Jump to content

Menu

Recommended Posts

My son is a 3rd grader, bilingual in Spanish and English. He really loves learning new languages and is interested in learning a new one. I asked him and he chose French. I am, however, also interested in helping him learn Chinese since its a top 3 language here in the US. I didn't really give it to him as a option since I don't know if it would be difficult to learn or if there are resources out there for a child but I've seen that he has an interest in that language as well. 

Is chinese doable and affordable? What resources did you use if you chose that language?

What resources did you use for French? 

I don't mind a high parental involvement since I hope to learn alongside with him. Affordability is my main issue. Talkbox seems expensive and therefore out of my reach.. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You may want to consider what the goal becomes of this language: becoming tri-langual or will this be tackled as a foreign language? Becoming multilangual is cost intensive if you don’t have a library with enough reading sources in the targeted language. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

For Chinese, do you have access to a native speaker? Since Chinese is a tonal language, pronunciation is very important.

We used Better Chinese in the elementary grades. Skritter is also a great tool for learning how to write the characters from memory. We found a local tutor that dd met with an hour a week to practice speaking. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Loesje22000 said:

becoming tri-langual or will this be tackled as a foreign language?

Ideally, it would be to become multilingual. Sadly, our local library does not have a good selection of foreign language books. Not even Spanish, which is terrible since our city has schools with Dual Language Immersion programs in Spanish. My family lives near a more Asian-populated city so I am thinking about getting a library card from there and making a monthly trip to get some books. 

 

2 hours ago, lovelearnandlive said:

For Chinese, do you have access to a native speaker? Since Chinese is a tonal language, pronunciation is very important

I don't, actually. If you don't mind me asking, around how much was a tutor? And how were you able to find one?

Thank you for the resources too. For the elementary grades, did you just use the My First Chinese Readers? 

 

Question about TalkBox. Is if worth the price for Chinese since, as you said, it is a tonal language? I have never needed a foreign program so I am unsure what to look for. Our whole family is bilingual so the only thing I needed to purchase for Spanish was a grammar workbook. Since Chinese/French would be from scratch, what should I be looking for?

TBH, I am leaning more towards learning Chinese. French isn't even a top 12 foreign language here in California while Chinese is the 2nd. I understand that it is very costly but I feel its one of those things that is worth it. I just have to figure out a way to make it work. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, My First Chinese Reader is a good place to start for upper elementary. 
 

I hadn’t looked at TalkBox before. It looks interesting! Especially if your family enjoys languages and would all work together to incorporate the phrases into your day-to-day lives. I think once you had a good understanding of the tones something like TalkBox would work ok. 
 

Our tutor was $40 an hour. I found her through a friend, which I know isn’t super helpful for you. You might do a search and see if there are any Saturday Chinese schools in your area. They may not be up and running right now, but that would be a great place to start looking for a tutor. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We are in a similar situation. My children and I are bilingual in English and another language, and I am learning Chinese at the same time as I teach it to my kids.

I love children's books, so I have spent way too much money on importing children's literature from Taiwan, but, luckily, there are some amazing free resources, too. I  highly recommend starting young kids on Little Fox Chinese. The website is completely free. It contains five levels of cartoons designed to teach the language, with accompanying PDFs for reading, tests, MP3s, etc.

Pleco is a fantastic dictionary, as is mdbg.net.

New Tong Wen Tang is a great browser plug-in for conversion between traditional and simplified characters.

Conversation practice classes with tutors on iTalki can be very affordable: starting at around $10 per hour.

Now, becoming proficient in Chinese will, on average, take a native English speaker 3 to 4 times more time than accomplishing the same level of proficiency in French. I had friends in college who excelled in their CFL classes, and who even won scholarships to study in China for a summer, but who still couldn't pick up a Chinese novel to read for fun. For that reason, some of them regretted not having picked Spanish or French instead.

Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Animula V. Blandula said:

I have spent way too much money on importing children's literature from Taiwan,

 I have spent sooooo much money buying Spanish books. I understand what your wallet is going through!

Thank you so much for your resources! I will check them out

41 minutes ago, Animula V. Blandula said:

For that reason, some of them regretted not having picked Spanish or French instead

 This is actually what I am fearful of. Chinese is a much harder language to learn. There are considerable more resources available for French, it is easier to learn. I even have some experience since I took 4 years of French in high school. I enjoyed studying the language and I know some of it will come back to me if I dive into it with my son. However, learning Chinese seems more practical? I feel like if we are going to put effort and expenses into learning a language than it should be one that will have some use. On the other hand, what if we start with Chinese and he finds it too difficult? A lot of back and forth going on in my head as you can tell.

 

41 minutes ago, Animula V. Blandula said:

We are in a similar situation. My children and I are bilingual in English and another language, and I am learning Chinese at the same time as I teach it to my kids.

How long have you and your kiddos been learning the language? Has it been and enjoyable journey? As you mentioned with the college students with regret, have you experienced it and hoped you had picked another language? Sorry for the so many questions and thank you!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it might be worth it for you to give it a shot for half a year to see how it goes? Little Fox + Pleco (and maybe Chinese Grammar Wiki) is all you need to get started. 🙂

You're starting early, and if you stick with it for 10 years, your son will absolutely become proficient/fluent. 🙂

I began teaching my older boy 3 years ago. We spent 30-60 minutes on 5 or 6 days a week. I often doubt my ability to pull it off, to tell you the truth. He's now at the level of reading the equivalents of Frog and Toad (or a touch more difficult) in Mandarin. I cannot imagine reading Frog and Toad after 3 years of learning/teaching French, Italian or German.

It's not that I regret the choice, but I often do think about the trade-offs. Also, I don't see our study of Chinese is terribly practical. I might be wrong, but if I wanted a practical language, I would probably pick, IDK, German? I do see it as great intellectual exercise. It's both very punishing and very rewarding.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Animula V. Blandula said:

Little Fox + Pleco (and maybe Chinese Grammar Wiki) is all you need to get started. 🙂

Thank you so much for the resources and for answering my numerous questions! The resources allow me to try it out and see if its doable for us without spending so much on a program. You have given me so much to think about.

Did you choose the language or did your kiddos decide that was what they wanted to learn?

Link to post
Share on other sites

We are originally from India and we wanted our son to learn to read and write in Hindi. In our case, the cheapest way and the most one with peers was the Hindu temple. Spoken fluency came because of immersion, movies, music. It is a language we do not speak every day.

I do not know the Chinese equivalent of it. I have not looked at the notice board on our Asian superstore but usually there are notices for classes of some sort. I know our Indian store has advertisement for classes which people use the noticeboard for. Perhaps you can look in the Asian supermarket or ask around there.

My daughter is learning Korean. It is language she picked because we watch Kdrama and listen to Kpop. We have enrolled her with the mother of someone we know who helps her with conversation at this point. She is not a language teacher, but it is more as a favor and we pay her an amount No learning the script yet because DD is already learning 2 other Indian languages we want her to have fluency in understanding minimum. So we do not want to overwhelm her. 

I was taught French in school. 4 years of it. I grew to read and write with a bit of fluency, could never speak and understand if spoken very slowly. I am still trying to catch up to the spoken and understanding part years later. 

Your child is very young and will become proficient in time. Just concentrate on the speaking and understanding part as well as reading and writing. One can grow up reading and writing with quite a bit of fluency and not be able to speak or understand like my French skills are.

There are lots of resources for free on Youtube.

If you want to watch C-drama or Chinese Drama this is a free site.

Viki.com

It is free and also has a subscription portion where you get more content, but you can watch a lot of dramas from China and additionally Japan, Korea and Taiwan. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

Perhaps you can look in the Asian supermarket or ask around there.

Thank you so much for this suggestion. I never thought of it. 

 

19 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

No learning the script yet because DD is already learning 2 other Indian languages we want her to have fluency in understanding minimum. So we do not want to overwhelm her. 

How long did you wait before introducing another language? Although we agreed on Chinese, I know my son is still interested in learning French. I know he will want to start learning it down the roads so I'm left wondering how long I should wait. I do feel like French wont be such a hard language for him. He is currently studying Latin and speaks Spanish so I know that will help him in learning it. 

 

Thank you so much for your suggestions and advice! I appreciate it

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, JenJenQ said:

How long did you wait before introducing another language? Although we agreed on Chinese, I know my son is still interested in learning French. I know he will want to start learning it down the roads so I'm left wondering how long I should wait. I do feel like French wont be such a hard language for him. He is currently studying Latin and speaks Spanish so I know that will help him in learning it. 

 

I followed the model of learning I was used to as a child. We spoke a language at home and I learned that from small because I was immersed in it. English was taught to me explicitly through learning the alphabet, rhymes, books because I was to study in what is called an English medium school where all the subjects are taught in English. (My country of origin has subjects taught in different languages used as medium of instruction dependent on the school one went, we have 22 official languages each with it's own script). 

Anyway, I went to nursery at age 3 and learned to write in English, the language we spoke at home (each state has it's own language with script) and Hindi which is one of the national languages with it's own script. Proficiency wise, I ended up with writing and reading well in all 3, but not speaking well in Hindi because there was hardly any immersion. I have since rectified that.

So my goal for my children was understanding the language we spoke at home. It was specifically for grandparents who were not proficient in English and the goal was understanding them. I spoke, sang to them mostly in my language from babies so they would be familiar and read to them in English. So they grew up speaking both, English a bit more because that was what we concentrated more as they grew for school reasons. My son has a best friend from when he was little and they speak Spanish at home, so he picked up that as well, no instruction was necessary. 

I also play a lot of music in our language and Hindi, watch movies and we speak the language at home. Inlaws and my parents visit regularly and stay with us, so kids have picked up our language at their own pace, my daughter more than my son. DS 13 seems to be a STEM kid, DD4 seems more arts so I do not know if that played a part. But she is definitely interested in language. She was the one who asked for Korean. She is 4, and knows 3 languages and a bit of Hindi. Son knows 4 with various levels of fluency.

I have seen kids speak 3 languages in one sentence and go in and out of it at age 2 because they have parents who speak two different languages and they speak both at home. The third language is English. 

I will say learning a language when you are older is harder. I am trying to learn to read and write Urdu and Bengali. I understand them well enough, but lack of time and even the rate of absorption is less as I age for me. I knew English, Hindi, French and my language by the time I was 15 in various degrees of fluency all as part of schooling and I did not have this amount of difficulty. 

So immerse you child as young as possible will be my advice. Don't let the number of languages intimidate you. It is a very common thing in my country of origin. These are not dialects, but distinct languages with their own unique script and even people who cannot read and write speak multiple languages because of immersion in my country of origin. It is amazing to see. 

As for your son picking up French, I found that to be true for me with Spanish. We live in TX and I was able to pick it up fairly fast because of French. I am working on my reading and writing skills, but I can definitely speak Spanish more than I can French and people actually understand me which does not happen to me in French. I think it is because of immersion.

Edited by Dreamergal
Link to post
Share on other sites

My son has been obsessed with Japanese for years. I would not commit to an eastern language unless there was a strong desire and the child was very dedicated, because it's exponentially more difficult and we would have given up.

For the record he was raised with English and Spanish, uses both in school and studies grammar and writing in both, he began Greek and Japanese in 1st and Latin in 4th.

Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, maize said:

I have three children studying Chinese; it isn't an easy language to learn without a native tutor.

How soon would you say they need a tutor? I wanted to give us about 6 months before signing up for a tutor, just to give us time to see if it is a path we want to take. Thank you for the resources!

 

37 minutes ago, maize said:

We like these workbooks, I think there are four levels now:

With the workbooks, how would you recommend it? Should my kids start at Volume 1 regardless at what grade level or age they are at? They are 6 years old and 9. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, start with volume 1 in the workbooks; they build on each other.

My kids either started with a tutor or at the local Chinese immersion school. What you most need to focus on is getting the tones right as they are learning to speak. It doesn't work to just learn the sounds of the words.

There's a free online resource we have used that is good, you can start with the beginning lessons on pinyin and tones:

https://chinese.littlefox.com/en/user/join

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JenJenQ said:

How soon would you say they need a tutor? I wanted to give us about 6 months before signing up for a tutor, just to give us time to see if it is a path we want to take.

Getting a tutor can be a wonderful option, especially if you aren't planning on learning the language yourself. That being said, given that you're interested in studying with your son, I don't think a tutor is necessary at the beginning. The tones aren't that hard to learn when it comes to beginners' material (single words, simple sentences.) Personally, I only started hiring tutors (on sites like iTalki) once my child was somewhat conversational. I suppose whether or not you'll need a tutor will depend on whether or not you like to or have experience learning foreign languages independently. I see no harm in just jumping in and trying it out. You can always get a tutor later.

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, maize said:

My kids either started with a tutor or at the local Chinese immersion school. What you most need to focus on is getting the tones right as they are learning to speak. It doesn't work to just learn the sounds of the words.

 

14 hours ago, Animula V. Blandula said:

Personally, I only started hiring tutors (on sites like iTalki) once my child was somewhat conversational.

I did a bit of research and actually found a Chinese school near us! Yay! I still want to give us that period to see if its something that we would like to continue learning but I am excited. I actually wanted to ask though, if given the choice between the school and a tutor through iTalki, is there one that is preferred over the other? I feel that both have their upsides. The kiddos will have that immersion experience through the school and be able to socialize but they would have that one-on-one attention with a tutor. I dont think I can afford both, at least for now, especially for two kiddos. The school charges about $460 per school year per child. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, JenJenQ said:

 

I did a bit of research and actually found a Chinese school near us! Yay! I still want to give us that period to see if its something that we would like to continue learning but I am excited. I actually wanted to ask though, if given the choice between the school and a tutor through iTalki, is there one that is preferred over the other? I feel that both have their upsides. The kiddos will have that immersion experience through the school and be able to socialize but they would have that one-on-one attention with a tutor. I dont think I can afford both, at least for now, especially for two kiddos. The school charges about $460 per school year per child. 

Is this a Saturday school that meets once a week? If so, not knowing anything about the particular one in your area, I'd go with a tutor. Teaching methods at Saturday schools are hit or miss, and when hiring a tutor, you have much more control. Also, in the school, would your child be in a classroom primarily/only with other CSL students? That would mean he is unlikely to get much peer interaction in Chinese, and will also be getting less individual attention than in 1-on-1 classes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my kids attends a Chinese language weekend school. They have classes for heritage speakers, but he is in the CSL classes. It is a pretty tightly run enterprise, and advanced level students take HSK exams, and many are also taking AP classes in public schools. I don’t think he has become fluent, by any stretch of the imagination, but I am okay about the first year having been a slower start because he needed more exposure to tones and pronunciation due to having no exposure in our home. (ETA The pace has picked up since the first year, but obviously, it’s not a college class!)

Some places run online classes through the local Confucius Institute, which some people believe is kind of a forum for Chinese government propaganda. I just wanted to mention that. My local Chinese school seems very non-political.

Edited by stripe
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/25/2021 at 6:21 AM, Animula V. Blandula said:

Is this a Saturday school that meets once a week?

 

On 3/25/2021 at 6:21 AM, Animula V. Blandula said:

Also, in the school, would your child be in a classroom primarily/only with other CSL students

It is a Saturday school that meets for 32 weeks. I don't know much about it. A lot of information is in Chinese so I can't understand it. As far as I can tell, they have four types of classes: Pinyin and Pronunciation-Chinese Phonetics System, Simplified Chinese class for children of all ages, Bilingual classes for those whose primary language is English, and Adult Chinese class. The classes are split from K-9th grade but I am not sure what type the actual class would be. 

http://riversidehuaxia.org/

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, stripe said:

Some places run online classes through the local Confucius Institute, which some people believe is kind of a forum for Chinese government propaganda. I just wanted to mention that. My local Chinese school seems very non-political.

Thank you for letting me know! If you don't mind my asking, how old is your kiddo? Is he ok with the level of difficulty when it comes to learning Chinese? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The kid who takes this is in 11th grade and has been there for a few years. Most of his classmates are younger. They are using a new textbook this year that is all in Chinese. In normal years they do seem to coordinate with HSK/YCT testing,. I think he is okay with the difficulty, but this is kind of a “just for fun” class. It’s definitely been a good experience.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/24/2021 at 9:05 AM, JenJenQ said:

How soon would you say they need a tutor? I wanted to give us about 6 months before signing up for a tutor, just to give us time to see if it is a path we want to take. Thank you for the resources!

 

With the workbooks, how would you recommend it? Should my kids start at Volume 1 regardless at what grade level or age they are at? They are 6 years old and 9. 

We are a bilingual English/Spanish family, and Chinese is the foreign language for the youngest, now 10, (oldest did Japanese), with a goal of fluency. I would say to start with a tutor just to make sure to have the tones correct. That is not something you want to have to relearn down the road. Also, you can't just read Chinese using the pinyin because the phonetic system is different from English. My daughter has been doing Mandarin for a couple of years, although not consistently, and is conversational. We use LingoBus, which is a 1-1 tutoring platform. They have the main program, a pinyin program (to learn the phonetic system - many sounds are different from ours and not obvious when trying to read it), and a game-based group program. I started learning alongside her and integrating it in our daily routine. 

I've used several resources.

Someone above mentioned Skritter and Little Fox. Online, Little Fox has a whole set up with videos, books (printable), vocabulary flashcards, games, etc. We pretty much just watch the videos on the Roku and play the games. She knows some of the stories by heart now, lol!

She is using the workbooks mentioned above as well.

YoYo Chinese has great videos for tones. The way she describes and demonstrates them makes it easy. The first 3 lessons of each level are free, and geared mainly for adults, although my daughter has watched a couple with me.

"Fun Fun Elmo" is on YouTube. 

Miao Miao is on Amazon, and introduces one or two words or phrases per short episode. It is mostly in English and integrates the word.

People often mention using shows and programs to immerse. That is fine, but realize that the brain mostly blocks out what it doesn't know. But, if you do "guided listening," it helps a lot. We listen with a goal of hearing words we know and and trying to understand the conversation. For example, we've watched the series My Little Pony about a billion times on Netflix in both English and Spanish, and now are watching it in Mandarin. My daughter has picked up quite a bit of Mandarin since we already know the story. For example, she learned "ice cream" in LingoBus, and while watching MLP, figured out that Pinkie Pie's name is ice cream, lol. We've also figured out quite a few expressions as well. There are many many shows on Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube.

The key is using the language as you learn it. When we learned "I like/don't like" and several foods, I started Mandarin Morning and ask each other what we would like to eat and drink and put together breakfast. I also took some tutoring classes on italki so I could increase the vocabulary a bit and speak decently, lol. This is also the time we do guided listening of different programs (or just immerse with sounds when our brains get tired). As you learn more, you can incorporate more.

You can do the same with French. Learn, incorporate. My oldest took a detour from Japanese to do French for a year. But since she is dyslexic, having three Roman-based phonetic systems became a no-go and she switched back to Japanese. (She was older then.). My youngest wants to do German as well Chinese (I have some background in German), but I am waiting before adding in any written component since she is also dyslexic. When I think of it, we incorporate the little German I remember, but it isn't our focus right now (other than a few words/phrases to get around).

Oh, one more thing. I wouldn't choose based on what is popular, but by what you want to do. There is more stick-to-it-iveness when you actually want to do something. The going gets tough sometimes. If you want to do both, start with the hardest, which is Chinese, as it takes longer. When you get a good rhythm, you can even add French and learn alongside.

Have fun!

 

Edited by Renai
added info
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

My mom in California speaks Mandarin as a foreign language.  The majority of Chinese speakers in her region speak Cantonese.  The language statistics for California just say “Chinese” but it isn’t that simple. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I love everything about @Renai's detailed and helpful post, but wanted to offer some encouragement for trying to start without a tutor, especially if the tutor option is not affordable. We started learning without a tutor and I was able to teach my son how to pronounce things properly. He never had to re-learn anything, and - in fact - I ended up pulling him out of CSL classes at our local Chinese school because he was one of the the very few kids there with decent pronunciation, even though he was also the only one who started learning at home with a non-Mandarin speaking parent, without the assistance of a native speaker. To this day we laugh that one of the things he learned from that class is to speak Mandarin with an American accent. (If you know some Chinese, it's actually really hard to "turn off the tones" completely and switch to speaking without them.)

Like with any other language, before you jump in, it's a good idea to study the sound system, read detailed descriptions of how the sounds are produced in the mouth, listen to recordings, study with minimal pairs. If the parent is motivated and has limited financial resources, I believe they can do an excellent job learning and teaching these things. 加油!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Animula V. Blandula said:

I love everything about @Renai's detailed and helpful post, but wanted to offer some encouragement for trying to start without a tutor, especially if the tutor option is not affordable. We started learning without a tutor and I was able to teach my son how to pronounce things properly. He never had to re-learn anything, and - in fact - I ended up pulling him out of CSL classes at our local Chinese school because he was one of the the very few kids there with decent pronunciation, even though he was also the only one who started learning at home with a non-Mandarin speaking parent, without the assistance of a native speaker. To this day we laugh that one of the things he learned from that class is to speak Mandarin with an American accent. (If you know some Chinese, it's actually really hard to "turn off the tones" completely and switch to speaking without them.)

Like with any other language, before you jump in, it's a good idea to study the sound system, read detailed descriptions of how the sounds are produced in the mouth, listen to recordings, study with minimal pairs. If the parent is motivated and has limited financial resources, I believe they can do an excellent job learning and teaching these things. 加油!

I mentioned YoYo Chinese tone videos. They really are very helpful. I had decent tones after using them (before I got a tutor for myself, which I only used a few times), they are that good, and free. I just have trouble distinguishing between 2nd and 3rd tones sometimes when listening. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

@Renai

Thank you so much for your detailed response! I love the idea of Mandarin Mornings. I actually wanted to do something like this but was wondering how to do it if we don't even know how to make complete sentences in French or Chinese. It hadn't occurred to me to integrate it into our language, like how Spanish/English speakers speak Spanglish. 

TBH, our choice to learn Chinese came out of both "usefulness" and really wanting to learn it. When my kiddos where in PS, it wasn't possible so I didn't really bother entertaining the idea. Now that we are homeschooling I feel that we can actually do it now. Same with French. I took 4 years of it in high school. I could've done my 2 years and walked away but I enjoyed learning it, and I really want to jump into it again. When my son chose French, I got really excited. I had just felt that it was an either/or kind of deal and so I leaned more towards Chinese, since it felt that it was a language he was most likely to come across. When I asked him if he wanted to do both, he got really excited and is itching to start. Hopefully, down the road, we plan to learn German (my daughter's choice)  and/or American Sign Language.

 

@Animula V. Blandula

Thank you so much for the encouragement, advice, and resources. It has helped immensely and I feel ready to plunge into this exciting new adventure. 

 

I am having a hard time, though, deciding whether to learn the traditional script or the simplified?? I am guessing traditional is harder? I was thinking along the lines of what @Renai mentioned "If you want to do both, start with the hardest, which is Chinese, as it takes longer" and felt it may be applicable here too?? We can learn the hardest and so then the simplified script should be easier to learn? However, apparently resources are more common in simplified.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/24/2021 at 10:08 AM, maize said:

I have three children studying Chinese; it isn't an easy language to learn without a native tutor. My kids are all taking lessons from tutors on Preply.

My daughter also has a native tutor but i was wondering, how much work on the language do your kids do, in terms of hours per week? Tutor doesn’t seem to assign that much HW. I mean maybe she does and my little one is not doing it? 🤣it takes her minutes to do the homework for the session. I will look into those workbooks, I think I have the first one.

to the OP— I thought the CTY class was well done but of course $$$. It moved at a tad too fast a clip for my DD who doesn’t have at home support (even finding the page numbers of the Hw was hard for me). We will go back to it

Edited by madteaparty
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, JenJenQ said:

@Renai

Thank you so much for your detailed response! I love the idea of Mandarin Mornings. I actually wanted to do something like this but was wondering how to do it if we don't even know how to make complete sentences in French or Chinese. It hadn't occurred to me to integrate it into our language, like how Spanish/English speakers speak Spanglish. 

TBH, our choice to learn Chinese came out of both "usefulness" and really wanting to learn it. When my kiddos where in PS, it wasn't possible so I didn't really bother entertaining the idea. Now that we are homeschooling I feel that we can actually do it now. Same with French. I took 4 years of it in high school. I could've done my 2 years and walked away but I enjoyed learning it, and I really want to jump into it again. When my son chose French, I got really excited. I had just felt that it was an either/or kind of deal and so I leaned more towards Chinese, since it felt that it was a language he was most likely to come across. When I asked him if he wanted to do both, he got really excited and is itching to start. Hopefully, down the road, we plan to learn German (my daughter's choice)  and/or American Sign Language.

 

@Animula V. Blandula

Thank you so much for the encouragement, advice, and resources. It has helped immensely and I feel ready to plunge into this exciting new adventure. 

 

I am having a hard time, though, deciding whether to learn the traditional script or the simplified?? I am guessing traditional is harder? I was thinking along the lines of what @Renai mentioned "If you want to do both, start with the hardest, which is Chinese, as it takes longer" and felt it may be applicable here too?? We can learn the hardest and so then the simplified script should be easier to learn? However, apparently resources are more common in simplified.

Yes, resources are much more common and cheaper in simplified, although there are ways to get very good and affordable resources in traditional, too.

If you remain committed to it, you will eventually likely learn both, so it won't matter. I do believe from hearing many friends' experiences that you are right in guessing that learning simplified for people who can read traditional is much easier than going the other way round. I have also heard from people who can read both that they prefer to read traditional because the characters contain more information, so they allow their brain to disambiguate faster. Simplified is faster to handwrite, but these days most people type, so that is not of much significance.

I do love traditional characters and know that if my children ever want to study in a Chinese-speaking country, it will be Taiwan. I can't imagine us starting with simplified, but I believe you will be fine either way and I do admit it will be much cheaper and probably easisr to get materials in simplified.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, madteaparty said:

My daughter also has a native tutor but i was wondering, how much work on the language do your kids do, in terms of hours per week? Tutor doesn’t seem to assign that much HW. I mean maybe she does and my little one is not doing it? 🤣it takes her minutes to do the homework for the session. I will look into those workbooks, I think I have the first one.

My 15 year old spends about two hours per week on homework plus a 1 hour tutoring session. My ten and eight year olds currently just do tutoring; they're not ready to be independent with homework and my time is all allotted to other needs. That doesn't result in quick progress but I'm OK with that for now.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, madteaparty said:

is there any sort of guide/curating as to where to start with Little Fox? It seems a depository of resources. I’m not learning Chinese myself so even using Pleco took us a little while, so sorry if this is a silly question 

They have a Learning Guide on their website. It might be helpful to parents who are just getting started with the language.

Here's how I use LF with my little kid, who is just beginning to learn. I let him pick which show in Level 1 he wants to watch. (The single stories are great to start with, followed by the Big Green Forest.) We watch an episode and I pause to explain whenever I think they are using language that my son doesn't understand. After the episode, I let him do the quiz, which is a great way of reviewing the material. Sometimes my son asks to watch the episode again, this time without me interrupting. I let him. We go on like this for 20-30 minutes or however long he wants to go. The same words and phrases repeat over and over throughout the shows in Level 1, so there's a lot of built in repetition.

But you can use it any way you want, really. You can turn LF into a much more traditional curriculum and make use of the vocabulary lists and PDFs. You can focus on just reading or just listening, if that's where your kid needs the most practice.

If I were starting from scratch as a parent not knowing any Chinese, I'd probably read up on Chinese first before using LF with my child (e.g., I'd watch the Fluent Forever pronunciation videos, read about Mandarin phonology, basics of grammar, etc.)

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Animula V. Blandula said:

They have a Learning Guide on their website. It might be helpful to parents who are just getting started with the language.

Here's how I use LF with my little kid, who is just beginning to learn. I let him pick which show in Level 1 he wants to watch. (The single stories are great to start with, followed by the Big Green Forest.) We watch an episode and I pause to explain whenever I think they are using language that my son doesn't understand. After the episode, I let him do the quiz, which is a great way of reviewing the material. Sometimes my son asks to watch the episode again, this time without me interrupting. I let him. We go on like this for 20-30 minutes or however long he wants to go. The same words and phrases repeat over and over throughout the shows in Level 1, so there's a lot of built in repetition.

But you can use it any way you want, really. You can turn LF into a much more traditional curriculum and make use of the vocabulary lists and PDFs. You can focus on just reading or just listening, if that's where your kid needs the most practice.

If I were starting from scratch as a parent not knowing any Chinese, I'd probably read up on Chinese first before using LF with my child (e.g., I'd watch the Fluent Forever pronunciation videos, read about Mandarin phonology, basics of grammar, etc.)

Thanks, I didn’t see the guide. I think I need to make an account. This is exceedingly helpful. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

2 hours ago, Animula V. Blandula said:

Chinese, I'd probably read up on Chinese first before using LF with my child (e.g., I'd watch the Fluent Forever pronunciation videos, read about Mandarin phonology, basics of grammar, etc.

Thank you! Will start watching today.

I am having a harder time finding resources in traditional chinese. I have found a textbook with it's workbook (Chinese Made Easy) and it offers both Simplified and Traditional. Would it been confusing for the kids to use Little Fox, which is in simplified, and the traditional chinese workbook? Can they learn like this?

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, JenJenQ said:

 

Thank you! Will start watching today.

I am having a harder time finding resources in traditional chinese. I have found a textbook with it's workbook (Chinese Made Easy) and it offers both Simplified and Traditional. Would it been confusing for the kids to use Little Fox, which is in simplified, and the traditional chinese workbook? Can they learn like this?

Yes, they can learn like this. 🙂 I told my kids about simplified and traditional characters, and they haven't been confused. I know a lot of families who learn both simultaneously and it's fine.

We use Little Fox in simplified, but when I print out the show transcripts for my older son to read, I do convert them to traditional. The easiest way to get started with doing that is to use a browser add-on that does a pretty good job with conversion like the one I mentioned in a post above. Once you install it, you can just right-click on the page with the transcript and convert!

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, JenJenQ said:

 

Thank you! Will start watching today.

I am having a harder time finding resources in traditional chinese. I have found a textbook with it's workbook (Chinese Made Easy) and it offers both Simplified and Traditional. Would it been confusing for the kids to use Little Fox, which is in simplified, and the traditional chinese workbook? Can they learn like this?

I opted to go with simplified script because there are more resources and because there are more people who use it. They can learn traditional later if they are interested in doing so.

I wrestled with the decision a bit because I speak Japanese, which uses characters that are largely identical to Chinese traditional script, and because the simplified characters were derived from traditional characters.. It came down to simplified being the more practical to present at this point.

Kids don't have to learn everything all at once.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

What resources do you guys use for music?

Tbh, we don't watch much TV. We can go weeks without turning it on. But music is always played in our home, for hours on end. Are there any resources for adult and kids music (in Chinese and/or French)? The kiddos tend to avoid kids music and prefer adult. I think it's because they feel talked down since artists tend to use "babyish" tones for kids songs. I recently bought a cd for kids music in French and they immediately didn't like it because of that. They were, however, excited when they realized Old McDonalds was playing since they recognized it pretty quickly, so I see the importance of kids songs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, JenJenQ said:

What resources do you guys use for music?

We are like you, heavy into music and multiple languages playing all the time. Some we do not understand. Music really helps you understand the language.

DD and I are heavy into K-drama and K-pop so my C-Drama and C-pop knowledge is very limited. But I used the same method I dipped my toes into the world of K-Drama and K-pop and listen to something called OST (Original Sound tracks), the songs original to dramas. One of my favorite C-Dramas is an e-sports drama called GoGoSquid. 

This is the title track of that drama and the lyrics are Pinyin and English

This is the entire playlist of songs.

Chinese dramas or C-Dramas have everything from historical to contemporary genres so look for those. Youtube is the resource we use. Also, you can find many fan made videos with both the pinyin and english lyrics so it is easy to learn. DD and I learn to read Korean like that.

As for C-pop, I know almost nothing except there is Mandopop, Cantopop, Taiwanese pop and even Singapore's version of C-pop. Many of the pop singers cross over to the OST's in Korea. I imagine the same thing should be true of China.

For French, I play again from youtube. My understanding spoken or sung  French is very weak (working on that) than reading or writing. So I just play from youtube and listen as I go about my day.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...