In 2009 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’ve had several au pairs over the years, and they have all been German-speakers: from Germany, Austria, or 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. (Check my Resources tab for great places to find German materials!) So in 2013, 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. While his German reading comprehension has not kept up with his English over the years, I’m amazed by how much he does understand.
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!
Since I started this blog, I have also started teaching more at the kids’ Montessori school. I started in one pre-school/kindergarten classroom. And now I teach in all three pre-school/kindergarten classrooms as well as in grades 1 – 4. In the elementary school, I use a method called Story Listening. I’ve written a lot about my experiences with SL here – just click on the “Stories” link in the cloud or check out the SL tab up top.
Finally, I decided to add some information about traveling in Europe with kids. Sure, there are plenty of sites on the subject, but here are some more ideas of things to do and how to do them. I’ll always give you my honest opinion and tell you the truth about our experiences – including when things go terribly wrong! 🙂 We mostly travel in the Netherlands to visit family. But we always try to get to Germany, even if it’s only for a day. I do hope to visit our au pairs in Austria and Switzerland … some day!