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You're readingSurviving the PSLE (Part 2) – The Science Exam. by: Dominique Goh, originally posted on Dominique's Desk. If you have enjoyed this post, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or Facebook

Equipment from the Science Lab

Science is a subject that many students find it challenging. Even though it is a very interesting subject the concepts taught can be quite hard to comprehend. The key points and way to describe the object/ activity has to be on point or else marks will be easily lost in a test/ exam. Sometimes a lot of description and explanation is needed for a 1 or 2 marks answer.

How to best study Science then?

There are three main points that one needs to take note when one is doing a Science paper.

  • What is considered sufficient details given to answer the question fully.
  • Know which are the key words  that have to be mentioned in the answer that you give.
  • Know how to classify, identify and describe an item or a process.
Sample Question



a) Name the Process A (1 mark)

b) Explain how a physical factor in the environment has caused the difference in the decrease of mass of the dead leaves in the two places M and N. (2 marks)

c) Other then process A , evaporation could also cause the decrease in the mass of the dead leaves. Explain why ( 1 mark)

How would you answer the question?

a) Name the Process A (1 mark) – Decomposition

b) Explain how a physical factor in the environment has caused the difference in the decrease of mass of the dead leaves in the two places M and N. (2 marks)

Ans:- Place M may have contained more moisture than Place N causing the leaves to decompose faster , hence the difference of mass in both places.

Note for this answer you will need to Compare between both places.   It is not sufficient just to mention that Place M has moisture but Place N doesn’t have.

c) Other then process A , evaporation could also cause the decrease in the mass of the dead leaves. Explain why ( 1 mark )

Ans: The dead leaves contains water which contributes to the overall mass. The water in the leaves may have gained heat from the surroundings causing it to evaporate. With water evaporated there would be a decrease in the overall mass of the pile of dead leaves.

Note: Explain step by step in detail the how the process of evaporation affected the overall mass .

It is important to have a revision schedule drawn up to gauge if the child is able to cover all the topics tested from the Upper and Lower Block in Science. Here is a revision schedule that I came up for my students to ensure that are able to cover all topics before the Prelim in August

Science Revision Schedule What Revision Materials do you recommend?

I do use assessment books and past year papers with my students. I also recommend that they have at least one Science guide book as a reference guide. Here are some that I have used with my students.

How will you be preparing for the Science PSLE Exam?

Posts in the series
Introduction Post
-Surviving the PSLE (Part 1) – Streaming
Surviving the PSLE (Part 2) – The Science Exam

© 2008-2018 Dominique's Desk | All rights reserved - This feed is provided for the convenience of Dominique's Desk subscribers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited. If you are reading this content elsewhere, please contact admin@dominiquegoh.com to let us know. Thanks.

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You're readingSurviving the PSLE (Part 1) – Streaming by: Dominique Goh, originally posted on Dominique's Desk. If you have enjoyed this post, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or Facebook

In a Typical Classroom

Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE)- The 1st Major examinations that pupils face in Singapore. It is an examination that stresses both the parent and the child who is in Primary Six . Both have to prepare for this statewide examination that happens from Mid August to the end of September.

A T-score out of 300 is given after collating the marks obtained for the 4 subjects – English, Maths, Science and Mother Tongue and with this score one would be able to choose a secondary school to enter.

Available Streams in Secondary School

There are 4 different streams which can be chosen in Secondary School.

They are the following :

1) IP (Integrated Program)
– A six year program which one skips the GCE O-Levels and goes for the GCE A-Levels in Year 6.

2) Express  Stream
– A four year program where one sits for GCE O- Levels in Secondary 4.
If the school of choice is a SAP (Special Assistance Plan) school one will be taking Chinese as a 1st language instead of 2nd language and Higher Mother Tongue (HCL) is offered.

3) Normal Academic Stream
A five year program where one sits for GCE N -Levels in Secondary 4 and GCE O-Levels in Secondary 5. Subjects are taught at a slower pace as compared to the Express stream.

4) Normal Technical Stream
A five year program where the One will sit for GCE N- Levels in Secondary 4 and GCE O-Levels in Secondary 5. Subject focus on are more hands on approach like Design and Technology- Woodwork etc.

The marks that one achieve during PSLE determines whether one enters one of the following streams. As you can see from the table below, one’s T-score will determine the entry qualification for the available streams.

The Streams in Secondary School

Allocation of school is based on Merit and Choice. Therefore it is extremely important to choose schools for your six choices carefully once the results for the PSLE is out.

What grades does one need to get for
a Good T-score?

To achieve at least a T-score of more than 250 to enter the IP stream one would need to get at least 2 A* and 2 As to achieve a T-score which would qualify for most IP schools. Monkey boy obtained a T-score of 250 back in 2016 with an A* ,3 high As and a Merit for HCL. I chose for him to enter the O-Level stream instead of IP as I felt that it would be a better choice for him. (* I will elaborate on this choice of mine at the end of this post).

If one just achieve 4 straight As it wouldn’t be enough as your child’s T-score would only be in the range of 230-240. This score would enable your child to get into the Express stream in most neighbourhood school however if you want your child to attend a single sex mission school he may fall short of the Cut Off Point (COP).

What If I am unable to enter the stream of my choice?

There are opportunities to transfer laterally from one stream to another or take certain subjects at a higher level if you meet the required marks. The school will advise accordingly based on your child’s achievements. It is still possible to transfer from Normal Academic to Express stream at the end of Secondary One if the child did very well for his first year in the school.

However do note that if the child doesn’t perform well in the express stream even though he managed to qualify for it based on his PSLE result he may be persuaded to change to the Normal Academic Stream. I have had friends whose kids had to move from IP stream to the O-Level stream at the end of Secondary 2 as the child had been failing many subjects throughout Secondary 1 and 2 in the IP stream. If the IP school doesn’t have any classes offering the O-level stream it would mean that the child would have to transfer out of the school into another where there is vacancy in the O-Level stream.

My experience on PSLE in 2018

In such an examination like PSLE every single mark  counts!! The cut of point (COP) for the different streams offered by each school differs and the marks stated in the Secondary School Admission Catalog that is handed out to the student just before the PSLE exam is NOT a clear indication of how the actual COP would be for your child’s cohort.

Last year many parents felt they were “played out” when their child failed to enter the school of the choice when the actual COP of the school shifted a between a few to up to 10 points upwards instead of the assumed downwards. There were parents who assumed that their child had a chance to enter the school of their choice by choosing to put schools with 2-3 points higher COP as their 1st -3rd choices. They were utterly shocked when their child received none of the 6 choices and was sent to a neighbourhood school out of their selection which had vacancies instead.

Table A – Comparison for a selection of Schools based on the Express COP for 2017-2018 Table B- Comparison for a Selection of Schools based on the Express COP for 2017-2018

I always advice parents that it is a safer bet to choose schools where their child’s point are not as the minimum COP but somewhere in between. Eg: If you child scores 235 points a safe bet would be to select a school where the COP is between 220-240. This will guarantee a higher chance for the child to get into the school of their first choice. As you can see from the tables above the COP each year can change as much a 5-10 points.

Which Stream is best for my child?

There are many things to consider when one chooses a stream. Besides the obvious being the T-score obtained in the PSLE here are some other factors which you would need to consider.

The rigor of the timetable
It is known that students in the IP stream have longer study hours then their counterparts in the O-Level stream. They have more varied CCAs and subjects to learn therefore it could be a norm for your child to come back daily at 6-7pm and have to stay up to 10-11pm to finish their homework during school days. Will your child be able to handle such long hours of study?

Being motivated and able to study independently.
Being a boy I was very skeptical if Monkey boy would be able to study independently and with minimal supervision. I was also afraid that he will be without any back up qualification if he unfortunately fails the A-Level in Year 6. With by passing the O-Level with the through train IP program the only paper qualification he would have would be the PSLE certificate which is “useless” in helping him move on in his academic progression.

I felt that it would be too risky for Monkey boy not to take the O-Level exam and if he insisted on going for the IP program. I told him that he could go for IP provided he takes the O-Levels as a private candidate on top of studying for the IP program as a back up qualification. After weighing out the pros and cons to him Monkey Boy decided just to go for the O-Level track instead and not stress himself over studying. Doing the O-Level track he has the option to go to a polytechnic instead of a Junior Collage after the O-Levels if he so chooses so in time to come.

Monkey Boy has been doing really well in the O-level track and still constantly gets As and Bs for all subjects. He still gets the Edusave Certificate of Academic Achievement yearly by remaining in the top 25% of the school. He is currently doing Triple Science ( Pure Chemistry, Pure Physics and Computer Science) and double maths ( A Maths and Mathematics) in Secondary 3.

In the next post I will be touching on how to prepare for the various subjects for PSLE.

Posts in the series
Introduction Post
-Surviving the PSLE (Part 1) – Streaming

© 2008-2018 Dominique's Desk | All rights reserved - This feed is provided for the convenience of Dominique's Desk subscribers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited. If you are reading this content elsewhere, please contact admin@dominiquegoh.com to let us know. Thanks.

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You're readingThe Transition from Primary to Secondary by: Dominique Goh, originally posted on Dominique's Desk. If you have enjoyed this post, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or Facebook

From Primary to Secondary

2019 marks a new milestone in Doggie Boy’s life. It marks the start of his Secondary school life. It is a totally new environment for him being in a new school , making new friends and handling 10 subjects instead of 4.

Having experienced this transition the 2nd time around as a parent there are things that I am more aware now as I guide my child through the transition from Primary school to Secondary school.

Here in this new series I will be touching on the following areas
– Surviving the PSLE ( Academic Preparations)
– Secondary School Selection
– Electronic Usage (Permissions and Supervision)
– Emotional Guidance
– Parental Dilemmas ( Restrictions/ Age appropriate permissions)
– Holistic Development

If you have any other areas which you would like me to cover do feel free to mention in the comments below.

How did you help your child transit from
Primary to Secondary School?

© 2008-2018 Dominique's Desk | All rights reserved - This feed is provided for the convenience of Dominique's Desk subscribers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited. If you are reading this content elsewhere, please contact admin@dominiquegoh.com to let us know. Thanks.

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You're readingOne Word 2019- Discovery by: Dominique Goh, originally posted on Dominique's Desk. If you have enjoyed this post, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or Facebook

My One Word for 2019

It has been quite a while since I last had a word focus for the year. The last time I focused on a word was in 2016 where I placed my emphasis on Wisdom 2019 marks the beginning of a journey of discovery for me. I am ready to know more about myself and stretch myself even further to achieve more with his Grace.

Now that I am 40 my perceptiveness have been heightened. I’m extremely aware what is and isn’t beneficial for my growth and well- being. I will be focusing more on my passions and developing them fully. No more half-hearted attempts or procrastination to prevent me from achieving what I set out to do. With the kids are older with two in Secondary and One in elementary they are not as needy as before. I have more time to draft and execute my plans on a well balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Broken free from the toxic shackles which had once bonded me, I am free to explore areas which were once foreign for me. I no longer seek validation from those who do not have my best interest at heart. I do not need to put up with monsters who were actively trying to box me with their arrogance and demeaning attitude. They do not define me nor their behavior have anything to do with me anymore. I have released the dead weight from their unwarranted false accusations and unrealistic standards and am no long pinned under it.

I live by the WORD of GOD and am following what GOD has planned for me. I seek out the RHEMA paired with LOGOS to have a complete understanding on how and what he wants me to do here on earth- Thrive.

Bring on the Journey of Discovery.

© 2008-2018 Dominique's Desk | All rights reserved - This feed is provided for the convenience of Dominique's Desk subscribers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited. If you are reading this content elsewhere, please contact admin@dominiquegoh.com to let us know. Thanks.

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You're readingNote taking with Ease on a Rocketbook Everlast Reusable Notebook by: Dominique Goh, originally posted on Dominique's Desk. If you have enjoyed this post, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or Facebook

Using a notebook to journal

If you are you would be like me and have tons of note books of different sizes to record different notes on.  Being an avid writer I have notebooks to record different things. I record milestones for each kids,  ideas that I have, topics that I am researching on and recipes which I am interested to try out on a later date. Notebooks would pile up in my cupboard after use. Filled with memories/notes they are too precious to discard and I’m fast running out of storage space for them. There has to be a better option to getting new physical note books.

The Contents of the Rocketbook Everlast Package

The kind people  from Rocketbook  notice this storage issue that I had and they sent down a set of their  Everlast Rocketbook via DHL for me to try out. Now  I don’t need to worry about not having space in the cupboard to store yet another notebook. Yeah me!!

The package came with the following items

  1. The Everlast Notebook where one can write 30+ pages of notes.
  2. A  microfibre  cloth which one only has to wet and the notes that you have written can be effortlessly wiped off and the page reused.  (Do note to ensure that the page  is completely dry before writing on it or – else you may damage the surface in the long run)
  3. A Pilot FriXion pen for use with the notebook.

Writing with the Pilot FriXion pen

The  Everlast Rocketbook allows you to have access to your notes online by having your notes stored directly to your choice cloud storage device via the Rockbook App . You can also pre-set which folders to drop off different which set of notes by choosing the icons at the bottom of each page before you scan in the page using the App which can be downloaded from Google Play/ Apple App Store.

The Rocketbook App

Road Testing the  Everlast 

Initially I gave  the  Everlast to Monkey Boy to test out. I thought that it would be most appropriate for him to try out since he is studying 10 subjects in Secondary school and there is need to take lots of notes on a daily basis.  He had fun road testing it at home and  gave me his opinion on it.

In his words he mentioned that it was a nifty tool for writing notes and there is no hassle in re-organising what was written however it would be a useless item in school. It would be impossible to do any scanning via the app as they are banned from using mobile devices in class during curriculum time. He also found having to manually scan each page quite cumbersome.  He suggested that the developers of the notebook look into how to upgrade it  into a  self scanning device where one only needs to  press a button on the page for the content to be automatically upload to the cloud storage.  That would certainly be a nifty function if it existed.

The scanned note I wrote

I did my own testing of the Everlast and enjoyed how easy it was to convert the notes written into PDF and stored virtually.  One just need to ensure that there is ample storage in the cloud to store all the digital notes and a good  WI-FI connection to upload the scanned pictures.

The Rocketbook Everlast retails for USD $34 and you can more information on it from their website.

Disclaimer: I was sent the RocketBook Everlast Notebook for review. All opinions are 100% mine.

© 2008-2018 Dominique's Desk | All rights reserved - This feed is provided for the convenience of Dominique's Desk subscribers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited. If you are reading this content elsewhere, please contact admin@dominiquegoh.com to let us know. Thanks.

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You're readingLearning Maths with Smartick by: Dominique Goh, originally posted on Dominique's Desk. If you have enjoyed this post, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or Facebook

Smartick Login Page

If you are looking for a Maths online program for extra practice here is one that you can consider. Smartick is an online maths helper which you can consider if you are looking for a Maths program for you kids to try out. Targeted at kids between 4-14 yr old this program aims at regular/ daily 15 min sessions for kids to keep the kids occupied and practicing Maths.

The Parental Dashboard

We were given a 3 month trial of the online program for Monkey boy, Doggie boy and Tiger girl to try out. I made 3 student accounts for them and set them to go test out the programs.  Tiger girl was the most enthusiastic student out of the 3 as her brothers soon dropped off doing the Maths sessions as they were too caught up by their own school homework.

The Starting Video

Each session starts with an introductory  video which gives the learner an idea of the topic that they would be covering for the 15 min session that day. Most of the time the kids just click off the video and go straight to the exercise as they comment that it is rather boring and long winded. They rather go “hand- on” than listen to a “How-to-solve” video.

A maths question

The learner has to go through a series of questions to get ticks which fill up as they go along. When they bar is full they have completed all their maths question for the day and they can now go on to virtual world to play some simple games.

The back end results

As you can see above in the parental dashboard Tiger girl’s result for a session is shown. The number of exercises that she has done in the different areas are also stated together with the time taken to solve each question.

Areas of maths that were covered by Tiger girl

The percentage of each  topics that  was covered was stated in the graph above. With one glance I can see clearly her progress through the various topics.

My thoughts

Having reviewed a few different Maths online programme I was interested to know how different Smartick was as compared to those out there. Here is my take on it.

Pros

  • Daily emails reminders if the child did not complete his session of the day.
  • Email to notify that the child had completed his/her session and the results of that particular session
  • Very responsive customer service who check in with you to see if they can give you a better trial experience.
  • Awards / Diplomas are given to the child when they completed certain topics.
  • Bite size 15 min session are good for kids who have short attention spans

CONS

  • Not being able to adjust the topics being practice on a daily basis  and  following the local school curriculum for the level.  Some of the topics that the kids were given were not taught in the schools nor do they find them interesting.
  • The games inside the program were considered ” lame” by the boys and too childish as they seem to be catering for kids under 8. The characters/avatars  too were not interactive like most games that they have played before.
  • There is no allowance to do more of a particular type of question on a certain topic when the child repeatedly gets the similar questions on that topic wrong.
  • There is no differentiated difficulty level in questions which will cater for children of various activities.
  • It not suitable as a teaching tool to reinforce concepts that were prior taught in school or introducing new Maths concepts to the child.

In all Smartick does make a good supplementary Maths program if you just want your child to practice Maths daily with minimal supervision.

Disclaimer:  I was given a 3 month subscription to Smartick for my kids to test it out. All opinion are 100% ours.

© 2008-2018 Dominique's Desk | All rights reserved - This feed is provided for the convenience of Dominique's Desk subscribers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited. If you are reading this content elsewhere, please contact admin@dominiquegoh.com to let us know. Thanks.

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You're readingThe Salesman Who Doesn’t Sell by: Dominique Goh, originally posted on Dominique's Desk. If you have enjoyed this post, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or Facebook

The Salesman Who Doesn’t Sell

The Salesman Who Doesn’t Sell – A Marketing Guide to Making Money While You Sleep by Brian J Greenberg is a book which I recently picked up to read. With the escalating cost of living  I have always been looking out for ways to make more money to support the kids and myself. I have been very hesitant about doing sales  as I’m not very outgoing however  since I’ve started embracing challenges this is something that I haven’t phased out giving a try.

In the 4 sections of the book Brian shows how one can do the following.

  • Influence without selling
  • How to get found
  • Practice what you preach
  • How to keep growing

One will need to do some investment first in branding yourself before you are able to start attracting the right customers/clients. There maybe upfront cost developing a professional looking website , getting a suitable office address and telephone system to project a professional image.

Social proof is extremely important for marketers and even so when everything is online nowadays.  With it well established it will be easier to get others to jump on the bandwagon and gain more business. One will need to “dress up” their website with seals of guarantees, testimonials, clients profiles and other types of endorsements to improve on the website’s Klout.

Product and service reviews help to build up the reputation of your brand. Seals and Guarantees also help to boost your credibility online.  Showing statistics and your portfolio online also helps to get more people aware of your capabilities and services that you offer.

It is all about getting leverage on the different platforms available online and offline. To be clearly VISIBLE  by using other ranked platforms to direct traffic to your side. Getting Keywords pointing to your site ranked and having it being reflected on the 1st page of GOOGLE search.

Having a good clean image also helps to boost your reputation online.  Good customer service and being customer focused is recommended by the author.

My thoughts 

Reliability on  reviews  to promote one’s product or service can be questionable. Many websites put up testimonials to increase their credibility however I personally am skeptical on the authenticity of such writings. With the advancement of the internet and also rise of many online markets/ stores. It is increasingly difficult to make one’s presence known in the global marketplace. It is increasingly difficult to create a niche for oneself. The rules of engagement are constantly changing and visibility is slipping through the cracks.  Even though the author does give some good suggestions most of the techniques recommended are not that effective in the current climate given the constantly changing algorithms with the different modes of marketing. Nevertheless it does make a good start for one who is interested in creating a presence online.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are 100%  mine

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You're readingMid Year Reflections 2018 by: Dominique Goh, originally posted on Dominique's Desk. If you have enjoyed this post, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or Facebook

Do your best and GOD will do the rest

The exams are over and the kids are now having their month long holidays. It had been madness for me personally as I had a mammoth assignment to completed . It has been finally  submitted and I cleared that module. Yeah!! I have another 2 elective modules left and can’t wait to complete the course so that I can start on the new one that I have scheduled.

All the kids  have their results back and  there is certainly room for improvement and many components to work on as highlighted by the various teachers during the PTM. This year as usual it is me going for the sessions alone. It doesn’t bug me that much now that I’ve stop putting expectations on a  non-existent father of the kids. It was his choice to not participate in the upbringing of the kids and therefore we have cease pinning any hope on one who will only guarantee you a heartache and broken promise. It is an utter waste of effort to associate with deadwood who will only inflict back all the various forms of domestic abuse – financial, emotional and mental on the kids.  No doubt my parenting journey would be easier if there was a willing and participate partner but there has been no regrets for me moving on from a destructive person to save myself and the kids.

For the past six months it has been extremely quiet here on the blog as compared to how it was last year. With Doggie boy in Primary six this year I have to put in more effort in monitoring his work and coaching him. I’ve only have 3 months left to prepare him for the PSLE and it will be full steam ahead now that the June holidays are here. I really hope to be able to improve his competency in all 4 subjects so that he be able to get better grades. Will work extremely close with him in his revision.

Tiger girl is more independent this year being in Primary two. She is able to travel independently  by public transport and settle her own meals. She has been doing excellent work in school and getting along well with her peers.

Monkey boy has also matured now that he is in Secondary 2. He is more able to schedule his own time to focus on his studies and has managed to pull up his grades for most subjects. However he has yet to perform up to his true potential and I really feel that he can still be stretched further. Being a teenager he has been going through both physical and emotional changes which has let him to be quite rebellious.

The truth!!

What occurred during the past six months only reconfirmed my believe in the above proclamation.  It is not easy to be a parent and a GOOD one to boost. There is the need for a lot of dedication and self- discipline to put the child’s needs above your own personal pleasure and selfish wants.  No doubt it is important to exercise  self care but if it is at the determent of your child one better start to reflect of their said actions.

It is a real pity that more and more people are unwilling to commit fully to the upbringing of a child. As a result the poor child suffers from bad/ absent parenting as the ” so called parent” is too busy chasing after the latest fads, brands,  focusing on satisfying their needs for vanity, material positions or lust. Indulging in sexual immorality and various other unwanted social ills and addictions just for some instant satisfaction which only will cause massive tears within the fabrics of the parent-child relationship.

As a result of their  continual insanity and disillusion thinking  they rip apart the trust that the child/children used to have for them and remove any shred of possibility of having a normal parent/ grandparent-child relationship. I find this extremely very unfair to the child who SHOULD be given a proper relationship with the whole family.

My personal opinion  is if one is so unwilling to be a proper parent/ grandparent he should be totally removed from the child’s life as not to give the innocent bad example and tramatize the kids further with his deliberate choice not to carry out his parental duties. The most appropriate action he should do would be to provide financially for the kids especially if he is more than capable to.  Unfortunately such abusers do not even want the kids to live a decent life by providing adequate monthly maintenance so that the children can enjoy their childhood.

Opting to be out of the picture these utterly wicked individuals  and their flying monkeys have no right to claim any support from the kids once they enter their twilight years and become frail and helpless. There will be no opportunity for any guilt tripping and gas-lighting to occur with my kids as they have already seen through their true colors and will not be hoodwinked anymore by the vampire  and witch clans.  No doubt I would like them to have proper/ real relationships and also a “complete” family (as based on society’s standards) it is not something which is a must for now.

My Definition of a “complete” family is one where all individuals who choose to be part of the family love and trust each other  and will do their best to keep each other grounded. There is unity  with GOD as our central pillar of strength. Having spending more time doing various bible studies this year my understanding of the WORD has certainly deepened and it has been with his grace that we were able to tie through all the turbulence which we had this 2018.

Challenges have been a plenty however I take it all in my stride as I march forward putting my best foot first. With GOD as my protector and guide I am sure I’ll be able to survive all obstacles that I will/may face.

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