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Finding a balance


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Today ds had a 3.5 hour language lesson with our tutor. He has hit a really big growth in the language. We usually do school after lunch and a break. I realize 3.5 hours is a long time for a 7 year old. Some days are 2 hours or 2.5. But he does a lot of playing during his lessons. And he has not been acting too overworked. He has had 8 months of a private tutor now. 

So here we are after a break, and all he wants to do is watch cartoons in the target language. The weather is nice I want to get to a park today too. But it is so good to still have time in the target langauge. 

So how do you strike a balance once you reach a decent level of competence? He can play with kids, comminicate what he needs to, but still has a lot to learn. We are just starting to add in reading and writing. 

Do you let your children have whole school days devoted to language learning and let English work be set to the side for a time?

Langauge learning does take so much brain power and energy. And this is ds real first 2nd language. (We moved when he was 2 and he doesn't remember much from our last country). So he is still learning how to learn a language. As of now we will be here 2 more years (Lord willing!) so it is important for him to learn well enough so he has friends and feels like we are a part of here. 

We also are considering putting him in the public school here come January. It is 4 hours a day, the education system is awful. But it would give him several months of time in the language. And then we could do some things after school in English. I just don't know what is too much to expect and what is too little. Anyone with experience on sending kids to school just for langauge? 

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A 3.5 hr lesson-block that's tailored to a 7yo child isn't out of whack, in my opinion, so I wouldn't let the time bother me but learning a language does consume large amounts of energy so I'd watch for that. Make sure he's eating and well-rested an hour or so before language class and has time to nap/rest after wards. In my experience, adding in reading/writing with a young child who still doesn't speak the language fluently and easily wasn't beneficial. I would re-assess that decision with the tutor.

I would want the tutor to focus on lots of role play, crafting together, cooperative story telling, cooking together, discussing story books, discussing shows, etc. If the local children started school already, I'd want him to know whatever stories are common in the schools readers, but not necessarily that he read them for himself.  I would want the tutor to instead tell/read and discuss the common stories in the grade 1 primer--like wanting a child to know Little Red Riding Hood or whatever folk talks/fables are common among their peer group.

As for the rest,  it would depend on WHAT "English work" was to be set aside and for how long based on where he stood academically thus far.

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