We are a family of 4 who recently moved to California! We speak English at home but the children (ages 2 and 3.5) are also learning Spanish and Mandarin. My husband lived in Germany and is fluent, but (as he is not a native speaker) we are not trying to pass this on at this time.
Our bilingual journey started when my daughter was born and we were looking for a foreign language speaker as a nanny. We had a preference for Mandarin or Spanish and ended up with a wonderful Spanish speaking nanny.
When my daughter was 2 we also enrolled her in a morning Mandarin immersion preschool. Eventually my son joined her.
After 3 years with our wonderful nanny, we picked up and moved to California! (from North Carolina).
Here we are trying to continue the momentum we picked up in both languages. The kids are enrolled in Spanish immersion preschool 3 mornings per week. We are attending activities, storytimes, and anything else I can find in Mandarin.
The hope is to sent them to a local public immersion school when they reach kindergarten. In this area we have the option of either Spanish or Mandarin.
I'm excited to have stumbled across this community! Can't wait to learn from you all!
I have a family travel blog and recently published a post on our journey towards multilingualism. Please check it out and let me know anything else we can be doing!
That's awesome, Jessica!! I've read of cases like yours where both parents speak the ML with their children, but they find a way for them to learn a 2nd language (in your case, even a third, wow!!) I think it is you who can tell us how you're doing it!! We have to rely on ourselves for enough exposure to our children. It's easier, considered how much time, we, parents, spend with them. But being able to do it by having a 3rd person who speaks the target language or by attending activities in such language seems amazing to me; kudos to you and your family!! Going to read that last entry on your blog.
Jessica, welcome! And thank you for sharing your blog--your post about your efforts to promote language exposure with your children is excellent! I encourage all parents seeking to support a target language that they don't speak (and even those that do) to read it...
Congratulations to you and your husband (and your kids!) on all the success you've experienced so far, and I look forward to your continuing contributions at The Bilingual Zoo. You have a special perspective and a lot of good ideas to offer others, both parents in a similar position and parents providing language input themselves but in need of further strategies for strengthening exposure (which includes just about everyone!).
I send good wishes from sunny Hiroshima, Japan!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular non-fiction book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide.
Mayken: My daughter's ml homework for this week included baking a cake - there's a cake in the story they read, and after each chapter there are questions and tasks, and the current chapter has the step-by-step recipe. She's to bring the cake to school too.
May 1, 2018 23:48:48 GMT 9
Amy: What a nice original homework! Makes such a change from standard homework, and I wouldn't be surprised if kids remember more from it! I like your bilingual school Mayken! Lucky little girl, and lucky Mummy!
May 2, 2018 0:00:43 GMT 9
Mayken: ml cake homework update: About half the class brought cake (8 out of 15), not all of them were the cake from the book recipe, but my daughter's was the most popular. (Maybe because we added food colouring and topped it with chocolate icing and smarties?)
May 4, 2018 5:58:10 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Cake is definitely my favorite kind of homework!
May 4, 2018 11:28:51 GMT 9
Jana: One of the best parts of having kids in bilingual school was getting Mother's Day cards in two languages! (With less-than-perfect spelling in both!) Ha!
May 15, 2018 9:16:08 GMT 9
Amy: (Twice) Lucky you Jana! So nice to read exciting pieces of news like yours!
May 16, 2018 5:46:25 GMT 9
Mayken: I still have that to look forward to, Jana! Mother's Day in our ML country is two weeks later, and the ml teacher goes along with that date. (It was last Sunday in our ml country.)
May 16, 2018 5:58:11 GMT 9