Happy to report we have a daily routine again! My daughter comes home with a quick 15 minutes or less of ML homework every day so we are eating lunch, doing the homework, and then having her read a book in English before she can watch a video or play in the afternoon.
Raquel: The books we have found to work for us are the Usborne Very First Reading series. The books start out with having the adult read one page and the child read the next page. This was helpful to move the stories along and have my daughter feel less intimidated I think. At the end of each book are a few puzzles about the story. She likes doing those, but often we'll save them for the next day because reading the book is sometimes enough for one sitting. What really helped her a lot though was the computer game that goes with the books: "Teach Your Monster to Read". The game is free when using a computer (apps for tablets or phones you have to pay for). My daughter loves playing it and it introduces the letter sounds and combinations in the order that the books introduce them.
It's been so long since I updated this! I am finally finished with my German course and have been spending a quiet summer at home with my 2 girls. Honestly, the homework never got back to being 'daily', but we've been making good progress in general.
My oldest is doing well learning to read. We found a "program" (a set of learning-to-read books with accompanying computer game) that we like and I think she's progressed pretty much on par with where she would be if she were in an English school. One big thing is we found out she is farsighted. This was probably a big source of her getting distracted and not being very keen on reading earlier on. She's happily wearing glasses now.
Another success is the program we are using has several levels and so my youngest daughter is also able to participate. She is learning her letter sounds now and always happy to be just like her big sister.
Although our 'daily' routine didn't work out so well, I know things will improve once we start ML school in 2 weeks time. My oldest will be finished with school and home with me by noon so we will get her ML homework finished and then our ml reading done in the afternoon before picking up her little sister from kindergarten.
Now that I have more time again, I hope to frequent this site more regularly!
Wow, wasn't I optimistic when I wrote that last update. I know why...it was written the week before I started my intensive German course which has sucked away all my time and energy. Here we are 1 month later and very little homework has been done. I'm exhausted when I get the kids home at the end of the day. But, I am adjusting to the new routine and things are feeling less overwhelming than the first weeks.
Ok, all I can do is try again. Crossing my fingers that this month is better!
Thanks for the link Adam, lots of excellent info in that post! I thought of a way to interact more with the ML public. I am going to start doing as much of my grocery shopping as I can at the local farmers market. I think I'll get a chance to try talking to the different vendors...if I can build my confidence up enough to do it. Interaction at my usual grocery store is limited to a brief 'hello, thank you and goodbye' at the checkout, so I think this will be better. The trouble is the market usually runs in the mornings while I'll be attending my language course, so I'll be limited to only Saturday visits...actually weekends are when I wanted more language exposure anyway so I guess it works out fine.
So nice to read about your daughter helping out your son. I'm still waiting to see my youngest start to speak German. I don't get to see her with her teachers in kindergarten but I suspect she is beginning to understand them a little, and she has been singing some German songs to herself. We were at a party over the holidays and the son of the hosts was a few years older than my daughters. He talked to them in German and my oldest spoke back without being shy at all...and then I watched her translate what he was saying to her younger sister. I'll have to tell her to start helping her sister with German rather than translating.
Well, we haven't been as consistent with the homework over the holidays, but I'm looking forward to a fresh start in 2018. My youngest just turned 3 and wants to join in on the homework action. I found our old dot-to-dot books that wipe clean with dry-erase markers and she is SO excited to have her very own 'work books'! I've also been working with her on learning the letters of the alphabet and she has made some good progress. So I am going to start scheduling 30 minutes into my daily calendar to do homework with the girls. 10 minutes of the workbooks that they both enjoy, and then 10 minutes reading with each of them separately: alphabet books with the youngest and phonics readers with my oldest. I'm hoping that scheduling it in will prioritize it more and give it more importance.
The time has come for me to invest in becoming bilingual myself! My oldest daughter is definitely ahead of me on this front and the youngest is off to a good start as well. I have lived amongst the ml community of my city for 4 years and have lost a lot of what I had learned in my first attempt at ML language lessons so I really speak very little of the ML here. I am dedicating myself this spring to learning the ML so that when my oldest starts ML school next year, I will be able to communicate with the school and understand all that she is learning at school.
I am enrolling in 'intensive' language lessons which will be 3.5 hours, 5 days a week. This level of exposure is okay, but I want to increase it by trying to get 3.5 hours in on each weekend day as well. At the same time, I'm also trying to cut down on shopping and spending money (to offset the cost of the lessons I'm taking) so getting out and interacting with the ML community seems like it will be challenging...everything I can think to do usually involves spending money at shops, cafes, etc. Two things I've decided to do is watch ML movies or TV programs on the weekends and start using the Duolingo app (I used it a bit when I first moved here, lost it when I switched to a new phone).
Does anyone have any other ideas to share or experience learning a language as an adult?
Amazon Prime was mentioned above. I just wanted to add that if your ml is English, Amazon Prime may be a decent option. You can search for shows that are "Original Version" or "OV" and since many popular kids shows are originally from the US or UK, they are available to watch in English. This is where my kids are able to watch one or two seasons of Paw Patrol, since it's not available to us on Netflix. The variety of content on Amazon has been improving, but still Netflix has many more options.
Yes, me! Although, since I'm not from the UK, I'm not exactly sure what exactly "Key Stage 1" includes. My oldest is 5 and will not be starting ML school until next fall when she is 6. So, we are taking advantage of her eagerness and readiness to learn this year and focusing on reading at the moment. I plan to continue working with her next year, as her ML school will only be in the mornings so we will have time in the afternoon to continue working in English. As I do live in Europe, UK teaching materials are most accessible to me, so I need to learn some of this 'education lingo'. I definitely have seen 'Key Stage 1' mentioned as I browse through resources.
Yes, I can see that the biggest challenge is just setting aside the time to do homework every night, and on that front I think we are succeeding. We both make the time to squeeze it in every evening now, even if it's right before we head upstairs to start bedtime. I haven't been successful in sticking to one particular time of day to do it. I think it would help us if it was always 'scheduled' at a certain time, but we do also need to stay flexible.
I'm happy to say that I am seeing some progress with her reading. I'm sure the biggest part of that success comes from the consistency of doing it daily. The phonics books we are working through are challenging for her, but she didn't struggle as much with the newest one that we read last night. I try to alternate one night of a new book in the set, and then one night of re-reading the older books because she breezes through the books on subsequent readings. This helps her keep her confidence up and not start to dread getting the books out each night.
Funny enough, the other day my daughter's kindergarten teacher told me that my daughter has now declared her name is pronounced the ML way. The teacher thinks it is amusing, but after nearly 2.5 years together, it is hard for her to remember to change her pronunciation. My daughter has said nothing about it to me, so I'm not sure what prompted her to want it changed.
Well, today we read the same new phonics based book that we did yesterday. Of course she breezed through it this time because she has it memorized after that one reading. I hope she still gets some sort of benefit from this because it's going to keep happening with each book.
Thanks for the suggestion, Marie. I must admit, I am overwhelmed with all the recommended resources I've found on this forum and from Adam's blog posts. Everything looks so good...but I've hesitated to order anything from anywhere other than my trusty amazon account. I actually just received another set of early reader books today. Everything we've been reading so far has been fairly easy for her as she can guess many of the words by looking at the illustrations on each page. But this new set is phonics based and actually forces her to read each word rather than guess. It definitely seemed a bit more challenging for her today. I think this set will last us through until Christmas and then we will be ready for all of the books she will be receiving as gifts.
The routine is continuing well so far. I'm definitely getting into a rhythm of selecting the pages / books for her in the morning and leaving it out on the table so we both remember to do it in the afternoon. Yesterday was her ballet class and thus, our busiest day...and we still managed to get homework done. I made sure to pick out a workbook activity that she would be excited about (she's really interested in rhyming words at the moment) so that she would still be eager to do it after a long day.
I've always thought my oldest daughter was very like me in many ways and her attitude towards doing workbooks and homework definitely fits with that (I was a very self-motivated, academic student...school work was sort of the one thing I was best at). Sometimes I fear she is making it too easy for me and I worry about how it is going to go with my younger daughter who is a completely different personality.
I have just enjoyed reading through your updates. I relate a lot to what you have posted. I am also raising my 2 children to be bilingual in a language that I don't (yet) speak, although in our case their second language is also the ML (and I plan to take some intensive language lessons in the new year). It is so amazing when you hear them speaking words and phrases that you don't know yourself, isn't it? I'm still a bit shocked by how well my daughter is picking up the language and like you, I encourage her to talk as much as she can with others...she started out so shy but now will speak in German to other parents and neighbors she meets and initiates conversations in German with those she feels comfortable with. I also have a younger child that is getting a little earlier exposure to the language so I am watching and waiting to hear her start speaking it.
Well, it looks like this is definitely the right place for me. I just started an accountability thread last week about starting a homework routine and teaching my daughter to read. So far, we have done well (stuck with our routine every day since I first posted last week, including Saturday and Sunday) and a big part of my success has come from utilizing this forum. We do a page or two of a writing workbook and she reads one or two little early reader books with me. I've started setting up her books at the table so they are waiting for her when she gets home from kindergarten and she is eager to do them. Now, it did happen to be a very rainy week last week and so we were in the house much more than usual, so finding the time was not hard. Today we are back to the usual afterschool activities so it will be more challenging to set aside the time for homework...I am up for the challenge though.
I really want to get this routine established this year. My daughter is 5 and in her last year of kindergarten before starting ML school next year (she was officially registered for school this weekend!). So this is her chance to get a head start on reading and writing in English. Next year her school day will be finished between 11:45 and 12:45 (alternating days) while her younger sister will still be in kindergarten for the afternoon so I think it will be much easier to fit in homework time...although we will then be doing homework in ML school as well.
I find the idea of academy classes that have been mentioned interesting. I don't know of anything like that around here, but there are plenty of international families and I know some native English-speaking moms who were formerly teachers. Perhaps at some point we will have to start up some classes of our own for native English speakers.
It's the end of the week and we have kept up with homework every night so far! While I had planned to set the writing workbooks aside for the time being to focus just on reading, they are what interests my daughter the most right now. To make sure we don't neglect to do our work, I usually set out a workbook open to the page I want her to do while she is away at kindergarten. Having it there on the table gets her to want to start working on it as soon as she sees it there.
When I recall learning to read myself, I have strong memories of learning to write my own stories...I think this was a major teaching strategy used by my first grade teacher. So with all of this in mind, I think I will look for more writing activities that I can have her do. We were both getting quite bored with the original books I had purchased which just have the child repeatedly write out a page of each alphabet letter. Finding activities that involve writing words and sentences will help both her writing and reading. Now I must find some new workbooks. Perhaps until then, I can have her write some messages out to send to family members with our Christmas cards.
I also visited a friend today who sells English children's books and purchased several new early readers for my daughter...I was intending to give them as Christmas gifts, but we'll see if we need new reading materials before then. I have also included many books on our Amazon wishlist which I will be directing my parents to when they ask what they should send as gifts this year.
Thank you both. She currently prefers to use the ML pronunciation with other ML speakers. So we will just go with that. I am registering her for school this week so we will hopefully get started off right at the new school.
I want to teach my 5-year-old to read (in our ml) this year, before she starts ML school next fall. We have started and I think she is doing very well and on target, but I need some accountability. I want to start a daily homework routine and have her reading to me every day, but we have been quite inconsistent! Writing I had planned to work on as well, but I'm less concerned with it as she is always drawing and coloring and does a bit of practice writing her name in ML kindergarten. Eventually I would like do to a page or two of our writing workbooks and read a few books every day, but I'm going to focus more on the reading for now.
Finding the time in our daily schedule is the tricky part, and also getting her to do it without the interference of her little sister (2.5 years). They are very good playmates so either the younger one wants to be doing what her older sister is (while climbing all over us), or else the older one wants to stop reading so she can go play with the younger one. The 5-year-old picks up on books really quickly because she has a great memory...so I struggle with challenging her with new books that she hasn't read (and memorized) before. She enjoys reading the books she already knows (memorizes) to her sister before bed.
I am going to try setting some time aside right after dinner for our homework. In September I told myself that we would do it right before dinner, but that isn't working out...sometimes I'm busy rushing to cook. I will also try to make reading to her little sister a bedtime habit.
The little one (will be 3 in December) is interested in learning her ABCs, but not picking it up as fast as her older sister did. So coming up with some sort of ABC activity she could do at homework time would also be helpful...but it can't be something that seems too interesting to my 5-year-old, or else she'll want to do it instead of her work. I'll have to keep thinking about that one.
I will attempt to explain our name situation...but am finding it difficult to write out clearly.
My 5-year-old old daughter's name (Charlotte) is common in both our ml (English) and the ML (German), however it is pronounced slightly differently. We of course use the English pronunciation and the consensus seems to be that other non-English speakers also attempt to pronounce it this way. However, it is easier for ML speakers to use the pronunciation they are familiar with and my 5-year-old does not correct them when this happens (for example, when someone is just reading her name from a list and hasn't heard her name being spoken). She has only been speaking the ML for 2 years and so, as she has learned the name for certain objects is different in each language, she naturally seems to have learned that her name is different in each language. Now when she introduces herself to a ML speaker, she will say her name with the ML pronunciation. I'm not sure if I should encourage her to do this, or encourage her to correct people who pronounce it the 'German way'.
The pronunciation issue gets complicated when we are dealing with native German speakers who also speak English (all of her kindergarten teachers for example, and many others). In their attempt to pronounce her name in 'English', they actually end up saying it incorrectly, and I happen to find this pronunciation the worst...I prefer the German pronunciation as it is exactly the same, just with the final 'e' at the end being pronounced, as a soft 'e' sound instead of being silent. Those attempting to do an 'English' pronunciation leave the 'e' silent, but seem to always pronounce the "Ch" as in cheese. I'm not great at listening to different accents and am just learning German myself, so it took me a long time to notice this happening, and so I didn't get the chance to correct her teachers at the beginning. Now it seems too much time has passed, and so I'm just looking towards the future when she starts school next fall. I want to get this name issue sorted out so that her new teachers and peers pronounce her name correctly. I did ask her what she would prefer, but she is only 5 so I'm also wondering what I should be encouraging and what others have done in this situation.
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Amy: Agnese, it is simply because they never had the opportunity to be acquainted so closely to that language. Just smile and keep going. Over time (even if this may seem long), the comments will fade. Don't show your son you are embarrassed by your ml.
Jul 16, 2018 3:56:41 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Agnese, I strongly second Amy's advice! Stay strong and continue speaking Italian!
Jul 18, 2018 6:22:37 GMT 9
Adam Beck: And Agnese, keep in mind that, above all, the highest priority is your bilingual aim, not the other passing concerns that are part of this experience (for us all). Don't let these distract you from the greater goal.
Jul 18, 2018 6:24:49 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you! After this setback I feel stronger than ever! The same day of the incident I ordered plenty of books in the ml on Amazon and I'm reading every day new research on bilingualism and bilingual education. I'm ready to defend my goal! Thanks
Jul 19, 2018 18:37:58 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you for the suggestion!
Jul 21, 2018 15:40:43 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter met some inversed ML/ml kids today who live in our ml country. Their parents probably weren't thrilled they found n ML (for them) friend in their ml country. I'm sorry...a little bit.
Aug 7, 2018 2:07:34 GMT 9
Amy: Looks like the 3 weeks in ml1 country paid off: my ML mother reports my youngest would only speak ml1 to her! Lol Not sure ML childminder will be so happy when she returns... loool!
Aug 25, 2018 0:38:50 GMT 9
Mayken: Sounds like fun times ahead, Amy! Keep us posted.
Aug 27, 2018 23:15:08 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! Something Strange Happened 2 Days After We Moved into Our New House (And Its Significance to Change and Transformation on the Bilingual Journey)buff.ly/2ww8WDD
Aug 31, 2018 10:30:39 GMT 9
Amy: Happiest bilingual mum in the world : the new lady who conducts activities in ml2 with my eldest just assessed her level as pretty much equivalent to that of a native ml2 child! After that awful back-to-school start, this is like music to my ears.
Sept 6, 2018 0:00:13 GMT 9
Wojtek: I've been thinking for a long time to write an update and hopefully, I will do it one day. My brother married a Russian woman. That was nice to see that my 5-year-old daughter could play with her and speak English together!
Sept 7, 2018 21:37:25 GMT 9
Wojtek: After some time, she ran up and told me: "She is speaking English!"
Sept 7, 2018 21:38:31 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice to hear your happy news, Wojtek! And congratulations to your brother and his bride! It sounds like they may have a bilingual child in their future, too! Cheers to you all!
Sept 7, 2018 21:58:17 GMT 9