Last month, Ethan was invited to join American Mensa and we thought hard about it and decided, why not. We feel that it’s really cool for a 5 year old to join the list of smart people and connect with them locally, join their activities and get mentored in the process.
This is from their website, “With more than 57,000 members, American Mensa is the largest national Mensa operating under the auspices of Mensa International, Ltd. There are currently more than 100,000 members worldwide, and an estimated six million Americans are eligible for Mensa membership.
Members of American Mensa range in age from 2 to 102. They include engineers, homemakers, teachers, actors, athletes, students and CEOs, and they share only one trait — high intelligence. To qualify for Mensa, they scored in the top 2 percent of the general population on an accepted standardized intelligence test.
As a member, you have the opportunity to meet other smart people at local, regional and national levels. You can attend entertaining, intellectually stimulating events and exchange ideas with others through a variety of publications and our online Community. You can also work to help others in your community by volunteering for community-oriented activities and working with the Mensa Foundation. And you can take advantage of our variety of member benefits and services. I know there’s also a local Mensa chapter here and will try to connect with them one of these days.
So when we showed Ethan his Mensa ID that arrived in the mail, he is happy that he belongs to a club, although he thought that Mensa is a place where he gets a chance to play unlimited video games. 🙂
Few days after turning 4 years old, my youngest daughter had an Aha moment. She picked up a Bob book for beginning readers and started reading. At first she was sounding out letters then blending them. I was really surprised because I, (nor her teacher) have not started teaching blending yet. The last time I checked her work, she was just doing beginning and ending sounds, so I was really not expecting it. Out of curiosity, I picked up another book, this time with short and long e sounds and asked her to read. And she did! She is reading! I swooped her up in my arms, whirled her around and around and together, we did the happy dance as her laughter filled the air. She knew that was a special moment and I can tell by the look on her face that she is very proud of herself.
This morning, holding her favorite book, she said, “Mom, Ethan (her brother) doesn’t need to read me a book anymore because I can do it myself.” So happy for her 🙂
This year, both kids have Filipino and Sibika (Social Studies) subjects in school. That’s a solid 2 hour exposure to Filipino language. My 4 year old (yes, she turned 4 last Sunday) is learning to read and write the Filipino alphabet and is doing a wonderful job. My 5 year old first grader initially has problems with both subjects, complaining that it is difficult so I hired a tutor. Six weeks into school, he is starting to relax, complaining less and is reading really well in both subjects. I decided he doesn’t need a tutor anymore and I will be the one to teach him. Then I realized something … he is becoming more bilingual! He switches conversation easily in English and Filipino, depending on who is talking to. The same goes with my girl. They can decipher who speaks what language. At home, they only speak Filipino to the nannies, English to their Dad and both languages with me, although I always favor speaking Filipino. Lately, I am more careful about topics to discuss at home because they can now understand. So when my sister and I want to talk important issues in front of them we switch to our native dialect, which is totally different from Filipino. I can observe that they are also trying to listen well because they know that we are talking something important and we don’t want them to know. I have a feeling that in time, they will catch up with that language, too 🙂
On the other hand, I met a Filipino mom in their school who complains that her child is having a hard time understanding Filipino and Sibika although he went to a local school since Nursery. I found out that they speak English at home (even the nannies) and the school has a strict “English only” policy. So now he is being tutored in both subjects and has no interest in learning Filipino. I shared that my kids are monolingual when we arrive 6 months ago and now they are bilingual. She doesn’t believe me until she started having conversation with E in Filipino. She was stunned. I could not forget the look on her face 🙂 Later, I found out from other Moms that this is a common occurence here in the Philippines. In their hope to make their children become fluent in English, some parents stop speaking Filipino at home and send them to an English speaking school. Filipino then becomes a minority language because there’s no direct reinforcement from school and home where kids spent most of his time. In my opinion, Filipino should be taught at home because the Philippine educational system uses English as a mode of instruction in all subjects, except Filipino and Sibika. I know it’s a parent’s choice but I feel sad because Filipinos should learn their mother tongue first before they learn a second or a third language.
As Dr. Jose Rizal would say, “Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa sa mabaho at malansang isda.” On my part, I hope that we can sustain this language immersion and that one day my children will be able to speak their mother tongue confidently …. and proudly!