Tuesday, January 20, 2009

studying mandarin

one of the reasons we prefer singapore to be our home away from home is the quality of education here. i always say that in singapore, my kids can have world class education for just a few dollars every month. and to us, that means a lot.

however, one of the challenges that the kids face in studying here is mandarin. kids here are required to study a mother tongue language. and the only languages offered are mandarin, tamil, and malay. since neither of the three options are our mother tongue, hubby and i selected mandarin for our kids.

it's really very challenging not only to my kids, but to me as well, because none of us speak, write, read, and understand a word of chinese. so, to survive this subject, i need to get a chinese tutor for miggy. last year, i spent about an average of US$130 a month just for the chinese tutor. and that's really a lot considering i spend only a few dollars every month for his school tuition fees.

actually, we do have an option to bail out of this subject. i can apply for an exemption from the mother tongue subject. but, i believe that it would be beneficial in the future for my kids to study mandarin.

for this year, i have decided not to get a chinese tutor for miggy. both to save on the monthly expenses and to make miggy more responsible in studying chinese. last year, miggy was too dependent on the chinese tutor that, i found out, he would excuse himself from his chinese homeworks on days when the tutor is not coming to our house!

pen and tablet

anyway, i am more confident this year because i already know which resources he can use to aide him in studying chinese. aside from the available activity/revision books in a popular bookstore here, i've also invested in a stylus and tablet for the computer. with this, i can easily write the characters from miggy's homework and books to capture it in ms word. then, easily translate it to english. last year, without this tablet, i will have to go through each page of miggy's books to find the hanyu pinyin (alphabet) equivalent of the chinese characters from his assignments, then translate the hanyu pinyin to english. i swear, you wouldn't want to try this hahaha i used to spend 3-4 hours a day just to translate a 1-page homework!


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