Share this post:


This post was sponsored by Sagebooks. All opinions are mine and mine alone. 

If you read my post from two weeks ago, you’ll know that I got a little cocky about making it through 17 weeks of mostly consistent Sagebooks reading with Glow Worm (4.5) and as a result, I totally slacked off. I paid the price during the first few weeks of our Sagebooks Summer Reading Thingy.

Sagebooks is designed so your child can learn the 500 most frequently used Chinese characters in children’s books by building upon previous chapters in a way to give your children confidence as they increase competence. But there is only so much a Chinese curriculum can do if you’re not consistently putting in the work.

It was hard.

Hard because re-capturing lost ground is frustrating and demoralizing.

Sadly, his brain is efficient and when it realized that Glow Worm wasn't using them, his brain dumped those pesky characters out and set the memories on fire just to make sure they could never be recovered. Click to Tweet

Hard because I felt like a fraud. How could I be preaching about consistency and “Chinese takes intention” if I was putting Chinese literacy for my third child on autopilot? (But I only stewed in my guilty conscience just a tiny bit because I also know I am human and most of us will have off-weeks and the only solution is to get back up and read again).

Hard because checking in here on my blog every two weeks instead of every one week made me procrastinate and the deadline was too far out for it to be of any use to me. (As a result, I’ve taken to checking in every Saturday in our Sagebooks HK Parent Support Group on Facebook.  It’s been key because now I face the prospect of public shame if I do not do it!)

It was also easy.

Easy because when I actually did Sagebooks with Glow Worm, it didn’t usually take much longer than 5-10 minutes.

Easy because when we finished our Sagebooks sessions – even if all he was in the mood to do was one lesson – I felt relief and much better about myself.

Easy because the more we read Sagebooks, the more Glow Worm remembered and whatever fancy brain connections that formed before were still there and showing up in surprising ways.

Where Are We?

We started Week 2 at Lesson 2.2:13 (Set 2 Book 2 Lesson 13) and I planned on us hitting Lesson 2.3:5 by the end of Week 3.

Did We Do It?

Yes!! In fact, we ended on Lesson 2.3:6! WHOOOOO!

What Happened?

Week 2 was mostly reviewing. A LOT.

Why? Because as I mentioned, Glow Worm forgot many of the recently acquired characters because they didn’t make it out of his short-term memory. Sadly, his brain is efficient and when it realized that Glow Worm wasn’t using them, his brain dumped those pesky characters out and set the memories on fire just to make sure they could never be recovered.

Ok, perhaps it was not quite that drastic (but it sure felt that way).

My goal for Week 2 was to finish Book 2.2 so though I was frustrated at the constant reviewing and making Glow Worm’s reacquaintance with the beginning of that same book, I also knew it was my own fault so I sucked it up. I buckled down and made it a priority to read with him. I made peace with the reality of constant review and feeling as if we were only treading water versus making headway.

Here’s a video of him reading Set 2 Book 2 Lesson 12.

By Week 3, that persistence and consistency paid off. Glow Worm was still forgetting characters, but they were the abstract characters or just tougher characters in general. I was feeling much better and despite our sessions being longer than normal, Glow Worm worked hard and we pushed forward.

Here’s a video of him reading Set 2 Book 3 Lesson 4.

Anything Else?

As always, I’m always amused by how Glow Worm’s brain processes Chinese characters as he tries to shunt them in categories and find ways to remember their unique and shared components. For example, he continually says “qiu” for 就/jiu4/ because they share the same “iu” blending sound. Or he will say 後/hou4/back/ for 面/mian4/side/ because I used 後面/hou4 mian4/rear/ as an example for how to use 面 and now he associates that character with the phrase.

Yes, yes. More nerdy language stuff. But I find it encouraging because even though Glow Worm may not be saying the correct character, his mind is making connections and trying to resolve where to sort the character and what to call it.

I think Glow Worm is trying to tell me his brain is full.

I know many of us get super frustrated when our children consistently “forget” the same characters over and over again. Even despite us working on the same “problem” characters with activities or flash cards or whatever we come up with (you can always try the different activities I’ve written for the Sagebooks HK Blog), it can often seem as if our child is making ZERO progress.

It’s not true.

Though you can’t see it and it may take weeks or months before it finally clicks into place, your child is progressing. You have no idea what connections they’re making until one day, like magic, your child knows the character and probably was saying it correctly for awhile before you realized it.

There is only so much a Chinese curriculum can do if you're not consistently putting in the work. Click to Tweet

Alright, that’s it for this week! Next week, we’re doing something new. We get a Sneak Peak into Sagebooks and will finally discover just why so many of the characters have no hair! (Seriously, this has been a burning question since I got these books back in early 2015.)