Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Fun Part

This is turning out to be a busy time of the year, and it's getting hard to fit everything in. (Music, reading, Japanese - it all takes time). For B, though, we have hit a lot of the fun things. Last weekend was his Japanese school's sports day. He got a ribbon in the sprint, fell during the monkey race, ate a doughnut in the doughnut eating race, and generally had a good day. He said, "it's a good thing we're Japanese so we get to do these things". In class, they made Mother's Day gifts and are learning new songs.

My friend got me all panicked though. She went to a seminar about teaching your child a second language, where she was told that for a child to achieve native fluency (not bilingualism) 20% of their time needs to be in the target language. It was recommended that parents draw up a timetable of the week and, in two hour chunks, record which language is the dominant language for each time period. B is at around 6 hours a week. Most of his input is in little bits here and there.

So I've increased his screen time, which he enjoys, and he's watching more Japanese kids' videos. (Mostly Pocoyo on YouTube). I got a few more books from the library, which I read to him. He can do worksheets, too, but I try to limit this because he seems a bit young to actually learn anything from them. A worksheet does give me a bit of structure to our practice though. We also do flash cards.

Now that he is finishing kindergarten, I do feel a bit disappointed that he's not fluent. Not that I expect him to have done more, but I feel like I could have tried harder or focused on it more. Even so, I'm not signing him up for as much Japanese summer camp as I could - so I'm the one making this choice.

I am going to sign myself up for a Japanese class though. During the summer, I think I can take a weeklong class. I'm lucky to have summers mostly off.

So he's still having fun with what he is doing. I think it's going to get harder as he gets older because his skills are not keeping up with the other kids' and he also wants to continue music. I'm restricting other activities to summer camps so that he doesn't get overprogrammmed, but he doesn't have as much time as the other kids and he doesn't have parents who are either fluent in Japanese or are musical so he really does have to do everything the long way.

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