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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.

Learning from the past!

This blog has given me the opportunity to really compare and analyze the methods and habits that we've used in raising both sets of kids. As I look back on my bilingual successes and failures in raising my first 5 children, I am able to decide what methods will be most effective to use in raising my younger children. It's a very unique situation. Since there are over 8 years between the two sets of children, we are able to start fresh with this new batch. The language habits from the older kids did not carry over to the younger ones, so I have the wonderful opportunity to really learn from the past and implement my best bilingual parenting ideas and avoid my former bilingual pitfalls as I raise my youngest three children.
We worked very hard to raise our older children bilingually and I am very aware that we didn't do everything perfectly. Yet, I don't have regrets. We did the best that we could with the knowledge and experience that we had at the time...and we did a good job: We have 5 older children who can understand and speak German. But I know that we can do better. Because of our past experience, we know how to help our younger children reach a higher proficiency in their minority language (German) than their older siblings reached. It has been fun and rewarding to observe the bilingual successes that we are having as a family. And as I write this, I am smiling, because I am listening to my three younger ones chatter away in German and that makes me happy.

2 comments:

Nick said...

Just found your blog. That's amazing that you've brought up so many children in your non-native language. I'm currently trying to do the same with my daughter and Chinese. It's been a challenge as my language level is not that strong, but we've both been getting a lot better since we started the journey about 6 months ago. Good luck!

Nina Shurts said...

Nick, thanks for stopping by. I wish you the best in your Chinese endeavors with your daughter. You are giving her a wonderful gift. You'll be amazed at how much your own Chinese improves as you speak with your daughter on a daily basis.

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