School & Learning

February 29th, 2012

Homeschooling Miah in Kindergarten has been a blessing this year.  It is such a joy to see her learn and master new concepts.  After reviewing the ‘Key Learnings’ for her grade, and seeing that she has surpassed most of them, I guess we can slack off a bit . . . Seriously though, she is learning at her own pace, school is very informal in this house, but the teacher in me just naturally brings learning into pretty much everything we do.  I guess when you read multiple books with a child every single day since bringing her home at nine months of age, she will learn to read without much effort at all!  She enjoys playing the phonics game, too, so I’m sure that has helped.  Although Miah has been reading for a while, she is just starting to feel confident enough to read to other people, and with more than a whisper voice.

A big advantage to homeschooling is the time it allows the girls to be kids, and not sit behind desks for hours in a day.  More time for playing outdoors.  I’m thinking the bicycle has got to be one of the greatest inventions!

I’ve been working with Ami also, doing preschool activities while Miah does her work.  We are blessed to have two bright little girls.  I have noticed though, that Miah was learning things (colors, numbers, etc.) at an earlier age than her mei mei.  (But Ami has reached higher speeds on her bicycle than her jie jie did at her age!  This is our ‘no fear’ child.)

I read something recently from another adoptive parent, and it reminded me to put things into perspective.  She worded it well, so I’ll quote her:

“Age does matter. Dr Tony Tan did a study and found that children adopted at approximately 12 months learn the language of their adoptive parents as a first language and have no significant delays. But as children age and begin to speak in their native language – and learn concepts – learning English becomes subtractive bilingualism, where the child is losing their first language while learning a new FIRST language in a totally unsupported environment. Even with adoption at the age of three there will be several years delay in conceptual language- though they may appear to be “fluent.” With that language often go newly learned concepts – colors, number etc. for toddlers. This is one case where the more they have learned, the harder the transition.I strongly recommend you read the works of Dr Boris Gindis,” http://www.adoptionarticlesdirectory.com/profile/Boris-Gindis,-Ph.d./2

I learned this years ago while taking Masters courses in ESL at the University of Guam, but I hadn’t really thought about it in terms of my own children.  Although Ami was 21 months at adoption she really wasn’t speaking (of course that was mostly due to her cleft), so I didn’t think ‘subtractive bilingualism’ was much of a factor.  We knew she needed time to catch up, and she appeared to do so quickly.  (Within a couple months her receptive language was right on target!)  But over time we’ve recognized that the concepts were slower in coming.  Now, after being home 19 months, we certainly don’t see any delays.

We were blessed to be able to bring home both our girls while they were still quite young.

“The younger the child, the easier the transition” is definitely true!

(On a side note, you can see by the pictures that February can’t decide if it’s spring or winter!)

One Year Ago . . .

February 21st, 2012

One year ago, we were recovering from Ami’s palate surgery.  Wow, are things different now!!

We’ve almost forgotten how hard Ami used to be to understand.  Her speech has improved dramatically, and she continues to make progress.

Of course some things never change.  She still frequently sleeps like a little “stinkbug”.  We assume this comes from her time in the orphanage virtually sleeping on a board for a mattress.  (This is just the way things are there, though maybe not as comfortable, they say it is cleaner and cooler.  In fact, the mattresses in our hotels were literally as hard as boards.)

The girls are great ages now for enjoying fun projects.  We had fun making valentine cards this year.

It’s great having an excuse to make cookies.

Especially the cut-out kind, with sprinkles, or jam inside!

But these ↓ are my favorite Valentines!

They are also becoming quite the vocalists!  A week ago they gave special music at our church, next week they will be singing at Mom’s church, and this past Saturday night they sang Frosty the Snowman for a talent show.

I may be partial, but I think they got more applause than the other numbers.

Our weekend was extra special with cousin Natalie and family visiting.  Thanks for coming up!

Referralversary!!

February 11th, 2012

Has it already been two years?

Two years ago, today, we got our first look at this little face that has since changed all our lives!  For the better!  Ami you are a blessing and a joy, and we are so glad you are part of our family!  We love you!

Celebrating the Year of the Dragon

February 5th, 2012

Last night we had our local Chinese New Year celebration.

The girls enjoyed devouring their dragon cupcakes!

The rest of the food was great, too!

As was the fellowship!

Ten families took part this year, including two that are hosting high school exchange students, and one family that is traveling to China this week for two new daughters!

After the food we had story time,

And the opportunity to be creative.

Ami was trying so hard to blow up a balloon.

Our Red Pink Couch photos actually turned out okay.  Amazingly, they’re all looking, and no one is crying!