16 July 2012

Being A Bilingual Parent

I have been working harder lately at teaching my children Polish.  I'm also hoping that in two years, we can work on Spanish together.

I had been using Polish words here and there before with my kids but I knew it wasn't enough.  Polish school was also not an option.

Trips to the local library never ended with colorful board books in Polish for children, because my library doesn't have it.  And it seems I may actually need to know titles to find such books and request them to be sent to my library.  I think.  That's what it seems, so far.

So, I rolled my mental sleeves up and thought hard. 
What tricks were used to teach me English when I was ESL?   
What tricks was I suggested to do for French when I studied it for six years (which I recall very little of, partly due to a lack of opportunity to use French)?

A Polish friend of mine, Maria (thank you, Maria) reminded me of a game that I remember playing to learn different animal names.  She, herself, had seen a child saying Elephant in Japanese at the zoo one day and still recalls the word. 

The kids walk around a room with the teacher pretending to be the animal, all chanting in a sing-song voice the name of the animal.

So, this week, we are chanting a few animal names while playing in the living room together.

We are getting silly, we are making loud monkey and bird and elephant noises.  We are laughing.

And I'm hoping they remember.

The trick I remember the most about learning English was the ESL teacher resting her hand on my shoulder, looking in my eyes, and saying two words.

"Don't stop." 

I knew those words already in English.  They were some of the first words I had learned from her.

So, whether you are learning a new language yourself as an adult, or teaching your kids. 

Don't stop.  Keep trying. 

Na razie...

Related Posts:

I Love Sesame Street

We Learned English

Teaching Children About Poland

Teach Kids Polish:  Belly and Belly Button


Ferndale Lane said...

Oh I wish my husbands grandmother had known more Polish words. She was born in the US in 1926 and her parents came here from Poland in 1915. My husbands family still use the words for:
(forgive my spelling) nap/spotch, piggie/shrenia and hindend/duppa!
I wish we knew more!

Marta said...

I constantly feel bad that I'm really not teaching my children Polish like I should. Its hard with my parents living in Chicago and my husband not being Polish. But I know those are just excuses and if it was a bigger priority to me I would do it. I think I need to start just doing little things like animals, etc just to start.