Community Spotlight

“This is Us” Series

The “Community Spotlight” is a series of posts for “This is Us” featuring families in our community and their journey to raise multilingual children. 

We are so inspired by all the family stories you’ve shared with us.  We want to share your story with others who are also raising multilingual kids as well.  Through sharing tips and experiences, we hope families will feel that it is possible to add Chinese as part of their home languages. 

Our Parent Spotlight this month will feature Ruby!

Ruby is the creator of EdKids Home and she is very passionate about passing on the Chinese culture to her kids.  She has created really fun resources for kids and also provide lots of tips on her blog page.  We're so excited to hear more about her bilingual journey.

         Meet Ruby!        

Hi Ruby! Thanks for doing this interview with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?

Hi! I'm Ruby, (the creator of Edkids Home), and a mom to two amazing kids aged 7 and 4. I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Canada when I was 7. I can speak Cantonese fluently and my reading and writing skills are pretty good. My husband, born in Canada, speaks Cantonese even better than me, though he can't read or write it.

What languages do you speak at home?

At home, we speak both Cantonese and English. Our kids can both speak Cantonese, but our youngest has a bit of an accent. We try to get them to speak Cantonese as much as possible at home, but they usually talk to each other in English.

What motivated you to start teaching Cantonese at home?

I've been teaching Chinese since I got pregnant. We deeply value our Chinese culture and heritage and want to share this with our next generation. We're truly proud of our Chinese roots, from our language to our cuisine and travel. Due to COVID, I homeschooled my children for 18 months while on maternity leave with my son (I was granted 18 months off under Canadian law). During this time, I supported my child in learning the Chinese language through reading and different activities.

What keeps you going?

The biggest challenge is consistently exposing kids to Chinese language, culture, and heritage. If we stop, they start to forget. There were times I felt like giving up, but thankfully, a strong Chinese community supports me. They give me courage and help boost my children's Chinese skills. As a parent, I believe it's important to improve our own Chinese skills to pass them on to the next generation.

What are your goals in teaching Chinese?

My main goal is to keep learning fun and engaging because that's key to their success. At the very least, I want them to be able to speak and listen. Now, I'm also starting to teach them Mandarin since they've got a handle on Cantonese. For reading and writing, I'm doing my best to help them learn these skills and eventually, to type in Chinese. There's a wealth of resources on Baidu and Chinese social media like WeChat and Weibo. I really don't want them to miss out on any of it!

We love that you create your own material to teach Chinese - were there any other resources that you found helpful?

At home, I speak Cantonese with my family, in-laws, relatives, close friends, and my husband. We receive a good number of Chinese books from friends and relatives back in Hong Kong.

Also, we have the Sagebook set which is an excellent way to learn reading Chinese from scratch. There are a good number of blogs around which also inspired me to create my own blog, Edkids Home, which provides Chinese resources available in Traditional, Simplified, Zhuyin, Pinyin, and Jyutping.

What other ways do you enrich the Chinese learning environment?

My children are attending Chinese school for only three hours every Saturday, which is making me worried whether it is enough for them. I also ensure that my children continue to learn Cantonese at home by speaking it, reading Chinese books, playing Chinese games and activities, playing Cantonese apps and podcasts, watching Cantonese TV, and more.

We always do our best to take our family to Asia when possible. We think it's the best way to get our kids interested in Chinese culture and language for the long haul.

Do you have any rewarding moments to share?

Yes, there are lots! I remind myself to speak Cantonese with my children daily, helping them with every sentence. I see improvements quickly! The most rewarding moment was when my daughter went back to Hong Kong with her grandparents. Many of my cousins were impressed with her Chinese speaking skills. It felt truly rewarding!

My favourite memories are traveling with extended family members to Asia and also visiting other family members in Asia. In 2017, my 1.5-year-old daughter visited Hong Kong, enjoying herself despite jet lag and many dinner events. Our family trip included gatherings with relatives and friends, exploring different cuisines.

She bonded with her great-grandmother, cousins, and other relatives over three weeks, enjoying family time and overcoming her shyness. In 2018, we traveled to Shanghai and Yangzhou with my husband's extended family, including his 97-year-old grandmother. The three-week trip in late October was less crowded and very memorable, traveling as a large group. Traveling with seniors enriched our experience, as they shared unique perspectives and stories about their hometowns. On her last trip to Hong Kong, my daughter went alone with her grandparents. During her 3-week stay, her appreciation for Chinese food and language grew significantly. It was amazing!

Do you have any advice for parents who are undecided about starting Chinese at home?

Start now! Learn and explore together - it's the best approach! Choose activities you both love.

For me, watching Chinese dramas, movies, or cartoons from my childhood with my kids is really fun. Try playing Traditional Chinese Toys with your kids and grandparents, such as Aeroplane Chess (飛行棋) and Chinese checkers (波子棋) !

Celebrate Chinese holidays like Lunar New Year and Mid Autumn Festival together. Learn about the traditions and what to do during these holidays.

What are your favourite books to read together with your child?

We like:

  • Sage books,
  • 星座大戰
  • 星座 Buddy series,
  • other fun books!


Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us, Ruby!

If you would like to learn more about the resources and her tips and experiences, please check out her Bilingual Chinese printable resources at Edkids Home.

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Ruby's Book Recommendations

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