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: 124 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.
Adam Beck, the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, is the author of "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability"; "Bilingual Success Stories Around the World"; "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!"; "28 Bilingual English-Spanish Fairy Tales & Fables"; the fun-filled wordless picture book "Bearded Dragon, Home Alone"; and the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear".
Azeem: Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum, and I'm so glad to be here. I came across this forum reading Adam's book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability.
Jan 11, 2022 2:04:17 GMT 9
Azeem: I will be a father soonest, and I'm curious about nurturing my child's English and my local dialect 'Yoruba' speaking ability from the start. I live in Germany, where English is a minority language.
Jan 11, 2022 2:08:26 GMT 9
Azeem: I look forward to hearing personal experiences, tips, etc., on making the journey for me fascinating. Thanks.
Jan 11, 2022 2:10:28 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Azeem, welcome! We look forward to learning more about you and your family in your first post at the "Introduce Yourself" board.
Jan 12, 2022 16:18:19 GMT 9
Caro C.: We are expecting our second one... just found out last Thursday... I created a new thread to talk about the inquiries that start to arise on this subject... please visit: bilingualzoo.com/thread/1286/baby-2-oven
Jan 31, 2022 2:30:39 GMT 9