About 6 years ago, I started blogging about raising my children (then, child) to be bilingual in English and German. As my baby (we’ll call him Froggy) has grown up – and we added a little brother (we’ll call him Hippo) to the family – I realized if I was going to make a go of this bilingual thing, I was going to have to get creative.
I am not a native-speaker of German. I find it really challenging to stay in my second language with my kids. My husband is from the Netherlands and does not speak Dutch with them, although he will read the occasional Dutch book. He can speak German, but he prefers not to. Thus, we now also have an au pair living with us who helps us out not only with watching the kids, but with their language growth! Actually, we are in our third year hosting an au pair. The first (AP1) was from Germany, the second (AP2) was from Austria. Our current au pair (AP3) is from Switzerland.
Another challenge we’ve faced is finding German materials here in the United States. I’ve order books, CDs, and DVDs through Amazon.de often enough, but it still wasn’t enough. So about two years ago, I started creating materials in German to strengthen the learning process.
When Froggy was 4, he was reading quite well in English. And I realized, I didn’t want his German to get left behind. We’re rather lucky that he learns so easily. He’s now 6 and reads pretty well in German, too. I do whatever I can to put words in front of him, since he doesn’t have much interest in reading German books.
I wanted to use this space to share the materials I’ve been creating. I try to be very particular about giving credit where credit is due (with clipart and such), but that also means a bit more work – and time – in order to make the materials ready to share with the world. So it may be slow-going for now. But I’ll keep plugging away!