This is a summary of Noriko’s meeting with moms (including a daddy this time) who want to raise their children in both English and Japanese.
Download the handout (sorry, it’s only in Japanese)
The meeting was in Japanese, so we’ve included a summary in English of what they talked about here:
Noriko talked about the three basic concepts of English education at home. These are the core concepts of our message here.
First of all, it’s more important to have fun than to worry about being perfect. If you avoid using English at home with your kids because you worry that your English is not perfect, then it will never happen and you’ll lose the opportunity. Is every major league baseball player perfect? I don’t think so, but they play the game.
Second, this is not a competition with others. We are all hikers on Mt. English. Imagine that all of us who are trying to learn English are hiking on this big mountain called Mt. English. It’s not a race or a competition to get to the top, but a journey to get there. So don’t compare yourself to those who are at a higher place than you are. There is no need to do so. Just enjoy the hike, enjoy the scenery, and enjoy the time you can spend with those who are hiking with you!
Third, don’t focus on having your child take exams. Noriko has a strong message for parents who want their children to take English exams at an early age. She tells them that it’s not necessary for kids to take any English exams when they are very little. Can you remember how we learn our mother language from our parents. We listened to our parents and repeated what they said and we picked up the language that way. Did you take a Japanese exam when you were little and going to kindergarten? The answer is NO.
We usually don’t start formally studying our own native language until junior high school, right? So why should your child need to take an exam that checks the grammar skills of a second language, in this case English, when they are young? Why does your child have to try an English exam when he is just improving his/her pure listening skills? We feel it’s not only unnecessary, but can be demotivating for your child. Don’t approach English at home as if it were a school subject. That’s my concern of English education in Japan these days.
No child has to prove his English skill when he is having fun with English at home. It is just like how we learn our mother language.