Monday, May 19, 2014

Preparing for Branden's first, JHS midterm

I wrote a lot about when both Branden and also Noah started yochien, lots of pictures and information. And would you believe every single year since then...I get at least 2-3 comments in the yochien posts from someone saying...thank you for writing this in English, it helps. Knowing the information can be of help to others, makes me happy, and while granted I don’t know *everything* of course, but what I do know, I at least share it here. Of course rules vary by school, that goes without saying, but at the very least it gives you an idea. And a round about idea is at least, better than nothing, kwim: ) Also, I was very detailed when Branden and Noah started elementary school in Japan and again lots of randoseru information, the name stickers on the math set...just lots of things to at least think about. Again maybe your school might not need a math set, but at least it gives food for thought. And again each year since, I get at least 1 comment or question or just a simple...thank you for writing the yochien or elementary school information here. Nice to have the info in English. And now....here I type this all out, but now it’s the Junior high school in Japan version. : ) So here we go. Branden has a midterm this coming Thursday, May 22nd. It will cover, Math, Japanese, Science, Social Studies and English. Again, I think this really doesn’t need to be said but just in case, this is how it’s done at our specific junior high school in Japan, your school might do things differently, who knows. : ) What we were told when Branden started JHS, is the midterm and finals starting from 7th grade and go all the way until you are in the 9th grade, will stay on your permanent record and they could determine if you get into a good high school or high school of your choosing, that type of thing. So, studying for these is pretty major.

How do we feel about the 4 subjects being covered, honestly, we feel pretty great. English, is not a concern at all, both my kids have done English and Japanese at Kumon since age 3. Have spoken English since they were babies, speak natively like me. They stopped Kumon a year ago, so Branden has 8 years of constant study and preparation and so absolutely no problem with English, at all, neither Noah. Plus I have studied English with them at home (reading and writing), we read at home a *huge* amount. English just isn’t an issue for us at our house at all. While they are both 100% bilingual, if asked which language they prefer? It’s English, hands down. If given the choice to read a book for example for pleasure... which language to choose...either in English or Japanese...they 100% of the time, will pick and choose/ prefer read in English and you know... that’s okay, nothing wrong with preferring English, as long as their Japanese is at level as well, and it is.

Math no problem, they both have amazing math skills. : ) Science and social studies are no problem either.

Preparation for the mid term, our school would not tell the kids which section to cover *until* 2 weeks before/prior. Notes were given out saying, we will inform all students of what areas to study May 8th/2 weeks before and not before that. May 8th was the day, Branden’s teacher passed out the “study guide” that pretty much tells you which pages and chapters to focus on. So, since May 8th, Branden has been spending 2 hours each day towards his mid term focusing on the areas the study guide says to, but he is also going over it all anyway. But really concentrating on the chapters and pages they highlighted/suggested.

Now that’s it’s getting down to the wire, Saturday May 17th for example, Branden studied for 5 straight hours. He did take two 20 minute breaks though to decompress and had time for lunch as well. In my opinion, I do think Kumon and the study habits he acquired from going to Kumon, have helped Branden be prepared. I also think going to Kumon for English helped Branden tremendously with the English because it trained him to read the Japanese and make translations or answer questions in a certain/set way...which is the same exact way they expect it done now at junior high school. So they taught him a great deal, he’s totally prepared. Side note, one of my good friends, has a friend who is a foreigner and his child is in JHS also (8th grade now, I think), the dad’s an English teacher, and the child is fluent in English, yet he is failing all his English tests at their particular Japanese junior high school. Why? Because he/the kiddo is writing the answers freestyle. The sentence comes in Japanese and says answer this. And so he does. Except there’s a “set” way that’s expected to be answered. If you live in Japan you’ll know what I mean maybe. If a question says...”Do you like soccer?” Instead of writing the expected/preferred. (“Yes, I like soccer” or “Yes, I do.”) From what I hear the child is writing. Soccer’s fine! Or perhaps... Yep, soccer rocks! You know what I mean. The child is right/correct. Anyway, my friend was telling me how her friend is so angry with the school that his child is failing all his English tests. The English teaching papa went down to complain apparently. : ( Anyway, I feel their pain. But also, hearing that story made me very relieved knowing Branden and Noah went to Kumon for English and Japanese for so many years, because though they speak natively and right off the top of their heads, they also know when at school that there are...set ways to answer in English class that are expected or a preferred way to write. For Branden, knowing the style his teacher prefers beforehand, thanks to Kumon (and I swear Kumon's not asking me to say this hahaha) and since the start of April, Branden has came back with 100% every time. So who knows...perhaps this story up above about my friends friend, might help someone a few years from now, if their child is experiencing that. I tell you though, I have never regretted sending both the boys to Kumon for English it has really prepared them.

At the end of 6th grade they were told the first week of JHS, they would have a big test over math and Japanese. Branden studied like crazy and on his math he got 98% (missed 1 problem, 2 points each), so he did really well. And his Japanese he got 90%, which is an A, granted.... we wish it would have been a 96% or something (and no we didn't say that hahaha), but you know, it was still a good grade. Branden wants to get higher scores this midterm. So he’s been studying ever since he got his study guide/syllabus. 2 hours each day towards the mid term, besides his regular homework.

Sunday, yesterday, Branden was in the kitchen studying since 8:30am. He stopped for the day at 6pm (he did take 2- twenty minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch break, but the rest was some intense studying going on. But Noboru was in the kitchen with him the entire time. And I would go and sit with Branden often throughout the day too. Noah was outside playing with friends, but would come in to get a drink and tell his brother how proud he is or how smart he is. : ) So...Branden is studying his brains out. But he’s happy because, he prefer show up to a test prepared and knowing his stuff....then sitting there like duh @.@..for the 45 minutes or so while the test is going on. I think he’ going to pretty much nail his mid term, his dad has been working hard studying right along with him helping him, quizzing him, testing him. Giving him mini math tests all day Saturday and giving Branden mini science tests all day Sunday, social studies and Japanese.

After his midterm is over, Branden, Noah and myself will head to Guam for a short 1 over night trip to eat some good eats, visit with grandpa/my dad and buy some much needed grocery items...like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc hahaha. And just sorta decompress...I know, Branden especially will be needing the break. I want to let Branden destress as much as possible between his mid term and his final he has in June. So a mini get away is going to do him a lot of good. : )

At our JHS, the club activities have stopped for this week only, giving the kids in clubs, 3 days off to prepare before the test so they can study for the midterm.

If your child is in JHS and studying for their midterm right now. Good luck! The studying for the 2 week period is a bit crazy but it’s nearly there and over. I think Branden can’t wait until Thursday is over with. The finals are in June and will be 2 days long, meaning some subjects 1 day and the rest the next day. But this mid tern will be just on this Thursday.
New student test, subject Japanese.

Two points each question.

90% is actually pretty awesome though! His teacher gave him that good job stamp!

The test, they had been preparing for since they graduated 6th grade. This was given 2 days after the entrance ceremony! Next test this Thursday, May 22nd.
Noboru's hands, this Saturday while he was writing a mini math test. Noboru gave Branden about 20 mini math tests, no exaggeration! Branden got 100% on most of his mini math tests Noboru gave him. But on a few tests he'd have like 1 mistake. Noboru went through that equation with him again and again to make sure the day of the test, he wouldn't have the same problem. By the time Saturday was over, Noboru tested him and Noboru said he thinks math wise, Branden is ready!

Father and son hands. : ) Picture taken, Sunday/yesterday, again for the past 2 weeks, Noboru has spent every waking minute studying with Branden. In this picture they were studying about leaves. Branden has been given so many mini tests. In this picture Noboru and Branden were going over science. Testing again and again, asking Branden "what are the correct steps to use a microscope?" Branden knew it step by step. They went again and again and again over every thing imaginable. Until Noboru said, he thinks Branden knows it. Today is Monday, Branden went to school, both the boys are swimming right now. But when Branden gets home, at 7pm, he and his brother will jump in the shower real fast to de-chlorine and shampoo themselves up. Eat supper and then from 8-10pm Branden and Noboru will be studying once again, they'll start all over again with math yet again and then switch to Japanese for tonight and stop there. And tomorrow they'll be right back at it. So yep, big time studying happening in our neck of the woods. Good luck Branden for Thursday kiddo!