Friday, December 18, 2015

First Semester Review for Donna

We almost finish our first semester for the end of the year is nigh. From all of things we've done in our 'school year' I try to make a simple summary:
- Donna's schedule is as full as when she was a student in a school, but the quality of her life rises higher. She is healthier and happier.
- Some of her subjects were a bit left behind, not on schedule (especially Math). But for me that's ok as long as the reason was the time taken for learning (almost all by herself) compare to the 'spoon-fed' version that she got from her old school. And I know that her understanding becomes much much better now. But for the other reason, distraction, she still has to learn how to manage her time better.
- Donna is an independent learner. She starts with the text book by herself, no one stands in front of her teaching the subject. For Math subject, she examine her understanding by doing some exercise from the work book. The work book comes with key-answer and she can check her answers by herself. And if she found some differences from the answer key she'd come to me or her father to ask. Some caused by her careless counting, some caused by her lack of understanding (and weak math foundation during her old school), and some from the answer key itself (human error).
For other work books that come without any key-answer, she used the internet sources and her parents as 'key-answer'.
- German language class that starts at the last week of last October so far so good, supported by  Duolingo as a daily practice apps.
- For Music: her piano achievement is the same as last year (ABRSM certificate, Gloriamus  Music School 1st winner for midyear internal competition, 1st rank for Gloriamus Music School grade 4 practical exam), and her Flute is just start so there's no special achievement.
- Online Course: She's taking 3 online courses right now, 2 new ones ( "Think Again: How to Reason and Argue" from Coursera and "A Christmas Carol by Dickens BerkeleyX Book Club" from edX) and the other one is the old one Dino 101 Dinosaur Paleobiology from Coursera. She's been taking this course three times or four maybe for she like it :D
- Time management:
She's just got her cellular phone a few months ago. We made an oral agreement, inspired by this post by Rumah Inspirasi. At first she was addicted to an online game and then unstoppable chat with some friends. Those activities really time consuming. I don't want to take her cellphone away as our final agreement for the consequence. I prefer if she then manage her time and catch up all of her left behind subjects. This ability in time management and self control is really important in her future life, she has to master it.  It's not proven yet. It's just a start.
Not only by her cellphone, sometimes distraction also comes from her "extended break time" (reading a page or two only for a couple of minutes became all of the pages of the book), or internet searching that "carried her away".

Time management is the biggest issue for her now. We all have to work hard to solve it without changing our homeschool style into "school at home". It's not what we want.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Assignment for Coursera's LHTL: Learn By Teaching Others How To Learn

These are 3 concepts/ideas from the course Learning How to Learn that impressed me, and that's why I want to share with others:
A. Sleep
B. Procrastination
C. How to be a better learner

It seems like such a waste of time, but actually these are the facts behind it:
- it's your brain's way keeping itself clean and healthy
- tidies up ideas & concepts
- erases less important parts of memories and strengthen areas you need/want to remember
- deactivates pre-frontal cortex helps other areas of your brain to communicate more easily
- helps your brain form new synapses (neural connections)

Usually happens by diverting your attention to something less painful. How to minimise this procrastination?
- keep a planner journal
- commit yourself to certain routines and tasks each day
- delay rewards until you finish the task
- watch for procrastination cues
- gain trust in your new system
- have a back up plan for when you still procrastinate
- eat your frog first (do the hardest thing first)

How to be a Better Learner
- doing physical exercise (this activity also helps neurone survive) increases oxygen supply to your brain and increases brain neurotransmitters
- practice the matter you want to master, as well as train the brain
- learn new things because new neurones are born everyday

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Coursera's Learning How to Learn

This what impressed me from week 2 of this MOOC's course "Learning How to Learn":

Addictive drugs artificially increase dopamine activity and fool your brain into thinking that something wonderful just happened. I fact, just the opposite has just happened. This leads to craving and dependence, which can hijack your free will and can motivate action that are harmful to you.
- Dr Terrence Sejnowski
Who is Dr Sejnowski?
He is pioneer researcher in neural networks and computational neural science.
He is a living legend, in the elite group of only ten living scientists to have been elected to all three of the national academies, in engineering, science, and medicine.
He is a leading father figure for the modern field of neuroscience.

And because I have to be realistic with my work loads, I have to un-enroll my third course ( Fantasy & Science Fiction) and put it in my watch list for later.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

My online Course in October

This month I take 3 courses from Coursera: Grammar and Punctuation, Learning How to Learn, and Fantasy & Science Fiction. A bit too ambitious among zillion things to do :/
Luckily, I passed the first one before the deadline, Grammar and Punctuation.

I am having Learning How to Learn right now, just started yesterday and was surprised that the first week assignment will be closed in a few hours. 
And still don't know when I can start the third.


Monday, September 14, 2015

First Month: Review

First, we have to postpone Donna's German Class in Optimal Studia Bsd, because their administrator said that the amount of the students were not enough to make one class. The administrator said, they still don't know yet when the class would be opened. We've tried to ask Goethe Institute, for the age under 13 yo are restricted (and Donna is 11 yo now), by sending an email to them a few weeks ago.  I asked them to give Donna a try in their teenager class, for she was used to learn with 1-3 years older friends in her Primary classes with very good results in subjects she likes. She almost always be the youngest in every class and some competitions she joined. So I think it wouldn't be a problem for her, especially for this German language, where I saw her enthusiasm in her daily practise with Duolingo Apps. Well, I don't get any answer from them so far.

Second, Donna already starts her flute class since early August, and she looks enjoy the course. Especially when she has her own flute, a Yamaha 211 e mechanism one :)

It's not easy to support all of her passion, but surely her Father and I will do our best.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

FAQ tentang Homeschooling

Ada teman yang berbaik hati membuat podcast tentang "FAQ Homeschooling" yang ingin kushare di sini.
Silakan menyimak :
Mengapa mereka sampai musti meluangkan waktu, tenaga dan tentu biaya untuk itu semua? Antara lain untuk mencerahkan masyarakat yang masih suka salah kaprah dalam pemahaman mengenai Homeschooling, juga sekalian menjawab pertanyaan-pertanyaan yang sering diajukan kepada semua keluarga Homeschooler. Dan pertanyaan-pertanyaan itu dari tahun ke tahun sama saja.
Bagiku pertanyaan-pertanyaan itu menggelikan, membosankan sekaligus menjengkelkan. Maka bersyukur sekali dengan kebaikan Lala dan Aar dari Rumah Inspirasi yang berkenan membuat podcast ini.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Odyssey and The Iliad

There are two good books given by a good friend of mine, "The Odyssey" and "The Iliad".

First, Donna opened "The Iliad",

with its first page like this:

She gave up. It's too hard to understand, she said.

Then she opened "The Odyssey", a retold version in prose,

with its first page like this:

She said it's a good book. And after she finished it, she said that she wanted to go back to read "The Iliad", because it was the book before "The Odyssey", and she's sure it must be a good book too. So for a few hours she learnt the first page yesterday, and decided to continue the rest in her learning time. I know this complete and unabridged version of Iliad is an uneasy book to understand for it comes in old style poetry. This link describes Homer's writing style for Iliad like this:

Clear, Poetic

Both these descriptions ("clear, poetic") of the Iliad's style might seem kind of weird. For many readers, the language of the Iliad seems weird or formal – at any rate, far from clear. And yet, you have to look at Homeric language as more like a foreign language, or learning a new dialect. Once you get the hang of his usual way of saying things, you'll realize that he's almost never being complicated for its own sake. Actually, he's almost never being complicated. He just says things in a very clear and direct way, in his own distinctive language. As for calling it poetic, this might just seem redundant. It is a poem after all. Well, that's true, and becauseof that, it's important to be aware of the distinctive features of Homer's poetic style.

Probably the most famous of these is the so-called "Homeric simile." The first of these similes comes in Book 2, at lines 87-92. (You can look them up here.) They have the three ingredients of any Homeric simile: (1) saying what the thing you're talking about is like (in this case, the army is like bees); (2) describing the thing you're comparing it to (bees); and (3) reminding the audience of what you were originally talking about (the army). The third step is necessary because sometimes the description in part (2) can get extremely long. Keep an eye out for these similes; some of them are very beautiful (and famous).
I tried to find some sources by Googling to support her. I'm so proud of her for she did it by her will and from her heart, not because I told her to do so. That's the essence of learning.
For you who want to read "The Iliad", you can read it for free from Project Gutenberg's. Here is the link.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

First Week: Review

--> Wrong choice in one of our English books. It's my fault (I read the Cambridge Secondary 2015 book list inaccurately). I should choose "English as Second Language" instead of "First Language". And I think we'd rather start in the lowest level and finish it fast, than start in the highest level but slow.

So we change one of our English book, from this one

                                           to this one

--> Surprisingly Donna likes Math now (as well as History, Science, Geography and English Writing). During her Primary grades she often felt so stressful to this subject. From my opinion, she did well in her Primary grades Math. Only, most of her classmates took extra math course after school that made them used to count faster. And this reality intimidated her for she often finished  her Math tasks slower. I'd explained to her that that fact didn't show their real abilities. Sometimes it worked and most did not. Now I feel so relief :D  So does her Father :D
He said, She looks so happy now!

We have almost the same schedule everyday, a loose schedule. Change and mix whatever we think suitable with the situation and subjects. The time she takes for each subject is all up to her. Many times I should remind her to stop (bed time or meal time).
Often she learns with some favourite musics as background sound.
Between this and that, she likes to have some fun chit chat via WA with another homeschooler girl ^^

Next week she'll start her flute class and yoga. German language starts two more weeks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Random of Thoughts

I try my best to:

--> find balance among homeschooling activities, work and keeping a home
--> spend every free minute of the day for learning, writing and illustrating

... by the Grace of God.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Updating Donna's Homeschool

--> Her two ex classmates who wanted to join our homeschool journey were cancelled. They were provoked by some friends, that they'll have no friends if they do homeschool. Well, it is totally wrong, but I don't want to argue too much about that. Time will tell ...

--> Here are the books and subjects that we take now:

- Math (Singapore Math):

- English (Cambridge):


- Science (Singapore's and Cambridge)

- Geography (Oxford and Cambridge)

- History 
  Donna likes only ancient histories parts for now (her main focus). Unfortunately we don't find any complete student nor course book about it. So we  use various sources for her. They come from various books (each title usually talks about one specific site, likes Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greek, or Ancient Rome, etc), videos from Youtube, online sites and online courses. And I asked her to write some of what she'd learned in her blog, and this is the first.

- Music
  She continues what she's been doing since she's 3 yo, Classical Piano courses. Next month she'll have her 5th grader practical exam from ABRSM.  She wants Flute class for her next musical instrument, and we're still arranging the schedule for it.

- Other
  She wants German Language for her foreign language, and we have to find a centre for it. And maybe a yoga class once a week.

That's all for now. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Well-organised Site for Free Online Courses from MOOC

I've just got a nice email from Prithiv Sassisegarane about a very useful site, CourseBuffet. The site has a very well-organised subjects of MOOC, all of their free online courses. Its appearance is clear and neat. Here's what I captured from my PC.

I like it. Hopefully they'll always update it.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Donna's Home Education

Last month, Donna graduated from her Primary School. After a sweet and touchy celebration, here we are now,  starting a new life as a homeschooler family.
Her main subjects are Math, Science and English. Plus her favourite subject History. And still thinking about another foreign language, either German or French. Maybe both of them :D :D 
She doesn't like Chinese language for she had to learn that language without exception during her school years. We take Singapore Math for her Math, and Cambridge curriculum for the others. And of course the online courses from Khan Academy and MOOC (from Coursera, edx, Future Learn, etc) depends on the subjects she likes.

Two boys from her primary classmates will soon join us in this learning journey, probably twice a week. So they will have "classmates" for their home education :D
I want to teach the boys how to learn independently just like Donna did for  a couple of years. They can ask me if they don't understand about the subjects and use our learning resources (internet and books) on those two days every week (their Mother, a single Mother, can't provide them all at the moment).

The rest of my time will be used for Liza's home edu process (as a Special Needs girl, she has a one on one learning style), house work (Cooking, cleaning, this one, that one... You know, it's an endless list), writing-illustrating children's book, and.... 
Well, honestly I'm not really sure how to juggle from one task to another, for each of them needs a lot of my focus and energy.
God, please help me.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

World Book Day

World Books Day is a yearly event on 23 April , organised by UNESCO. 
Talking about books, this is the book that Donna is reading now (it was her 11th birthday present last month) : " I Am Malala".
The book brings her to many new things, one of them is about Sunnis and Shia. Lucky me surrounded by some kind & open minded moslem friends. I asked their help in answering Donna's questions, and even Donna had a nice chat with one of them, Moi Kusman, last night. 

And let me share this quote, for there are many parents I knew, ask their kids to read books as if it's a chore/task. For us, reading good books is a pleasure time, a gift and a need.

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” — Kate DiCamillo

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Batu-batu Awal Story Stones

Inilah taman mungilku yang kuubah sedikit awal Januari 2015 lalu. Kolam kura-kura diperbesar karena kura-kura kami tumbuh membesar, dan ketambahan pula 2 ekor kura-kura dari orang yang sudah tak mau memeliharanya lagi. Karena area tanam menyempit, kusebar batu-batu putih di atasnya, supaya tampak lebih luas dan terang, sekaligus menjadi area kering untuk kura-kura.
Dari batu-batu putih itulah aku mendapatkan ide untuk melukisnya dan menjadikannya alat bercerita bersama anakku. Awalnya aku memakai batu taman yang agak besar. Tapi kemudian terpikir untuk membuatnya dari kerikil yang kecil (diameter sekitar 1-2 cm), supaya mudah dan ringan dibawa ke mana saja di dalam tas tangan. Harapanku akan ada banyak orang tua yang membawanya ketika sedang bepergian bersama anak mereka dan menggunakannya sebagai alat permainan yang interaktif (dan meminimalkan penggunaan gadget pada anak-anak). 
Terus terang, melukis di batu sekecil itu perlu usaha ekstra dibanding di batu yang berukuran lebih besar, pegeel :D
Tapi demi impianku agar lebih banyak anak yang terselamatkan dari kecanduan gadget, aku lakukan juga pembuatan story stones yang kecil-kecil ini.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lagi: Homeschooling

Homeschooling itu kata kuncinya adalah "menjalani" bukan "mendaftar" apalagi "mendirikan". Karena homeschooling bukan lembaga, tapi pendidikan berbasis keluarga.

Kalimat ini aku copas dari tulisan sahabatku Mira Julia, pas banget dengan pertanyaan bertubi-tubi dari beberapa orang yang menanyakan Donna mau HS di mana setelah SD.

Lihatlah terjemahan kata "home" dari Google translate ini:

Jadi sudah jelas-jelas "Home"schooling, bukan rukoschooling, masih juga orang bertanya "HS di mana?"

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Steve Jobs Was a Low Tech Parent

Judul itu aku copy paste dari berita yang ditulis oleh wartawan Banyak yang terkejut membacanya. Tak disangka Steve Jobs, orang di balik sukses perusahaan komputer terkenal seperti Apple, justru tidak mengijinkan segala macam peralatan high tech di rumahnya untuk digunakan oleh anak-anaknya. Dan bukan hanya Steve Jobs saja, tapi beberapa pemimpin dan pendiri perusahaan yang tergolong High Tech juga melakukan pembatasan yang amat ketat terhadap penggunakan gadget dan screen untuk anak-anak mereka. Mereka tahu bahaya penggunaan gadget yang berlebihan pada anak-anak mereka. Jadi apa yang dilakukan oleh Mr Job di rumah bersama anak-anaknya?
Aku kutip sedikit di sini:
“Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things,” he said. “No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”
Atau selengkapnya bisa baca di sini.

Bagaimana di rumahku sendiri? Aku & suami sampai saat ini bangga tidak punya gadget, kecuali PC di rumah dan Handphone model jadul tanpa internet. Demikian pula dengan anak -anak kami, no gadget. Entah ke depannya bagaimana, tapi sampai saat ini kami bangga dengan hal itu. Jadi ketika kami pergi bersama sekeluarga, jarang sekali kami sibuk dengan gadget masing-masing. Kami bisa bebas ngobrol, bergurau dan berdiskusi bersama. Hp ada hanya untuk berkomunikasi seperlunya. Miris melihat anak2 bahkan batita pun sudah disodori gadget untuk membuat mereka "anteng" dan "tidak mengganggu" orang tua mereka. Waktu yang sangat sebentar bersama anak-anak bukannya dipakai untuk memperkuat ikatan batin dan berdiskusi hal-hal yang penting untuk tumbuh kembangnya kelak, malah dianggapnya anak-anak itu "pengganggu". 
Kira-kira bagaimana ya generasi yang sudah dicekoki gadget ini kelak memperlakukan orang tua mereka yang sudah uzur ? Apakah kira-kira mereka akan terganggu dengan kehadiran orang tuanya yang "mulai merepotkan"? Dan sebagai pengganti kehadiran diri, mereka mengirimkan gadget terbaru untuk orang tua mereka, biar orang tua mereka "anteng"? Mungkin juga plus mengirim "nanny" (yang tentunya juga sibuk main gadget, seperti yang mereka dapatkan selama mereka menjalani masa kanak-kanak)? . Entahlah...
Kami sendiri di rumah tidak totally screen free. Kami selama ini memakai PC untuk bekerja dan belajar. Sebagaimana sifat PC itu sendiri yang tidak bisa dibawa ke mana-mana, hanya bisa digunakan di tempat tertentu dan waktu tertentu, sehingga di waktu selebihnya kami lebih bisa berinteraksi penuh sebagai manusia nyata.

Just my two cents.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snack Buatan Sendiri untuk Mengurangi Sampah Plastik

Terus terang tidak selalu ada waktu untuk membuat camilan sendiri di rumah untuk memberikan asupan sehat plus mengurangi sampah (seperti kantong plastik dan kemasan plastik). Beberapa yang sering kubikin antara lain : Guacamole (alpukat, air lemon, tomat, bawang merah, garam, olive oil, kemarin bikin ini :D)
banana muffin (kalau pas ada pisang yang terlalu matang), macam-macam puding sayur (labu kaboca, wortel), puding cokelat, pancake, bubur sum-sum (snack hari ini), kacang ijo, bubur mixed grain, dan beberapa kue-kue yang gampang. Dan minuman macam kunir asem atau berbahan kencur. Begini hasil kunir asemku:

Kalau tidak sempat bikin ya beli :D , maklum doyan makan semua di sini. Sering aku menitipkan wadah untuk mewadahi pesananku itu, atau pinjam wadah mereka yg langsung kukembalikan begitu pesanan bisa kupindahkan ke wadahku sendiri, setidaknya mengurangi sampah plastik dan "No Styrofoam". Maklum, waktu terasa hilang entah ke mana cepat sekali. Dan hal-hal seperti ini menyita waktu yang lebih dari lumayan --> menyiapkan bahan-bahan, memasaknya, lalu mencuci semua peralatan bekas pakai.
Dan sekarang aku mau mengoven kue cokelat, simple Nutella choco cake, yg bahannya hanya Nutella dan telur ayam, karena bubur sum-sumnya sudah amblas huaa....cepet amat habisnya. Berkejaran antara yang makan dan yang bikin.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bermain dengan Batu Bercerita (Story Stone)

Bagaimanakah kira-kira cara bermain Story Stones ini? Ada banyak sekali, tergantung imajinasi dan kreasi kita.
Untuk anak-anak yang lebih kecil, batu-batu bisa dijejer dulu, lalu terserah si anak mau mulai dengan batu yang mana.
Misal begini:
Ada seekor beruang yang lapar
dan dia ingin makan madu.

Lalu dia mengajak Jerapah sahabatnya untuk mencari madu bersama.

Tapi Jerapah sedang asik main balon. 

Dan seterusnya :) Untuk anak yang lebih besar, batu-batu itu bisa tetap ditaruh di dalam kantong. Lalu satu persatu bergantian mengambilnya tanpa boleh mengintip lebih dulu. Misalkan anak pertama mengambil batu dan mendapatkan gambar beruang lalu memulai dengan "Suatu hari ada seekor beruang yang sedang kelaparan". Anak kedua mengambil batu dan melanjutkan cerita. Kalau dia mendapatkan batu bergambar balon, kira-kira bagaimana melanjutkannya ya? Mungkin begini"Dan dia bukannya menemukan madu tapi balon! Maka dia berpegangan erat pada tali balon dan ...." Dan seterusnya. Akan seru sekali. Bahkan Story stone ini bisa dipakai sebagai Ice Breaker di suatu acara yang pesertanya belum saling mengenal. Dengan bermain saling melanjutkan cerita satu sama lain, bisa cerita konyol atau lucu, sehingga mencairkan suasana. Selamat mencoba ^^

Lama tak Update dan si Batu Bercerita

Sudah lama sekali ternyata aku tidak menulis di sini. Selain kesibukan sehari-hari mengurus rumah dan membantu Liza belajar, juga sesekali mengerjakan ilustrasi untuk anak-anak. Dan yang terbaru adalah Story Stones alias Batu Bercerita.

Awalnya adalah ketika aku mengganti penampilan taman super mungil di depan rumahku. Kami ingin memperluas kolam kura-kura yang sudah ada dikarenakan sudah terlalu kecil untuk kura-kura kami yang tumbuh makin besar. Apalagi dapat limpahan 2 ekor kura-kura yg lebih besar lagi (pemiliknya sudah tidak mau piara mereka lagi ). Dan itu membuat area untuk tanaman yang sudah super sempit menjadi lebih sempit lagi. Maka kuputuskan untuk mengganti area tanam yang sempit itu dengan hamparan batu kerikil (besar dan kecil) warna putih, dan menjadi area untuk kura-kura berjalan-jalan keluar kolam. 
Setelah selesai, melihat beberapa batu yang mulus dan putih itu kok aku jadi merasa melihat kanvas. Maka iseng-iseng kupilih beberapa yang besar lalu kugambari dan kuwarnai. Jadinya cantik juga. Lalu aku dan Donna bermain bergantian bercerita menggunakan batu bergambar itu, seru sekali sampai kami tertawa terbahak-bahak. Dan terpikir, kalau batu-batunya lebih kecilan seukuran 1-2 cm saja, mungkin bisa dimasukkan dalam satu kantong kain kecil, lalu bisa dibawa ke mana saja dan bisa dimasukkan ke dalam tas tangan sebagai alat untuk bermain dan bercerita di mana saja dan kapan saja. Terbayang di ruang-ruang tunggu (entah di bandara, rumah sakit, apotik, bioskop, stasiun, mana saja) anak-anak bisa asik bermain batu-batu ini dengan ibunya, penjaganya atau dengan teman lainnya. Bandingkan dengan pemandangan yg sering kita lihat selama ini: ibunya atau penjaga anaknya asik main gadget, atau melototi tayangan sinetron atau infotainment, dan anak-anaknya pun jadinya tanpa punya pilihan ikut main gadget atau ikut menatap layar TV :(
Maka ketika ada teman dari Klub Oase menawarkan untuk dijual di suatu acara seminar mereka, aku girang sekali. Mungkin ini saatnya aku bisa berkontribusi untuk mengubah pemandangan yang bikin senep (hahaha apa ya padanannya...oh iya, pemandangan yang bikin sebal) di ruang tunggu yang selama ini kulihat, dengan sesuatu yang lebih baik. Maka ngebuuutlah aku waktu itu membuat beberapa kantong untuk dijual di acara itu.

Dan ternyata peminatnya lumayan banyak. Semoga makin banyak pula orang tua yang mulai menyadari bahwa waktu dengan anak-anaknya tidaklah banyak sebelum mereka akhirnya "terbang meninggalkan sarang". Jangan tukar waktu itu dengan hal lain yang, sebetulnya kita semua tahu, tidak penting.
Bagaimana sih bermain dengan batu bercerita itu? Lihat di sini.