Wednesday 16 July 2008

back to practical life and onto workbooks

Recently BabyEbi has shown little interest in spooning-type activities but he spotted a jar of marbles I had bought and wanted to get his hands on them. 

I popped them into a basket and got out my African mancala set (removed the beads that came with it) and had him spooning and sorting at the same time.

I also bought some coloured cubes to add to the ice cooking, I had been looking for those plastic freezer cubes/shapes but couldn't find any and thought these cubes would be just as much fun. 

They haven't made it to the ice cooking session yet but he did enjoy using bamboo pincers to sort the cubes.

Then when I was sorted through the pantry I found my box of teaching books, mainly phonics books, so I had a look through to see if there was anything that BabyEbi would like in there. 

I re-discovered Fox in a Box, it is a ladybird book and the first one of 4, I think. BabyEbi got it out and had a look through, one of the pages concentrates on the starting sound of words, up to now he just didn't 'get it' but suddenly the penny dropped. 

I don't know if it was the introduction of different materials or what, but he got it. 

Then he tried the jigsaw words, these are quite good, they have to find the letters to spell the word and place them on the line, if they get it right the jigsaw fits together so it is self-correcting, he did a few of these too.

Before bath time last night he picked up another book from the pile, it is actually for pre-reading, lots of left to right activities, matching, spotting the odd one out etc. 

He wanted to do some so he did the first couple of pages and before I knew it, he had plowed his way through to page 20 at that point I decided we should leave the rest, his concentration was going and he was starting to make silly mistakes. 

He said he didn't want to stop, it was fun, but luckily I was saved by the bath! (Our bath sings when it is ready!) 




  1. Hi, I was wondering if babyebi could also speak Japanese? I know you are homeschooling him now but I was wondering if he speaks Japanese with his dad?

    I love reading your posts about what you do with him. I don`t know much about montessori because it isn`t so common in Australia I don`t think and I never worked in a school in Japan that followed that system but It is interesting to learn more about it.

    More than likely my kids will start school in Japan (when I have them that is!) and I would teach them English at home. We would never be able to afford to send them to international school so they would go go to a normal japanese primary school.

    Oh, I love your crafty stuff too!

  2. Yes, he speaks Japanese too, his English level is higher at the moment but once it goes to hoikuen I expect that will change and then I will have my work cut out to keep his English level up. We have a good network of friends in the same situation so we meet up on a regular basis and have playdates and we have talked about starting more formal lessons in the future when the kids are older.
    I know some people here don't seem to be bothered if their kids English level is not good but I have strong feelings about this, I don't want babyEbi to not be able to communicate with his family back in the UK.
    We use ichat with my mom several times a week and he has a clear understanding of who does and doesn't speak Japanese.
    His dad uses 50/50 Japanese and English and reads him Japanese books. His Japanese grandparents were concerned last time we saw them because his English was so much better but after a lot of research we decided to concentrate on his English first to give him a good grounding to start on. Apparently it is much more difficult for the child to pick up a second language if it is not the local language.
    Babyebi will go to the local elementary school, there is no international school around here and although I like the idea of him mixing with kids from all over the world, he actually gets that from the playgroup - we are a very mixed bunch!
    I haven't introduced hiragana to him yet but he does know a handful that he picked up here and there and he even knows a few kanji!

    My best advice, when you get round to popping out some kiddos is to find other like minded gaijin and form a group. Our playgroup has a strict English Only rule, actually that is the only rule we have!

    Congratulations on the engagement - the first step hey!

  3. I really love your blog and all that you share. You inspire me to start more fun things with my kids!

  4. Hi again! Thanks so much for answering my questions, I really appreciate it! I had assumed that you might continue to homeschool him through elementary school- but I now realize he will be going to the local elementary school! Will you continue to work with him on English at home- following montossori?

    How old is babyebi now? 3? I read most of you old posts last night. I have been following your blog awhile but had lost track the last couple months with moving back to Australia but it was good to catch up on what you had been up to.

    You are in Saitama right? We usually live in Tokyo but will probably be in Chiba when we move back because we think we might like t be closer (but not too close!) to my partners parents! We will go back next June after the wedding! When will babyebi start hoikuin? Or will he just go straight to yochien!?

    The playgroup sounds great- I will definitely after to organize one once I have kids- I think it is also good for the mums to have some interaction in English also I am sure! Working on making sure my children are billingual is a big thing for me too- I didn`t start learning Japanese until I was 18 but wish I had started much earlier! Shun and I speak in Japanese all of the time though but have talked about making a `ENGLISH ONLY` rule inside the house once we have kids (If his English improves that is- he will go to English school here for 2 or 3 months)

    Thanks for the congrats on the engagement- we got engaged in February but the ring took a little longer! hehe!

    Thanks again for replying! I hope you have a great week!!!

  5. lulu are you a member of MIJ?

    some of our playgroup members live on the Tokyo/Chiba border and there is another playgroup already set up down that way.

    BabyEbi will be 3 in 11 days! wow, doesn't time fly. So he will probably go to yochien next April. A friend has recommended one, it isn't Montessori but they are very relaxed with the rules, no ridiculous uniforms etc. They have a big art room and a pot throwing room plus a garden for growing veg, it sounds quite nice but we have yet to visit it.

    For children to become bilingual, they will only use the 2nd language if there is an actual need to use it so I see it as my job to set up that need. (not THAT difficult since my Japanese is useless!)

  6. I loved reading through your blog and all the great ideas. I have been reading a lot on Montessori and want to bring some home to my 4 boys. Thanks for sharing all you have!


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