Saturday, January 07, 2006

Babysitting 6

We've been on a steady diet of Magic English over the past several months. Disney has created a series of EFL DVD's that uses clips from theie extensive library of animated films. These DVD's are 30 minutes in length, and primarily targeted at children. However, I imagine that just about anyone who enjoys Disney's films will find these DVD's an entertaining alternative to studying the latest TOEIC manual.

Miyu and I watch one of the DVD's almost every day. There are a few of them that she particularly enjoys, so we've watched them a whole bunch of times. I like the Magic English series because each DVD includes plenty of speaking practice, and a theme that is backed up by a custom-made song (involving the target language for each specific DVD). Some of the songs are semi-catchy (from my point of view), and very easy for Miyu to remember.

The Magic English series has helped to get Miyu talking a little bit more. However, we're still dealing with some pretty big obstacles. The lessons are still taking place in a Japanese-first environment, and that has been a problem that we haven't found a way to avoid.

Another problem is that Miyu is incredibly shy and dainty. She loves to play, and pretend she's a princess, but she doesn't always want people to be focusing on her. Many times she'll muff her pronunciation of short English phrases on purpose so as to deflect attention from herself.

However, she also has an increasing tendency to come up with startlingly clean, simple English at times. I don't know why, but it's usually when her grandmother isn't in the room. It usually happens when she's forgotten to be guarded about what's going on, or when she's mentally engaged in something else. Sometimes it just pops out! I don't make a big deal out of it so as not to embarrass or patronize her.

Miyu will be starting Kindergarten this spring. That will likely mean a schedule change for us; maybe no more morning lessons. I'm worried about how much energy she will have at the end of the day after she comes home from school.

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