Archive | August 2012

Pushy Parents Pay the Price

One of my favourite TV series ever, The Fast Show. This screen shot from a skit called ‘Competitive Dad’ (watch this episode here). An extreme version of what many parents do without thinking: push the rules a little too hard. Hands up, guilty as charged! It’s not all cooperation and progress in my house as I try to steer my daughter to learn to read (perhaps the most important skill a parent can give their bilingual child). Despite all my experience within the classroom, I pushed one point a little too hard and the result was a drop in motivation and a feeling of ‘can’t do’. What happened? Read More…

Alphablocks Rock!

You are trying hard, your efforts are paying off. Your sprog is starting to read, or has remembered the phonic alphabet, or is getting to grips with their pencil or one of the many small hurdles that homeschooling parents face. You can use sites like Starfall to help bring some pizzazz to the party, and for the extra phonic boost there are the Alphablocks from the BBC! Read More…

THAT old fossil?

Want a 10 minute activity that is messy, squishy fun and a good chance to use some ‘out of the everyday routine’ language? Great! So did I. I had used this activity years ago at a summer school. It went down a treat. I was reminded of it after watching an episode of Charlie & Lola (BBC kids TV) where the characters find a real fossil. Just type ‘coffee grounds fossil’ into a google search and you will hit many pages with the same recipe. To save you the great trouble of doing so, just tap ‘read more’ and get it here. Read More…

Practice makes perfect

The Jolly Phonics system, which I have been using since it was suggested by father of two Chris Drew, is helping my daughter to progress with her writing and reading skills. I have been quite effusive about that over the last few weeks. Each new letter / blend is introduced in the student’s book with a review of the previous letters. Further practice of the target letter / blend is provided in the workbook. I have mentioned before that we practice for 10 minutes a day in the morning. There are a few points that I have found helpful when doing this and also some resources that are worth sharing. Read More…

Tales from the GaijinPot

A very interesting thread on the GaijinPot discussion board about raising children bilingually/bi-culturally here. For the uninitiated,  gaijin = foreigner, hoikuen = nursery/pre-school, hiragana = one of the Japanese alphabets, Rakuten = sales website, Jiji/Baba = Grandpa/Grandma. I have compiled a few quotes from the thread. For the record, that web page is for public view and I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong by quoting people, but you never know. Read More…

10 Minutes

At the beginning of one of my favourite films (Dune) comes the sentence ‘A beginning is a very important time’. It’s different from the book version which reads ‘A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct’. Whether you prefer the book or the film (or perhaps for some reason you dislike both?) you cannot, as another theme in the story goes, fail to see the truth of the idea. On a sadly earthbound level, we must consider the way we ask our young children to begin to follow our ideas. Too pushy or too loose and we run the risk of them losing interest from the beginning.

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It’s on the cards

I took the plunge and bought the Jolly Phonics card set to go with my pupil’s books and work books. I read somewhere that raising bilingual children was not cheap. They may be right, but a little investment now may save a lot of time and effort in the future. That’s the plan, anyway. So what’s in the box? Read More…