Our Road to Fluency: Mandarin for Homeschoolers - Eva Varga

July 7, 201415

When we officially began homeschooling in 2007, one of the major driving forces behind our decision was my daughter’s desire to learn Chinese. She was just five years old at the time and thus we began our journey.

mandarinfluency1 Our Road to Fluency

Our first task was to find a native speaker. We were able to find a Mandarin Immersion Preschool right away and though she was the oldest in the class, we gave it a go.  After a year, it was clear that studying Mandarin was something she really wanted to do and we thereby transitioned to semi-private lessons (which she continued for four years).

Since then, we have moved to a new state and fortunately we were able to find another native speaker to continue her lessons. Upon our arrival here in California, my son also began to learn Mandarin – though he has grown to love it, in the beginning he wasn’t happy with our decision and would have preferred to continue his free time.  (What 6 year old boy wouldn’t want free time, right?)

My daughter has thereby been studying Mandarin for seven years, more than half her life.  My son has just three years under his belt but already, his skill nearly matches hers for we discovered soon after working with our new tutor that the former had not emphasized the tones well enough, had moved through the vocabulary very quickly, and that much had not been retained.

Better Chinese

I haven’t blogged very often here at Academia Celestia about our Mandarin lessons.  This is partially because my focus here is on science and our ancestral heritage.  Additionally, a couple years ago I began to blog for Better Chinese, the publisher of the integrated curriculum we use, and thus I share our Mandarin anecdotes there.   Better Chinese is designed to motivate students in non-native Chinese environments to start speaking Chinese.

My posts are meant to show how we as a homeschool family utilize the Better Chinese materials and other resources to develop our language skills.  If you are interested in reading any of these posts, I have conveniently gathered the links here for you (listed chronologically according to the date they were published – newest on top).  


I would be more than happy to write a post specifically addressing any questions you may have in regards to how we approach our language studies.  If there is something you would like to see .. don’t hesitate to leave a comment and let me know.  🙂

ForeignLanguageLooking for other languages or ideas on how to implement language learning? Visit the iHomeschool Network’s Foreign Languages in Your Homeschool linkup.



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  • Po Tim

    May 6, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Hi Eva,
    I’m glad I just found your page about homeschooling Chinese to your children, even it was a while ago. I’m sure they are pretty good at their Chinese now. So do you speak Chinese as well? How did you start home-school your children Chinese? Because it’s not a common subject that you can easily to get support. WOW!! I admire your love toward your children.
    Anyways, I’m currently homeschooling my young children (Pre-K/Kindergarten) English and Chinese as well. I’m a native Cantonese speaker. I’m starting a blog to create Chinese learning materials and recourse for parents like you. Please feel free to go to my blog to check it out. I’m new, so I’m still in a stage of setting things up and loading different printable to the blog. So it’s not a big, huge blog YET, it will come.
    I’m also searching people who is or want to home-school their kids Chinese as well. If you know anyone who may be interested, please let them know.
    Thanks very much.

    • Eva Varga

      May 9, 2016 at 6:20 am

      你好! It is so nice to meet you. My children are still learning Mandarin. I would have been delighted to have the resources you now provide when we first started. I wish you all the best! 🙂

      • Po Tim

        May 9, 2016 at 9:35 am

        Thanks for your reply. I know I should start earlier. But at least I got to help other parents like you, and my own as well.

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    • Eva Varga

      July 4, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Hi Mel! Thank you so much for alerting me. I have not blogged for Better Chinese in a while and their blogging platform has not been updated. I will try to log in to access my posts. I apologize for the inconvenience and delay.

    • Eva Varga

      July 4, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Better Chinese has upgraded their platform. The new URL for the post, Getting Started with Teaching Mandarin Chinese, is linked here. The two curricula I mentioned in the post are Pin-Yin for Everybody and My First Chinese Words – both are published by Better Chinese.

      • Mel

        July 6, 2017 at 12:00 am

        Eva, thank you very much! I really appreciate your help!

  • watsondan825

    October 31, 2017 at 12:55 am

    It was day before yesterday i found your blog and it was of great help to me. I hope soon i will be able to have a conversation with you in Chinese. 🙂

    • Eva Varga

      December 7, 2017 at 7:46 am

      My own knowledge is very limited. It’s my children whom are fluent in Chinese. 🙂

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