Cyclists cross the line because the police do not know them

Red traffic light
Red traffic light

Today, when I was driving Dean, Sophia and Carlotta to the swimming pool, I overheard they were talking about why cars alway stop at the red light, while “some” cyclists do not.

This was a tough question, I said to myself. Carlotta muttered, and only said to Dean, all the cyclists “should” stop at the red light.

A few seconds later, Dean found the answer by himself, “They cross the line because the police do not know them.”

He was excited at finding the answer, but Carlotta and I muted. We did not want to confirm his answer. I was not sure at his age knowing such a fact is a good thing or not.

Little educator

Beat or treat
Beat or treat
This morning I was standing at downstairs and shouting to Dean and Sophia upstairs. I was asking them to come downstairs for Chinese lessons. Sophia came first, so I told her to have some strawberries and blue berries while waiting for Dean. However, Dean was attracted by the Furby, and did not want to go downstairs.

I sent Sophia to let Dean know that I would spank him if he did not come downstairs immediately.

But Sophia had her objection. She said, “I am going to treat him. I’ll say – do you want to have some strawberries or blue berries downstairs.”

I was a little surprised for a little girl to know that encouragement works better than punishment. So I agreed to her.

However sadly, neither the strawberries nor blue berries were good incentives that did not attract Dean to walk away from the Furby. At last, I had to go upstairs and got Dean downstairs (without spanking). But the result was not important in such a case.

Home windtalkers

Secret Langauge
Secret Langauge

Kids are really creative. And they can play a foreign language at their fingers. English is nearly not a foreign language to them.

Today on the way home, Dean suggested creating a secret language which no adults could understand but kids could.

It amazed me that he started making the rules for the secret language straight away. His rules were so complicated, involving rhythm, backwards pronunciation and some German words.

I was concentrating on driving but I was not good at thinking in a manner of kids anyway, so I could not understand what exactly his rules were. However, Sophia and Carlotta listened very carefully and interrupted him from time to time, making improvements to the encryption algorithm.

Before we got home, they have finished the rules. As a test, Dean made some sounds like jabber. I was completely out.

Carlotta asked, “Do you mean ‘when go to beach’?”

Dean said, “Yes!”

I was shocked, deeply.

Shall we go Kumon?


Kiki went back to China. Before she left, she had told me to take our children to attend a test. I did not know where Kiki heard about Kumon. I just heard about it when I was there today. Of course, it did not affect the fact that Kumon has become widely spreaded in the world.

What is Kumon? Kumon is merely a set of Mathematical exercises that a Japanese designed initially for his son to catch up with his class. Then it was developed to cover Readings.

Having learned it is a Japanese thing, I was a little reluctant to take it on. However, I knew I should not judge my children’s personal development by my personal taste. So I held back my initial reaction and analyse Kumon impartially.

Among online reviews of Kumon, no one says it is creative learning/teaching method. Most reviews are neutral, as it makes up the insufficient homework from English schools. Someone even says Kumon is diving students in exercises, not a new thing in China. Teacher in Kumon played little functions. He/she just gives out papers and hires a few university students to assist in the class to mark the answers. Most time Kumon relies on parents or guardians to supervise their children to take the exercises at home.

If we were in China, I would not use Kumon, definitely. But we are in the UK, where Kumon might be useful. I am not keen in Kumon’s massive amount of exercises, but the following 3 key points.

My children are not lack of learning materials. But these materials are not linked together, thus not systematic. If Kumon can systematically arrange the learning materials, it worth the money.

Kumon claims to teach children self learning skills and foster their interest in learning. A lot of teaching organisations advertise the same words, so here I put a question mark. I will be more than glad to see if Kumon lives up to it.

In English schools, teachers are fixed to a grade and do not upgrade with their students, so no one can be responsible for the long term development of the students; students meet new teachers every year, and it always takes a while for them to settle down. Teacher in Kumon can follow up students in a long term. Normally only one teacher in a Kumon centre, so if he/she does not follow up, who else can? During the test this afternoon, I saw my children got on with this teacher quite well.

It is said many times that Chinese schools give the best basic education, and no one in western countries can compete. I thought so until recently. When I was curious about what was being taught in English A-Level Further Mathematics courses, I was surprised to find out it was talking about the optimal routing for a postman. I only had the similar lessons of Operations Research after Further Mathematics in my university.

It is a bit off topic. I mean – Do not use mindset to judge an education model. Whether a model is good or not depends on the individual.

I decide to send my children to Kumon to try it out. My only prerequisite is they must learn in a happy mode. I will never tolerate spending money in “Kumen” – a homophonic of Kumon in Chinese which means tough and boring.



Cut hair short

Kiki proposed to Sophia to cut her hair short, for easy maintenance.

Sophia was hesitating, because she got the impression that beautiful girls should have long hairs.

Dean was cheerful about this proposal. Kiki asked him why.

He said, “I can’t see the mobile phone when she is holding it.”

Brighton College admitted my kids

Last year my kids took the admission test of Brighton College but were rejected. At that time my kids just started learning English. I took it that they did not understand what the questions were during the test.

Kiki bought each of them 3 exercise books from Bond. We, together with Carlotta, and mainly Carlotta, supervised them to do the exercises after school. We did not train them everyday and in a systematic way. We just trained them when we had time sitting with them, and we asked them to pick the subject they would like to take.

On 20th January this year, they were to the test again. When they came out of test, they told me they completed all the questions and they thought they are easy. My sixth sense was telling me they would succeed this time.

Today we got the decision from Brighton College that both of they have been admitted. We are so proud of them because we have not put much effort on it and they still find their way out.

My friend asked me if it is worthwhile to send kids to the private school while public schools are free in the UK. I said yes.


Hello world!

This is my second hello world blog. My first blog 芳草苑 turns out very successful. I have no intention to launch this second blog to overtake 芳草苑. I do not have enough time to manage both blogs very well. So why launch as a blog? The answer is very simple. People receive emails from me send via may try to visit this domain using http protocol, just for curiosity. So I am here to welcome them.