Things got a little crazy after we started on Sagebooks. I started researching on teaching stroke orders, character layout, character components, and then started school. Yikes, it’s already been 5 weeks since we started on Sage.
For Thumper, as we wrote in our January monthly summary, we have spent this week and last week reviewing. I think we’re losing momentum a bit because of our scheduling issues. I have not actually had time to review the characters she doesn’t know with her. She has just been reading the treasure boxes and also this week started on the idioms. On our work plan, I basically gave her a daily item she needs to do, which is to read Chinese for 10 minutes to me. She can choose books from the Little Bears series, the idioms, the Sagebook Readers, or the Sagebook Treasure boxes, any of the first 3 levels.
Thumper actually loves the idioms books. I say so because as a child who does not want to read and seldom repeats work twice, she asked to read the same idioms book (book 3) 2 days in a row both with me and by herself. Astroboy also wanted me to read it to him. The books themselves really require an adult to be there to explain the concept to them. My kids are not going to be able to start making sentences with these idioms without some examples from me. Unfortunately I’m slightly rusty on them myself and the Sage ones don’t come with examples, so I don’t even know if my examples are proper. But whatever, she loves the “jokes” part included after each idioms intro, even though that also requires some explaining.
Anyways, yes she doesn’t remember some characters, but I’m still amazed at how she can remember the strange conceptual ones that are not nouns. There’s nothing to hang these on other than the intro we had 3 at a time, and composing and writing down a sentence. We didn’t even bother with reading the reader books much this time around as we were jumping around the books in this series since she knew about 60% of them already. I super envy young kids’ memory ability.
As for Astroboy, we kind of started on book 2 of Blue Series. I’m kind of neglecting him because of my obsession to create materials for Thumper. So I think I formally introduced 6 characters total in 2 weeks? However, seeing his sister reading the Treasure book one day really spurred him on (because she read the whole book). Just that one day, he wanted to read the WHOLE book. We spent maybe an hour on it. I could not dissuade him. So at least he’s seen all of them. After about character #10-#12, he started getting confused on all of them.
When he says he’s bored with nothing to do in the classroom, inevitably he pulls out the Chutes and Ladder game and we can play them forever. We even started playing the second book version. I just tell him the characters he doesn’t know. We also played the Hundred Board one once together with his sister. Oh, I did try the rule that if you don’t know the character you have to go back, it totally made him remember the next time he landed on the square. ha! But I’m not as frustrated anymore because I see that the more progress we make with reading new characters, the more he starts remembering the old characters he keeps forgetting.
I do have to say, Astroboy really has not been practicing his pre-reading skills and I think it makes a big difference in how fast he’s progressing. He doesn’t have a strong oral language skill so he doesn’t know to guess words when he’s reading. He can’t look at the illustrations and guess what they’re saying either. These are all things you’re supposed to be doing with picture books. Oh well, it still makes me happy we’re making progress. And it makes him super happy when we read regular picture books and I tell him, “You just learned this character! You know what it is!” And he’ll insist I re-read by only reading the characters he doesn’t know and he reads the ones he does know.
I made a couple of changes to my design of Chutes and Ladders and I think I’m done with them. It comes with instructions now. I switched the colors of the “chutes” and “ladder” per a friend’s suggestion, since red has connotation of stop and green=go. I also made the edges of the board go from light blue to dark blue, so that they can be distinguished from each other easily and it signals your progression to mastering the Blue Series. Just need to actually put all the characters in.