2012 The Battle Of The Christmas Toys – Furby Vs Figit

Furby vs Figit. Furby or Figit Friends? Kids are really spoilt for choice these days.

I personally prefer the new Furby 2012 to Figit . I’ve seen videos of both and I think that Figit has limited play and kids will outgrow or get bored with Figit  faster or more easily. However, having said that, I think that Figit is ideal for very young girls who may just find the new Furby a little odd or frightening even. Figit is also “expandable” because you can purchase other Figit Friends like the Figit Friends Yippits and Figit Friends Newbies to go with the original Figit.

Furby is more like a pet, a real pet. You can’t turn him off. He’ll go to sleep or wake up and talk at his own will. Of course you can wake him up too by patting or tickling his chin etc. He may even get just a tad bit annoying to some. However, I think he will have great appeal to older kids, tweens or pre-teens as well as teenagers who may enjoy the fact that Furby has his own knowledge, which is Furbish. I know my kids will enjoy this part because they are so fond of talking nonsense at home. Sometimes, they like to make their own secret codes and languages before breaking down into giggling fits. They will surely enjoy learning the Furby language from the Furby to English dictionary which is available online. Furby 2012 even has its own free apple iTunes app! Check my Parenting Times blog on Furby 2012 for more details.

Some adults may enjoy Furby too. Some boyfriends may like to give the Furby to their girlfriends and they can both have one each and see how their Furbys interact with each other just for fun. As a cuddle pet of sorts to think of the other when they are not around. In Furbish (which is the language Furby speaks kah may-may u-nye means “I love you”). If only Furby could be trained to say that but like all pets, you probably can’t. Furby will however learn to speak English over time though, according to the manufacturers.

Figit Friends was hot but the new Furby 2012 is the hot toy for this Christmas 2012. Galloping hot behind its heals is FurReal Friend’s Baby Butterscotch, the Hasbro horse. Hasbro seems to have really got it this time around with their lifelike touch sensor toys.

If it’s gadgets you want to get for kids this Christmas 2012, then the battle is between Vtech’s Innotab2 vs Leapfrog’s LeapPad 2 Explorer. Kids are really spoilt by choice this Christmas 2012. Check out my Squidoo lens for the Top 10 Gadget Gifts For Kids including the Innotab2 and LeapPad 2.

Here’s a look at the Figit Friends Video

While, here is an overview of Furby 2012

Watch the FurReal Friend’s Baby Butterscotch Demo. Baby Butterscotch is the smaller and more affordable version of the original Butterscotch which was released in 2006.

Figit or Furby 2012? Which do you think is cuter? Which toy do you think will wit the 2012 Battle of the Christmas Toys? I think it will be Furby for toys. FurReal’s Interactive Pony is a little bit too costly for most. As for gadget toys, I think the winner will be LeapPad 2 or will parents skip the toy tablets all together and go straight for an ipad or Android tablet? Kids are so lucky these days, don’t you think?

 

Super Mom Tee

Super Mom Tee

Super Mom Tee

Super Mom, Super Wife, Super Tired. That’s what this T-Shirt for Moms says and that’s what I am feeling at the moment. That’s what I think I’ve tried to do. I’ve always tried my best to be a good mom and a good wife but some days, I’m just super tired like today. Must be due the April Fool effect.

I’m tired. It’s not easy trying to live up to the high expectations of your spouse. The man thinks I don’t support him, when the kids do not behave it’s always MY fault. I’m so tired, really tired. What about me? What about my own dreams and aspirations. I am very excited about a project I am working on at the moment but who cares about it? No one accept me. I am so excited about it I want to burst but the kids are too young to understand and when I show it to the man, he is not very interested as I had expected.  He is more interested in me not spending too much time on it at the expense of the family.

Anyway, I don’t want to write about this too much. Writing negatively makes me think more negatively which only results in me being more upset which is why all my spaces online are positive ones. No ranting. I’m going to need some exercises to work off these bad feelings. In fact, I think I’m going to need to run a half marathon to work this one off.

No negatives. Only positives. So I’m going to forget about my Super Mom Tee and stick a 13.1 sticker on my current t-shirt instead to remind myself to work off the negative vibes.

Mother’s Day is coming soon. I’m not expecting anything from the family. The kids are always still too young and the father never makes an effort to “go get something for mom” so I’m just going to make myself happy by working on my project quietly. Oops! I forgot. I started ranting again. That’s no good. I’m going to go go run a half marathon now instead. A good sweat is what I need right now.

 

The Way We Were Raised

We were raised very differently, my spouse and I. He was brought up in a strict manner. His parents were strict on food, strict on toys, strict on studies. As for me, mom died when I was 10. Dad was a policeman and he had 5 of us to look after in addition to making sure we had enough money for our education etc. I don’t think he had very much time to ponder on how we were being raised. So I was left pretty much to myself.

It is because of this difference in the way that we were raised that constantly comes up between us when we are trying to raise our own kids. It is not that we want it that way but it is hard to change our values and the way we were brought up ourselves. For example, the spouse believes in pushing the kids in their studies. He wants them to have the values of doing the best that they can. He wants them to learn that they have to work hard for what they want. Nothing wrong with that. These are good values to have.

However, it causes challenges for me. I want the kids to have time to be kids. To play and be happy. So, I the primary caregiver since I am at home with them most of the time, am not meeting up to his standards of working hard. For instance, during the school holidays he wants me to sit down and do revision with the kids. His reasoning is I should do so otherwise they will have a hard time when school starts. (and this is true).  If we don’t take the opportunity to do some work during the holidays, quite often we have a hard time catching up in school during school days but I reasoned that if we work them hard during the holidays too, then when will they ever have a holiday? When will they ever get time to play?

Of course the spouse being the family man that he is tries to make sure they have time to play as well. He makes time for them, takes them to the movies, out to the mall etc. Still, I feel a little bit stressed and worked up every time he asks me “So, did you all do some work today?” and the pressure to get good results is very high during exam periods. Recently, my girl did not do very well for her essay papers in Chinese and Malay. I told him that she had worked very hard and his “You must not only work hard but work smart” resonates in my ears and in my heart.

I am not a very good teacher. I feel so overwhelmed looking at all the things that they don’t know and I don’t know where to start. We seem to go around in circles. It is really hard trying to teach the kids 3 languages plus Maths and Science. The spouse teaches the kids Maths and Science so that helps but getting them to be good in 3 languages? That’s really really tough. Sigh. This post was tough to write too. I don’t know how to put my thoughts into words the way I usually am able to. I’m rambling. Its all wrong. :(

KSSR vs. KBSR Confusion when buying workbooks

KSSR vs KBSR

This year, 2012, I have a child in Std 2 doing the KSSR syllabus and a Std 4 child doing the KBSR syllabus.

So what is KSSR? What does KSSR stand for? I am sure that most parents in Malaysia know that kids start the new KSSR syllabus in 2012 but just what does KSSR stand for? Now, that’s simple. KSSR stands for Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah.

What about the older KBSR then? What does KBSR stand for? Now, that one is easy too. KBSR stands for Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah.

Now that we’ve got the easy part of the way, deriving the abbreviation for KSSR and KBSR, lets talk about the hard part.

The hard part is faced by parents whose children are doing the new KSSR new syllabus. Parents whose kids are doing the KBSR syllabus can skip this post. Let me give you an example.

I have children doing both the syllabus. My standard 2 child cannot recycle or reuse his sister’s books because the syllabus has changed for almost every subject, English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Maths and Science. For example in Math, he is now taught Fractions in Std 1 and Fractions and Decimals in Std 2. Previously, it was not taught till Std 3. So if you buy the old KBSR workbooks you would have missed out two whole chapters. This is only an example of one confusion that can arise.

Worse still, the book publishers and printers are in a bind. How do they get rid of their old KBSR stocks? What’s happening is, when I went to the bookshops, I had trouble finding Std 2 workbooks or rather very few Std 2 KSSR workbooks. Std 1 is ok since there is new print for this year but not Std 2. For almost every publisher, I could find Std 1 then Std 3, 4, 5,6  but not Std 2. I had trouble finding KSSR books for Std 2, probably they will be available later on.

Then there are unscrupulous publishers who change the name of the cover to KSSR! Well, at least that is what I think because I had bought a KSSR book but when I looked inside the syllabus was the same as the old one. So before you go out to buy any workbooks for your child, make sure you look at his textbook to know his syllabus first, then make sure it matches those of the workbooks. Don’t buy blindly. Do some homework first.

Here is my tips for parents when buying primary school workbooks:

  1. Std 1 and Std 2 parents buy books with KSSR on the cover
  2. However, make sure you check your child’s textbook before buying. Make sure that the syllabus in the workbook matches the syllabus in the textbook
  3. You will need to buy KSSR for the 5 core subjects, i.e. the 3 languages English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, plus Maths and Science
  4. However, you may get KBSR books for the paper 2 for English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese. Paper 2 meaning the Writing Practise Paper as this do not change very much. (Paper 1 is Comprehension or Pemahaman, Paper 2 is Writing or Penulisan) Note: In Std 1 and 2, there is no Paper 2 test for English, however workbooks are available for practise. There is Paper 2 test for Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Cina or Chinese though)
  5. If your child is in Chinese School, go to the SJKC section to pick books. What does SJKC stand for? (SJKC stands for Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina). As for those in National Schools, buy your workbooks from the SJK section (SJK stands for Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan). They syllabus for both are different.

So many acronyms and abbreviations to learn. Parenting is hard enough without all this headache.

Teaching my kids Maths and Science in English

I have bought several books on Maths and Science in English for primary schools to teach my children. You have to first become a student before you can become a teacher. Guide to Career Education can be your resource for teaching and learning. Some of them are excellent bilingual English/Chinese books. I have been teaching my kids Maths and Science in English from the time they were in Std 1. They are going to be Std 2 and Std 4 next year. I also help them with their Maths and Science in Chinese by using an electronic dictionary and bilingual Maths and Science books.

My preference would be for them to be taught Maths and Science in English in school but since it is not happening and I don’t forsee it changing anytime soon, I have no choice but to do teach them myself. As a parent, I feel that I need to be in the background always ready to provide them with the balance they need in life. I send them to a strict Chinese school, so I try to provide them with entertainment, play and relaxation at home. If I send them to a school which is more relaxed than, I will be there to guide and push them harder in their studies.

It is the same with Maths and Science in English. Since I think it is important for the kids to learn Maths and Science in English, I will teach them myself if it is not being taught in school. It is not difficult to teach. Maths and Science, unlike languages is all about concepts. The concept is the same. Once the children grasp the concept and understand the lesson, it is only a matter of teaching them the terms.

My girl just brought back her Std 4 books for next year. I am relieved to see that she still has the Maths and Science Books in English textbooks for the year 2012. Or should I feel sad that she will be burdened with yet another year of carrying extra books for subjects that teachers are teaching only half heartedly because they have no choice.

Unlike my Std 1 boy who is learning Maths and Science in Chinese, my girl had the chance to learn Maths and Science in Chinese as well as in English. However, the school takes a rather laid back or relaxed attitude in the teaching of Maths and Science in English. I can’t say that I blame them since it will be discontinued. Why should school time and resources be spent on something that will be phased out soon. There are only a few periods for Maths and Science in English. The test papers are very easy and given almost like an afterthought. There is hardly any homework for Maths and Science in English and most of the time, it is taught in a hurried manner to finish off the syllabus at the end of a term or school year as if to get it out of the way.

With such an attitude, it is better that the kids learn Maths and Science in Chinese alone. They won’t have to go through the burden of learning the same subjects in two languages in school and carrying extra loads of books to school, especially when the teaching of Maths and Science in English is half hearted. Even if given the choice, they will never choose to do any Maths and Science tests in English because they will be better at it in Chinese since the emphasis has always been on teaching Maths and Science in Chinese even though they were given a ‘choice’. I don’t see it as a choice really, it appears more like a burden, an extra thing that teachers are forced to get out of the way. It is not a bonus to be able to learn it in two languages under this sort of circumstances or learning/teaching environment.

So, that means it is up to me to teach my kids Maths and Science in English.  I am not good in Chinese so I find it useful to teach them in English and then later go through the Maths and Science terms in Chinese with them. I am thankful for the bilingual books. It helps the kids improve both languages as they grasp the concept.  My only wish is to see the Maths and Science books in English or the bilingual Maths and Science books being continued to be published by publishers and sold at bookshops. It will be a sad day, when even that stops soon after the Maths and Science in English is phased out. :(

Updated:

I just found out from my girl that she had to return the Maths and Science Books in English for Std 4 next year. I guess she won’t be learning them in English anymore. She is in Std 4 next year. My son who is in Std 2 will not be learning them in English since he is the ‘pioneer’ year for the switch back to teaching Maths and Science in mother tongues. Looks like this mother will have to work harder.

There still appears to be some confusion as many are unsure on whether the subjects will still be taught in English and until which year. So here is the schedule for the phasing out of teaching Maths and Science in English.

Updated again

Well, looks like that schedule for phasing out is outdated now…

 


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