Monday, November 26, 2012

Update on my craze to teach the boys Chinese :)

I was browsing online and found a facebook-shop selling the set of 四五快读 SiKuKuaiDu books, price is slightly more expensive than what I got. But this site has more pictures to look at. :) 

This shop also have pretty interesting stuff, saw another 'learn Chinese' set, pretty interesting but more ex & comes with CD and stuff, which I don't think necessary.  But the books introduces words that is straight away put into a passage. Encourage reading with meaning. Interesting. :)

Controlling the shopaholic in me! I'm not buying anymore books to teach Chinese... gonna stick to 四五快读 and the 基初汉字 Basic Chinese 500 (By the way, I just bought the complete set of 25 readers from a Popular Book Fair last week at 30% off :) . 

Opps, I also have a full set of Odanato 红蜻蜓 (which is a compulsory reader from boy's preschool)
If I can follow through with these 3 sets, it's good enough! :)

Back to 四五快读 SiWuKuaiDu, I broke my record of reading 30 pages of parent's guide in very small Chinese wordings in 4 days! I actually waited a few days before I started the boys with the  四五快读 word cards. I was bit uncertain on how to start, don't want to start off on the wrong foot! 

I feel the books 四五快读 acts as a parent guide, which is great as it has helpful suggestions to assist in explaining the meanings of the word. So I just use the flash cards and do 3PL (Montessori style - three period lesson), play games, add in some crafty stuff with the strokes and get them to paste it in a scrap book. And I'm trying to revise each word at least 7 times (over the next few days) so it goes into memory. 

Pasting the strokes of the word
in order : 山 (mountain)
Starting is a challenge, as I was a little anxious about getting them to the activity and Trevor was not as willing to cooperate with me. Well, according to some suggestions that I read from the guide and other parent's who have used the books, key is to set a routine for learning & revising and apparently just before bed time is a good time. It goes straight to the brain for 'storage' in the memory when they sleep.

Acting it out, charades : 人 (man)
I've just started with 4 words, very slow. Even though Tristan know more words, I'm revising those basic words with him so that he has a better understanding them. I find the trick is to start slow, be consistent, and don't do anything too different, transition smoothly. If I speak to them fully in Mandarin, they wont understand and lose interest. So no choice, for a start I'll have to speak English and throw in some Chinese translation. Will slowly transition into speaking more in Mandarin. So far it has improved, boys are more happy to 'learn Chinese'. And they enjoyed the games! Trick is to stop before they get tired of the activity, so they will ask for it the next day :) Hopefully we'll pick up a bit of speed soon. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Hunting for Chinese program for my boys.

My hunt began when holiday was nearing. I imagined 2 restless boys at home with not much to do and I need some time to complete my reports of my teaching practice, I realised they need to be occupied with something! We live in JB, and in our part of the town, there's not many educational stuff for kids to enrol in. I searched online... nothing. I also drove to a nearby neighbourhood and went from school to school and checked out MRC programs. I specifically wanted Chinese only and maybe for a week or 2. But most of the programs are a month long and I can't ferry them up and down everyday for month, too taxing for me. I was disappointed...

I figured maybe they can do an online program in the comfort of our home. I searched and found these websites, some are free, others offer free trial.
I haven't really started any of this so I won't be able to review how good it is. You can check it out yourself, if you tried it let me know how it went.

Both my boys have been attending a Chinese tuition class in Tampoi, however the travelling is taking too much time and I think they need a 1-1 or 1-2 ratio to progress faster. Time is running out and Tristan is going to Primary next year. I want him to have a good foundation and feel more confident in speaking, reading and conversing in the language and not fear it. My criteria for the tuition is quite different from the usual type of class. I want them to develop a love for the language and especially being able to converse and express themselves in Chinese. Besides learning to read, write and speak, I dont mind them playing games in Chinese, learn rhymes, songs, maths and science in Chinese too. So I searched for a home tutor, I found one and Tristan just started his first class at home today, we are trying it out and we'll see how it goes. He seems alright with the teacher. :)

While searching online for a Chinese program, I accidentally stumbled upon this link from a mom from Singapore, sharing her experience teaching her kids Chinese. I realised that... tuition once a week is not sufficient as well. Learning language is an everyday thing. There's no other choice but to start teaching them myself. And after reading these mummy's blogs I gain a little confidence that maybe, maybe I can do it.

I got my "四五快读"!!! So happy!
One of the blogger mummy reccomended this set of books call "四五快读" and best way is to order from a China online shop. I tried but, it's all in Chinese and I can't find out how much the shipping cost! So I gave up and tried to see if anyone sells it locally. After much search through friends, book fairs, I found a few online shop that sells it!

I ended up buying from this website, it had the best deal:  S$40 for 8 books with Free shipping in Singapore. 

There are few more links that tells more about these books. One of which is that the first book contains a 'must' read 30 pages parents's guide. Especially those parents who wants to use the set of books sucessfully. It looks something like this ( see picture on the right) ! super small Chinese characters! I've never been good in Chinese and now it's very 'rusty'. If I get through these pages, it will be the most Chinese words I have read since I left Secondary school! But good news is that with the help of my dictionary app, and lots of han yu ping ying and english translation all over the pages, I am getting through it, passed the half way mark, yeah!

Here, this mummy further updated on the reviews of the book and introduced another 2 mummies who wrote some review on them as well.

This site is run by 2 dedicated mothers who are passionate about educating their own children. They wrote a great summary of the first 30 pages of parent's guide. (四五快读-chinese-word-recognition-program四五快读-chinese-literacy-programme

I'm excited to start teaching my boys with this book as soon as I finish reading the guide. The challenge is to be consistent and very discipline to teach them every day for 15 mins. Wish me luck! :)

Monday, November 05, 2012

I'm back on Blog!

The passed year has been really hectic with Montessori studies, MummyHugs work, Clover part time work, Kindermusik Classes to teach, Baha'i Children Classes to run, 2 boys to run after, house hunting, renovation, moving house, managing our new home...etc the list goes on! I'm just glad that I survived it all and still remain sane! :)

Beginning of this year, I've just been concentrating and finishing my Diploma studies and studying for Montessori examination. At the same time, I officially homeschool Trevor and another girl from my neighbourhood for a few months. It was delightful and I enjoyed teaching both of them in my Unity House Montessori homeschool, I was going to share my experience setting up my homeschool environment, planning the lessons and even took plenty of pics, I just haven't got down to doing it.  In June, I joined Clover again to do my teaching practice so I can meet the requirements to receive my full international certificate. So here I am, I've finished my hours and completing my report! Finally!

I hope to get a more 'substantial' qualification to become a teacher but I think a International Diploma in Montessori Method of Education is enough for now. I can't do anymore studies with kids and husband... I've neglected them a bit. Oh well, it can wait till later. :)

So, I've a sudden urge to blog about my search for a good Chinese holiday program for my boys. I was quite convinced that I will probably be the last person to teach them to speak and read Chinese. So read on the next blog about my discoveries! :)


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