Homeschooling Group and Organic Farming in Taichung

Next week, Centered in Taipei magazine will publish an article I wrote about homeschooling in Taiwan.  It is packed with practical information.  So, it is quite timely that a message came through fromEdward Scott Rosenberg; a father looking for like-minded homeschoolers in Taichung.

ATTN: Homeschoolers in Taichung

My wife, our 6 year old and myself have started a small homeschooling group that caters specifically to homeschoolers in Taichung.

Why I am posting here is that we are constantly on the lookout for like minded individuals who can help us fill in the gaps in teaching, workshops and activities.

For example:
*I teach (of course) English and science based classes for free. I only ask parents to gather material for the classes.

*I have a friend who teaches Yoga to 5+ kids for only NT100 a class (adults too).

*We also have teachers that teach German and Japanese.

We organize meet ups and gatherings for support and to work as a community helping each others with all the challenges that come.

If you are interested in this and wish to contribute your time and experience to homeschooling families, contact me (
Edward Scott Rosenberg) on Facebook.

Edward mentioned he would LOVE to meet more English-speaking homeschoolers in Taichung area.

Edward is passionate about farming, and teaches people how to keep an oragnic farm in Taiwan (Taichung in particular).  He describe things so well himself, I'll use another quote.
I have a Facebook page, Taichung Urban Farmers (TUF), that I use to teach people of all ages how to grow plants (mostly edible) and how to eat healthy.

In the very near future, I plan on having free events at TUF's 20 ping mini-farm that will teach both parents and children together how to live healthier lives through organic farming practices and other self sufficiency projects.

*For those concerned, these are science based classes and can be labeled as such.

Some examples include...

*Planting and caring for plants – I teach hands on about photosynthesis, pollination, helping plants grow and things of this nature. I always give away the plants for free after teaching how to care for them. Many children love journaling the plants life. It is wonderful watching the process of children growing, caring and eating what they have grown.

*Bottle biology with recycled bottles – Fun hands on projects include learning about composting, how to make kimchee and build a TerrAqua Column model to explore the link between land and water.

*Other Recycling Bottle fun - Making self watering planters, mini greenhouses and more!

Go ahead and 'like my page' for updates and if you wish to get together for a science class (agriculture/biology), let me know and I will arrange it.

Look out for my article next week, for information about homeschooling in Taiwan.


[Sun Apr 21] Taiwan Book Fest - Books by Expats in Taiwan, Books About Taiwan, Buy/Sell/Swap Your Own Books

Running from 12 noon til 6pm today at Huashan 1914 Creative Park  in Taipei, the Taiwan Book Fest is all about English-language books.

You can buy, sell, and swap books.  The organiser has also set up a space for children's books this year, so you can take books your family has finished with and exchange them.  There will also be at least 200 books for sale very cheaply, with proceeds going to Animals Taiwan.

There will also be several authors speaking over the course of the afternoon.  They include Elias Ek, who will present his new book "How to Start a Business in Taiwan". 

Elias Ek is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder and president of Enspyre, the leading provider of B2B telemarketing services in Taiwan, and winner of the 2012 CCIFT (法國工商會) SME Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award.
Another well-known member of the expat community speaking is Richard Saunders. I think most of us in Taiwan have read at least one of his guidebooks during our time here.  He will promote his new book "The Islands of Taiwan".

The website is comprehensive and has clear directions to the venue.


No. 1, Section 1, Bade Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City


Summer Camp 2013 - A Chance to Let Your Children Let Off Steam, Learn New Skills, Speak English, and Meet New Friends

Further to my post about my weekly classes at Parents' Place in Neihu, I'd like to tell you about the two summer camps we are running this July and August.  Fitness Instructor Colleen Peterson and myself will share the job of taking up to twelve children through a week of fun, physical fitness, and mental exercise.

We do already have a couple of kids registered, so sign up early to avoid disappointment.

10AM-3PM (Doors open 9:30am-4pm)

Suitable for children aged 6-12 or so (entering first grade to entering Junior High), each camp is five days long and runs from 10am to 3pm each day. The camp will be run in English. Native speakers of English, and children with English as a Second or Foreign Language are all most welcome.  (Teachers do speak Chinese as a Foreign Language, but instruction will be in English.)

*Doors will open at 9:30am and close at 4pm. There will be four hours of organized activities each day.

*Cost for one camp is TWD5,000 per child. We need a minimum of six paid-up enrolments before the camp can go ahead, so please register and pay early. (Please pay by June 5th for the first camp.)

* The schedule for the two camps will be similar (fitness in the morning, quieter activities in the afternoons), but content will be different. This is to ensure children get to do a variety of activities, even if they sign up for both camps.

*Numbers limited to 12 children per camp.


10-12 noon: Teacher - Colleen Peterson
Summer Camp Fit and Fun for Kids: Let's get fit this summer, have fun, make some new friends and learn some new skills!

10:00-10:15 : warm up cardio and light weight strength training
10:20-10:30 : cardio endurance training (10 spot circuit where there will be ten different stations to run to, 1 min at each, doing heart raising activites like jump rope, star jumps etc)
10:30-10:35: pilates core workout
10:35-10:50: three legged race, egg and spoon race, sack race, tunnel ball , air volleyball, bobbing for apples,red rover, funny mummy wrap
game (each day will be a different activity)
10:50-11:00 Water and toilet break
11:00-11:50 To the park we will learn and play tee-ball

12noon-1pm Lunch Break/Rest

1pm-3pm Activity Time - Katrina Brown
Activities will include paper making, letter writing, felt craft, board games, environmental discussion, Readers Theater, science, and art. Exact activities will be finalized once we know the age group of registered children.


2F, No. 315, Section 4, ChenGong Rd, Neihu District, 台北市內湖區成功路四段315號2F, Taipei, Taiwan 114

Registration Page:  http://www.parentsplace.com.tw/Register.html


Join My Classes at Parents' Place - Something for all Learning Levels and Interests

Parents' Place is a community-style center set up in Neihu District, Taipei City, by long-time friend Angie Chang.  Like me, Angie is an expat married to a Taiwanese man.  Her children are also bilingual, mixed-culture kids.  The center is the result of years of discussion in our group about how to best meet the needs of our own children as well as those in a similar situation as us.  Open for almost two years, there are now many classes and groups on offer.  English is the language of instruction, and children of all levels of English are welcome.


Today, I want to introduce the classes that I teach.

1. Writers Workshop - Wednesday afternoons 1:15-3:15pm

The target age group for this class is Grade 1 to Grade 6.  Although most of the 8 children enrolled have been in the class for at least a semester, the class is designed in a way that children coming in at any time will feel welcome and will be able to work at their own level.

First-graders taking part in NaNoWriMo in 2012.

 Hour 1: We are learning English grammar in a fun, story-type way.  I chose materials designed for homeschooled and/or gifted and talented children.  Grammar is introduced through several books written as stories.  We are currently learning about stems (eg. re, in, de) including their history, meaning, and usage.  Most of this work is done in the group and their is minimal written work.  We then do individual phonics/language work in books for each child's level.

Hour 2: Writing: The goal in this hour is to give children the skills and motivation needed to develop themselves as writers as they move the grades.  We are learning stories and material that children in English speaking countries would learn, and doing a short writing project each week.  Because the time most of these children spend doing "academic" English work is very limited, I endeavour to choose the best of works available to us.

Cost for the class: TWD900 per week, payable in semester blocks.  A TWD300 material fee applies. This subsidies your child's workbook, which you can take home at the end of the course. You can register your interest in the class here: http://www.parentsplace.com.tw/Register.html

2. English in Action - Wednesday afternoons 3:30-5pm

Opened in response to a request for a class for more ESL/EFL level elementary-aged students that enjoyed my style of teaching, this class currently has just two students (2nd Graders) and would definitely benefit from a couple more students.

In this class, I am currently doing a crash-course in Grade 1 level phonics (CVC words at the moment), as well as working on basic reading and writing skills.  Vocabulary development is also a focus, and I am using the Wordly Wise 3000 pack for this purpose. 

If you have friends with children who plan to immigrate to an English-speaking country or are telling you they would like their children to have a more "Western" style of language education for their local children, please let them know of this option.

Cost for the class: TWD675 per week, payable in semester blocks.  A TWD300 material fee applies.  This subsidies your child's workbook, which you can take home at the end of the course. You can register your interest in the class here: http://www.parentsplace.com.tw/Register.html

3. Stepping into Literacy - Tuesday mornings 10am-11am


Designed for children of preschool age (3 to 6), this class is a wonderful way to begin the journey into reading and writing.  Due to the transient nature of the community, our class has suddenly gone from six students to three, so again, the class size is small enough to ensure your child gets attention.  This semester, we are covering Nursery Rhymes from A to Z.  We make a folder each week.  Children learn the rhyme, read a related reader, do some art and writing preparation work, and play a short game, all in one hour.

Cost for the class: TWD450 per week, payable in semester blocks.  You can register your interest in the class here: http://www.parentsplace.com.tw/Register.html

**All classes at Parents' Place are open to have one free, obligation-free, trial class per student. As this is also my income, I encourage you to come and try the classes and check out the space!  Please prevent me from having to go work in a Taiwan-style cram school where it is so much harder to ignite the flames of inspiration in the children. Even though I spend more time preparing these classes than I would need to in the "English Mill", it is so much more rewarding for both myself and the children involved.

Parents' Place Information:

2F, No. 315, Section 4, ChenGong Rd, Neihu District,
台北市內湖區成功路四段315號2F, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: 0987 576 771
Email:  parentsplacetaiwan@gmail.com

Any questions can also be sent to me via the comments section of this blog.

History of the World for Younger Children - Another Recommendation

As a follow-up to last night's history book recommendation, here is one for younger children (preschool/kindergarten/first grade).  Recommended by Taiwan-based homeschooling mom and co-author of  我家就是國際學校(My home is an international school),Dorota Wernik, from reviews online and her own comments, I think this would become a favorite in many households looking to introduce youngsters to history in a logical but inspiring way.

Amazon does give a lot more information about the background and content of the book, but Book Depository currently has both the paperback and hardcover in stock, and offers free shipping.

Book Recommendation: The Story of the World: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor (And Other Volumes)

I have been reading this wonderful book by Susan Bauer Wise to my children each night for the last month or so.  The past few nights, my six-year-old daughter has been demanding I read her "that Mystery of the World book".  I tried to read her some of her other modern stories, but she is in love with this book.

This is the first in a series that covers history from the nomadic times through to modern day.  I bought the adult version of this series last years and fell in love with the style of writing.  History becomes a wonderful story told in order from the beginning, with stories from all places brought together in a way that I could make sense of.  In the children's version, the language is just as beautiful.  The stories included bring delight, fear, disbelief, and wonder into my children's hearts and eyes.  My husband has been listening, too, learning history and English at the same time.

Tonight, we read about Gilgamesh.  Last week, we read about Babylon.  I'm amazed at how much my little girl retains and repeats to me.  Just before sleeping, she expressed her ideas of where these places are in Africa today.

Don't be afraid to try this book out on your lower-grade elementary-aged kids.  We all look forward to the new chapters each night, and it's not like we are a super-academic family.


The Story of the World: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor v. 1: History for the Classical Child


[April 13, 2013] Agape Charity Rummage Sale, Taipei

April 13th will be a busy day for family bargain-hunters!  In addition to the Bethany Sale that I will be at, the bi-annual Agape Charity Rummage Sale is also on.  I'm really pleased to see them supporting local children again this year.  I'm a firm believer in giving back to the place that has treated many of us so well over the years.
This sale has grown pretty big, so be prepared to get there early if you love getting great stuff for bargain prices.
Agape Charity Rummage Sale: April 13th:
Dear Parents and Friends of City Playgroup,
We are excited to announce the sale will be on Saturday, April 13th, from 9:00am - 12:00noon.

We are very grateful to all of you who will make donations over these next few weeks, through drop offs and directly on the day of the sale. This time all cash proceeds will be given to Christian Mountain Children's Home, an orphanage near Kaohsiung, Taiwan, that has been in operation since 1952. The website link: www.cmchtw.org.tw

All remaining items will be donated to either a local infant / toddler orphanage in Taipei City or to a charity working with aboriginal villages of Taiwan, of which both we have donated extra things to for several years now.

This is a bi-annual event that allows families to reuse and recycle, as well as de-clutter for a good cause. We are asking for donations of infant and children's clothing, books, toys, and infant and maternity related items since these things have always been the main focus of our rummage sale. We also accept adult clothing, household goods, and simple useful items that are acceptable for rummage sales.

Please Note: the only furniture we can take is infant related such as beds, strollers, playpens, and highchairs, etc.

We have been very encouraged by those who have stepped forward already to volunteer and ask that if you are interested to help in sorting, or setting up and/or working at the sale on the day, to please respond to this post, or send me a private message. We need and appreciate any help you can give! Those who volunteer for a few hours will have an opportunity to select up to (5) items they wish to purchase while sorting and at 8:30am for those who will help on the sale day, as a gesture of appreciation.

Sorting & Set Up Dates

Thursday, April 11th: 1:00 - 4:00pm

Friday, April 12th: 10:00am - 4:00pm

Volunteers are always welcome on the morning of the sale for help at the tables selling from 9:00am - 12:00noon, and packing up from 12:00 - 12:30.

Location: 3F, Building No. 21, Chang Chun Rd., Taipei City / 台灣台北市中山區長春路21 號 3 樓
(Near the intersection of ZhongShan North Rd.)

The venue is located a few blocks from the Zhongshan MRT stop, EXIT 9, on the red line. The 5th exit is in the underground mall area and that you have to head north towards the direction of the Shuanglian MRT stop while underground. You will actually take an elevator at Exit 9, It is less than a 2-block way from there.

If you have any items to donate, we ask that you bring them to the following places:
Taipei Area:
-City Playgroup Thursday Outing Locations / Kelly Manske

- Kelly's home address: 台北市慶城街69號11樓 11F., Building No. 69, Qingcheng St ., Songshan Dist., Taipei City Cell: #0919-996-827 / Home # (02) 2545-0459

-AGAPE Church office / Wendy Chen: 53 MinQuan W. Rd, Taipei City, #2598 - 1009 / #0922-174-083

In Taipei area, if you have larger items to donate (infant furniture / large boxes of items) that you are not able to drop off, please contact Kelly about a pick-up.

Tien Mu / Shilin / Beitou:
Community Services Center / In care of Jennifer Chau No. 25, Lane 290 Zhong Shan North Rd., Sec. 6 Telephones: (02) 2836-8134 · 2838-4947

Neihu Area:
Parent's Place / Angela Chang #315, 2F, Cheng Gong Road, Section 4, Neihu Tele: 097-066-9040 - Please call first! Website: http://www.parentsplace.com.tw/

[April 13, 2013] Bethany Flea Market, Taipei

The annual Bethany (Morrison Academy) Flea Market will be held from 9am to 1pm on Saturday, April 13th, 2013.  I will have a table there, so please come and find me if you do attend.

There is usually a very good range of books, children's games and clothing, and household goods for sale.  This time, there will be wonderful natural products made by Katerina Klimes (Mila products).  I LOVE these products, and the fact that Katerina is working very hard to grow her home-based business really impresses me.  I will be selling leggings (yes, I still have many) at really good prices, as well as some new and used household items and children's and adult's clothing.

This flea market is a great size for those of us who get overwhelmed by the crowds of some of the bigger events held.  The quality of the items for sale is enviable, too.

I took this from the Bethany website:

Ting Chou Road, Section 3, #97, Taipei Taiwan 10090
 台北伯大尼美國學校 台北市汀州路3段97號

Map:  http://bethany.mca.org.tw/bethany-about/map-and-directions