Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kuku-Multiplication Table & Math

Today as usual was a very busy and exhausting day. Today was my son's late day (6th period, ending at 3.45 three days a week and my daughter late days are 2 days a week), rushed back just in time to get my daughter to gymnastics on base. While we were waiting for her, I was helping my third grade son in Math (he should be in 4th in the States). He needed a compass, and I had bought one on base only for eighty-five cents, but it didn't work. ( I knew it wouldn't work, but that's all they had), I couldn't find a better quality compass anywhere, so finally I went to the school and asked if they had one to sell, and the one they recommended didn't work well either, so my son was crying in frustration as he had to draw various circles in different circumference measurements, finally I gave in and help drew the circles for him. I was frustrated that I wasn't able to find one nor ask in Japanese where can I get a good quality compass in town? I saw them at the 100 yen store, but I knew it wouldn't be a functional one after I spent one on base, so thinking the school would know, I took their advice, but it ended up not working well-I wasn't able to read the directions as to how to insert the pencil, it seemed all very complicated for one compass. Tomorrow I will run out again and look for one while they are in school.

So, the tutor came yesterday, and was very helpful. My middle one finished second grade in the States, and is repeating it here in Japan, and I was surprised to see how advanced they are in their subjects, especially in math. The children by early part of second grade have mastered the multiplication table, where Ellie would be learning it in 3rd grade in the States. The students in her class have already learned it, so she is behind the power curve, which isn't so bad, except she needs to know it in Japanese. The memory of it is very rhythmic, so I had our tutor videoed as she chanted the multiplication table, however, the recording was not very good, so she found a great video for the kids to learn the multiplication table in Japanese.

My kids were watching it as they were eating dinner tonight. Afterwards, they did their homework, and did their bible study and now is in bed. I was trying to help with their math, but with the Japanese, it was over my head. I went onto Google Translate and tried to translate the hiragana into English (thank God I know my hiragana and katakana!) but there were too many Kanji that I couldn't make sense of the math problems other than words like: " kettle, green tea, how much, bulk, difference, all together". With the main idea, I was able to figure out what the questions were, however, it took almost 10 minutes to translate one question. I was utterly discouraged after translating the problems: "how are my kids going to learn all this?" "how will they memorize all the Kanji on top of not knowing what they are even reading?"

I think I bit more than I can chew for now....