Video: 甜心格格 Sweetheart Princess

Ages: 6.5 & 9.5
Suitable for: 6 and up

Reading 西遊記 to the kids this semester is our foray into more advanced Chinese, including vocabulary used in court.  Chinese is kind of like Japanese and Korean.  There is a more formal and polite way of speaking, with specific vocabulary used to denote relationship hierarchy.  But thankfully, unlike those two languages, there are no verb tense changes.    I’m hoping that knowing these terms will help with reading more advanced Chinese literature.

Since a very good way to introduce new vocabulary is through listening, namely audiobooks or TV, first, off I went to finally look into 甜心格格, translated as Sweetheart Princess (though the official images I’ve seen says Ori-Princess, which makes no sense).  We first watched the anime series when we were in Taiwan 3 years ago on Momo TV and the kids really liked it.   But I hadn’t been able to find a Taiwan dubbed version.

This time around, I gave up on the Taiwanese version and just used the Mainland version available on Youtube.  The series is from China anyway.  I knew some of the pronunciation and terms used in China are different from Taiwan, so I’d wanted to keep the exposure consistent.  But at this point, with the kids Chinese fairly good enough, it doesn’t matter.

The series is set in the Qing dynasty and about a princess who was raised amongst the commoners and “rediscovered” by her father the emperor.  He brings her back home and attempts to convert her to a princess and the antics that ensue.  Sophia the First she’s not.  Don’t let the title Princess turn you off.  It’s more just about her adventures with the background set in the imperial palace.

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Audiobook Review: Mr. Men and Little Miss 奇先生妙小姐

Age: 6.5 & 9.5
Grade Level: 4+ (listening), lower elementary (reading)

This semester, I’ve introduced a new routine.  The children can listen to an audiobook while they fold their laundry during work hours.  I offered Astroboy Mr. Men and Little Miss 奇先生妙小姐 one day and finally, there is something that is at Astroboy‘s comprehension level and actually engaging.

Astroboy has been listening to the series for the last month.  Mr. Men and Little Miss is just like Thomas the Train.  After a few repeats, the kids can tell me exactly what each Mr. Men and Little Miss’ story is about, and knows to request a specific one that they find especially funny.  Then, when they’re not listening, they will discuss the stories and laugh their heads off.  Even better, because Fleur and Mandarin Mama‘s kids are also listening to the series, sometimes they would discuss the stories on the playground.

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Homeschool Summary February 2017

We did bare minimal homeschooling while in Taiwan and getting over jet lag took me all of January.  Early February, my ceiling leaked, which resulted in the removal of a bookcase.  As a result, I needed to reshuffle all my books, which lead to a general purging and organization of the living room/homeschool area.

Finally.  I had a homeschooling area again.  Who knows how long it would have taken me if the ceiling hadn’t leaked.  February was the first month we’ve tried to stick to a 3 hour work period in a long time.

Here’s what the children did this month. (more…)

A Day in the Life of a Bilingual Homeschooler

Age: 6 & 9

My February monthly summary is sitting in draft, because we’re finally back on track homeschooling-wise and I had so many things to document.  Since who knows when they’ll get published, I wanted to do a short post so I can at least document my happiness that things are going (mostly) well.  It’s taken me 3 years, but I finally figured out what daily routine works for me.

I would fill this with pics, except I only remembered to take one.

Our homeschool day is supposed to be 9am-12pm for Astroboy and 9am-2pm for Thumper. On this day, the children started their work day at around 9:40 after getting up between 7:30-8am.  We worked till 3pm, accounting for random breaks, chores, snacks and outside lessons.  I tend to go with their flow when it comes to meals and rest.  Usually they need a break after about 1-1.5 hours of work.  They always get cranky or start not paying attention (as in I have to say something 2-3 times).

7:30am I wake up before Astroboy for once and quickly pop some Trader Joe’s berry scones in the oven.

8:00am The kids get up.  I’m busy cutting flashcards and reading email and try to ignore them while they get ready for the day and eat breakfast.

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Mandarin Reading Club

About a month ago, I finally started that book club I’d been wanting to start for over a year.  This is our fifth week and I think I kind of have the format down now.

There are 4 kids in our club, ranging from 5 to 9.  Because of the range of children, my goal wasn’t to have a the children read one book at home and then discuss and analyze in the club, but rather just to foster reading and have the children discuss books with each other.  The idea came to me when I saw how happy Thumper was, discussing, drawing, and giggling with Bebe about Harry Potter.  I realized then just how powerful it is having peers to learn Chinese with.

Here’s what our most recent reading club meeting looked like (more…)