"Popcorn" is the nickname we gave to our incredibly active son. If you spent 2 minutes with him, you will easily understand the meaning of the nickname. The Chinese Noodle is the affectionate nickname we chose for our hoped for Daughter-to-Be, who may one day come to us in the LORD's perfect time from China.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Why Our Family Studies Chinese

Many people get a glazed-over look in their eyes and say, "Oh, Reeeeeaaallllyyyy???"  when they find out that our famiy studies Chinese.  We do it for several reasons, most certainly the first and most important reason is that we WILL be in China one day, Lord willing, and we will need to speak some of the language. 

Additionally, for Blaine there are several long-lasting mental, social, and even professional benefits to learning a foreign language at a young age. Children who continuously study other languages have often been shown to think in a different, more complex manner than youths who only learn their native tongue. They also are often more open and willing to accept the customs of other cultures.

Studying a Foreign Language Enhances Learning Abilities:

Studying foreign languages has been shown to have a positive effect on mental development, particularly in young people, and an enhanced overall intellectual growth. The Association of Departments of Foreign Languages indicates that "studying other languages at a young age can improve math and critical thinking skills, as well as strengthen the use and understanding of a child's native tongue."  Research even shows that students who continuously take foreign language courses score higher on standardized tests, like the SAT and ACT, with each additional year of study.

We use our bread machine in the kitchen to write our
current words to commit to memory.  I love that Mandarin also
requires that one studies the Chinese Characters
of the Language (see figures at left of bread machine white board)
Studying a foreign language early in life exposes children to other cultures--with different values, language patterns and ways of expressing themselves--in a way they never would have experienced had they not taken up the subject. By gaining the ability to communicate with people from other areas of the world at an early age, children become more interested in, as well as accepting of, ways of life that differ from their own.
Blaine's favorite word in Mandarin id Shae-Long-Sha, which means
Cray fish or Craw Dad
For us, Studying Mandarin Chinese gives our son an advantage in becoming successful in his future chosen career. By beginning studies early, Blaine can take advantage of educational programs using tutors from the University here in the City, thereby they getting a head start for studying languages in college (or life after high school). Mastering a foreign language will also increase any candidate's chances in landing a desired job because he/she will be able to communicate with more people from other areas of the world, and we all know that most corporations view this skill as a marvelous asset. 

The plus side is that Blaine will actually be fairly fluent in Spanish, also! I (his mother) am fluent and actually work as a translator at our local hospital part time.  We speak Spanish at home on the odd days (calender days that are odd, i.e., 1st, 3rd, 5th...).  He has a pretty good foundation in Spanish, although if he continues to attend private Christian schools, Blaine will not formally have an opportunity to study Spanish until 7th grade.  One more reason to Home School!

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