05 May 2015

French Fridays: Je mange une pomme! Fun with Little Pim!

For the past several months, my little kids have been doing half public school and half homeschool--meaning that I pull them out of public school two days a week so that we can work on our German and French. My goal in German is to have them reading and writing at approximately the same level in German as they are in English. This isn't really that hard, since they're using basically the same "reading skills" in both English and German. It just takes time...time which we can never find after they've spent a whole day at school. My goal for French is much simpler. Since my French is pretty limited, I basically just want to expose them to as much French as possible while they are young. Why French? Because it's the only other language I'm familiar with (I took a few semesters in college) and also because my husband also speaks some French. And why do I want to even teach them a third language? Well, I guess it's because they are at a great age to soak up languages. Being bilingual already, they totally understand the concept of "language". They understand that there are many different ways to express an idea. They are fascinated with foreign languages. They light up when they hear someone speaking Spanish at the store. They immediately recognize it as Spanish and start rattling off the five Spanish words they know in an effort to prove to me that they can speak Spanish. So, why not expose them to French right now? They're interested and they're primed to learn.
I have a French curriculum that I've been using. It's called La Petite Pierre. It's a French curriculum for German elementary students. But recently, I checked out the Little Pim DVDs from the library to supplement our French lesson on food. The Little Pim videos are very simple and repetitive. I really like them because they not only introduce and review vocabulary, but also help teach how to put that vocabulary into simple sentences so that the kids can actually use the new vocab.
Below, you can see my twins watching and interacting with the Little Pim video.  I've put out some food and drinks to help them practice some of the vocab. My goal is to get them to not only listen and watch the DVD, but also for them to produce language themselves. It's fun to see their little brains working so hard as they process the language. Although, they can only say a few things in French, they are under the impression that they can speak quite well. If you asked them what languages they speak, they would say German and French. They are quite proud of the fact that they have learned (some) French. And I'm thrilled that they are learning and enjoying languages.

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Bilingual Baby Dream Team

Going on 20+ years of raising our bilingual babies...
I'm so grateful for a sweet husband who was willing to give this whole experiment a try and and that he was willing to speak German to our kids, even though his German exposure had been limited to a few semesters of college German. It's been one of the most fun and rewarding things we've done. The fact that our family speaks German has given us our own identity and helps the kids feel like they are a part of something special. And anything that helps your family feel special and connected is a good thing.