Friday, September 27, 2013

First Test

I am not a fan of making young kids study. I'd rather entice them to study by preparing a place which ignites curiosity and allows for exploration.

However, sometimes that is not an option.
The school system in Japan has a lot of testing. Some of the tests are easy or for placement purposes. Others are seen as making or breaking a child's future. There are tests to get into schools at every level (Kinder, Elm. Jr. High, Sr. High, College) and there are ways to get around the testing. One way is to get into an "escalator" school which will move a child up through the levels without requiring reapplying and retesting at each level. These schools are usually private/parochial and can be challenging to enter. They can also be expensive. However, sometimes God opens a door and it is up to us to walk in that direction.
For the past few weeks we've been working with Zilla to prepare him for his first ever test. It includes reading, writing, math and critical thing components. There is also a body movement section from what I'm told.
I've never been a fan of cram schools but trying to figure out what to study with him and how to study it has given me an understanding of why so many families pay for/trust a cram school to see them through the exam process. There are books and example tests you can buy but even those don't come cheap.
I don't know for sure, at this point, what school he will go to next year. However, I do know that my husband will need to be home more to help with homework and Mega gets jealous of Zilla having homework so I need to prepare more work for her so she will leave him alone long enough for him to study!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Washing Dishes

A key theme in the world of Montessori is having the environment prepared in a way which encourages children to be independent. Along that line is also the idea that kids should learn how to "work" as they enjoy work. With these two things in mind I set up our house and daily activities for the kids.
At 3 and 5 both of my kids love water play and are familiar with various types of water-related work. In the past they have enjoyed washing dishes together from time to time. Recently, though, there has been a surprising change.
Since returning from the States last week Mega has initiated whine the dishes at some point each day. While I appreciate the help (Dishes are one of my least favorite chores) I'm not a huge fan of the wet mess it causes! We have a jointed mat on the floor by the sink which isn't the easiest to clean up so Mega needs help wiping up the excess water when she is done. She also has been known to not get everything as clean as we would like... By then again she is only 3.
What I like is that she sees dishes in the sink, realizes they need to get clean, takes the initiative to clean them and then follows through until they are all washed. It is also really cute to watch :-)