With the uncertainty surrounding COVID, homeschooling is now being considered a option for many families, becoming more mainstream than ever before. A lot of mom friends have expressed to me their concerns for being able to homeschool. I would like to reassure you and any other parents out there, that homeschooling is not only a necessary option for those at high-risk, or those like me who just don’t want to deal with the back-and-forth of government mandates and shutdowns, but it is an ideal option for those wanting an individualized education for their children.
If you are a bilingual parent, realize you have a skillset that is not commonly found in public schools (except for dual immersion, which for some kids is not very effective, there are many gaps of language ability) and that your children can benefit from your one-on-one instruction in an true bilingual learning environment.
As you are debating the option of homeschooling, see the opportunities that come with homeschooling, not the limitations. I see a lot of panic, worry and fear directing parents’ decisions about their children’s education and that is a disservice to our children. Change your mindset, be open to new possibilities and commit to making it work, rather than feeling guilty for your children’s loss of “normal” traditional school experiences or lack of socialization. Let’s quit trying to compare the two avenues of education, and just accept and even celebrate that they are different and both have benefits.
One example is to use this time to improve your children’s language abilities in Chinese. You know that your children’s minority language skills have often been put on the altar to pursue competency and stay on grade level in subjects taught in English. This year, while very uncertain and stressful, is a gift and you can tap into that gift through self-paced learning, that is, homeschool. Homeschooling is all about the gift of time and nurturing relationships. Optimal language development happens most naturally with time and in community that uses the languages, or in the case of COVID times, healthy familial relationships. This could be a great opportunity for your family!
They sent me these learning magazines Xiao Xing Xing 小行星 for this review:
This magazine series is compatible with a reading pen. I was not sent one, but it works similar to other reading pens we have used. One unique feature of this magazine, is the ability to use reading stickers on several of the story pages so that the child can listen to the audio version of the story independently.
This would be a great option for working parents who still want their children to have the opportunity to hear native Chinese during the workday but are unable to physically be at home or are busy working from home.
The magazine also comes with a CD.
There is also a sticker workbook and a small English picture book that is probably not necessary for bilingual children raised in America.
This magazine series uses zhuyin (注音) so that if you are like me, unable to read all Chinese characters but can decipher the phonetics of zhuyin, this is a great option. (Qiaohu only has zhuyin in chengzhangban and higher levels meant for the children to use/practice. The lower levels do not have zhuyin, as they assume that children are pre-reading or unable to read on their own and would require a parent/guardian to read it.)
I personally am still going to subscribe to Qiaohu because I think with the levels we already own, it’s nice to build the library of materials. However, if I were looking for a new subscription, this would definitely be a contender. Qiaohu lightly covers Tang poems and zhuyin which are not “necessary” subjects for American Chinese (ABC) children to learn, but Xiao Xing Xing covers more of a STEM style which has a broader appeal. I would say it’s on par with Kang Xuan.
If you have additional questions about this or other educational magazines for children in Chinese, please contact Nicole or Joyce at ABCD. Try to talk to them in person over the phone rather than relying on websites which are very basic and don’t give enough information to assess your family and child’s educational needs.
Nicole or Joyce