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…)

Review: Explode the Code Online

Age: 8 & 9

Thumper was a late reader.  She learned to read Chinese around 7.5 and English around 8.5.  I like to console myself by thinking that’s only late if you think in terms of US schools. If a child goes to school at age 7, learning to read either language between 7-9 sounds about right.

By the end of last school year, we’d hit a road block with All About Spelling.  Knowing her open and close syllables and how to segment a word definitely lead her to start reading Early Readers.  But once she hit the longer words in higher level books, she couldn’t pronounce it.

She needed more work with her phonics.  She was doing fine learning the digraphs and diphthongs in spelling, because each chapter in AAS focused on one sound, but she couldn’t use it when she read.  We learned when c should be /s/ sound and when it should be /k/, but she never remembered when she read.

It was time to try something else.

Since we were traveling in the fall, I decided to buy Explode the Code, online version, through Homeschool Buyer’s Club.  It’s only $35 a year for the subscription.  Explode the Code is published by the same company that sells Primary Phonics.  At $35, it’s a great deal compared with having to buy the actual books. (more…)