你好! Nǐ hǎo!
I’m Betty, and I’m so happy that you’re here.
CHALK Academy is just me, my kids…and families that want to raise bilingual/multilingual children!
I love sharing ideas and resources that have helped us learn Chinese against the odds, and I hope they can bless your family, too!
How our language journey began
I’m a second-generation Chinese-American mom of a 6-year-old girl (老大 / lǎo dà) and 3-year-old boy (老二 / lǎo èr).
I’ve been a pediatrician, medical writer, piano teacher, and tutor for various subjects, but my favorite role is being my children’s teacher.
I’m married to my best friend, a Korean-American guy, and we are raising our kids trilingual in a small town in California.
For the past few years, we have been attempting the one parent/caregiver one language (OPOL) approach:
- Me – Chinese
- Nanny – Korean
- Dad/family language – English.
Since none of us are fluent in our heritage languages, you might be surprised that my children can speak Chinese fluently and understand Korean.
One of my biggest childhood regrets was rejecting my Chinese heritage.
My parents passed away in my 20s, and I forgot almost all Chinese that I had learned as a child.
Now as a parent, I appreciate culture and language and hope my kids can, too.
When my daughter was 2 years old, I began to learn Chinese with her.
Since we live in a small, non-diverse town, the first year was extremely difficult.
I also had trouble finding engaging Chinese resources.
More importantly, my children speak Chinese and English comfortably together, and Chinese is our “heart” language.
We achieved these milestones by following my children’s interests and immersing them in a prepared, multilingual learning environment.
About CHALK Academy
Child-led, multilingual learning at home and school
CHALK Academy is the resource that I wish we had from the start.
In the beginning of our journey, I remember feeling frustrated, searching desperately all over the internet and not finding the best materials for my family’s needs.
Therefore, this website was created for parents like me who want to raise multilingual children.
CHALK stands for Child-Led, Hands-on, Active Learning for Kids
Since many Asian-Americans like myself failed to acquire the minority language through traditional methods, I believe the next generation can have a better chance at learning and embracing minority languages.
The website is organized into 5 main categories:
- Quick, easy, fun, and educational activities
- Free, interactive multilingual printables
- Resources such as our favorite books, videos, music, apps, and toys/games
- Our family’s journey – reflections about raising a trilingual family; updates about my children’s progress and challenges
- Teaching tips for parents and teachers
Focus on minority language at home
Since Chinese has been the main language that my children and I use together, most of the articles feature Chinese characters.
However, I hope that the principles can be adapted to other minority languages.
Whenever possible, I try to include my children’s other languages, Korean and English.
Since Korean resources for overseas learners are relatively sparse on the internet, I hope to gradually add more to this website over time.
On the other hand, the internet is saturated with English resources, so I remain committed to encouraging our family’s minority languages.
Our personal journey
This is my own personal blog, written and edited by me. It’s for informational, non-judgmental, encouragement purposes only.
The details of our journey are for your reference in hopes that it would help your family’s language adventure.
Every family is different; some posts will be more relevant than others, and that’s okay!
Raising multilingual children – where do I even begin?
If this is your first time here, I want you to know how overwhelmed I felt at the beginning.
The feeling is normal and common, and I’m here to help.
I’ve written a number of guides on frequently asked questions which can jump-start your multilingual journey.
Before diving into language activities, books, and other resources, please review these guides on how to teach kids a second language at home:
- Tips on creating a multilingual learning environment
- How To Learn Chinese as a Busy Parent: 10+ Strategies (This post focuses on how I have been learning Chinese)
- Teach kids how to read Chinese
- When and How to Introduce Chinese Characters to Kids?
- Memorize Chinese Characters with 5 Basic Tips
- 15 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read
- Create a Print-Rich Environment with Labels that Promote Literacy
- When Should My Child Learn Hanyu Pinyin?
- How I Taught My Child 1000+ Chinese Characters as a Non-Fluent Speaker
For an overview of fun Chinese activities for kids, please review our How-To Guide!
In addition, check out the FAQs!
Let’s raise multilingual kids together!
I’d love to learn more about your parenting and teaching experience and welcome all feedback.
If you’d like to get in touch, feel free to leave a message in the comments section or contact me!
Please me know if there are any printables, activities, or other advice you need.
CHALK Academy community and encouragement
Due to high volume of inquiries, I am not able respond to each individual message. However, I read every note and will try my best to find a solution for you via social media, email newsletter, or a detailed post!
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Together, we can make Chinese language and culture a positive part of family life!
谢谢 (Xièxiè / THANK YOU)
For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me – Philippians 4:13