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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.

My Turn to Study

I recently decided that I'd like to start saving up to take our younger children to Germany. We took our older kids to Germany in 2006. It was an amazing and life-changing experience for them. When you grow up speaking a foreign language, it is really special to finally get to visit the country where that language is spoken. When we took our older children, my oldest was 13 years old and the youngest (at the time) was 7. They had been speaking German since birth, but they didn't really know what Germany was like. It was a big deal for them to travel to Europe and see Germany for themselves. They got to see the farm where I lived for a few years as a child and they had the opportunity to finally use their German.
Ever since our younger batch of children arrived, I've known that we need to try and get over to Germany again. I would like the little ones to have the same opportunity that their older siblings had. But, of course, a family trip to Europe costs money. So, I decided to start earning some money by teaching or subbing part-time.  I'm only hoping to teach 1 or maybe 2 days a week tops. The nice thing about subbing is that I can get to choose when I want to work. Also, because of our part-time homeschooling, I need to be at home several days a week.
I haven't worked outside the home since I was in college. I have a secondary education degree in German, but have not have not kept my license current. So, my first step is to get a teaching license. And the first step to getting my teaching license is to take and pass several competency tests. Since my major was German and my minor was TESL, I need to pass a comprehensive exam in each of these areas.
I was quite nervous about my German test. I did study, but there was just so much information and so little time to study, that I figured: "I'll either know it or I won't." Well, as I took my test, it became clear that all my years of speaking German at home had been a HUGE help. Because we speak German at home to the kids, my German skills had never become dormant. The words, phrases, idioms were at the forefront of my head. Phrases popped into my head as I was writing the essay. Having tutored my older children in grammar, helped me to remember all the grammar rules.
Several weeks later, I received my test scores. I had passed with flying colors! Of course, I was thrilled to have passed the test, but mostly I was so excited that my success came from the fact that we had decided to raise our children bilingually. My children weren't a distraction from my studies at all! Rather, they were literally 20 years of test prep! All my focus these last 20 years has been on the kids. All of our bilingual efforts have been directed towards improving their language proficiency. And even though I really haven't given my own German language learning much thought, it was fun to see just how much I have learned in the process of non-native bilingual parenting.


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I'd love to hear from you! Do you speak a foreign language? Do you have questions or comments? I'd love to hear them. Thanks!