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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.

English all Week!

So, for the past week, we have been watching my brother's four children while they were in Hawaii. It has been a lot of work and a lot of fun. The best part was seeing all the wonderful interactions and bonding. I loved seeing all the boys sword-fighting in the attic; the girls playing in the meadow; all the kids playing in the tree house and riding bikes. I loved listening to all the giggles and cute discussions at bedtime. Everyone got along so well. There was no fighting or quarreling, just happy kids.

Of course, the cousins don't speak German, so our household became English speaking for the past week. There was hardly any German spoken for the entire time that the cousins were here. We pretty much became an English speaking household. All of the adults (Karl and I and all the older kids) parented all the younger children in English. They spoke English to each other and to us.  It's a little different than when we have English speaking friends over since all of our routines are in English this week: the morning routine, the family scripture and prayer time, the meals, and the entire bedtime routine...all in English. My kids have spoken almost only English to each other and to us. In fact, they've actually been learning new English words and phrases that they hadn't been exposed to yet. Since we always do bedtime in German, they had to ask me about some of the English words associated with bedtime and meal time. They have spoken very little German the past few days.

Now the big question is: Will they revert right back to German as soon as the cousins leave or will they continue to speak English? I guess only time will tell. My hope is that since we haven't broken our "language boundary rules" (that it's OK to speak English when we have guests that don't speak German), that we will be able to slip right back into German as soon as the guests are gone. As long as we don't speak English to each other when we are alone as a family, then hopefully, the kids will recognize all the English speaking this week as the exception to the norm rather than a shift in how we normally talk to each other. I'll update next week.


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