mulan had
just been thinking about, entirely in her head.
So, I replied that even numbers are like pairs of
numbers. When two odd
numbers are added together, each of their leftover numbers are
I’ll be the first to say when I am not so good at
something. (The fact
that I don’t say it much shouldn’t count against the truth of this
So, I freely admit that I am pretty useless at art. Even Mulan laughs at my drawings
For a couple of years now, Mama has been suggesting that Mulan
go to art classes. I
have resisted. We have
our own equipment, such as paper, crayons, pastels, coloured
pencils, chalk, felt pens, paints, scissors, and so on. Everything is freely available
here at home for whenever the girls want to get
creative. And they use
I just didn’t see the need to pay for something that we can
easily do around home, and especially with the g
Yesterday, Miya rode a bike for the first time.
We went on a half-day outing to the sports mega-shop,
Decathlon. We took our
lunch, and ate it just outside the shop in the small kiddie
eating, the girls played in the playground for a little
But the main reason we went to Decathlon was to ride the bikes
there. The shop has a
big bike section, with a few aisles of bikes for sale. They also have several well-used
bikes that are freely available for children to ride on, and there
is a lined-off area around a couple of the bike aisles, with arrows
for directing the traffic.
When we went to Decathlon in the weekend, it was very crowded
with children all wanting to ride. The girls wanted to ride too.
Perhaps my first childhood memory of the greater outside world
was the 1981 Springbok Rugby Tour of New
I was not yet six at the time, so I don’t think it made much of
an impression on me.
But a little impression was still more than none at
all. (If you don’t know
what this tour was all about, then click the Wikipedia link
above.) I remember the
excitement when the flour-bombs were dropped from an aeroplane onto
the rugby field at the Auckland game. And I remember the rioting on the
My impression at the time, and for several years following, was
clearly influenced by my interest in sport (and also our family was
Shhh … it’s a secret. Don’t tell Mulan.
We have bought a Kindle e-reader for Mulan for
By our standards, it is a very extravagant present. It is not the sort of thing we
would normally consider buying for the girls. But we had no choice. The problem is that Mulan is
reading too much, too fast.
Remember how a couple of months ago I told you that Mulan had started reading chapter books? Well, since then, Mulan has
continued to read chapter books. She has now independently read all
A few weeks ago, a friend gave us a little radio-looking
electronic device. This
radio-looking thing is not just a radio. In fact, it is not primarily a
radio at all. It has
also got a keypad on it, and when you enter four-digit numbers, it
plays pre-recorded songs or stories. There is a little booklet with it
that tells us which number to input for which song. These songs/stories are all in
Chinese, and there seems to be thousands of them.
What is interesting about this radio-thing is that it was
created for religious reasons. All the songs and stories are from
a particular religion, and are typically devotional in
style. (There are no
children-style songs; they are
I read here that New Zealand will have some new
guidelines for sex education for five- to nine-year-olds.
I couldn’t find the guidelines themselves; it seems that they
are not yet available.
But the news article listed what Year 1 (five-year-olds) will
Working together as a class to create a safe classroom