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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.

Letters from Big Sister in Germany in German!!

Just received letters from Michaela! Jonathan is sporting his
"Thing One" hair because it's Dr. Suess Day at school...which
is fitting, because Michaela is our "Thing-One", being the
first twin.
The other day, the 3 little kids were absolutely thrilled to find three letters in the mail. The letters were from their big sister, Michaela, who is serving a mission for our church in Germany. Michaela has been in Germany for over 6 months and still has a year left on her mission. (Michaela's Blog) Her little siblings miss her terribly and are always excited to hear from her---so an individual letter addressed especially to each one of them was just so exciting! They had checked the mail when they got off the bus and came running towards home to show me their treasures. Inside each envelope was a personal letter, some momentos (used train tickets and such---which the kids LOVED), a dollar, and a little Pixi Buch (a tiny little children's book).

Simon opens his letter.
We sat down on the sofa and I read each of them their letter. As I read to each one of them, they cuddled up next to me and hung on to every word.  Each of them was so excited to hear from their sweet big sister. I was feeling so happy that Michaela was able to share her German mission experience with her little siblings IN GERMAN!! This situation didn't just happen. I'm not German. My husband isn't German. My kids aren't German. And we don't live in Germany. But, somehow, we have this amazing situation where all the kids can speak and understand German. Who would have guessed, when we started this bilingual experiment 22 years ago, that we'd have our children writing German letters to each other.

The following video was recorded by the kids, so it's not perfect. We only got some shots of Jonathan and Clarissa's letters. Simon got a letter, too, but we didn't record it.
I'm also so impressed with Michaela's ability to write in German. We did a little bit of German homework when she was little...but not much. She has taken one half-year of German where she pretty much received her first and only exposure to German grammar. Her letter is not perfect, but its pretty darn good.
I just love that our decision to raise our kids in our non-native German has continued to bless our home. I keep seeing so many big and little ways that it has effected and enriched our family. I know that at times I've had second thoughts about speaking German to the kids, but, in the end, it has been one of the most rewarding decisions we've ever made.

Here is a related post: A Day Like This Makes it All Worth It.


Sarah @ Baby Bilingual said...

It's thrilling to hear about your family's success with your non-native German! I hope one day that my kids will write each other letters (emails? texts? tweets? something!) in French.

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Harshita said...
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