Part of the reason I started this blog is because I really couldn’t find much information online for parents doing what we are doing – monolingual parents looking to raise a bilingual child. I searched high and low for blogs, websites, support groups, etc. and just didn’t find much out there with the details I wanted. So I started this blog to document our highs and lows so others could read and learn from our experiences. I think in the end I learned that it’s way more stressful on the parents than it is on our kids!
One site that I found that was so helpful was Multilingual Mania. What a wealth of information! I browsed the old articles on successful dual immersion programs, looked at pictures of classrooms, and I even got brave enough to ask some questions. And yet again the online community did not disappoint! From the time I discovered it, I have been a loyal reader of this blog and am so thankful for all that I have learned.
So a year+ into my blogging and I’ve been given the opportunity to contribute to Multilingual Mania – this time in an interview as a parent. The series is called Parent-to-Parent – a weekly interview series of parents who are raising bilingual children. Every Monday, the Parent to Parent interview series will feature one parent each week who will share their personal experiences, tips, and resources for raising bilingual children.
So here it is, my interview on Multilingual Mania! Got more questions? Ask me!
Our first week of second grade went by in a flash. We have the same issues as last year (after school hunger, some whining, and today even on the edge of tears), but I think I’m heading off the mid-morning crash by shoveling lots of food at him for breakfast. And for snack, he’s had something he calls ‘nut squares’ thanks to his Papa. He thinks it’s a crunchy, sweet snack. I know it is mid-morning protein. We all win.
Thursday he came home with his entire lunch – except for the milk and cookies – uneaten. So today, no dessert, and lunch was eaten in entirety. I agreed we could try for dessert again on Monday.
As for the second language, he’s already singing new songs, along with a familiar one from last year. He says he doesn’t understand everything that is being said, but knows that it’s OK, and he’s not bothered. Also he claims that he’s answering his maestra in Spanish more and more. These things happen with time. I am patient. And he does like her (a lot), and I know that alone will grow his confidence.
Again, we are thrilled to be here, walking down this road of unknown (to us). There are many families with us though, and we’re holding hands as we travel together. The kids will have some amazing things to share along the way. And I know I’m making some amazing friends too.
“Mom, I had so much energy last night, I just couldn’t go to sleep!”
Me too! So today begins our second year in immersion school. My anxiety over immersion is gone. My fears of “what if he freaks out” are just a memory. I am beyond excited for what this year has to bring. The first few weeks will be all about routine, making new friends, learning rules, and reacquainting with the language. And math. And maybe even some (gasp) homework!
School was bustling with energy this morning. Lots of smiles, dozens of high-fives, and a few tears too (parents and students of course) were shared amongst friends. Nervous students were welcomed with open arms and encouraging smiles. As I stood and watched our youngest students have morning circle, it was enough to bring a lump to my throat. Such little people, so brave, learning so much in just a few minutes. Amazing.
My boy last night told me he was ready to be a mentor and translator for those who are nervous and need some extra help. I wish I were there to see him doing it, putting aside his own bits of nervousness and embracing someone to show them the way.
I wish I could shout from the rooftops to all the new parents – Immersion programs require a leap of faith. Find parents who have done this before and lean on them. Learning through a new language is hard work for our kids and it takes time. It’s like growing a tree – you can’t rush it along, and a lot of what is happening is beneath the surface, growing roots, creating the strength to stand tall and grow strong. This is new and exciting and may be scary too (for parents and our kids). They may be tired, emotional, hungry, irritable, clingy, needy, or quiet. Or all of these. Or none. Hug them and love them and tell them they are wonderful and you are proud. Years from now they will thank you for this gift of language you are providing for them.