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Homeschool Chinese: Learning Cardinal Directions

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.

To enhance the lessons in the book, Laoshi Shawn integrated a number of fun hands-on activities to help JieJie learn the vocabulary in this lesson.  They made maps of imaginary neighborhoods and took turns navigating a mini-fig about on errands; from his home to the library, to the post office, to the cafe for lunch with a friend.  One of the most creative activities, however, utilized our smart phones for a scavenger hunt with a modern twist.

Jiejie and I departed the house together – using ear buds (to help block out the noise of nearby traffic) and walked outside.  Via FaceTime, Laoshi gave audible directions to Jiejie.  As we walked, Jiejie held the phone out in front of him so that Laoshi could also see where we were going.  I followed behind only for safety – I couldn’t hear Laoshi’s directions and had no clue where we were going – it was all up to Jiejie. :)

We were led to Erica’s classroom (Shawn’s wife) who was between classes and pleasantly surprised to see us.  We gave her a hug and returned home.  Jiejie absolutely loved this.  I can see further applications of this used at home as the kids practice their own skills.  They could hide a little gift or candy somewhere for one another and then play the game together.


Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥

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