Slow is fast in teaching children

Stephen Covey, in “7 Habbits of Highly Effective People”, described how relationship with people is “slow is fast”.  The faster or “efficient” you want it to be, the slower it is.  The slower you are in developing the basis of a genuine relationship, the faster the relationship builds.

Shark by Elizabeth

Digital art by Elizabeth

The same is true for teaching young children.

Be slow, very slow, try to understand what he/she understands and does not understand.   We each live in our world and can be universe away from what a young child’s world is if we assume our logic is universal.   To assume every child must be fast learner without any difficulty is stupid and robotic.

Actually, everyone, except the rare few, learns fast when the start is slow because our minds need the time to link the new with the old.    Like a building, only if you take the time to make sure foundation is solid can you build a tall one that does not collapse soon.

Sit down on the floor, so that you are lower than the child.  Now look up at the face of the angel and ask her “can we play a game together? If one hand has 5 fingers, then how many fingers I will have if I have 3 hands…”

Financial math equations

  1. Revenue – Expense = Profit,
  2. Net worth= Asset – Liability

My dear children learned while we were shopping at IKEA that:

Revenue & Expense by Elizabeth

Revenue & Expense by Elizabeth

  revenue = money coming in  expense = money going out

  profit = revenue expense

Money that mommy earns from her work is revenue

Apartment rental income is revenue

Money we spent paying for everything we use is expense

  asset = things that bring in profit

  liability= things that do not bring in profit

Can you please tell me what are the assets and what are the liabilities that you know?

Let kids learn about money and finance 钱

Money (钱)is very important in life, although it is quite pointless to compare it with things that are best not to be measured in money.   Money is money.  It does what it does.  It is very important.  Period.

I ask my children “If you have $100 and you spend $100.  How much do you have left?”  “Nothing left”.   “Likewise, if you have $1,000,000 and you spend $1,000,000.  How much do you have left?”  “Zero!”

That is right.  To be rich, it is not only important that one needs to make money, but also save money (节省).   My children know that we should buy things on sale as much as possible.

We were looking at historic prices of properties in   I showed them the time series of prices and point to the trough in 2009 “this is sale price” and the peak in 2005 “and this is the full price that we should never pay for. “

When we go shopping, I try to let my children pay.   Before we come to the cash register, if our shopping cart is not that full, I will ask them to try to sum up how much the total is and compare how close our calculation is to the actual.

There are just so many places and so many things to learn.   I have explained to my children what a bank does, interest rate, what collateral means and so on.   “Why do you think the bank employees are so nice to us by giving us candies/hot chocolate when they are helping us to keep our money?”

Digital art for kids in digital age

Almost all kids like to draw and paint. They get plenty of practices with crayons or watercolors at their schools. However, they should also learn painting and drawing with a tablet and stylus. This is different because the art work can be saved, duplicated, modified in ways impossible with crayons and paper.

Our idea is: if they are seeing digital art everywhere already, why not use their talent and imagination to create art with computers themselves.

Financial math for kids in grocery shopping



苹果 by Elizabeth

Grocery shopping can be a fun, practical and time saving activity for teaching children financial math and economics besides food and nutrition while getting the chore done.

  • Reading grocery store ads are family math time for us.  We discussed things like:
  • How to compare prices (price per unit)
  • Why we should buy things on sale as much as possible?
  • Why most items are priced with numbers that end with .99, e.g.3.99

Many Uses of 心

The following is from a Chinese school principal’s page:

Student’s Concentration       上課專心

Parent’s Participation            家長關心

Teacher’s Devotion                 老師苦心

Pupil’s Attention                     讀書用心

Volunteer’s Dedication         義工熱心

Children’s Companion          兒女貼心

Everyone’s Gratification      大家開心

The last character of each phrase above is “心”, which means “heart” in Chinese.   It is interesting that none of them says “brain”.    While any one of the above requires serious brain effect, it is the satisfaction of the heart is the primary goal.    Who is to say that the higher the emotion the lower the brain?

Life is but a dream

What happens to websites if computers are down?  Computers, I mean, include iphones and tablets.   Then all that many have built would be gone for good, possibly.

If my website is gone, then I have nothing to say but “life is but a dream.”

Learning by doing

Victoria is super handy with tools and she is not afraid of trying new things

Victoria is super handy with tools and she is not afraid of trying new things

To my dear daughters

Yes, it is your mommy’s own fault that she bought you all these books with pictures of princesses conveniently at supermarkets.  She calls you “my little princesses”, and, at the same time, she tells you that the movies or pictures of princess are going to make you stupid.  Yes, she is having a hard time making up her mind.

Every mother wants the best for her children.  Whatever the original version was, I have changed the story of Cinderella to the following for you:

Because Cinderella works hard and keeps her dream alive regardless her circumstances, she receives the help from a goddess, who helps Cinderella to make her dream come true.  If Cinderella were to be lazy and vain like her two stepsisters, her dream would not have come true.  

You asked me “Mom, when will the goddess come to help us and make me become a Cinderella?”

I replied “You have to work, study (especially math and mandarin Chinese) and play like you did today everyday.  Then your dream will come true.”