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About This Blog

This blog is for anyone interested in raising their children in a foreign language--meaning a language which neither of the parents speak natively.
We have used the approach where both parents speak the target foreign language (in our case, German) to the children. Neither of us is a native German speaker, yet we have spoken German in our home for the past 20 years and have 8 German speaking children. In this blog, we hope to share our successes, our lessons learned and a few of the insights that we've gained along the way.

Enjoying the fruits of success

As I sit here at my computer and listen to the German chatter of my 3 youngest children (ages 6, 5 & 5), I am truly grateful that we decided to teach them German. I am amazed that German continues to be their primary language. At this same age, their older siblings had switched to speaking mostly English to each other. Jonathan is already in his second semester of Kindergarten. He goes to Kindergarten 3 times a week, where he is completely immersed in English. In fact, today when I was helping in class, I asked him something in German and he responded with: "Mom, speak English." He knows that school is an English-speaking environment and he wants to fit in while at school...and I respect that. When he gets off the bus with his buddy, Max, he still wants to speak English as long as Max is around. But when he walks through the door, he switches completely back to German.
There are times, when the kids speak English to each other at home, but it's only during pretend play. When they "discuss" their pretend play, they do it in German. Today, I let them play some educational computer games that were in English. I don't usually let them play any English computer games. I try to always use our multimedia resources to reinforce the target language (German). That means that almost all movies, TV shows, computer games, books, and children's songs are in German. Anyways, today I let them play an English computer program. The program went over the English alphabet and numbers, taught them English songs, had them solve puzzles in English, etc. I was pretty sure that they would switch to English while playing the game, but they didn't. They played the game together, but they continued to converse in German...even while they were playing the English game. I don't know why that made me so happy. It just did. I guess, it made me happy because I could see that we're actually succeeding at this bilingual experiment. And not only are we succeeding, but we're improving on what we've accomplished in the past and it makes me excited about the future.


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