Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday Topic: Homework

Ashley asks: Our oldest daughter just entered 1st grade and is attending Russian public school. We are excited about the possibilities for her to become fluent in the language and to make friends within our community, but I'm nervous about how she/we will manage the homework in coming years. I am already having to used the dictionary just to do 1st grade homework! Do any of you moms whose kids have gone to public school in a foreign language have any pointers or encouragements on how to make it work?

(If you have a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to me at fylliska@gmail.com. Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, or specify if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)


  1. We homeschool, but we've had similar experiences with music school. The only thing I can suggest is getting outside help. In our son's first year, I had a girl from church come over once a week to help him with homework. After she moved away, I finally realized that his piano teacher is officially responsible to help him in the other music classes, so I talked to her. Now they use some of his piano time each week to work on that torturous theory homework. (I am doubly or triply handicapped in music theory! I'm completely unmusical. The textbook is the national standard, so it's in Ukrainian, even though all the classes are taught in Russian here. We speak Russian, not Ukrainian. So, I'd look up a term in a Ukrainian-Russian dictionary, then Russian-English, and I still wouldn't understand it!)

    Oh, when I worked at a school in Moscow, we had some students who stayed after school every day, and we teachers had to take turns staying and helping them with their homework. Is there anything like that at your daughter's school?

    Also, I've helped quite a few (Russian!) friends with their children's early elementary homework by looking it up on the internet. Maybe you can join a mom's forum or something? Or just do some searching when you get stuck?

  2. Our kids were in a francophone school for primary school. It was great for both my husband and I in our own language learning. But we also had friends, went in with our children and spoke to the teacher together so we could better understand the next time (great for building relationships) or relied on an older sibling. The internet (when it was working) was also a great resource for us - but the scripts are the same in English and French.

    We have to purchase all textbooks here. So we've kept the old ones and also use those as references. By the time our first two had gone through the system, we actually felt pretty comfortable.