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Teaching my own kid English

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  • Teaching my own kid English

    My son shocked me by telling me that he wants to study English. He has never been particularly interested before. I asked him what he wants to do and he'd like to read and write more. He's eight and I only speak English to him but he replies in Japanese. Does anyone know of any syllabus or course available that might suit him? I'm not against paying for the materials.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Morton View Post
    My son shocked me by telling me that he wants to study English. He has never been particularly interested before. I asked him what he wants to do and he'd like to read and write more. He's eight and I only speak English to him but he replies in Japanese. Does anyone know of any syllabus or course available that might suit him? I'm not against paying for the materials.
    What you should be doing is reading to him. Kids need input, lots of it. Start with basic books, there are plenty of reading libraries for kids. He will also have to learn how to read and sound out words. learn spelling etc.

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    • #3
      If you can get to a Costco, they always have various reading and writing books there. It's a good place for foreign learning materials.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Morton View Post
        My son shocked me by telling me that he wants to study English. He has never been particularly interested before. I asked him what he wants to do and he'd like to read and write more. He's eight and I only speak English to him but he replies in Japanese. Does anyone know of any syllabus or course available that might suit him? I'm not against paying for the materials.
        Try this or this; the former is probably better according to my friend.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Morton View Post
          I only speak English to him but he replies in Japanese.
          So wait..all of his life, you've only spoken English to him and he only replies in Japanese?
          Forgive the indelicate question but... has he been your son all that time?

          My eldest son is 5 and a Japanese native speaker, and I primarily speak to him in English ( as to limit the be-foulment of his Japanese learning with my egregious sentence structure,) but he has parroted English phrases all of his life, (some not the ones I wished) and we go back and forth about 80% Japanese 20% English.
          We have him on the Benesse English program which I recommend.

          But as KB said, reading to your son in English is super powerful English Mojo.
          Last edited by YokohamaTommy; 2012-04-23, 10:10 PM.

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          • #6
            Reading to your child regularly is one of the few things that has been shown to have a direct correlation with improved grades in school for pretty much everyone.

            I try to read to my boy every night, if not just to give him more vocabulary than I would generally use with him.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by YokohamaTommy View Post
              But as KB said, reading to your son in English is super powerful English Mojo.
              I tried to read to my son and talk to him in English at a young age but to him I was like the drunk uncle at the wedding. He wanted nothing to do with English until he went to Australia at age 8 and had to use it to communicate with his teachers. He is OK now but has to want it for himself first. You can lead a horse to water but cant make him drink, I found. If he wants to learn to read all power to you, its when they dont it's like pulling teeth. Think how you learned English and literacy, it was by reading books, not just talking to people.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                I tried to read to my son and talk to him in English at a young age but to him I was like the drunk uncle at the wedding.
                Ummm...that's because you ARE the drunk uncle at the wedding!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                  I tried to read to my son and talk to him in English at a young age
                  That's why I talked English with my son from the day he was born. I've only ever spoken to him in Japanese when we are out in public, and a non-family member who doesn't speak English is around. He's never had to get used to me speaking English - it's all he's ever known.

                  When I drop him off at kindergarten, I sometimes talk to the other kids in English without thinking.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Effected After View Post
                    When I drop him off at kindergarten, I sometimes talk to the other kids in English without thinking.

                    I talk to him in English now that he's older, but now he's in 2nd grade of junior high school, swallowed up in the whole school culture . We now live apart so I feel its a losing battle.

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                    • #11
                      It probably is. By this point, if he doesn't want to speak English, he's not going to.

                      I expect I'll have to go through some rebellious 'I don't want to speak English' stages at some point myself for that matter.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by YokohamaTommy View Post
                        So wait..all of his life, you've only spoken English to him and he only replies in Japanese?
                        Forgive the indelicate question but... has he been your son all that time?

                        My eldest son is 5 and a Japanese native speaker, and I primarily speak to him in English ( as to limit the be-foulment of his Japanese learning with my egregious sentence structure,) but he has parroted English phrases all of his life, (some not the ones I wished) and we go back and forth about 80% Japanese 20% English.
                        We have him on the Benesse English program which I recommend.

                        But as KB said, reading to your son in English is super powerful English Mojo.
                        Yes, he's been my son all that time. Maybe I exaggerated his lack of English speaking a little though. Basically he has copied the way me and my wife communicate, we both speak our own language to each other. My wife and I both work so my sone has been in pre-school since he was about one then watched by his grandparents after that. On the other hand though my eldest child (daughter in JHS) has excellent English and my youngest is somewhere in the middle.


                        Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll do a bit of research over the next few days.

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                        • #13
                          If you're short of ideas on reading material, anything by Roald Dahl is great (esp Danny/Charlie/Mr Fox/Dirty Beasts). Also if he's 8 then he should like the Magic Treehouse books.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                            You can lead a horse to water but cant make him drink,
                            I realize now of course that the whole "kids must be disciplined in everything they say and do or else they will become shiftless hippie losers and possibly destroy civilization" line of parenting that was the hallmark of my generation was actually harmful to my relationship with my children.

                            In terms of teaching English, the more I regimented him, the less interested in learning he was.
                            But to my surprise, the more I let him run wild with whatever flights of fancy he had,
                            I found that in the course of his play, he would use English quite regularly, especially around his little friends as what I assume is a bit of "showing off."

                            It's funny about children;
                            It seems that the more you make things about what they want,
                            the more they gravitate to do the behaviors you want.

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                            • #15
                              I don't have any children yet but i am hoping to have one in a few years. One of my biggest worries is having a child that i can't communicate with. My Japanese is pretty basic, but i am studying. Even if i were to become amazing at Japanese, and that is a huge if, i would still like him to speak English.

                              The thing that confuses me is that back in the UK i have friends whose families are not from the UK, yet they speak great English as well as their parents language. I don't understand how that works in the UK but yet i often read about children in Japan not being able to speak English despite their parents using it frequently around them.

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