I’ve been repeating this past month that I cannot squeeze in everything in our work period. Particularly, I was having trouble squeezing in music and audiobooks, even though to me that is very important in language acquisition.
I finally got around this by not making it a subject to study.
For example, our theme in September was time. So in the car, during lunch time, during break time, I would play My Grandfather’s clock, in Chinese and English.
Ken Kirai also has a Japanese version, if you want to get children exposed to other cultures and languages.
I was amazed that after about a week, the children all started singing the songs and asked to listen to them again.
Before Thumper goes to sleep, I now let her listen to Magic Treehouse in English, per her request. I really hope I can find Chinese audiobooks soon. sigh
Each week, we make a 30 min to 1 hour drive down south for our co-op, Chinese class, sometimes Books and Me library, 4H, etc. If Thumper’s not reading, then we listen to Radiolab, Story of the World, Chinese history, or Chinese Encyclopedia (Astroboy’s love), and Qiao Hu.
If I had a choice, I would wish the kids could somehow follow up on what they’re listening to and research whatever topics interest them. But I’m figuring I need to give up this idea till they actually learn how to read and write!
I think the hardest part about squeezing things in is intention and prep. It takes time to convert all of my audio into mp3s that I load onto my iPhone. It takes time to go back every week or every month to select the next batch of Chinese Encyclopedia topics we want to listen to, or find the right Radiolab episodes, or add new Story of the World tracks. Then getting my ass in gear and remembering to play any of these audio, instead of trying to steal time for myself when the kids are working.
Intention is always something I struggle with. One thing that helps me sometimes is to say, I will work on one thing this month. Maybe this month I will just work on playing audio during our driving time. It also helps to have scheduled prep time.