Author’s Note: Sagebooks HK is sponsoring The Sagebooks Challenge as we chronicle Glow Worm (4) and I going through their series for the first time. I am also guest posting on their Sagebooks HK Blog where I will be providing a time tested tip and a fun activity to help support you and your child as you go through the sets.

Welcome to our fourth week going through the Sagebooks HK Basic Chinese 500 series with Glow Worm (4).

This week, we finished Book 1.2!!! FINALLY. It feels as if that last half of the book took FOREVER.

What is Sagebooks?

Sagebooks HK Basic Chinese 500 is a series of 5 sets of 5 books that teach your children how to read the top 500 high frequency characters in children’s books. You can find out more here.

Quick Background

I am an ABC/T and speak Mandarin 85% of the time to my four children (8, 6, 4, 1). My husband, Hapa Papa, only speaks English. We homeschool bilingually in Chinese and English and my older two children have already gone through the Sagebooks HK Basic Chinese 500.

Glow Worm, (4) currently knows about 50 characters and this is the first time we are going through Sagebooks. He currently splits time between two Chinese preschools for 3 hours a day, 4 days a week.

Goal for Week 4: Book 1.2:15-20*

Since the last two weeks were rife with inappropriate expectations, I scaled back my goal to something that seemed a little more doable. 5 new characters! Could we do it?

How Did We Do?

We did it!! Squeaked in just under the wire, but we did it!

How Did We Do It?

I fully confess that we only just did the last two characters on Sunday morning – and it wasn’t even me helping Glow Worm. I made Cookie Monster do it as I was washing dishes and prepping lunch for the Instant Pot. Hey, I have to have some perks to having this many children, right?

Also, I was really tired this week and feeling all scattered and out of sorts. As a result, we ended up skipping two days. Not in a row, but even then, it’s hard to get back in the swing of things. The guilt chased me all around!

However, since I had to do videos and take pictures for the Sagebooks HK Blog, I did have him play several iterations of the fishing game a few times with his siblings and he even requested to play the next day, too. My poor, neglected child. Glow Worm also finally recognized 們/men2/after personal pronoun or noun referring a person to form the plural/ and the fishing game seemed to help, too.

Sample Pics and Videos

Glow Worm didn’t want to be in pictures this week. Or was it that Sasquatch (1) insisted on being in them? Either way, only pics of Sasquatch reading today.

Sagebooks HK Basic Chinese 500

Sagebooks HK Basic Chinese 500

Here’s a video of Glow Worm reading Set 1 Book 2 Lesson 18 for the first time:

Here’s a video of Glow Worm reading Set 1 Book 2 Lesson 19 for the second time:


The main difficulty this week was on my part and not of Glow Worm’s. He was fully willing to read every day and even reminded me to get his 小書/xiao3 shu/little books/. I was too tired and cranky to want to put in the work.


90% of the time, I think the difficulty in keeping up any type of consistency is the parents’ problem. Of course, children aren’t going to be begging to learn Chinese characters. It’s our job to make sure they’re on that path and consistently doing the work every day (or every week day – or whatever days you have decided).

Remember to take care of yourself and get enough rest and sleep and food. If you’re not in a good space, you won’t be able to keep this up.

Some Observations

Just like last week, I’m constantly impressed with the connections Glow Worm is making about Chinese characters. This week, he observed that 有/you3/have, possess, own/ and 友/you3/friend/ sound the same but mean different things and are written differently (although they have the same ????/zuo3/left hand/ component).

Also, even though Cookie Monster (8) and Gamera (6) are way beyond the Sagebooks HK Basic Chinese 500, I have them participate by helping Glow Worm or in playing the learning activities with him. (As I have mentioned in other places, I don’t play with children. I had more babies for the express purpose that they could play with each other.)

The good thing about their participation is that they (and I) get a sense of how far they’ve progressed. At some point in their past, they didn’t know these characters, either. It gives me hope and perspective that it’s a long game we’re preparing for. That slowly and surely, Glow Worm will learn these characters and one day, when we’re going through these books with Sasquatch (1), it will be old hat for Glow Worm, too.

Hmmmm… by then, Cookie Monster will be 11 and Gamera will be 9. Perhaps I don’t have to do any teaching whatsoever! (Hey, a parent can dream.)

Sagebooks Challenge Application

How are you doing this fourth week? Do you like the activities I posted at Sagebooks HK Blog? Have you dropped in the Sagebooks HK Parent Support Facebook Group? Let me know in the group (or the comments).

See you next week!

* I refer to the Sagebooks in this formula: Set#.Book#:Chapter#. So, if I am referring to the first set, book 3, and characters 14-16, it looks like: Book 1.3:14-16.