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Home Study for Bilingual families?

(8 Posts)
prettytreacly Sat 06-Oct-12 22:55:52

My little boy is at reception (a young four year old), and I'm struggling with homework... I was advised when he was tiny to only speak to him in my maternal language - his dad speaks to him only in English. It was explained to me that it's best to avoid talking to him in English so he makes a connection with my language and after a lot of initial resistance he is finally speaking a little bit of my language too!

Now that he has home study, with my husband working late hours, will I need to bend the rule and read to him in English? What did you do, if in a similar situation? It makes me feel a bit sad, I worry he will only speak English from now on, and yet I want to help him with his lessons.

PS Just posted this also in primary education

cory Sun 07-Oct-12 13:18:56

I bent the rules and didn't worry, worked out ok for us. You can always compensate in some other way: more DVDs in your own language, maybe a trip to the country or try to find him some mates to play with. When he gets older there will be even more things he can do in your language: dd speaks to minority language friends on facebook, emails them, accesses websites.

I am the one who helps dd with her audition speeches, explains the imagery of the war poets, watches the news with ds and tries to help him make sense of it- dc will still initiate a conversation in the minority language with me and they do speak it amongst themselves.

The important thing is having enough exposure to each language and having the motivation to speak it, not by which particular rule you achieve that.

Rosa Sun 07-Oct-12 13:28:21

I agree with Cory , try to watch Tv in your language, read books in the evening in your language.
IN my case ENglish is the minority DD1 is now bilingual. DD2 switches and mixes the languages a bit but she is getting there.
They both still know 'mummy' and 'daddys' languages and dd2 can tell you what word is on both . They absorb IMO more than you think. DOn't despair I am sure he will accept both.

cory Sun 07-Oct-12 16:14:26

Mine didn't even think in terms of mummy's and daddy's language: they knew I spoke both with equal enthusiasm. Instead they knew that most people in England where they lived spoke only English and most people in Sweden where their cousins lived spoke Swedish and that some families, like ours, are bilingual and can speak what they like to each other. They knew the names for the different languages by the time they were two.

OPOL is one method; it's not the only one.

prettytreacly Sun 07-Oct-12 18:38:38

Thanks very much for your encouragement, it's good to know it has worked out for you. It was quite tough in the beggining talking to my baby in one language only - when I was talking English to everybody else! So, sometimes it feels like talking in my own language is a bit of a performance and now talking to him in two languages will be twice that slight oddness. Does that even make sense? Cheers again!

cory Mon 08-Oct-12 10:03:28

Yes, I see what you mean about the oddness. What has worked for me is to spend time around other Swedish speakers so that dc learn that it's not a case of personal oddness.

gabsid Tue 09-Oct-12 15:14:28

I have only ever spoken German to my DC (just 4 and 7). When reading and doing homework with my DS (7) he reads his book/worksheets etc in English but we discuss/explain in German (a bit like a bad MFL lesson). It works fine and I feel he improves his German as well as his English. I think it takes some skill as well to read a chapter in English and then re-tell me what it was about in German (so I can check comprehension).

DS has never used English with me, and that's just how we do it and DS does it well.

Also, we do maths in German at home. At the moment he is learning Xtables, e.g. he can recite the 3s x-table really well, but its in his head in German. So, he tells me when he does the test he says it to himself in German and then writes down the answer.

Don't underestimate young children, they just deal with it.

prettytreacly Tue 09-Oct-12 23:08:12

Cheers again to everybody that took time to answer...gradually getting used to it, though it feels strange to break the rule of four years!

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