16 September 2015

Getting geared up for the new bilingual school year and wanting to be a more "deliberate" mom!

September arrived way too soon. I'm always so surprised at how quickly summer flies by. I always think I'll have the time to do summer school work with the kids, but it seldom works out. Between having all the kids home from school and all the summer activities and camps and the lack of a rigid schedule, I just don't seem to fit in any real school work. We mostly played, worked and had fun. We did, however, work a little bit on reading. Here's a little clip from some German summer reading:

The kids are now back in school and I'm getting ready to start our unique part-time home school program: see Part-Time Home Schooling Post  The biggest difference this year is that I will probably only be pulling the kids out of school once a week instead of twice a week, like I did last year. If I feel like I'm just not getting enough time with them, then I may pull them out twice on some weeks. We'll just see how it goes.
My three young kids are attending public school and are in first and second grade this year. They happen to have two of the best teachers in the world. Not only would my kids complain if I took them out of school too often (because they LOVE school), but I also don't want to disrupt their classroom learning too much. On the other hand, I'm anxious to see if we can keep up with our German reading and writing with only one day each week to work on it. I hope that even by exposing them to German reading and writing once a week, that their German literacy skills will continue to progress at grade level. I think that many of the skills they are learning at school (in English) will transfer to our German school work: see Learning to Read in Two Languages.
I am very excited to start our "German School." I love our home school days so much because I am a more "deliberate" mom on those days. I figure that if I'm taking my kids out of school, I'd better make sure that I am not wasting their time here at home. On our home school days, I make an extra effort to spend quality time with my kiddos: teaching, learning, playing, creating, reading, writing etc. We mostly focus on German reading, German writing (handwriting, spelling & journaling), and French. In addition, we usually spend time reading scriptures and teaching values, homemaking (cooking, cleaning, etc), music (piano), outdoor school (nature walks, etc.) and an occasional outing (museum). There's just so much we could do that I can't possibly fit it into one day!
I have spent today printing out our schedule, copying workbook pages, studying our French lesson and getting our "German school" area ready for Friday. I'm so excited about all the things that we will be learning together. I'm thrilled that they are learning to read and write in German and I'm happy that they are starting to learn French. But mostly, I'm just so excited to have my kids at home with me all day and to have this special, deliberate and quality time to connect with my precious little ones.

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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.