I am in a bit of a fix now. I am so haphazard in my lessons with Sonshine that I don't even know what I'm doing nor do I feel he's learning anything new. Right now, we are just doing assessment books. But that's mainly revision and sometimes he needs to be taught before he can work on the books properly- especially for Mandarin.
That's why this post is born. I am trying to sort out my thoughts here. I find I think better when I am blogging- or writing it down.
For Mandarin, there are a few areas I want to tackle; writing (not just spelling but also composing sentences), vocabulary, Hanyu Pinyin, comprehension and oral. I know there are alot more, but that's overloading my plate already. While I know what are the areas I want to work on but, my problem is I don't know How. Here are some of my possibilities:
1) I read that the most traditional way of teaching writing is using 扑部 ( Sorry, I don't know if I'm using the right term). I can see why so. I think it is a reasonable way to teach writing (and word recognition too). It gives good visuals to the child; how the words can have the same 扑部 but form different words and meanings.
I could supplement 扑部 methodology with these visual aids I own which means I can incorporate some fun learning.
2) Or I could teach by theme. He learns to write the words within a particular theme like body parts, things in the house, school etc. I think this is good way too because it helps in learning new words more meaningfully.
3) Or I could rely on this other assessment book. I like this because it is a quick way to teach writing. The lessons are planned in such a way that it builds on each other, the words he learn can eventually write in sentences. Good way to learn sentence building too.
1) I could use the famous SWKD. I like it because the lessons have been nicely planned out for me. Each lesson is built on the previous ones therefore enabling the child to read in sentences and later paragraphs. I also like that Sonshine can learn a lot of words in a short time.
2) Again, I could use thematic approach. I can teach vocabulary by things in bedroom, classroom, playground etc. I think thematic is good because it helps him to compartmentalise the words into different categories. Again, hopefully that would be helpful in his oral.
I have no doubt how i want to teach this. I'll use this as the base of my lessons.
And do alot of assessment books! HA!
I reckon there is no other way to practise comprehension than to work on assessment books?
I bought an oral assessment book and notice that most of the picture exercises go by theme like a picture of a classroom, living room, birthday parties etc. That made me realised it is important for Sonshine to know the words relating to each scenarios.
Next, comes the big picture question. Do i use different approach for each areas or use same approach for all areas. Like I could use thematic approach for all areas. For example, he could learn to new words (vocab), write words (writing), hanyu pinyin and read comprehension passages all relating to a birthday party. But that means alot of homework at my end. I have to source out the related themes under each category- ok that thought is making me tired already. And if do use the all thematic approach, it means alot of things have to go like SWKD and my other teaching aids- what a waste of money.
But if i use all different approaches, would that confuse the boy? Yet, I think it is also a quick way to up his vocabulary if he learns writing say relating to body parts, while he learns vocab relating to the zoo and so on. The good is, I have everything planned out for me. No homework is needed on my part (ooo, that sounds SO good).
Lastly, my greatest challenge of all. How do I teach all these systematically when I've to consider other subjects as well? And I only have about 20 minutes tops with him everyday (not willing to compromise anything else).
*Shrug* I don't know.
And the morale of my story? Don't buy too many assessment books and teaching aids. You'll end up more confuse than ever! That's where I am right now! And I haven't even talk about English too!