Monday, November 3, 2014

Learning Chinese

Now that we are homeschooling, I've been trying to teach Mandarin Chinese to Monkey.  I grew up speaking Chinese at home, went to Chinese school for 10 years, and placed out of the foreign language requirement in college because I spoke fluently enough, but rarely use it now, as my husband doesn't speak it.  I've always wanted my kids to learn to speak Chinese, but aside from Monkey's first year of life, I was unsuccessful in using enough Chinese for them to absorb. We've never done Chinese school because of the time commitment required (2-3 hours every Sat or Sun, plus homework). Fortunately, over the past 2 years, the kids at least have had Mandarin Chinese taught for a couple semesters at the public school.  Periodically, I would teach them phrases at home, but usually my efforts would dwindle after a few days.

With Monkey at home now, I figured this would be a great chance for him to really learn Chinese. I don't have a curriculum we're using yet, but my plan is to include 10-15 a day of speaking Chinese, with short lessons, introducing a word or 2 per week, and otherwise, just speaking so he gets a feel for it. (I'm really regretting not speaking Chinese around the house when the kids were younger.) We covered numbers (and I used that to drill his math addition/subtraction/mult/div facts), greetings, age, colors, pronouns, possession, and a variety of verbs such as is/are, go, want, have, eat, take, give, etc. He can put together some basic sentences and answer questions. We have not started learning reading/writing yet. I've had him watch some Chinese cartoons and language lessons on YouTube, but they really haven't been too effective yet, but perhaps I haven't been very consistent with them either. I am going to start using iPad apps for learning new words.

If anyone has any ideas for workbooks, learning packages, videos, iPad apps, etc., please let me know! I don't want to spend a lot of money on this at this point, but I'm open to suggestions.