I’m Turning Japanese

Posted: September 29, 2010 in Aengus, Noah
Tags: ,

Yesterday was whip-cracking day, and I’d call it mostly successful. The boys asked me to push them and I did, but there was little resistance and no fighting, so it was all good.

The only problem we’re (I’m) still having is getting into a daily routine. Yesterday was pretty relaxed until after dinner (which was late for us, as I had been at work), when Aengus and I did some math together (subtraction with borrowing, which he caught on to very quickly). In my fantasies, one kid helps with dinner each day and one cleans up afterwards . . . but we’ll have to work up to that. Baby steps.

Aengus and I never got around to phonics work, so there’s room for improvement there. Still, it worked out nicely that when Noah got on the XBox to play with his friend, Aengus and I were able to do some academic work together. The ultimate goal for this time in our day will be to also do some science and history activities and read together. Baby steps.

After Noah finished his turn on the XBox and Aengus got back on to play with his friend, Noah approached me about finally setting to work. It was 11:30. At night.

Reminding myself that this is my job (and that my idea of a convenient time to do academics is irrelevant), I turned off Jon Stewart and dragged out the books. First up: probability. We used the Basic, Not Boring workbook to get us started and watched the first of the Khan Academy series on the subject. Noah looked bored to tears, but he knows I’m insisting on more math work. And although this book is for younger students, we needed to start somewhere, right?

Math didn’t take long, though, and we were soon working on Japanese. Thanks to lots of recommendations and advice from fellow homeschoolers, we’re trying several resources to learn the language. I’m waiting for my copy of the Berlitz Essential Japanese program to arrive (and a workbook to help us learn Kana), but until then, I discovered a fabulous workbook at Barnes and Noble:
Japanese in 10 Minutes a Day
. Between the 10 Minutes a Day workpages and the books we’ve already checked out from the library, we were zooming through some lessons last night. I told him about mnemonic devices and we came up with a few to help us (study skills). We got him registered with Live Mocha, so now we can both do those lessons together.

He stated that we need a set time each day to work on learning Japanese and asked that I wake him up at one o’clock and get to work with him by three. And I am totally on board with this request. But I’m also okay with the schedule we kept yesterday: sleep late, relax, eat late, work, go to bed late. I’m willing to adjust my own body rhythm to accommodate the kids’ prime learning times — as long as I still get my eight hours at some point.

We also talked a lot about the trip he wants to take for his 18th birthday. It seems he still wants to bring Shelby — and not Aengus. 😦 I told him tough tooties, we are NOT going halfway around the world and experiencing a completely different and utterly fascinating culture without him. It’s the learning adventure of a lifetime for all of us. Besides, I said, he’ll be two years older than he is now. He’ll be more mature by then.

And we talked about how much this trip will cost. He was shocked when I told him what I was budgeting (hell, I’m still in shock, too). I hope he’ll help me find ways to cut the costs, like lowering his lodging standards a bit and opting for making our own meals when we can. But he did tell me that all he wants for Christmas is a Nintendo 3DS, and any other gifts can be cash for the trip. And all I’m asking for is  a vacuum cleaner and money for the Japan fund. We’ve been filling the piggy bank for a month now, and searching out every penny in the sofa or on the sidewalk. And you may laugh, but we’ve also decided to create a thermometer-like visual aid to gauge our savings progress.

I’ll be adding a PayPal donation button to this blog, for anyone who would like to contribute to this huge undertaking. I won’t start begging for handouts, but if you ever feel compelled to assist in the fundraising effort to give the boys this incredible cultural experience, we would be ever so appreciative. 😉

But first, Noah will have to show me how to do it.

  1. Stephanie says:

    Let me know how Live Mocha works out for you, as I think Sarah needs something additional for Spanish, and she didn’t click with Rosetta Stone. Awesome post!

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