This is the second week that Sophie came home with homework from her Mandarin teacher. And just when I thought she was so excited at the idea of doing homework, this week she kept whining and telling me that she didn’t know how to write the Chinese strokes and was even reluctant to try.
For me, it doesn’t matter so much that you don’t know how to do it. But what matters most is that you have a correct learning attitude and that means giving it your best. Sophie is usually one who displays more tenacity when it comes to trying but these days she’s been getting more unwilling to converse with us in Chinese.
When we speak to her in Mandarin outside, she’ll ask, “Why are you speaking in Chinese mummy? This is a English shop you know.”
At other times, she’ll fake ignorance and tell us in an irritated voice, “I don’t know what you are talking about. I only understand English.”
While her Mandarin teacher has been doing an excellent job, I feel that I have to do my part as a parent to cultivate her love for Chinese at home. So these are some of the things that I have been doing at home.
As part of our bedtime routine, I always read books to Sophie before she sleeps. And now, I always make it a point that she has to pick out 1-2 Chinese books as we usually read up to 4 books.
In her childcare, she’s taught 弟子规, a character building syllabus that is introduced by MOE to schools. And since she’s expressed an interest in it, I bought the book from Popular and read it to her. To help her express herself in Chinese, I will encourage her to tell me what each phrase means in Chinese and how she can apply it.
I’m blessed to have been gifted a lot of learning recourse from my cousin whose children are now in Primary school. So we have flashcards and books like these where there is an English version and Chinese one to help Sophie understand the book better. The words are also relatively easy for her level which helps her to read independently.
Conversing in Chinese
To help Sophie be effectively bilingual, we have been making an effort to speak more in Mandarin. Like I said, she gets quite irritated at time. But slowly, she’s getting used to it and we try to make up silly games like, I can speak English and Chines and get her to translate a English word to Chinese or vice versa, so she doesn’t feel so dreadful towards her Mother Tongue.
As with all kids, they don’t like to feel like everything is about studying or learning. So I’ve been cracking my brains on how to make learning Chinese more fun and engaging.
When Sophie had to learn the strokes 丿and n (What’s the han yu ping ying for it??), she kept telling me she doesn’t know how to write it. So I taught her by showing her that the strokes resemble a tree trunk. Quite smart right? Except, she went on to say, but what if it’s a coconut tree?
The next thing I’m considering is to send her for enrichment classes conducted in Mandarin. But I’m not keen on Berries, Tian Hsia, etc as these are too academic and was thinking of perhaps, art or dance class where the teachers use Chinese to communicate with the student. This way, it’s more of an immersion learning process rather than pure learning.
If you have been successful in developing a love for Chinese in your kids, do share them with me. I would love to learn from you 🙂 Meanwhile, I’ll continue to motivate her to pick up the language by making it fun and engaging.
Do link up every Monday with my Motivational Mondays post. Don’t forget to grab my badge and include it in your post after you have linked up and leave me a comment too. I will be hosting Motivational Monday every week and I hope that you can join me every Monday. Have a great week ahead!
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