Mandarin MOM Blog

Tour Pass - Shanghai

Tour Pass - Shanghai

As many of you know from our latest social media posts, I recently visited Shanghai, China for their “China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair!” or CCBF 2019. What an experience, let me tell you. There is just SO MUCH to write about, where do I start?   Visiting China? What to know, before you go! For starters, my son is learning Chinese and I am not. Actually, other than my p’s and q’s I can’t hold my own, making every day a new adventure! English speakers in China are few and far between. I found, anyone under the age of...

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Bilingual Books for our Immersion Kids

Bilingual Books for our Immersion Kids

Growing up, I began learning French in elementary school; in middle school and high-school I choose to take Spanish.  Mind you these were a 1 hour class every few days.  I never ended up using much of either language beyond learning it. Today, I would argue that, I remember more random French from elementary school than basic Spanish from middle and high-school.  Yet while traveling and being exposed to Spanish, I do feel like it comes back to me faster.  Where I am going with this? That familiar saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”.  I really think...

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Reading at Home

Reading at Home

When signing my son up for Chinese Immersion, one of the commitments requested from us as parents was to read to our child, in English, for at least 30 minutes each night. I will be honest, going from reading one or two short stories every night, to a commitment of 30 minutes or more was slightly intimidating. Now, I do feel lucky to be able to say that we took this request seriously. I have always loved books but never fully understood how reading could have such a wonderful impact on my little ones. In my research since, this simple...

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Chinese Family Tree

Chinese Family Tree

If you haven’t yet heard about the complexity of the Chinese Family Tree, I am sure you will hear about it once your kiddos start learning it in school. Here is a brief overview of the basics with a detailed video below. In Chinese culture, your relatives are referred to and defined by more than their generation and gender but also by their age, maternal vs. paternal lineage, and whether they are your blood vs. marriage relation. All these things are taken into consideration when you go to say “Hey” to Uncle Joe, your mothers older sisters husband. You are...

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Four Mandarin Tones

Four Mandarin Tones

If you’re at all like my husband and I, we had no experience with Chinese prior to signing our son up for Mandarin Immersion. My son is now in 2nd grade and I feel like I am starting to pick up on some of the Mandarin language basics. Let me be clear, I am not learning Mandarin with him, though maybe I should be? Anyway, one of these basics being tones and how the sounds directly affect the meanings of words. This lesson is something his program began to focus on in first grade. My son would practice at home...

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Trust the Process

Trust the Process

It’s likely, you have spent a lot of time considering and vetting your choice of language immersion schools/programs. You’ve heard the potential pros and cons in relation to this unique and effective learning style. Now it is time to trust your decision! Language immersion is a proven and rapidly expanding way of teaching. I will not pretend that it is for everyone, but that’s a whole different blog post. I will stress, however, that most programs require entrance in kindergarten or first-grade only. So, if you’ve made the leap, I am hoping you will have the same amazing experience we...

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Mina's First Day of School 米娜上学的第一天

Mina's First Day of School 米娜上学的第一天

As an immersion parent, finding high-quality bilingual books and resources can be a major challenge. My son studies Mandarin, so we’re always on the hunt for materials that include English, Chinese and Pinyin. Naturally, our family was super excited to discover the book Mina’s First Day of School, which follows Mina through her first day of school and covers the many ways of expressing “Yes” and “No” in Mandarin Chinese.   I recently connected with the book’s author, Katrina Liu. A bilingual author and mother living in San Francisco, Katrina’s own story is as inspirational as the books she writes. Read...

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Summer & Screen Time

Summer & Screen Time

It’s finally Summer for most! If you’re like our family, your days go one of two ways. They are either packed with all kinds of things to do, places to go and people to see, and you’re in a hurry. Or, there are those days with absolutely no plans, and the kids really get time to be creative and invent fun things to occupy their time. As parents in the 21st century, we are faced with questions of online security, screen time, overstimulation, and how much technology is good or bad for our little ones? “Everything in moderation,” my mum...

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iPhone Siri

iPhone Siri

Okay, I know this is a stretch but lately iPhone Siri has been the answer to all of our problems immersion. We use her to when we need to know how to say a word or phrase in Chinese. For example: I ask her, “Siri, how do I say red in Mandarin Chinese” and she will respond with the pinyin and the symbols for the word red, “hóngsè 红色”. You pronounce it like home-su, in my opinion. Pretty cool, right! So my son is now obsessed with asking Siri how to say things he can’t remember or just wants to...

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Mandarin Spelling Test!

Mandarin Spelling Test!

What does 1st Grade spelling look like in Mandarin Chinese? Today I learned about the four tones associated with Pinyin (there’s actually a fifth, but it’s the neutral tone). A little back story here, my son’s first grade class started spelling tests about a month ago and last weeks exam, well, it didn’t go all that well. This time around, I got a copy of the words(symbols) for this week and we have sat down to practice. I tell him the words in English and he writes out the Chinese symbol/s, the Pinyin and the tone mark that goes over...

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