A milestone reached, normalization and working independently

Oh the pain, the pain.  I’m currently working on modifying the beautiful 2015-2016 work plan I had set up last semester for Thumper.   How great and beautiful was it?  The week we were to leave for winter vacation, she had two wonderful days where she just followed her work plan and finished everything on her plan in about 3 hours.

She was so proud of herself.

Then, the day before our trip, I told her that we had to run some errands and pack.  She actually asked me how she could then squeeze in her work.   She was worried she couldn’t get her work done for the day in time.   Sadly, I had to tell her that it was okay to not work that day.

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Book Review: 我家就是國際學校 My Home is an International School

internationalschoolI finally got my hands on the book 我家就是國際學校 My Home is an International School this afternoon.  I devoured it in an hour.  It will require a reread probably.

This is a book written by a Polish homeschooling mom and her Taiwanese husband, about their trilingual (Mandarin, English, and Polish) homeschooling journey in Taiwan.  The mom, Dorota, has a Masters in Chinese. And obviously she learned English (starting from middle school?) in Poland. She has two kids, a girl and boy and is Montessori trained.  The old one is 18 this year.  That was one reason I  had been eyeing the book for 2+ years, since I’m trying to do bilingual Montessori homeschooling.   I had also heard in an interview how she had to figure out how to work with her son’s learning style, which was different from her daughter’s.

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Various Chinese Dictionaries for Kids and Teacher

Our Homemade Dictionary

Our Homemade Dictionary

The last 2 weeks, we switched the way we are learning to write Chinese.  Probably one of the reasons Thumper is now working mostly entirely by herself during the work period.  When Thumper was learning Sagebooks still and practicing writing I made for her.  The dictionary was more concrete material based and only contained the Sagebooks characters she knew.

I’m going to step on the soap box here and say, I don’t think kids who don’t know enough characters should be using a dictionary.  And when I looked online, kids don’t get dictionaries till later in first grade or second in Taiwan.  I could be wrong there, but that was my impression.  Here are some reasons:

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Introduction to Water

After a few weeks of kids getting sick and not really doing co-cop, this past Wednesday we had a really good one learning about water.  I hadn’t planned it this way but I feel that this semester we ended up doing mostly primary curriculum in introducing some science and history concepts.   It all worked out because half the children are 5 year olds.  Next semester they’ll be 6 and then we can do more advanced science. We will also be adding history to our co-op.


At the beginning of the semester, the children learned about solid, liquid, and gas.  We explored air a few weeks ago.  So we’re ending our semester exploring water.

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Learning to Write Chinese through Character Components

So I wrote this way last year, summarizing a research paper I read about learning to read/write Chinese.  Upon re-reading it, I realized how so much of the info is relevant to my current obsession of writing!  Thus making me finish this post finally.  

Learning how to write character components is the 4th step in our Learning how to handwrite Chinese study thread.  I provided all the links in that post.  The Cool Chinese website has lots of info.  But I’m using the research paper PDF I found online as a way to teach how to recognize characters.  I thought I would sum up the research paper so that I can internalize what I learned.  It is a 160 page paper!  The abstract is in English.

Hacking Chinese also has several good articles about components.

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Making Hot Chocolate

Pouring milk

Pouring milk

The last few weeks, Astroboy has been getting up earlier than me and roaming around the house with nothing to do.  Sometimes he’s really good and puts on a jacket and feeds the cats (it’s his morning chore), before I get up and nag him to do it.  (Yes I know.  I’m trying really hard not to!)

But I finally got tired of it and decided it is time for him to learn to make his hot chocolate.  Especially after my last post where I reminded myself that I need to remember to break down steps and take it one step at a time.   He drinks it every morning now because our house is like 60 degrees when we get up in the morning.

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If you’re going to use Sagebooks, buy everything

I’ve had some people ask me for opinions on what books to buy from 基礎漢字500  Sagebooks recently.  I usually try to be balanced and take people’s needs and desires into account and say things like, “Well, if you don’t really need it, then don’t get it.”   However, I realized recently that I actually have some very strong opinions.

If you’re going to use Sagebooks to teach your child to read, don’t do it half ass and just order the readers or the treasure boxes, get everything!

I’m going to assume that you want to use Sagebooks.  Because I don’t think I can convince someone that doesn’t want to be convinced.  Mandarin Mama has a good post about what Sagebooks is.  I personally think, if your child speaks Chinese fluently, and you want them to learn to read in 1 year, then this is the best option out there.

“But…..but…!” you say.

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