- Today I start another month of keeping track of my daily “obligations,” and last month’s cards will head off to the recycling bag. Rather than buy a new journal or something similar, when I decided to keep track of what I wanted to accomplish every day, I came up with the idea of using the index cards we found in the girls’ bedroom that they didn’t need. So far it’s working very well, and is quite motivating – I’m one of those people who likes to see all the blanks filled in.
- YaYu has been accepted to participate in a two-week research and language study trip to China through the Pacific Asian Affairs Council (Hawai’i)! The application process was quite rigorous and competitive, so we are absolutely thrilled she was accepted. She’s also been shortlisted for one of the scholarships that will pay for part to all of the entire cost. We let her know when she applied that unless she received one of the scholarships we could not afford to pay for the trip; she understood and decided to go for it anyway. With all that’s been happening recently though, both Brett and I are more than a bit nervous about letting her travel overseas without us. She is heading over to Oahu at the end of this month with the team from her high school to compete in a day-long Japanese language/history event. The association for that (JASH) paid for the plane tickets. She’ll be back in the early evening, just in time to attend her swim team banquet. The girl stays busy!
- I’ve been using Rosetta Stone to study Japanese these past several weeks. In the early sections I thought it worked very well, especially since it was primarily review for me, but as I’ve been moving into more difficult grammatical structures I am beginning to discover several limitations with the program. Speaking as a language instructor, it gives far too little introduction, instruction or repetition to many of the grammatical structures and vocabulary it introduces. Also, the program uses pictures and requires me to match phrases with the pictures, Many times it’s flat-out impossible to tell what’s happening in the pictures, so instead of matching I end up having to guess (and of course get it wrong). The speech recognition software is also problematic. I can say something one time and it’s fine, but the next time have to practically scream at the microphone to be heard, or it only hears part of what I’m saying. And, I’m often given a long, complicated sentence or two to speak, but the buzzer goes off before I can even say half of it – very annoying! In my opinion, Rosetta Stone would be a fine accompaniment to a regular language class, but on its own it falls far short as an effective language learning program, especially with a language as difficult as Japanese. I’m not disappointed I bought it, but I am disappointed in what it claims it can accomplish. I’ve been using the Rosetta Stone program for at least eight weeks, but when Brett and I watched a Japanese film last week (with subtitles), I couldn’t understand even one thing that was said in the film, including words and grammar that I’ve supposedly “learned” already.