Posts Tagged ‘japanese’

The wrong words

September 27, 2011

When I was little, I was fascinated by the idea of different languages.  One of my kindergarten (pre-school) teachers knew some Maori, and I have a very clear memory of sitting next to her in the sunshine, on a big blue gym mat, demanding to know the Maori word for everything I could think of.  She was very patient with me!

One of Pearl’s birthday presents, intended for the whole family, was a book of the “first 1,000 words” in Japanese – a picture book, with labels in both kana and the Roman alphabet.  We thought it would be a fun thing for all of us to share.

Tonight, Babess chose it as her “story” before bed.  “Great!” I said, “We can learn some Japanese words together!  Let’s pick a page.”

“Yeah!” she enthused, clapping her hands.  “I want the horsey one.”

“Ok… here’s the farm page.  Nojo.  And horse is uma.”

She frowned.  “Let’s play I-spy, Mummy.  I find things.”  We have some other books where you have to find things in the pictures.

“Yes, let’s do that.  Here’s the first one to find – a haystack!  See the little picture here?  Can you find the big one?  In Japanese it’s called, um, hoshikusa no yama.”

She shoved the book away and said, “No! You not doing that! You keep saying the wrong words!”  She was very very cross.  This was apparently not what she had expected at all.  She stormed off into her room and returned with Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers.  “You read dis one.  And you no say da wrong words!”

So fierce.  Perhaps we’ll leave the Japanese for a little while…

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Let’s work together

December 10, 2010

In a conversation with Pearl’s teacher this week, we heard that Pearl is more-or-less stuck at a level in her mathematics.  It’s an interesting conundrum, because Pearl claims that the maths is too easy and she wants harder work – but her teacher says that when she tries to give her harder work, Pearl can’t do it and gets upset.

We know that Pearl tends to be a perfectionist and is risk-averse – she would rather not answer a question than take the chance of getting it wrong.  She definitely has the brains, just not the confidence.  Learning a new skill, or taking something up a level, requires intensive effort on her part and the part of whoever is teaching/coaching her – lots of reassurance, patience, repetition and encouragement.  Sooner or later there is a “tipping point” or “a-ha!” moment, and all of a sudden it’s easy for her, she picks up confidence and we’re away laughing.

The exception seems to be languages – she says Japanese is “fun but hard” (exactly what schooling is meant to be, in my opinion – you’re learning, and enjoying it), and has begged me to re-start our Latin lessons, which have been on hold during the renovation chaos.  She really loves the work involved in learning a language, and doesn’t seem to suffer from confidence problems with them.

Back to maths.  With some advice from friends, I decided to ask the school for the “harder” worksheets and skill sets that she’s been struggling with, so I can give her the one-to-one attention she needs, at home over the holidays.  I was a bit worried, though, that she would be resistant to doing school-work over summer, or even feel like it was a punishment – certainly not my intention.  So I asked her what she thought.

Her eyes lit up, she rubbed her hands in glee,  and gasped, “That would be SO! FUN!”

I suppose it’s alright then.  Summer Maths Camp, here we come!

© UpsideBackwards 2010.


Excellent news

July 23, 2010

Pearl and I were chatting on the way home from school this afternoon, about this and that.  We’d been to the supermarket as well, and were nearly home.  Suddenly, she said, “Mummy, I learnt some Japanese today!”


“Yeah, four kids from our class were allowed to go into the Japanese class, and I got picked!”

She is so thrilled, I couldn’t quite believe it wasn’t the first thing she told me.  After just one lesson, she can say “Hello, I am Pearl”, “K— is the teacher” and “Good morning”.

At least, she says she can, and I have to take her word for it…

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

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