Thursday, August 4, 2011

Foreign Language

I have a confession to make: I spent 6 years in Okinawa, Japan and never really learned the lesson. I know right.  And I love the Japanese culture, the food, the clothing, their television shows even though I couldn't understand what they were saying they had alot of funny shows, the island, it all made a lasting impression on me. So when we got back to the States last year, I was determined not to lose what understanding I had and was going to teach the kids how to read the Japanese Language. Well the stress of coming back to the states, buying a new house, visiting family and friends we hadn't seen in over 6 years kinda took up alot of our time and was a bit overwhelming. So I put those lessons on the back burner, hey isn't that why we homeschool, to fit our needs and this stressed out mamma needed a break!!!!!!

Well I was talking to a friend who is stationed there AGAIN, without me, the nerve right!!!! And she was talking about how she was going to KUMON over there. I didn't even know adults could go, if only I had known!!! Anyway, she told me about how they were teaching her son, I would adopt him in a heart beat if she would let me!!!, and her how to read Hiragana and Katakana by associations each character with a picture and she said it really worked. I thought seriously could it be that simple?! I had tried so many programs aimed at teaching an English speaking person to learn Japanese and NONE of them focused on Hiragana or Katakana first. So of course I went to Barnes and Noble to check out their Foreign Language section and this is what I came up with: Japanese Hiragana and Katakana for Beginners. The method that's helped thousands in the U.S. and Japan learn Japanese successfully. The only reason I got this was because each character taught is assosicated with a picture. Here is an example

The second character on this Hiragana chart is "i" pronounced like the ea in easy. So in the picture it has two coconut trees behind the two strokes and in front of that is : Hawa( picture the strokes and the coconut trees making up the word Hawaii. Make sense, if not head to the book store! Now in my head I have connected with the "i" character, Hawaii so I know how to pronounce it and ever time I see that character I think of the ending of Hawaii. And it has really helped us. In just one week, we now have down the first two lines of characters in the chart above. (We did not use this chart, I'm just showing it as an example) Which is amazing!!!!!

Because I was around the language for 6 years I don't have any problems with pronouncing it. But if you have never been around the Japanese langauge some of the CDs by Judy Mahoney would be very helpful and for adults I found Japanese in 10 minutes a Day useful as well!!! You will also want to get your hands on some books that have Hiragana and Katakana in them. My two favorite are 1st 1000 Words in Japanese by Usborne and Japanese Picture Dictionary by Berlitz Kids.

One of the greatest things that handicapped me in learning to speak Japanese is because I depended on Romanjii. Romanjii is good to use in learning how to pronounce words in Japanese but don't cheat yourself and use it in place of Hiragana and Katakana!!! Also you would be amazed at what you will find if you google teach children Japanese. That is how I found alot of my links under Places I Go in my right side column!!! Feel free to ask away, I will be more than happy to share any of the resources I have found.

And I think that wraps up my curriculum review for this week. Whew!!!! If you missed anything so far this week you can check out what we use for History/Geography, Math, English and Bible Study. I am not including a review for Science because it is the first year we will be using it, so I'm not sure how we will like it just yet. And of course don't forget to check out everyone else who is linking up at the Heart of The Matter's Not Back to School Blog Hop Curriculum Week. Happy Homeschooling everyone and I'll see you next week for School Room Week, guess I've got a long to do list for the weekend!!!!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I'm stopping by from the Heart of the Matter "not" back to school curriculum blog hop. Very interesting about the Japanese language lessons!