Roundup on our Chinese homeschooling activities.
With little Chip, we have been doing plenty of reading, discussion and learning activities that work on his listening comprehension, vocabulary, word recognition and reading fluency.
Unlike English, I have purposely not introduced any writing activities for Chinese, not even for simple characters. The only writing he does at home is the one-page homework he gets weekly from kindergarten. We have plenty of time to pick up the writing when he is in K2 next year.
I also don't use assessment books with him because being good at worksheets doesn't make a child good at the language, especially at this level. It may give us the comfort to see something concrete that the kid can 'achieve', but for now, I would much rather he spends the time somewhere else.
Like reading aloud with me. :>
Or play word games.
Besides these wonderful Chinese readers which introduce 400 words...
.... we are also spending time on a few other sets of books that aren't considered readers.
I read the sets repeatedly over a period of time, with a few additional ones slotted in from time to time just for variety. I find the repetition a good way for the kids to internalize the sentence structures effectively. As they aren't readers, they are written in more interesting style and introduce a wide range of content that is great for discussion purposes.
Besides reading, there are many other different types of activities that I've also incorporated into our weekly learning sessions using a variety of resources which I already own and have used on M before.
While I am big on word recognition activities, I am not an advocate of playing games after games and be dependent on attractive teaching resources to accomplish this task. They may get the kid interested to some extent, but it isn't necessarily the best approach. Yes, learning should be fun, but kids should still be capable to learn when learning isn't as fun as they like it to be. After all, there will always be times later when learning is tedious and requires a lot of effort from the child, so it can't always be that fun. The ability to focus and absorb what's taught is an acquired skill, as much as an attitude. The child who isn't dependent on attractive materials and fun games to be able to learn effectively is a child who will thrive under any learning conditions. This is always one of my ultimate goals, so it is no different when it comes to learning Chinese at home.
I also measure progress differently from some. Learning to read a huge number of words, or even knowing how to read words at P1/P2 level now doesn't mean the child is able to master the P1/P2 level work. Word recognition is only one part of the learning process. Like my emphasis on the English language when the kids were smaller, for Mandarin, I rejoice more when Chip shows improvement in his ability to form more complicated sentence structures, ask more complex questions and hold a longer conversation and discussion with me in proper Mandarin.
Another area of focus is good enunciation, without which one cannot be considered good at the language. Thankfully, this is an area which he is very strong at, definitely stronger than M when he was this age. Chip's enunciation is sharp and almost as perfect as it should be.
In addition to these basic activities, for every lapbook that he makes in my lapbooking classes, I also include an extensive range of thematic activities in the Chinese language that we work on at home. However, we are not covering as much or moving as fast in this area as I like to. We already have a backlog to catch up, simply because he is completing lapbooks faster than I can follow-up at home. As he is working on the lapbooks with my classes, there is a lapbooking curriculum that I've planned and followed, hence we can complete a very comprehensive lapbook every few weeks. But with the Chinese follow-up activities at home, our progress is often sidetracked by many other factors.
....... to be continued....