School officially ends this year mid May because we are off to visit family for the summer.


It’s been a year of growth for me.  I have so much to say about what I learned this year, its going to get its own perspective post.  So here’s a short summary of what the kids did the last 1.5 months.


  • English – Finished Explode the Code.  Started and dropped Sara, Plain and Tall, read Percy Jackson 4 & 5 (Guided Reading Level W & S), started and dropped D’Aulaires Greek Mythology (GRL X), started Pawn of Prophecy (AR 5.9), superlatives, syllabication, All About Spelling review, Whodunit Detective Agency series (AR 5.x)
  • Chinese – Sagebooks characters #61-#130
  • Math – opeartor precedence, divisibility of 8, fraction multiplication of 1 unit, decimal multiplication, line, ray, segment, horizontal, vertical, broken, curved lines, division by 4 by 1 digit
  • Others – Cowgirl Creamery, running 1 mile , knitting, Orff class, violin class, sourdough, hawaiian mythology, hawaiian hula 


  • English – Reviewed primary phonics set 1 readers, continuing with All about Reading. BOB books set 1, Explode the Code book 1
  • Chinese – Finished reviewing Sagebooks
  • Math – multiplication memorization 6, 7, 8.  4×2 multiplication, introduction to squaring and cubing concepts.
  • Others – Cowgirl Creamery, running 1 mile , crocheting, Orff class, piano lessons, sourdough, hawaiian mythology, hawaiian hula


Our biggest accomplishment was finishing Explode the Code.  Now I can slack off for a month or two before we start on our next daily must do’s.

Thumper has been reading lots of English books. After Percy Jackson, she picked up several books but didn’t finish them.  Eventually Baba started reading to her the first book of his favorite fantasy series, The Belgariad, written by David Eddings.  Now this is her current obsession.  She is reading it on the Kindle Paperwhite (but is not allowed surpass what he’s read because he really wants to read to her) and also listening to the audiobook.

I’m learning that I tend to offer these options to Thumper when she is into a book because she’s such an auditory learner.  Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating by having her listen to an audiobook and then read.  Thankfully I recently listened to a podcast that basically said that listening to audiobooks is also “reading” and there’s no one way to teach your kid to love to read.

In addition, for the learner who has difficulty reading, it’s actually very important for them to listen to audiobooks so that they can hear the book the way it’s meant to be read.  This way, they will have that in their head and that helps them when they start writing, since writing is putting down words in your head.

So even though she got obsessed with all these English books and didn’t read Chinese, she did read the 8-9 books in the Whodunit Series.  Its a set of Swedish books that was recommended in a Chinese book review website and I borrowed English version from the library.  She devoured these in a few days and I was surprised to learn these are considered 5th grade reading.  I guess we’re not going to buy the Chinese version now.

So the only thing we did in Chinese was writing Sagebooks characters.  She finished the first 100 and wanted to create her own stories with 100 character like I did a few years ago.

Math we’re mostly working off of the free Chinese math books after I introduce a concept to her.  She had not been making progress through the worksheets for awhile because she found them boring and kept running out of time to do them.  I finally insisted on 2 things: she has to practice violin in the afternoon, and she has to one work in math daily for 10 minutes.  Giving her a very very short time limit helped with the boredom.

This month during our free time, we explored a lot of different subjects for fun.  I’ve giving up teaching the other subjects in class for now.  So for a weekend, we were very obsessed with the hula dance and watched many youtube videos on the Merrie Monarch dance competition and how to dance the hula.  This then lead to tons of Youtube videos on the Hawaiian Goddess, Pele and Hawaii in general.

After learning about Hawaii, we started making sourdough bread.  Just like pets, I ended up taking care of the sourdough.  But we also watched quite a few videos on the inner workings of yeast.

Not sure if I have mentioned before that Thumper asked for, and she started, learning to play the violin in February.  So far we’re making pleasing progress.  By this I mean that because we started formal lessons so late, she’s zooming through the lessons and I don’t have to listen to painful practices or get mad at something that’s out of her control (e.g. undeveloped motor skills).  She also “mostly” practices without too much prompting for me.  Basically music lesson so far is not killing our relationship too too much, which is really all I ask for.


We made a more concerted effort to learn English phonics this last two months.  For a few weeks Astroboy wanted to read some of the Primary Phonics books and BOB books.  After we finished them, we went back and restarted Explode the Code and he re-whizzed through the first book again.  After a year, he has finally gotten down his short vowel sounds.

In fact, Astroboy is making leaps in the reading front.  He seemed to have made some developmental leap and suddenly picked up reading in Chinese.  And sudden it is.  He has been reading picture books and Qiao Hu magazine off and on the last year and refused chapter books.  Suddenly he found a set of chapter books he likes and zoom, off he went to reading them.

That’s Astroboy for you.  He will seemingly not be understanding something, and then boom, make a leap.  He’s done it all his life really when it comes to language.  For example, with Thumper, her language progression was 1 word, 2 words, 3 words, sentence, longer sentence.  With Astroboy, it was more, 1 word, 2 words, all the time seemingly not understanding what I’m saying to him.  Then boom, a sentence one day after he turned 2.

More and more, I see how my two kids learn differently and develop differently and as I’m looking ahead to next year, I’m contemplating how I can design my curriculum to match their needs instead of doing the same thing of both children.

In math, Astroboy is almost done with memorizing the multiplication table.  It took us a year, just like Thumper.  Though Thumper memorized it but kept forgetting.  I think Astroboy will remember it.  He’s still working on 4×2 multiplication, the concept is still a little confusing to him I think.

With the math class, I also finally introduced the concept of squaring and cubing.  The kids had fun building their tower of jewels.  We’re not done w/ the series yet.  Hoping we can pick it up again next semester.

Thankfully we also finished reviewing our Sagebooks.  I was so amazed that Astrbooy basically didn’t remember most of the characters in set 4 and 5.  He actually recognizes many characters through just reading.  So it makes me wonder if the characters in set 4 and 5 aren’t necessarily ones you encounter as often as set 1-3.  I guess we would know more as we move into chapter books.

I also started Astroboy on Suzuki piano lessons, taught by me, half ass style.  Thankfully he’s got that personality to just do repetition so he’s also making progress.

Random pics of what we did this month.  Looking at the pics, I didn’t mention a lot of them in my summary.  I guess we actually did a lot of random stuff.

Checkerboard multiplication, first presentation
The book that got him to start reading chapter books
Crochet’ing a baby blanket!
What’s this? It’s a nose with two nostrils. My boy’s strange humor.
Trying to make our own sourdough starter.


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