One of my goals in homeschooling Enu this past semester was to help her with her English. That may surprise some who have heard her speak, as she is very much fluent in her conversation and has no accent. When we first brought the girls home I read that it took 7 years for a child to become fluent in English. I scoffed at this (as I did many, many other things I read about!) and thought they were fluent after just two years. They needed no extra school help and understood everything.
Or did they? I have slowing gleaned that while they seem conversationally fluent, if they don’t know something they fake it, or guess the meaning by the context of the conversation. I have learned we need to work on vocabulary, tone, sarcasm and idioms. They are still very literal in many ways.
Enu and I have worked a lot with word ladders. This has improved her spelling and vocabulary and they are fun to do. I found two other books that helped with her language skills:
In A Pickle And Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terban
Ever wonder where the expression “To let the cat out of the bag” came from? This book will tell you along with other idioms like “He got up on the wrong side of the bed” or “Keep your shirt on.” I learned some things reading this and I know Enu did as well.
How Much Can A Bare Bear Bear? by Brian P. Cleary is a book on homonyms and homophones. “A bee can be.” ” A horse can get hoarse from talking of course.” An easy read that shows kids how to learn our complicated English in a fun, silly way.
I would love for Mita to read these books as well, as I know she too struggles with some of these things as Enu does. Of course a fifth grader is not always open to such suggestions from mother ;)
I wanted to share these books to help out the fellow homeschooler and the parents of newly adopted older kids who are learning English. They are helpful and fun and free if you get them from the library as I did. I did get the word ladder of Amazon, but it was totally worth the few bucks it cost.
(Disclosure: I was not asked to review these materials, nor do I make money on the links. I should do something about that shouldn’t I!)