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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.

Starting School and ESL (First Batch of Kids)

I think it's kind of funny, that when I'm filling out all the school registration forms, that I get to put down that my children's first language is German and that their second language is English...and it's true. They each spoke German before they learned English. And I'm pretty proud of that.

Well, when Ben, my oldest, started started Kindergarten, I decided to put him in the ESL (English as a Second Language) program. I didn't really feel that he needed it. He could speak English, although his German was better. By the time he was 5, he was already speaking a lot of English to his siblings. So, he could communicate in English just fine. The biggest reason I wanted him in ESL, was to have his English evaluated. I was just curious about our whole German language experiment and thought it would be nice to get some feedback from an "expert". They evaluated him and kept him in the program for a couple months. He had a couple syntactic, vocab, and pronunciation issues. But they were quickly resolved. A few months into his Kindergarten year, I was informed that they were moving him out of the program because he no longer needed the extra help. I didn't put any of the other older kids into the ESL program. By the time they reached Kindergarten age, their English was better than Ben's had been at the same age, so there was really no justification for putting them into the ESL program.

My 5 older kids did just fine in school, despite English being their second language. If any of them had any issues with school, it was because of problems that were unrelated to their bilingualism--like inattention or difficulty with math concepts, etc. All of them were able to quickly overcome any issues that were related to English being their second language. Their peers and teachers were fascinated by their ability to understand and speak German. Their friends often asked them to talk in German, to which they'd usually reply with something like "Hallo, wie geht's" (Hello, how are you?). I thought that they might sometimes use German with their siblings at school. I especially thought that my twin girls would use German as a private language. It's cool enough to have a twin in your class, but a twin who speaks the same foreign language is even cooler. I was sure that they'd enjoy having their own twin language. But, to my surprise, they almost never communicated in German at school or among friends. They only used English among friends.


M. Prasad said...

I like how your family approached schooling early on and ESL. Some kids need it, and some may not (which is totally fine)! Knowing one language definitely helps you learn and understand another. It's good to know that the kids were able to quickly adapt and keep up with their peers in Kindergarten (gives me hope for my future possibility).

nancy john said...

In today world English is become a global language and we must learn it

Formula for Good IELTS Band

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