Mandarin Kindergarten Update #3

I’m just amazed every day how much Mandarin Samantha’s learning.  She’s saying new words every day, she’s starting to read the characters, and her pronunciation sounds really good to me.

But, I’m begging to see how difficult it’s going to be for me to help her with her homework.  They are having an assessment beginning next week. The district requires these assessments.  They have already started doing them in the English class.   Each child  sits with the teacher and be assessed on both knowing the vocabulary as well as being able to read.

I wasn’t worried until I found out about the reading part.  Sam knows some of the characters, but certainly not the list it was recommended we help them study.  We have flash cards we can print out, and I have to admit, I haven’t finished printing them out and cutting them and organizing them all yet.  But I do have quite a few.

Just making the flash cards has been eye opening.  The idea is to not have any English on the cards.  So I have the character on one side and I write the word in Chinese off my cheat sheet, then Samantha is supposed to draw something that represents the word under my Chinese word.  Without the drawing, I have no idea what it is.  I have no idea if she’s pronouncing things correctly.   And I have no idea how one goes about learning the characters.  I can’t help her sound them out like I do with English words.

I’ve just been spending 10 or so minutes a day going over them and she seems to be learning some, but I feel very useless.  I’m just the paper turner (and the one who makes sure she can’t see the drawing through the paper, the little cheater).

Basically, I’m freaking out a little.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I do know a few people who speak, but it’s not super convenient for them to help her regularly.

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5 Responses to “Mandarin Kindergarten Update #3”

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  1. Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli
    Twitter: kristinglas

    Here’s my 2 cents, take it or leave it- do your best in Mandarin but focus your efforts in English. She needs to learn English letters and words most.
    Also it’s kindergarten, they are just learning character recognition to start. Is there a teacher supply store to buy Mandarin flash cards for English parents? If not, there’s a business idea.
    p.s. I just heard about iTranslate, an iPhone app. Haven’t check it out yet.
    Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli´s last post ..Feel Good Friday: The Twitter Edition.

    • Jessica Anne says:

      My plan was to focus on the English, but I think I’m freaking out now that the word “test” has come up. Darn good student complex, doesn’t go away apparently. I do have some English-Mandarin flash cards and one for my iPhone, but I’ll have to look at iTranslate.

  2. The Drama Mama
    Twitter: poopscoopinmama

    Surely you are not the only English speaking parents in the school? Have you communicated with the teacher that this is a struggle for you because you don’t speak Mandarin yourself?

    I like the idea of Mandarin Flash Cards for English parents. I have seen an iPhone commercial showing the “learn a new language” thing too and they are doing the symbols in the commercials. It couldn’t hurt to check it out. I remember you writing a post on why you chose a Mandarin kindergarten, and all of your reasons are fantastic. If this is not going to be a permanent education for her, I wouldn’t sweat it too much. Just do your best, and there’s always the “you teach me” method where you could make it a game and she teaches you how to read the symbols, too.

    She’s gonna be just fine. I promise.
    The Drama Mama´s last post ..A Hallmark Moment

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I’m not the only English speaking parent. I was all good until I heard the word “test” and then my good student inner child started freaking out. I have some flash cards and I’ll have to check out the iPhone apps. You’re right, she’ll be fine. Thanks!

  3. May I suggest (helps you learn Chinese (Mandarin) faster by using flashcards with pictures), thanks