It is so frustrating, my kids are not able to attend their bilingual school, which means they are losing out on so much exposure to French. We weren’t able to get a French au pair at the moment due to the pandemic. So we settled for someone who can speak French, but as a second language and not their mother tongue. It’s going okay, the person is lovely. However, I just feel the kids are not speaking as much French as they should. Normally in front of the au pair they would speak French to each other. But they know this one is perfect in English. So they speak English to each other in front of her. But will at least speak to her in French. They aren’t getting enough French though. My son said he has forgotten a few words already. He is also going through a "I hate French" phase.
It is so so frustrating!!! But at least they got good marks for their French reports for the first term. But I’m just worried about this negative impact.
Posts: 107 Country (residing now): US Country (originally from): Spain Children, Ages: Girl, born in March 2016 Majority Language: English Minority Language(s): Spanish, German, and hopefully French some day!
Well, my daughter never attended any ml schooling because there aren't ml schools where I live, but I'm experiencing something similar when it comes to two of my daughter's mls (German and French). Before the pandemic hit, we'd regularly meet with advanced French/German students (in the case of German, a native speaker) so that she could spend time interacting with them in the ml. That is completely gone now (it's going to be a whole year soon). Obviously she can practice Spanish with me, and I'm doing my very best to keep up with reading, speaking, and doing homework, but it's definitely more challenging with the other two mls. My German isn't too advanced, so now I have to make sure I provide more 'speaking opportunities' than before, since I don't have the help of the German student/native speaker. It's even more challenging with French, because I don't speak it, so it's all about listening and receiving input from YouTube (be it with cartoons, kid shows, or people reading French books). It breaks my heart when my daughter asks 'mom, can we speak in French?' and I can't do anything about it because I don't know the language (although I pretend I do and get her speaking using the sentences that I hear on those cartoons, ha, ha).
It's been extremely challenging (actually, it continues to be challenging, since it's still the case), and in addition to that, I have to homeschool her, telework and take care of, well, you know, life , so I'm doing the best I can. Homeschooling is hard, but we're doing OK. I do my very best to make sure she does activities in all her ml languages, although Spanish is by far the language that she uses the most. She's actually learning to read in Spanish, and she's doing a pretty decent job! She's a little bit more reluctant to do it in German, so so far, we're just practicing the sounds and which word combinations have them. And yes, I can't help but wonder what effect this will have in the case of French and German.
It seems that she's keeping up with German as well, and not so much with French (understandable, since I don't speak it and can't provide any input), but I think (not sure if this is what's actually happening or what I'm convincing myself that is happening!) that at least she's maintaining what she already has, and once we can resume our 'normal lives' again, she'll be able to make more progress. That's my hope. It's too early to tell, and I notice it's getting more difficult for me to keep up (I'm more tired than usual), but oh well, it's all about trying and do your very best, considering the circumstances. If I did nothing, I'd be blaming myself for that for the rest of my life. I feel guilty I can't do more, so I need to remind myself that at least I'm doing something that will work eventually.
She might not be as fluent in German and French as she'd probably be under different circumstances...but she'll get there. I'm the one who needs to keep focused and provide the opportunities I can, and then I hope I'll see the positive results later.
I think that, in your case, the fact that you're still trying to maintain some French speaking practice is wonderful, and sure, it might give you the impression they're losing what they have, or that they're not improving as much as you'd like, but there's a limit to what we can do, and like I keep telling myself, at least we keep trying and doing our best. It'll pay off later. Your son will go through 'and now I like French again' phase at some point, I'm sure.
Good luck with everything! Can't wait to go back to "normal," that's for sure...
Marie and Marisa, I feel for you both. It continues to be a frustrating time, but I expect your perseverance will pay off over the long run, even if short-term progress isn't as strong as it might have been if life had gone on as before. But your kids are still very young, and there will surely be many better years ahead for a lot of productive growth.
In our case, I'm afraid the third language I had been nurturing for the past five or six years, Spanish, has basically ground to a halt. As I don't have Spanish ability myself, I was relying mostly on our Spanish teacher (who was coming to our home twice a month) to help me maintain steady momentum. However, given the situation, it was safer to suspend that routine, which means we haven't seen her in nearly a year. And because my kids are now busy teens, I'm not even sure it will be realistic to resume those lessons in the future. It's a shame as I was hoping that routine and its momentum could carry us through their high school years, even, but the thought of restarting all this feels a lot tougher than simply continuing what had already been in motion for a number of years.
As my kids get older, though, I've also come to accept that it's very hard to keep up the routines of their various activities, regardless of outside interference--my kids just don't have the time and energy to do them anymore. Though it's still true that the pandemic has been an influential factor in hastening the demise of these things: not only Spanish, but also piano (for both kids) and guitar (for my daughter). So it's sad, but I guess the end of certain activities, which can be more easily sustained when kids are younger, is simply part of the experience of parenting older children.
**My new book, "28 Bilingual English-Spanish Fairy Tales & Fables", is now available at booksellers worldwide!** Adam Beck is the author of the popular nonfiction books "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability" and "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!" (illustrated by Pavel Goldaev) as well as the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear" (illustrated by Simon Farrow).
Najwa: My eldest sings and verbalizes his figures/cars stories in an invented language that has English sounds and Italian accent. Is it his way to disconnect from his multilingual world?
Nov 27, 2020 18:27:01 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Najwa, it's hard to respond to your question without knowing the full details of the situation. I suggest starting a thread at a suitable board and offering as much information about these circumstances as you can.
Dec 1, 2020 20:54:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! And let us hope that 2021 is a much better year for the whole world!
Dec 24, 2020 9:00:27 GMT 9
Marisa: Merry Christmas to you, Adam, and to everyone! I also hope 2021 is better than this year we're about to end. It shouldn't be too difficult, right?
Dec 26, 2020 1:03:58 GMT 9
Amy: Happy Christmas Adam and Zoo Keepers! May you all enjoy some quality time with you loved ones. Stay safe.
Dec 26, 2020 22:37:02 GMT 9