Thursday, February 19, 2015

Passing the first part of the Eiken level 2...

Branden took the Eiken test at the end of January 2015. His first time ever in his life, taking this specific type a test, meaning the Eiken. And he passed. He started with the level 2. Level 1 is the best and passing that means you're done with taking the Eiken. The starter Eiken is level 5? And gets harder the lower the number goes down to. Since he has no experience taking the Eiken, we wanted him to take a level that would be an easy pass....meaning easy for him to pass and that would give him the experience of taking it. That way if he wants to take another one, the next time around, he at least has the experience of having taken the test before under his belt. So for Branden starting with the Eiken level 2 was a great idea. Great starting point for him. : )  This paper says he passed. The 2 big bold kanji means/says he passed.
A lot of people might not share the specific testing results, but I'll share. Remember this test is measuring his English. So the top line is Branden's grammar, out of 20 questions he got 19 right/correct. So he missed 1. The 2nd line is his reading. This kid loves to read anything and everything in English. In fact most nights, I find Branden reading one of his many Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and have to ask him to turn off his light that sits on top of his night stand and go to sleep. Hahaha. And that's even after we already jointly read together at night too and the kid is still reading. He got 17 right out of 20 questions. He missed 3. I was surprised, that he missed 3 actually, but again though no worries. And the 3rd line is Branden's listening. How good is Branden at listening to English and be able to answer questions about what he just heard.  I knew this score was going to be sky high...since we speak only in English at our home and his mom/me is an American who talks and speaks and chatters non stop to them in English, our TV is all in English, we stream radio from America, my kids hear American accents everywhere they turn in this house, hahaha. I had no worries. And as expected his English listening skills were a perfect 30 out of 30. Well done kiddo! I'm awfully proud of you. : )

Noboru has really never wanted our kids to take the Eiken. Granted he's not anti-Eiken. It's just I mentioned it years ago and his response to me was..."honey that's for Japanese-only type a kids, our kids are completely and totally bilingual, it would be weird for them to take the Eiken" Granted is he he wrong? You know...Noboru is a lovely guy and if he personally feels that way, okay. You know...not everybody feels the same about everything. Do you know what I mean. : ) So again...I never really mentioned it after that. And what are my feelings? I'm not against the Eiken, at fact I have many western mom friends with hafu children who have taken it before. And they felt it was A-okay taking it, as do I. So really...either way, I'm pretty flexible. Let's just put it this way...we sincerely never pushed our kids to take the Eiken. : ) However..the Eiken is taken at our local actual JHS. First time...back in June or around there. A handful of Branden's classmates took it and Branden did not. Branden mentioned it. I told Branden "if you'd like to take it can." Branden then asked his dad. Noboru said..."son you don't need to take that test to measure your English skill, you speak English just like your mom"..which yes he does, and so does Noah. So Branden said...okay and he did not take it. Then the Fall came and again another Eiken at the local JHS. Branden said..more of my classmates are taking it. So and so is taking the level 5, and these many people are taking the level 4 and 1 person is taking the 3. Again I said..."honey if you'd like to take the Eiken you can." He mentioned it to his dad. And again Noboru said.."son you really don't need to take it" So Branden didn't take it. Keep in mind the kids who pass the Eiken at our JHS get awards in front of the rest of the school. They are made to feel really super duper, the kids who take the Eiken at our particular JHS. Anyway so in December right before Christmas/New Year's break once again... Branden brought home a paper given to all kids. Another Eiken being taken at the end of January 2015. I now son wants to take it. For whatever reason, he wants to and I see that. And if he feels he needs and wants to take this test, then by all means...I'm down with that too. So, I said, here is the 6,000 yen about $60 US. And he signed up for the Eiken January 2015. 

When my kids were born. I always knew that I would always only ever speak to them in my native tongue. English. It is my mother tongue and it is also my heart language. When I say to my child...I love you. For me it has so much powerful feelings and emotions and meaning for me behind those words. As they grew up into toddlers and elementary age kids. The way I relate to my kids. I do so in English. Even with a teenager in the house...if he's acting up...I say.."you're outta line mister!" Hahaha. : ) But for me...our language we communicate ONLY English. I did send the both of them to English Kumon since age 3, which I am *so* glad I did that. Also for Japanese Kumon too. I sent them for Japanese because well..I am not Japanese and they could learn Japanese from Kumon and be at the same level as their classmates. However I sent them to English Kumon for different reasons. I sent them to English Kumon for back up/re-enforcement. While we worked on English work books at home, they also meanwhile got English homework from their Kumon teacher too. The thing I most loved about English Kumon is that they had classmates or friends who were also taking English Kumon. They didn't feel all alone doing it. So between what I worked on with them with at our English workbooks and the English Kumon. My kids were both sorta tag teamed in English. They got the English reading and writing double (from me and also from Kumon.) And again it helped Branden knowing 3 of his shogakko/Elementary classmates were also taking it. It helped Noah know one of his classmates was taking it too. They weren't just doing it all alone. I have read to Branden before bed every night until he reached age 10...then I figured he was old enough to start reading to ME. Hahaha. I'd read 1 page, he'd read 1, I'd read 1 and so on. he would hear my American rhythm and way I read naturally and then when it was his turn...he'd read just like me on the next page. Places I'd pause. Or how I'd stretch out a certain word. Or stress a certain syllable. Yep...age 10 it switched to... we would read jointly. : ) Noah is only 9 right now so I am still just reading to him every night (it's our special one on one time and to read a special story) but once July 7th hits and he hits age 10. He will have to read 1 page and I'll read the next and he will mimic my reading style and accent with regards to the way I read and stuff. And that joint reading stuff is just for our bedtime stories. Noah reads to me many times by himself during the week anyways, as he should be. Plus Noah reads to me every Saturday for an hour. And Noah actually likes reading to me too. And I like hearing it. : )  And that's basically how they learned to speak anyways too. By hearing me all the time. And believe me at home...I am a chatterbox. No wonder Branden got 100% on his listening hahaha. Usually the taped listening part of the Eiken is an American person reading a passage/blurb at fast/normal speeds and they then ask you...what you just heard. Such as a questions of what they just heard. Meaning how well can you hear regular speed English and understand it. I don't slow anything down at my house. And have never....just all their lives they had to hear lightening fast English. And have just always understood mommy/me. Same with my family...they just talk a mile a minute and they do just fine. : )

Branden will have a speaking interview soon. Since he passed the first part of the Eiken 2. I really am not worried about the 2nd part of the test...the interview at all because his speaking and back and forth conversation skills are completely normal/fine. So no worries about that at all. : ) Phew. Will Branden take the next Eiken, in June or whenever? You know...if he wants to take it...we'll let him. To us though... he really has nothing to prove, we know how good his English skills are already. But again if he wants to, that's fine too. But it's going to have to be his decision and up to Branden. Meanwhile...Noah now wants to take the Eiken. Again younger brother wanting to copy big brother. I think Noah could take the Eiken 3 and pass it, as is, no problem. But's going to have to be up to them. Plus there's no real rush either. Noah's barely in the 3rd grade.  But yep, not bad for Branden passing the Eiken level 2, as a 7th grader. Proud of you kiddo! : )