Homeschool Chinese: Good Morning, China

This past week, my kiddos have been working with a children's book by Hu Yong Yi titled, Good Morning, China. It is a delightful short story describing how China's people "celebrate" their mornings with activities in the park. As you turn each page, the author describes the variety of activities taking place on any given morning.

Some children are playing badmitten. A few children are exercising. Several children are playing a game. Though it is written in English, our teacher translated each page as it provided the perfect way to help teach the vocabulary of their lesson:

Some    一些 A Few    一些 Many   许多 Several    几个

He first read the story aloud and then discussed what the story was about. The kids were asked to summarize in their words what the story was about. Utilizing the pictures and context clues, they were able to translate characters or words that were unfamiliar to them.

Shawn provided them with a vocabulary sheet for these new words - using both pinyin and the simplified Chinese character. He also provided us with an audio recording he made. For homework, they were asked to utilize the tools provided to listen to the story and practice reading it themselves until they could read it fluently.

We really enjoyed the illustrations in this book. To our delight, the last page unfolds to reveal the whole picture.

Additionally, he asked both kids to write their own story following this same pattern. This is a great teaching strategy for foreign language learning.

They were encouraged to choose a location different than a park - though a location with which they were familiar - perhaps a beach, airport, or shopping mall. Utilizing the same vocabulary and sentence structure, they were both able to compose a similar story (90-120 characters in length).

They reviewed the story in class the following session. In the image below (an excerpt from my son's work), a few characters have been highlighted in red or blue to indicate an error. Below each error, he was asked to make a correction. With the corrected version of their story, they are now working to create a similar story of their own. With their completed story, they will read aloud their story utilizing illustrations or photographs to create a multimedia project they can share with others.


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Hi Eva,
It is great to hear you are having such fun with this! We are just about to get our feet wet learning Chinese. My six-year-old daughter has been begging to learn Chinese for two or three years now, and I think the BetterChinese curriculum will work. My main question at this point is whether to go with simplified or traditional (I assume they mean characters). Do you have any suggestion for that? I am having trouble finding contact info on the main site. We are also homeschoolers, by the way.

Eva Varga

Eva Varga

Nihao Maria, Learning another language is a very rewarding experience. It does take a lot of consistent effort, however. I applaud you and your daughter for taking it on. We chose to go with simplified characters (you are correct) because it is the standard writing form employed in the mainland of China. The traditional form is mainly used in Taiwan and Hong Kong. We are also non-heritage speakers and so to be honest, simplified just seemed easier. Now that we have been on this journey for 8+ years, I find that it is harder to find materials in simplified, however. What you ultimately decide will depend upon your goals for your daughter. I wish you all the best! :)

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