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About Gil

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    Supreme PooBah of Learning at G.I.Z.M.O.S

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  1. I'm probably over thinking this whole thing, but since I don't really read and write Spanish myself, I have to be attentive to make sure that their Spanish literacy is not stagnating. In the ideal world, I'd like for them to be able to read and write equally well in English and Spanish by the time that they get to highschool, so we still have time.
  2. I guess it makes sense that natively bilingual kids wouldn't struggle with vocabulary. I'm trying to decide the best way to move them (us?) through "Intermediate Hell" before it becomes too big a task that they don't even want to try anymore. They are really quite good, but nowhere near to being native level. We're not in the Midwest, but we use the library book sale and the used bookstore to get books in Spanish, so we also have a very mixed bag of books. Next year, I may begin buying books online so that we have more choice/control over what books we acquire. That El Nino Volador series looks like it will be a good fit, length and format wise. He's read El Principito and felt comfortable with the length/format. The problem with novellas/books written for Spanish learners to practice reading is that they artificially restrict the grammar structures used, but many intermediate level materials are written to an adult audience and have microscopic print or story lines that my 11yo doesn't care about...Books written to a Native audience can be all over the place complexity wise. I had wanted to require them to do their writing in Spanish in 7th grade, but I might just delay because I think that they need a good solid year or two of recreational reading in Spanish, before they're ready to produce quality written output in Spanish. We're doing a lot of nonfiction reading and discussion this year. They'll be able to start taking history courses Spanish either in July 2018 or January 2019 and that'll require a good bit of writing anyway so maybe it doesn't matter. What do you think? I guess that so long as they're writing on level in Spanish by highschool graduation it'll be fine...
  3. @SusanC @Renai @Slache can you recommend any childrens elementary chapter books that were originally written in Spanish that are Fantasy, Sci Fi, or Action/Adventure? @SusanC and @Renai I think you both have kids older than/around the same age as mine. Care to share any insight, tips or tricks for encouraging kids to read widely in their weaker language? @Monica_in_Switzerland It sounds like you're achieving biliteracy at an even pace. Any guidance or words of wisdom for me?
  4. Biliteracy is proving a tough nut to crack. I'll be interested to see how this changes over the years. Buddy's ambition was to read 50 chapter books in Spanish this year but he's finding that it takes him about 2-3 weeks to get through a chapter book, so he's likely to only get through 17-25 this year, but I"ve been encouraging him that it's going to pay off huge dividends in the future and not to view needing to work through the vocab (some times explicitly) as a bad thing. I've told him that he should shift his attitude to realize that he needs take advantage of this time to really do his best to absorb vocabulary as he reads this year instead of rushing through stacks of books. I keep trying to focus him on the fact that the more vocabulary he masters now, the easier it'll be to read more books next year and the year after that. He knows it's good for him, to take his time and try and get those words down, but has been consoled by re-reading some of the books he's already worked through and realizing how much easier it is for him to enjoy the books, the second and third time through them. Once you've worked through the book the long way around, going back through it a month or two later is easier and funner so he's been encouraged by going back to re-read books he's "unlocked" already. Pal, otoh, could do with a bit of his brothers ambition. I know that I just finished insisting to one kid that re-reading is good and beneficial, but I'm gritting my teeth to not say anything as Pal is continuously reading the Busca Fieras book! He's reading that same book almost every day as "free reading", and as a rule I try not to care about what they read in their own free time, but...he's going to make me nuts. To his credit, Pal will readily read Spanish nonfiction and picture books but he dabbles in and out of most chapter books. It's not that he can't read them, it's that he doesn't want to.I get that it's harder for a book to "hook" a kid when the reader doesn't understand a decent portion of the vocabulary at first glance. Also, because we've sourced books locally at the 2nd-hand store, I realize that we have a weird mix of chapter books. Pal used to read any and everything, but these days is very into fantasy, action, adventure and exciting books. So I"m on the hunt for more Spanish-language books in those genres, I need to stock the shelves with books that'll tempt him to read something besides Busca Fieras again.
  5. We're trying to take it one semester of one year at a time, but we do have ambitions for earning a multilingual diploma for highschool, though I'm still fuzzy on the "how" of it. Our focus is on 3 languages and Buddy would really like a diploma that acknowledges his fluency and proficiency in all 3 of those languages. According to him we could do a third of the HS credits in each language Or 1/2 in Spanish, 1/4 in Japanese, 1/4 in English. Or 5/12 Spanish, 5/12 Japanese and 2/12 English. Or 1/2 in Japanese and 1/2 in Spanish. Or something else all together. I keep reminding him that it's still a few years off before it matters and the most important thing is for him to be proficient in each language by the time that it does matter. re: Resources, I simply can't imagine doing 1 non-native language well without the support of modern technology and certainly not 2 languages. Trying to make this work without even only the resources available to me locally, without online stores such as eBay and Amazon would just be a beast. re: Math, math in Spanish is useful, but if you have limited time, It's more beneficial to do a wordier subject in Spanish. K-2 math gives you a lot of good vocabulary and exercises ordinals, prepositions, numbers, colors, but by 3rd-5th grade not so much. However, Math Mammoth has a Spanish version (I never used it, because we'd done the series in English already). For 6th grade and beyond, look at Dr. Baldors 3 books. He has one on Arithmetic, Algebra and a combo of Geometry and Trigonometry and they're native Spanish texts, not translations. We do pretty much everything but Math in Spanish, though we did a few units in Math en espanol so that they learned to discuss math correctly in Spanish. We don't like splitting our time between multiple "schools" but when we've had to, we find it easier to get Spanish in, where it fits in. Media. Recreation. Evenings once everyone's winding down and recreational reading.
  6. Our home school year runs Jan-Dec, so we might do another evaluation in Dec. to check and see how their Spanish progressed between now and Dec. Our schedule is fixed, school has to be able to get done within the alloted hours, so as their Spanish grows, I'm just going to increase the percent of Spanish language course books that they use. Their English isn't going anywhere, they're fluent and it's firmly and permanently on "auto pilot" and will be maintained because living the US, there are always going to be more English language books than Spanish language. My plan is to simply switch their academics into Spanish at the 7th grade (Jan 2020), we are searching out books to use for computer science/technology, social studies and natural science. They'll read, take notes, and present on the subjects in Spanish and school won't take any longer than it already does (hopefully). Of course Japanese is still it's own beast to tame, but I wouldn't mind getting a precalculus and/or a liberal arts math book in Spanish, but there isn't a pressing need. They can do all their core math in Spanish as well as English, but I do I want them to be as comfortable unpacking and solving "wordy" word problems in Spanish as they are with them in English.
  7. We did it! Their evaluations actually went better than I (we) had hoped/expected. Very happy and excited with the results.
  8. We're doing The Boys academic portfolios in Spanish this year. It'll be interesting to see how they do. I'm trying hard not to expect anything and just keep an open mind. We found a teacher who taught in Central America for a few years before coming to the states as a teacher and he's going to do their evaluations this year. I'm trying to decide if I should also get an evaluation done by our usual teacher too, "just in case" but I'm leaning towards just doing Spanish language evaluations.
  9. I want to get a calculator for heavy duty usage and exploration. I was going to just get a TI-89, but then I realized that they have calculators with built-in CAS features and others with cull color screens and fancy GUIs. Should I just get 1 of each?
  10. I have no idea if it's too closely related to separate. Families who've handled or seen similar will probably be able to better advise you as to best resources that might be available to you as a home school parent/teacher.
  11. I think that you might get better responses if you post on the Learning Challenges board. Does he have any other issues? Or is his only weak spot sentences?
  12. Well, quality control and editing consistency/quality tends to be very low for Japanese resources made/produced in the US.Many times "series" that are just built around generically and have different langauges applied to them tend to be hit or miss. The standards for quality/accuracy for "For Kids" Japanese/Chinese resources seem to be laughably low, so I"m extremely skeptical and wary of (US Made) "Japanese for Kids" resources, but the most promising source I've found for actually learning Japanese in the family is this book, which--according to the reviews--contains errors in the transcription: Use Japanese At Home. We haven't used it. Locally, I'm looking for a native and fully fluent Japanese speaker to review the Use Japanese At Home book for me in depth before I give it to The Boys, but it certainly looks the most promising out of everything that I've seen. As for easy to use workbooks, if you're not ready to jump into a more expensive and expansive resource there is Teach Me Everyday Japanese and a couple of Japanese Picture Dictionaries made by US/English publishers. Additionally there are DVDs out there for kids who want to learn Japanese like Little Pim and Dino Lingo. Personally, I disdain 99.99% of all edutainment ever created, and The Boys are in 6th grade so it's not really appealing to them to even try, so we've never used these things either and I can't recommend them personally. Berlitz Kids has some Japanese materials. Again, I'm not recommending ANY of these things and I have reason to believe that they're of poor quality and may contain (several) instances of incorrect Japanese language. The Boys use a select few adult-learner materials, that are (from what I can tell) are excedingly well done and fairly niche in their approach, but I can't recommend the Beginning Japanese series to you for your early elementary students. 5th is probably the earliest that I'd start the series, and even so halfway through 6th or even 7th grade would probably be a better age. In your shoes, as a USABLE resources for your crowd I'd recommend that you go with the Teach Me Everyday Japanese and maybe import a Native picture dictionary. We'
  13. But what kind of seat work? It seems like everything you listed in meant for an adult student or intensive university audience so I'm just confused. How many kids do you have learning Japanese? Do they have the maturity to productively complete boring/sloggish materials in pursuit of accomplishing a goal? Are you or your husband able to teach/correct Japanese? What is the goal of your crowd studying Japanese now instead of later?
  14. Is this what you're talking about? We own a copy but The Boys don't really think it's too useful, they haven't used it much. We got it for pennies and it may come in handy to look things up down the line. This book is a black/white/greyscale grammar manual with wordy explanations, followed by examples from a wide variety of manga and a few exercises/quiz questions at the end of each "Lesson". The Manga cited aren't likely to be well known to kids in the US since the book is 15 years old and doesn't use the "big name" Manga series known in the US. It's not really a course, more of a manual. Each "Lesson" is very wordy and only about 3-7 pages, there doesn't seem to be any review of any kind built in, but there is a dandy little glossary in the back and the answer to the exercises are in the back of the book.
  15. Just how mature and disciplined is the young crowd?
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