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Homeschool Chinese: Learning Cardinal Directions

March 12 2014


Knowing the vocabulary for cardinal directions and how to navigate – particularly in unfamiliar places – is an important skill for all language learners. Lesson 19: How Can I Get There from My First Chinese Reader, Volume 2 focuses on the vocabulary that is necessary when asking for directions.  Laoshi Shawn supplemented the lesson with the vocabulary for the cardinal directions as well.
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Homeschool Chinese: 5 Best Pinterest Boards for Mandarin Chinese

March 10 2014

Whether you are a newbie or an active user, finding who to follow on Pinterest can be difficult. From your favorite personal interests to your business niche, locating inspiring Pinterest content can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. So how can you find the content you crave and the pinners you love without spending hours jumping from one site to the next?

Below are 5 of my favorite boards for Mandarin Chinese, in no particular order. While I could have continued on with an endless supply of excellent Pinterest boards to follow, these are the specific boards (and pinners) that keep me coming back time and again for more of that Pinterest eye-candy!

I always find fun, creative activities to help augment the kids’ Mandarin lessons. From stories and songs to crafts and traditions, you’ll surely find inspiration, too!




So there you have it. Not just 5, but 6 of my favorite boards. Did I miss one? What do you like to pin? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!

Homeschool Chinese: Putting Skills into Practice

February 26 2014

As the kids are getting older, they are becoming more independent learners.  This is great in many ways, but it also requires that I be more innovative in finding creative assignments for them to practice their minority language skills.  Therefore, I am constantly looking for fresh, new ways to get them to converse with one another.  These past few months, I’ve been playing around with the new Discovering Chinese Pro app and I am looking forward to incorporating it into our regular curriculum.
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Homeschool Chinese: Impromptu Conversations

February 20 2014

While traveling through China, there were multiple opportunities for the kids to put their language skills to use.  It was fascinating to me that their individual personalities really came through – Meili is more reserved and cautious.  She is also quite shy, particularly when meeting new people.  Jiejie, on the other hand, is very animated and out-going.  It was thereby no surprise when I realized these differences played a major role in their conversation skills.

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Idioms Involving Horses: 走马观花 (zǒu mǎ guān huā)

February 13 2014



Since 2014 is the Year of the horse, we wanted to introduce some Chinese idioms that involve horses.
One famous idiom, 走马观花 (zǒu mǎ guān huā) literally means to gaze at flowers while on horseback. It is used to describe a fleeting glance or cursory observation in passing. This idiom is actually based on a cute story that I want to share with you today.
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Four Day Lantern Festival Sale

February 10 2014

Chinese New Year celebrations are waiting to end with the brilliant 元宵节 (Yuánxiāo jié | Lantern Festival). This year 元宵节 will be extra special because it falls on the same day as Valentine’s Day, February 14th. To celebrate, we are launching a 4-day sale that will end on Lantern’s Day. Don’t miss these L-O-V-E-L-Y deals.

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Homeschool Chinese: Gong Xi Song

February 6 2014

For Chinese New Year, the Best Wishes song “Gong Xi” is very popular.  It has a very catchy chorus and we enjoyed learning it earlier this week to celebrate the holiday. The song title, 恭喜恭喜 (Gōngxǐ gōngxǐ) literally means, “congratulations, congratulations”.  It’s a sentiment of best wishes for the New Year.

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Legend of the Heavenly Horse (天马)

January 30 2014

chinese pegasus

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful winged horse called the “Heavenly Horse.” He could run across land, swim through water, and fly across the sky. The Jade Emperor fell in love with him and appointed him as His royal mount. Proud and spoiled, the Heavenly Horse becomes so arrogant that he scorns everyone he sees and tramples on any creatures that stand in his way.
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Happy Chinese New Year’s Eve 2014

January 30 2014

2014 chinese new year - horse

Today marks the end of a happy Year of the Snake. Tomorrow we will begin a new 马年 (Mǎ nián | Year of the Horse). Over the next 15 days, we will be posting a variety of topics related to this new year such as the origin of the horse (coming tomorrow) and various idioms and poems involving horses. Be sure to follow Better Chinese on Facebook and Pinterest if you want to see what we cover each day.
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Chinese New Year: Year of the Horse Paper Cutting Templates

January 29 2014


Chinese Paper Cutting (剪纸 | Jiǎnzhǐ) is a beautiful art form that I have always loved. Sometimes the designs are hung on doors or windows like snowflake cutouts and called 窗花 (chuāng huā | Window Flower). The two main types of paper cutting use either scissors or pen knives. Scissors are usually used for symmetrical cuttings and pen knives for more elaborate asymmetrical cuttings.
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