Just wanted to share some of my new discoveries for teaching kids Chinese at home: the QiaoHu subscription for my 3-year old learning Chinese and a neat free printables and teaching ideas site by a mommy blogger in HK.
QiaoHu 巧虎 subscription
Each month they send a DVD about 25 minutes long, with a variety of songs, rhymes, stories and introduction of toys (included in some of the months) that teach good habits, manner and practices for young kids. We started watching the DVDs we inherited from a church friend, mostly to distract Toddler while I fed the twins but it has been surprisingly educational for him. (Search YouTube for some examples.) He watches almost daily, but he doesn’t get much more screen time, other than a few movies mostly about cars and their truck friends. You know, those ones.
As a example, June 2016’s box the DVD has theme of about categorizing; each activity or song connects to sorting and categorizing. But there is also some Chinese-Taiwanese cultural aspects to it like there is a Tang dynasty poem put to song, which is even difficult content even for me. In the past months they discussed Dragon Boat festival and Chinese New Year etc. Also I saw one once on YouTube for elementary kids about using the special hole-in-the-ground toilets they have in Taiwan, and Toddler will never see that in real life here in America. But it’s kind of interesting to talk about the different cultures and ways of life. The DVD also has a segment about not hitting other kids when playing and how to tell other kids to wait while they’re still playing with a coveted toy.
Each month there’s an activity book or workbook with stickers, with content similar to the DVD with the stories in paper form instead of video form. It’s all in Chinese, so I actually can’t read 100% but I feel like it’s a good practice for me to read because the subject matter is basic.
Then some months they have little toys, a little XiaoHua (QiaoHu’s baby sister) to take care of, a pretend cash register that makes sounds etc. Each year’s program has slightly different varieties of toys, some will repeat, others will not.
This is this school year’s toy lineup, just so you can see that some toys will repeat (car, XiaoHua, fishing game):
I began subscribing in June, so I will only get the last few months of the previous 15-16 calendar.
The Qiaohu agents wanted me to advance to the next level for 3 to 4 year olds in September, and at first, I didn’t want to mostly because I only wanted to subscribe to one version per year and thought to obtain one whole year’s worth of materials from Yoyo so I could reuse materials for the twins but I do plan advance him now. If there is new content later, then I guess I will have to subscribe to two versions, one for Toddler and the other for the Twins.
For new subscribers, I would recommend starting in September so you will not get repeating material, basically getting on their schedule of school year vs calendar year. However, I know my kid has enjoyed having new materials this summer especially since we’re homebound with so many littles and with the Texas heat outside. He’s still learned a lot from each month.
There are materials from infant (baby) up to 5th grade, the subject matter getting more academic as you get more advanced. I plan to use the program as long as Toddler has interest because a friend shared with me some of the materials her kindergartner is using, and I think they are all pretty well made: there’s a talking pen that reads stories and more complex puzzles and games. They introduce Zhuyin, which is good if you plan to use reading materials from Taiwan later on. I’m probably going to use Hanyu Pinyin with Toddler and will just try to use the Zhuyin for my own reading aloud to him.
The subscription costs $308 for 12 months or $168 for 6. It is pricey but it’s a luxury I’m willing to pay for, just because I haven’t found good Chinese language materials that are age appropriate and Toddler is very close to native ability, though we use a ton of Chinglish. I found to continue his progression, he needed materials made specifically for native speakers. Yes, it’s SUPER cheesy and kind of silly but it really is one of the best programs I’ve come across that’s widely available.
Here’s the website, but keep in mind it’s in Chinese for those of you like me who struggle with characters.
I’m super excited to find this as teaching Chinese to my kids is super important to me. Part of the reason why we are seriously considering homeschool is because we can incorporate our faith and the Chinese language and other things important to our family that are not addressed in the public school. A discussion for another day.
If you are interested in subscribing, please message me and I’ll forward you the contact information you need. Let me know if you have any questions.
*I would totally appreciate it if you added me as a referral. My kids will earn a complimentary gift from Benesse. My Referral ID 2600018310
Qiaohu is also known as Shimajiro in Japanese is you are looking for the Japanese equivalent. I found a Tomy Qiaohu car that way.
Fortune Cookie Mom
I came across Fortune Cookie Mom by way of Facebook because she is probably a friend of a friend of a friend. We have a lot in common, both of educator background and advocates of homeschooling.
Since subscribing to her newsletter, I’ve found her free printables really well done. I will definitely be using them in my future homeschool if we choose to go that route or even use the materials for quiet books and rainy day activities. Please go check them out.
Fortune Cookie Mom website: