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Thursday, April 28, 2016



30 Commonly Used Math Terms For Kids Bilingual English and Chinese

This post is for all English speaking parents who send their kids to Chinese school or commonly known as SJKC in Malaysia.

Helping kids with homework is not an easy thing. It requires patience and time. Even more so when you do not know the language.

Kids in SJKC have to study Math and Science in Chinese. They used to have to study it in two languages doing Math and Science both in Chinese as well as English. Although I would have preferred Math to be taught in English, I was secretly glad when it was reduced to just one language because it reduced the kids burden. Burden in terms of having to sit for extra papers as well as burden in carrying workbooks, textbooks and exercise books to school.

However, one of the problems faced by kids who come from homes where families speak in English, Malay, Tamil or Chinese dialects other than Mandarin is the lack of practice and exposure in the language. If they are weak in their Mandarin subject, they will have trouble in their Math and Science in Chinese even if they understand the concepts well.

One of the things we've done as banana parents is to teach our kids Math and Science in English. That way, at least half the battle is won when they understand the concepts well. The other half of the battle is to help them with the Math and Science terminology or vocabulary.

In this post, I have come up with 30 commonly used math terms in English with Chinese translation and pinyin as well. These are very basic terms for kids just starting out in Primary one or Standard 1. Things like addition, subtraction, multiplication etc. These terms will be used in all other areas in Math whether you are studying the topic on Money, Time, Volume, Mass, Shapes etc. Every topic in Math requires basic calculation.

You will also find that if you make an effort to help your child master some commonly used math terms, by standard 3 and higher, they will be all right because in Math practice, the sums may get harder and harder but the basic terms do not change. You may learn some new topic specific terms but the basic calculation terms will remain the same.

I hope you find these 30 commonly used Math terms in English, Chinese and pinyin useful as a Cheat Sheet to help your kids with homework. You can also get your kids to learn these terms well so that they recognize the terms easily when they come across them in a question.

This free printable math term is password protected for members only. 
Members can login here to download and print them.

As a  parent who do not know Chinese myself, I had to rely heavily on Google translate and a Chinese to pinyin converter to come up with this list.

As a parent who do not know Chinese with kids in SJKC, I use a lot of online tools and apps which are freely available. I share some of them below:

I agonized over the decision on whether to send my kids to SJKC and was undecided right up to the last minute! I wrote this ebook as a guide for parents who go through the same thing "Should I or should I not send my kids to Chinese school?" "Am I doing the right thing?" 

Year after year, parents are asking themselves this question and go through the exact same dilemma I did. If you know of anyone going through that dilemma now, do recommend them my book "Banana Mom's Guide To Preparing For Chinese School - For Non-Chinese Speaking Families." Thank you.

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