"I'm afraid to send my kid to Chinese school because I am worried I can't help them with homework."
If this sounds like you, don't worry. In this digital age you will get plenty of help in the form of Chinese Learning Apps. As a non-Chinese speaking parent, can you put your child in Chinese school and still support them in their school work? Yes, you can. Even if you are much too busy to sit and learn with your child using these apps, you always have whatsapp and Facebook. Just whatsapp or post your child's homework and you get instant help. However, we are not going to talk about that today.
Today, we will discuss the best 5 apps for learning Chinese with your kids.
Pleco - the number one Chinese Dictionary app for iOS and Android. Learn Chinese using a dictionary app? Yes, that is right. Pleco is incredibly powerful.
If you are not sure how to start using it, you can read up a more detailed post from earlier on how to use Pleco to help your child learn Chinese including "ting xie" (Chinese spelling) with step by step guide on how to search and organize the Chinese characters from his school text books into folders for easy reference.
2. TrainChinese - TrainChinese is an excellent app to help you learn Chinese vocabulary by using flashcards. TrainChinese will train you in your ability to read, write and recognize by sight and through listening to the Chinese characters that you are learning.
Besides the main app, it has other related apps like the pinyin trainer, Chinese numbers and apps to help you improve your Chinese writing and listening skills. Of course, you need to pay for some of them but the free one is still pretty good.
3. Google Translate - You might say "What? Use a translation app to learn Chinese? The translation is really bad it is laughable" You may have a point there but it is being improved and the translation is getting better all the time. This app is not so much for learning Chinese but rather to help you help your child with homework.
The good thing is it supports optical character recognition which means you can take a picture of the Chinese text from your child's school text book or workbook and get the English translation immediately with little effort. Sure, the translation may be a little off but all you need is a rough understanding of it to be able to explain to your child. This feature is wonderful and it is free which makes it even more wonderful. Read How To Use Google Translate For Education for a step by step guide on how to use Google Translate to help your child with homework in Chinese.
4. Chinese Skill - Unlike the other apps above which are dictionary and translation apps, Chinese Skill is a Chinese Learning App. It is game based which makes it fun to learn for both parent and child and it is optimized for learners which English speaking background. You will learn essential and common Chinese characters, Chinese grammar points, sentence patterns, key words and phrases.
Game based means you level up and unlock new levels as you learn. Good to encourage the kid who always say "I hate learning Chinese!"
5. Memrise - Memrise is not a Chinese learning app per se. It is an app for you to learn anything that requires repetition and memorizing including any language, musical terms and much more. You can use it for learning Chinese Mandarin too. For example, you can learn Chinese radicals, commonly used Chinese words etc. You can make your own memorizing/learning module or learn from those created by others like this one on Chinese Measure Words or Chinese Classifiers. It is an awesome app for learning just about anything! Just search for a module that interests you and give it a try.
With these apps, you will be able to support your child who is studying in Chinese school, even if you are English educated and Chinese illiterate. All of these apps are available for both iOS and Android and some are accessible on PC as well.
Happy Learning together with your child. Make learning Chinese fun with these apps! To encourage your child to love studying Chinese, you have to love it too. Love studying Chinese and your child will love it too!
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