(Photo courtesy of Futureatlas.com, Flickr Creative Commons)
Last year I wrote about my then two-year old daughter’s language development in Spanish. My husband, D., a native of Spain, and I are raising our two children bilingually: our family’s language policy is Spanish at home/among us four and English with everyone else.
With the arrival of my daughter E. three years ago, I began my bilingual parenting journey with what some might call a “hard core” approach: use only Spanish with my children, all the time. Never English. No translating. Promote, promote, promote the minority language.
As a trained linguist, I can cite all of the research supporting bilingualism. I recognize the advantages of a family language policy that supports the minority language.
And, while I’ll be the first to raise my hand with an emphatic YES! to the benefits of being bilingual, I have to admit that my initial approach to raising bilingual children rested on nothing less than fear and control.
Constantly running through my mind were thoughts like, One day she’ll realize that English is the majority language and hate Spanish!, or, She’ll probably refuse to speak the minority language to me when she’s older, or, What if she never becomes fluent in Spanish?, or, I will never use one word of English in front of her so that she is never tempted to speak it with me.
Fear and control.
I bought book after book for E. in Spanish, I devoured all the parent “how-to” books on raising bilingual children, I joined Facebook groups, I made sure to FaceTime daily with our relatives in Spain. I even started a blog on bilingual parenting!
Fast forward three years later to today. Continue reading
Happy Friday, amig@s! The weekend is here, and for me that means more time to READ! If you’re like me, always looking for a good book to read (both for yourself and for your children), then you’ll love today’s post.
Author and former language teacher, Judy Martialay, sent me a copy of her children’s book ¡Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish a few weeks ago, and the minute I got my hands on it, I knew I wanted to share it with you all.
Designed to introduce children between the ages of six and 11 to the Spanish language and Hispanic culture, this book would make a great addition to your home library. Here’s what I love about it:
- Child-focused and friendly – Although it’s meant to teach children basic Spanish words, phrases, and cultural knowledge, it’s written in a way that you, the parent, could simply give it to your child to read on her own. There are colorful illustrations, craft ideas, and a fun story of cultural exploration and adventure (meet Pete the Pilot and Panchito!).
- Designed for the non-native speaker of Spanish – I can already think of several non-native Spanish-speaking family friends of mine who I’d love to pass this book on to, families that are eager to expose their children to introductory Spanish. I would feel totally comfortable giving this book to these parents (who don’t speak the language themselves) because it presents the language in a natural and non-threatening way. For example, the story about Pete the Pilot and Panchito is written in 90% English with one or two Spanish words sprinkled throughout each paragraph.
- Culturally sensitive – It’s clear that Judy took her time to research México, the culture highlighted in the book. There is a section entitled Rincón Cultural, in which she explains in clear, child-friendly language the type of Spanish used, typical food, customs, and celebrations.
And, of course, behind every book is an author. Judy graciously agreed to tell us a bit about her professional background, experience raising bilingual children, and why she believes every child should learn a second language.
Read on, amig@s, and be encouraged!
(Photo via Carissa Rogers, Flickr CC)
¡Feliz viernes, amig@s! We’re back with another edition of Family Fridays here on the blog, a series in which I highlight a different multilingual family from around the globe.
I’m so happy to have back again my dear friend J.K., whose family was the first to be interviewed for this series over a year ago. Originally from Korea, she and her American husband are raising their two (soon to be three!) children in three languages while living as expats in China. You can catch her first interview here.
Today, she gives us an update on her family’s language policy, shares challenges she and her husband have experienced in their six years raising trilingual children, and provides encouragement for families in a similar situation.
Be encouraged, friends!
(Photo via Carissa Rogers, Flickr CC)
Friends, it’s great to be back again in 2016 for another edition of “Family Fridays” here on the blog. This is a continuing series in which I interview different multilingual families from all over the world. I love this series because each family interviewed has something unique and encouraging to share with readers; it’s been a reminder that there are so many ways to approach bilingual parenting.
To kick off the first “Family Fridays” interview of the year, I’d like to introduce you to Diana Limongi from the blog LadydeelLG. She’s a self-described Latina New Yorker with Ecuadorian roots married to a Frenchman. They live with their young son, Enzo, in the Big Apple, and she’s here today to share her family’s journey in bilingual parenting.
Be encouraged, friends.
This month I’ve had the privilege to participate as a book reviewer in the Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Since I’m the mother of a bilingual toddler, I requested books to review that would be appropriate both for that age and linguistic level. So, the folks over at Lil’ Libros kindly sent me two fantastic books to check out: Counting with Frida and Lotería: First Words by Patty Rodríguez and Ariana Stein. Lotería introduces young children to basic “first word” vocabulary, while Frida helps them learn their numbers 1-10.
Let me share with you why I think both of these books would make excellent additions to your home library if you’re raising your little ones in both English and Spanish. Continue reading
(Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, catnip studio)
Thank you friends for patiently wait as I took a short break from blogging since November. I needed a break so much I didn’t even announce the break. Now I’m back, and it feels good.
In my last post I did mention that I would write a follow-up on ways I’ve changed how I perceive and relate to my daughter, based on reading María Montessori’s book The Secret of Childhood. I’m half way through that post, so stay tuned.
In the meantime…
Very few people in our neighborhood speak Spanish, our family’s home language, and E.’s current dominant language.
While most friends, family, and neighbors in our community generally express support for our choice to raise E. bilingual, few actually speak the language with and around her. I appreciate the positive reception to our family’s lifestyle, but for a while now I’ve wanted to do more.
How can I go beyond enumerating the benefits of bilingualism with friends at parties to actively promoting it – and even encouraging others to join in on the fun? I’ve thought.
And, then it came to me. Story time at our neighborhood library. In Spanish! Continue reading
(Photo via Carissa Rogers, Flickr CC)
Happy Friday, amig@s!
Fridays here on the blog are dedicated to a long-running series called Family Fridays: each week I highlight a different multilingual family from around the globe and/or a bilingual member of our world whose work influences and supports the work we bilingual parents are doing in the home. If you’d like to meet previous families and community members, please click on the link FAMILIES to the right of the blog.
So, today’s family is my family. I realized the other day that it’s been almost nine months since I began the blog and formally introduced my family to you all. In that time many new people have started following the blog (THANK YOU!), and so I thought it would be fitting to give you an update of where our family is on our bilingual parenting journey. If you’d like to read my first interview, you can do so here.
I hope you find encouragement today, friends. And, happy weekend! Continue reading