We’ve had such a super duper month that I don’t even know where to start.
Okay, technically it’s not true. Because I started the month feeling iffy and behind because we weren’t working. I just didn’t have energy to clean my classroom and I also took a super long time planning our new work plan. For a few weeks we didn’t even go swimming. We didn’t really get get back to homeschooling till middle of the month.
Looking back, I probably just had to recover from the craziness of seeing lots of people. But finally we did get back go homeschooling and with our new work plan everything is going so very well.
Thumper is solidly doing her work nowadays without my supervision. She actually told me the other day that she wanted to get an alarm clock so she can wake up early to finish everything on her work plan. We had a talk about how checking things off isn’t the goal but rather doing things you want to do or study.
Yay! The semester is over and I survived!
November and December summary will be short on summary and pics. We all retreated upstairs to work on our dining room table because it’s so cold downstairs. That threw off all our routine. We keep having to move things to the sofa to eat our meals. There’s no place to sit when guests come over. BUT! The amazing thing is, we ended the semester with Thumper finishing all of her work on her work plan, all by herself, for two days, before we went on Christmas break.
Really I feel like this month is more about me reflecting on all the things I learned this semester about homeschooling and being a teacher. It feels like homeschooling is just slowly coming together. I’m slowly getting how it needs to work for me.
I think the biggest thing for Thumper is really, as I said, her easing into the whole routine of doing work during work period. And outside of work, doing her chores without much reminding from me. I actually consider this her biggest accomplishment for this semester, rather than whatever knowledge she’s learned. She seemed to have gone through a growth spurt recently (what with eating 2 bowls every meal) and is now suddenly at this much more independent stage. She cooks herself breakfast and sometimes lunch, she preps for her school day, she feeds the cat, all without me nagging most days.
This is Part 7 of my Building a Chinese Library for the Kids series.
As I mentioned in my last post, which might not have been published yet as I’m jumping around, Taiwanese publishers seem to call all non-picture books that have illustrations as Bridging Books. Since this means these books cover a wide range of reading level, I decided to put Early Readers (Level 1) in the last post, and Chapter Books (Level 2-4) in this post. This will put you up to 4th grade. Even though Chapter Books are considered Bridging books too, to me, you kind of need a certain level of reading skill to start reading these longer books.
To recap, the levels, taken from the 閱讀123 (Reading 123) series are:
- Level 1: <5K characters. Around 64 pages. Picture to text ratio 1:1
- Level 2: 5k-10k characters. Around 128 pages. Picture to text ratio 1:2 (1st-2nd grade)
- Level 3: 10k-20k characters. Only some illustrations. (1st-2nd grade)
- Level 4: 20k-40k. Few illustrations (3rd-4th)
- Level 5: 40k+?
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.
I 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.
Kind of back posting here, as we’re now on Lesson 9 and 6-7 weeks have passed.
The last few weeks we’ve just been doing various reviews. Nothing exciting. They often have some sort of reading simple words or sentences component and writing simple words and sentences.
Starting from week 8 I went back to what we did the first few weeks of class and we played bingo games and flashcard games. At this point a lot of compound zhuyin are being introduced and it was time to go back to associating sounds with symbols stage of learning.
Kids climbing trees. One of the things I love to see them do
Urgh, what a month. I feel like I’m on this sharp incline, holding onto a rope so that I don’t fall into the abyss that’s called “lack of motivation and too many things going on.” Slowly but surely the classroom/homeroom is losing structural integrity but I’m patching holes as quick as I can until Christmas vacation comes around and I can reset everything once again.
This month was particularly hard because we’ve been having visitors every 2-3 weeks. It means I have about 1 week of whole homeschooling in before we interrupt it with something. And this is on top of 4H disrupting my schedule, or unplanned playdates, and having a sick Baba for what seems like forever but is really just half of the month. Half a month of almost single parenting does not make Mama Teacher happy.