This post was sponsored by Sagebooks. All opinions are mine and mine alone.
Whenever people hear that I bilingual homeschool my four children in Chinese and English, they always respond that I am amazing and that they could never do what I do.
While that is true, (both my amazingness and my enviable ability to yell at my children in two languages), I think people have misunderstood.
[socialpug_tweet tweet=”However, if you are in a position where you have some financial leeway and are hating life because you keep making poor life choices like I do, might I suggest outsourcing your pain points? #teachkidschinese #outsourcechinese #sagebookshk” display_tweet=”However, if you are in a position where you have some financial leeway and are hating life because you keep making poor life choices like I do, might I suggest outsourcing your pain points?”]
I get it.
Before I was a homeschooler, I operated under the misapprehension that the kids gathered around a wooden table in the kitchen, stared at a chalkboard full of Bible verses, and perhaps, also wore Mennonite caps.
As a bilingual homeschooler, my chalkboard would be full of Bible verses in Chinese.
This sounds really hard and quite frankly, horrible. And if you are even somewhat familiar with me and my modus operandi, you’ll recall that I don’t do difficult things.
Poor choices, yes. Things that require undue effort? No.
Here’s a secret.
I outsource most of my homeschooling and Chinese teaching.
Yeah, you read that right. I outsource. A lot.
Look, we as parents only have so much time, interest, ability, and resources. In fact, everything in life requires these things.
Whether it is financial planning (which I used to do and also used this spiel to tell people to get a financial planner) or re-finishing furniture or cleaning your house or teaching your kid Chinese, you have to be honest with yourself and your life and decide whether you’ll DIY or hire out.
I know myself. I know myself a little too well.
But, you know, life is all about choices and despite me actively making choices that make my life miserable (confer: teaching kids Chinese and homeschooling), I also know that the alternative (kids NOT speaking Chinese and going to mainstream school) would make me even MORE miserable.
So what is a person of stubborn principles but waffling execution to do?
If you guessed THROW MONEY AT IT, you and I perhaps are soul mates. (Although, I hate to break it to you: the concept of soul mates is a lie of cruel proportions.)
I have some ability and lots of resources but less time and ZERO interest. In fact, it would be more accurate to gauge my interest level as an imaginary number because any and or all my interest in teaching my kids is feigned. This applies to things like piano, zhuyin, writing Chinese, playing with my kids – really, ANYTHING to do with my children.
“Surely, you exaggerate,” I hear kindhearted people who don’t understand a damn thing about me say.
No. No, I do not.
When I tell you that I have hired our tutor to come to my house on a weekly basis to read and play games with my kids in Chinese – something that I could do myself because I have the ability to read and play – I am serious.
I mean, I have reasons.
Reasons like the Chinese grammar games they play are a little beyond my ability and the books they read have terms with which I am not entirely familiar. But it’s not outside the realm of possibility for me to bootstrap it and Pleco and prep mightily and improve my Chinese while I’m at it.
But do I?
And why not?
Because I like things in theory but hate things in practice. It’s the absolute worst.
And quite frankly, I am at a point in my life where I don’t do things if I can find someone else to do them in exchange for lucre. Filthy, filthy lucre.
I fully admit that I am in a position where I don’t have to choose between a Chinese tutor and food. Not everyone has that luxury.
If that is your situation, please, choose food.
However, if you are in a position where you have some financial leeway and are hating life because you keep making poor life choices like I do, might I suggest outsourcing your pain points?
If you are like Betty Choi of CHALK Academy and love doing crafts and amazing activities with your children in Chinese (and Korean because she’s an overachiever), YOU SHOULD DO THAT. (And don’t let anyone sneer at you for doing it.) But I would like to point out that even Betty has a Chinese tutor during the school year and a Korean nanny for her kids to help her with the areas with which she needs help.
Betty does most of the Chinese by herself but she does not do everything.
[socialpug_tweet tweet=”So what is a person of stubborn principles but waffling execution to do? If you guessed THROW MONEY AT IT, you & I perhaps are soul mates. (Altho, I hate to break it to you: the concept of soul mates is a lie of cruel proportions.) #teachkidschinese ” display_tweet=”So what is a person of stubborn principles but waffling execution to do? If you guessed THROW MONEY AT IT, you and I perhaps are soul mates. (Although, I hate to break it to you: the concept of soul mates is a lie of cruel proportions.) “]
I’m not saying that you will not have to make choices about what to do with your money. People think we just have a ton of discretionary income and that I throw it all away on Chinese tutors and glamorous trips to Taiwan. (If only!)
But you know, my kids don’t do team or club sports. We limit our extracurricular activities because everything times 3-4 is all of a sudden, really expensive. We don’t go anywhere except Taiwan, LA, and DC to visit family. And sometimes, we have to choose not to go because we have six people in our family and plane tickets alone make my husband want to weep huge, delayed retirement tears.
Outsourcing doesn’t always mean spending money (although, it often does).
It also means accepting that there are areas wherein you are lacking in knowledge and the time to acquire that knowledge despite being mentally capable of acquiring it. In reality, you already outsource all the time.
You outsource each time you ask a friend for book recommendations (especially if your friend is Guavarama and then you completely turn off your brain and just nod and say yes and buy all the books – oh, ahem. I lied when I said it doesn’t always cost money. It always costs money.)
You outsource when you check Yelp or read Amazon reviews or my blog because you’re relying on other people’s work to make a decision. (It is also crowd-sourcing, but I won’t ding you on being an efficient multi-tasker). You outsource when you send your children to school or go to a gas station or the grocery store or a restaurant.
You even outsource when you buy curriculum like Sagebooks because it saves you the hassle of researching the 500 highest frequency characters used in children’s books and then creating an engaging and practical story line to help your kids learn them.
You’re already doing it and it’s okay. Do what you need to do to make this constant Chinese thing tenable.