Where to Buy Books in Taiwan

This is part of my series on Building Your Chinese Library.  Check out my previous, related post on All About Buying Books in Taiwan.

It’s T-6 and seriously, NO MORE Book Buying.  Right now, it’s looking like my books may barely fit into my allowed luggage.

This means I can finally come out of blog rest and detail all the bookstores I visited, both physically and virtually.  Obviously I didn’t visit all the bookstores in Taipei.   But we did go back to the used ones multiple times.  After awhile, patterns emerged and there was no reason to go discover more stores during our trip.

You  may also want to check out the first general overview post I wrote about buying books in Taiwan a year ago.  This post just goes into more details about the individual bookstores.

This post is by no end an exhaustive list of all the bookstores in Taiwan, nor a list of the cheapest bookstores.  You can always be looking for that cheaper bookstore.  As I mentioned in my overview post, a super good deal is 65% of list price.  The cheapest option is easy to find online if you can pay by Cash/ATM Transfer, then carry the books back yourself.  This option is only available for people with relatives in Taiwan or people who go back often.  For me, I try to find stores that accept US credit cards and is wiling to ship to me in the US.

Since it’s the end of the year and my Dramabeans kdrama year-end reviews are fresh on my mind, I’m going to do something similar, give each bookstore a little verdict.

Note:  In Taiwan, prices are talked about as a % of list price, rather than % off.  So 70% list is really 30% off.

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Starting Montessori Multiplication

Age: 6

Skills: Multiplication memorization and 2 digit multiplication operation.

“Mama!  4 plus 4 plus 4 is 12!”

Astroboy told me of this discovery a few days ago.   I love watching Astroboy discover his math.  You can totally see how math progression, curriculum-wise, needs to go.

With Astroboy, there really isn’t forcing a child to learn math, he thinks about math a lot outside of homeschool time.  He likes to read random numbers he sees. he wants to know how many more stops till we reach our destination.  He likes to know what day of the week and count how many days until xx happens.

In any case, hearing his declaration told me that he was ready for multiplication, because multiplication is basically addition, simplified.  (He’s very proud and happy to tell his friend this discovery whenever he can.)  I’m guessing because he has recently (mostly) mastered addition memorization, he is now moving to multiplication when he’s thinking about numbers.

For our trip, I brought along both Bead Decanomial and Checkerboard Beads, in large ziplock bags.  The only difference between them is the lack of 10-beads.  I whipped those out today to review skip counting, which is a precursor to multiplication.

Last year, we did skip counting a few times.   This year, he knows how to skip count his 2s and some 3s, and knows more math.  So with the bead materials, I laid them out much like the squaring chains and asked him to count and record into his notebook.

I love my concrete math materials for this reason.  With the same material, I can change the difficultly level by adding more and more writing.  My math trainer stressed that it’s not that important to write in the beginning when working with math materials.  The important part is manipulating said material.

But, like I said, with Astroboy, I can always see how to use the math curriculum.  Last year, he wasn’t interested in writing.  This year, he can write a bit more so we added writing to the curriculum.

Since he didn’t really want to manually count the material, I went ahead and printed out a bunch of skip counting worksheets at 7-eleven.  Tonight, he didn’t want to go to sleep, but instead went through all 12 skip counting stamping game twice.

He was not as enamored with the Montessori skip counting worksheet, which is there for children to discover common multiples.

What he likes the most are the two Montessori multiplication apps we’re using right now: Reflex Math and Edoki’s Multiplication math game.  With Reflex Math, he’s mastering multiplication memorization.  I ask him to read what he sees in Chinese to help him start memorizing the table the Chinese way.

Edoki’s multiplication math has both a memorization game and an operations game.  The operations game has the child move stamps as many times as you’re multiplying, to really drive home the concept that multiplication is just adding.  There is also a memorization game that is a duplicate of the primary multiplication bead board.

Because we’re not homeschooling very seriously right now, we’re using these apps the most.  I’m hoping eventually we can whip out the concrete materials again.  I can see it with the way Thumper is approaching her higher level math.  Having those concrete materials makes it easier for her to visualize the harder, more abstract concepts easily.   I don’t want Astroboy to miss this step.

 

GYA16: Taking a Break

Things have quieted down here the last week or two because all the classes we signed up for started.   Last week, we had 4 art class, 2 writing class, 1 homeschool group outing, and 1 science class.

Other than Monday, which is our quietest day because we have to stay home for our milk deliveries and can’t schedule classes, we had something going on every day.

On top of that, by Friday morning I woke up with a severe back ache.  I have herniated discs and once in awhile it flairs up to the point where every step is painful.  By the middle of the day I knew this was one of those times and made an appointment to see the PT.

Three years ago it cost $500 each time to see a PT without insurance.   This time it costs $1000.  Sigh.

On top of PT, I basically stayed in bed most of Friday and Saturday.  Fleur was very nice and took the kids out most of Saturday and cooked.   Thank goodness we had art class already scheduled and that just takes up half a day.

In any case, here are other random life slice of life stuff…

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Art Lessons at Soho Art

Two years ago, thanks to Eclectic Mama, I attended a demo class at Soho Art in the US.  During the demo class, the parents had to sit through a lecture on how they teach art.  I fell in love when they mentioned that the children are only provided with 5 colors to work with: red, blue, yellow, black, and white.

Unfortunately, the class is an 1-2 hours drive away and at 5pm.  Plus the cost was very high for 1.5 hours.  So I vowed when I get back to Taiwan I’d sign the kids up for the class.  (They started in Taiwan and now have classes in China and the US.)

Taking the Class

In our branch in Taiwan, you have to take 16 introductory classes, where for 8 of them (啟蒙) parents need to sit through a video presentation on how Soho Art teaches art.  After the class, the teacher will also call all the parents in to tell them what the children did this week.  Part of the goal is for the parents to know how to talk to their children about the art they’re doing.

Classes are taught at 5 or 7pm Mon-Fri, and Saturday all day.  However, they may be willing to start a class for you at an earlier time if you get a minimum of 5 kids.

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Getting Started with Montessori Fractions

Age: 6
Presentations: Putting Fractiosn in order from 1 to tenth, Matching Fractions From Whole to a Tenth

Note: Here are my other posts on our Fraction presentations.

Traditionally, Montessori fractions start in first grade.  Now that Astroboy is officially in elementary, it is time to visit the subject.

I showed Astroboy a bit of it along side Thumper our first year homeschooling.  I spent a lot of time making materials and we zoomed through nomenclature,  The AMI style albums were a bit thin on follow up and the children weren’t too interested in making booklets.  Following the presentations, I tried having Thumper look for equivalence, she disliked the repetitive work.

Because of all this, we kind of gave up on fractions altogether our second year.  This year, with Thumper starting state testing, it is time to go back and cover all the subjects we were supposed to be teaching but never get around to.

In my Montessori albums, you start Fractions with nomenclature.  In Montessori primary, this is done with the skittles.  Astroboy did this once or twice.  He wasn’t too interested.  In elementary, you start with the fraction insets, which I did not bring to Taiwan.

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Homeschool Summary Oct ’16

Been awhile since I’ve posted a summary of what we’ve been up to homeschooling wise.  After a month of minimal homeschooling in Japan and Korea, and a summer of play, we’ve been making some progress so it’s time to document.

Rather than detailed listing of what we’re doing, this time around I’m going to try and summarize.

Thumper

After a summer of working on her English, we jumped from Guided Reading level K to about M/N.  I don’t know why I continue to be surprised that when you have the comprehension you don’t have to worry about learning to read late.  Because I keep worrying!

We’ve been working with Explode the Code to get the basics of phonics down more.  Right now, she can slough through The Odyssey by Mary Osbourne, which is about Level S.  I’m breathing a sigh of relief that she’s now close to 3rd grade English reading level and almost caught up.

In Chinese, she started with zhuyin version of Harry Potter, then went ahead and just read the other two without zhuyin.  I’ve having her wait a year till she reads Harry Potter #4, as content-wise she’s not mature enough for it.   This is the biggest thing occupying her life right now.  Everything is about Harry Potter.  She dreams about it, she does her Chinese sentence composition about Harry Potter, her first country in our flag study is England.

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Month 1 Chinese Immersion in Taipei

This Friday will mark the 6th week we’ve been in Taipei.

By about the 4th week I was starting to worry about the children’s Chinese.  They were, especially Thumper, still speaking Chinglish.  When we visited my cousin a few weeks ago and she was chatting with my aunt, she was slipping in English left and right.  Frankly, I was surprised by the sheer amount of words she seemed to have forgotten in Chinese.

In contrast with our last visit, we have not been watching a lot of cartoons.  The cartoon landscape has changed in the last three years.  Many of the higher quality show shown on Momo TV is no longer available.  The kids end up watching tons of Disney, which is not my favorite channel, and often the songs are in English.  I don’t allow them to watch 蠟筆小新 or similar cartoons, so there really aren’t a lot of choices.

Basically we stopped watching TV for a few weeks.

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Book Review: My First Larousse History 我的世界史小百科

One of the things I’ve been looking for during our trip back to Taiwan are non-fiction books.  We’ve been finding our non-fiction books lacking whenever we do any history or science studies.  The picture books seem way too easy, but the other non-fiction books I bought too hard for Astroboy.

I finally happened upon the Larousse set of encyclopedia at Mollie.  This is a set of 6 encyclopedias, translated from French.  Sadly there are no English versions.  They are:history

  • 我的世界史小百科 My First Larousse World History
  • 我的地理小百科 My First Larousse Geography
  • 我的生活小百科 My First Larousse Encyclopedia
  • 我的科學小百科 My First Larousse Science
  • 我的台灣小百科 My First Taiwan Encyclopedia
  • 我的動物小百科 My first Larousse Animals

The Taiwan Encyclopedia was actually written by 小天下 Publishing, not Larousse.   So far I’ve only used the History one.  I’m not sure if all 6 books are all written in the sequential format I need for homeschooling.  But the animal and geography ones looked promising when I flipped through them.

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GYA16: Hiking Up Elephant Mountain 象山步道

Itinerary: Elephant Mountain 象山, Coco Curry, Ice Monster, Shin Kong Mitsubishi

The weather is turning warmer once again after a few days of rain last week.  It was so sunny this morning when I went out to buy some hash browns for my weekly pancake breakfast, I decided we ought to go hiking!  I’d been wanting to go to 象山 for 3 years ever since I saw my cousin’s post about hiking up there to get a free view of Taipei and Taipei 101.

We took MRT to the end of red line and followed the directions to 象山.  Thankfully, we chose the 20 minute hike instead of 40 minute one.  Because, wow, it’s basically a series of steep stairs!

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GYA16: Making Tofu at Yilan

Itinerary: Goat Farm 宜農牧羊場, Making Tofu Pudding and Tofu at 羅東農會

The weather has turned rainy and cold (60s!) again and after a weekend of activities, I took it easy Monday and Tuesday.  On Monday I took a friend, Rain, who is visiting from the US to a bookstore.  By now, I think it’s a bad idea to go book shopping with me.  People always leave with tons of books.  Though thank goodness Rain already knew the books she wanted so it wasn’t all me suggesting books.

We stayed home all day Tuesday.  I had some trouble buying the Puyuma train tickets and learned that you can’t buy more than 5 tickets at a time via the train app.  And also that even if it says it’s out of tickets, they actually release more the day of.

Wednesday morning, we rushed out the door at 8:15am to make it to the train station on time because we had to buy 7 tickets in person.  Thankfully there were seats that were mostly together.

Rain took us to visit her friend in 羅東 Luodon, which is 1 train stop south of 宜蘭 Yilan.  We had such a fantastic time today.  The best part is that all the locations are super close to the train station.  I love to travel with locals.  They never take me to the super touristy places and it’s always way interesting.

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