Hello. It has only been a couple of days since the au pair from France arrived. We prepared our daughter by telling her the au pair does not understand or speak a word of English, so she must use the French she knows to communicate. I would mention this to my daughter a few times to prepare her, but also mentioned how fun the au pair would be to play with, do art with etc. This has worked and my daughter is actually now speaking French for the first time in sentences and having conversations! She has only been learning French at her bilingual school from January, so a few months, so this is a big step in progress, as at school she would respond in English to anyone when they spoke French.
We never had an au pair and decided to test it out for the summer. We are super happy with our decision to get one for the summer. I would recommend it to anyone if you are looking to get more exposure, even if you do it only for a month. There are au pairs willing to do it short term. We have ours for about 2.5 months, but saw many were happy to do a month during the summer. I am hoping we get away with it for the whole summer, but I suspect my daughter might start to notice that me and my husband secretly speak to her in English when we are in the other room from them. We speak in low voices of course in the hopes they don't notice. They are still quite young so they do not pay close attention. But I am sure a lot of you would not have this language as you are able to communicate in your ml language. We only speak English at home and do not speak much French. I know the basics though, so am getting practice with the au pair as well. And luckily some of my friends and my sister know basic French, so when they meet the au pair, they speak the basic French they know.
Marie, I'm glad to hear this is already such a positive and productive experience for your family! I'm sure you'll continue to enjoy a lot of happy progress this summer!
While we were never able to have an au pair, we've tried to do the next best thing by serving as a homestay family for high school and college students who are visiting Hiroshima from abroad. To date, we've done this about a dozen times and, though these young people typically stay with us only a few days or so, our interactions in English (our minority language) are very fun and effective. So I can certainly imagine how powerful it would be to have a playful minority language speaker, like an au pair, stay with us for a month or more!
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.
Post by Abbi Gutierrez on Apr 13, 2018 5:30:26 GMT 9
I would recommend getting ml speaking lodgers too. We currently have two 20 year olds from Ecuador living with us and in the past have had a few couples from Spain. It's great to add new variations of Spanish into the kids lives too.
May i ask how you have found these lodgers? I’m in rural France and have profiles on helpx, workaway, my English family, warmshowers , talk talk bnb...and nothing yet. Next up: couch surfing and Airbnb!
English speaking Canadian Mom, French speaking Dad, happily transitioning to minority language at home (English) with our baby daughter in France.
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