Oh, Hina Festival!   So feminine!  So ladylike!  So elegant!  So refined!  So 上品! (jyouhin)

But I have a boy, so now for something completely different.

ABC’s.  My son is twelve now, but once upon a time he was a mere tot and did not know his ABC’s (or his hiragana’s).

He went to a private Christian preschool  (in Japanese) for a few hours a day, but I could not depend on them to teach him to read and write in English.

What I did was I looked at a lot of schooling sites, a lot of homeschooling sites.  (This makes sense, because basically I am homeschooling my son in English.)

Early on I did stuff like draw his name in the dirt with a stick and showed him the letters.  We did alphabet pages which he scribbled on.  I said things like “B!  B!  See the bear bouncing the ball?  Buh buh buh ball!”

I am not going to go into it all here on this blog, because other blogs and reading sites do it better.  But every morning we did alphabet practice (a tradition of Mommy Mommy Time that we still continue today.)

Here are some resources I found useful:

Our local library!  I used it as much as possible.  Other possibilities:  Books borrowed from friends, church libraries and so on.

Bob Books  We did not use this series actually, we used Animal Antics.  But it is the same sort of thing.  You can also find the same sort of thing on http://www.starfall.com/  It is just really easy sentences based on phonics.  To tell the truth, he outgrew this level of easiness EXTREMELY quickly, so it is not really worth spending a lot of money on.  You can even make your own books in the same style.  (ie. That rat is fat!  He sat on a mat!)

Book or printables for learning to write alphabet There is a variety of alphabet materials out there and I don’t remember what we used.  (Though despite that ABC chart above that I randomly pulled off a free site–I almost never used Japanese materials with crap katakana that teaches RED is pronounced レッド.)

I started doing the writing with my son once he calmed down a bit and could handle some writing.  He was a rambunctious youngster, I think this was around three?  Just kind of whenever you feel your child is ready.   My son will let me know when he has had enough of something.

Explode the Code Amazon says I ordered this in 2008, so when my son was four.  I got this series idea from Homeschooling sites (thank you, homeschooling Mommies!) and I really quite like it.  It satisfies something in me that strives for orderliness and common sense.    I skipped the “Go for the Code” books, based on internet advice.  (Too easy.)

There are SO MANY ideas you can get from the web.  We are really lucky in this day and age.

Some ideas:  Rip up origami paper and paste it to paper.  Either a design of your child’s choosing, or onto a letter of the alphabet or whatever.  I loved this activity because it is so easy and really keeps a child busy.

ABC’s chart:  can be printed from the net.  Sing the alphabet song and point to the letters.  Also, make sure the child hears the sounds of the letters.  Buh buh B.

Make sure that your child has reading materials and words in view.  His own little book basket, his own little greeting card from Grandma, etc.

Okay, that’s all I can think of!  Good luck in your multilingual journey!  Before you know it, your child will be twelve years old and you’ll go to his school and he’ll read a letter to you telling you how much he appreciates you and thinks you are cool for teaching him English!  Which is exactly what happened to me today!  (And you’ll be a blubbering mess.)
Happy Hina Festival!