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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.

Reaching Higher Levels through Educational Software and Home Schooling!

We are continuing to "part-time home school" our three youngest children. I keep them home from school one day each week (more or less). On that day, usually it's a Wednesday, we do German lessons. I have a German 2nd grade curriculum that we work from . We also work a little on math and, often, I have them work on their regular school (English) homework.

I especially like that our German curriculum comes with some helpful software. The following video is of my Simon working on creating sentences in German. He has to put the phrases in the correct order to either create a statement or a question. It's so fun to see the kids learning so much. They aren't quite up to a native German 2nd grade level, as they often don't understand certain words. But by working through the German school curriculum, the kids continue to improve their German past the level that they would achieve by merely speaking German at home with their non-native German-speaking parents.  For non-native bilingual parenting to be successful, we need to expose our children to as many outside resources as possible in order to help them continue to progress in the target language.

Thank goodness for Technology Post

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Long Distance Target Language Relationships

With half the kids grown up and moved out, it always makes me so happy when I see the older kids interacting with their siblings who are still at home via phone, skype, and text--especially when that interaction is in our target language: German. This afternoon, I caught Simon on the phone with his older sisters Kiana and Michaela. One of the reasons I recorded the conversation is because I thought it was interesting how the older kids still speak only German to their younger siblings. Yes, English often creeps into the conversation (as it did in this recording), but usually the kids return to German.
I feel like we're at the point of maintaining our German to the best of our ability. The little kids have switched to speaking more English with each other, but they definitely still communicate in German as well. The older kids almost always speak only German to the little ones and the little ones respond in German. Because the younger kids have always only spoken German to their older siblings, it's much easier to maintain the target language in that relationship. I know that, eventually, they will switch to English. But for now, I'm grateful that they are willing to continue speaking German to each other. It's great practice for the older kids as well as the younger ones!

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