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Old 08-22-2008, 09:56 PM   #1
BouncyBottomsInc
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Which language to teach in?

Ok, me and dh have been pondering the homeschooling idea and are pretty much sold on it. Especially with going back and forth from the US to Finland. So we are not in total agreement over which language to do most teaching in. So Im english speaking first, spanish 2nd,french 3rd. Dh is finnish speaking 1st, swedish 2nd. Mainly we debate over english/finnish, though not what you probably think. I think dc should be taught in finnish, and learn english later, dh disagrees. I sometimes feel it is I who push for dc to know both of their roots more than he does and they are his roots! He doesnt want to live in Finland full time, use finnish names, and now the language, kind of annoys me, kwim? I would like 4 of the 5 languages incorporated into dc schooling. I think finnish should be the main language though bc I think finnish is soooo much harder to learn than english, they can almost pick up english anywhere! So my question is for mamas from around the world that are english speaking 1st but live elsewhere, what do you think? I just want my kids to be able to fully appreciate who they are and have an upperhand. Lets face it, kids that can speak 3-4 languages are a rare find...

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Old 08-23-2008, 05:40 AM   #2
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Re: Which language to teach in?

I would do one of 2 ways.
What is spoken mainly in your house? What do the kids use 1st? If they met someone knew what do they use? I would use that.
Then I might look and se which you can find material you like the most and just go with what it is in.
As the kids get older you can do half and half too..
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:03 AM   #3
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Re: Which language to teach in?

I have friends who live in Poland. Both parents are Polish. They wanted their children to be able to speak English. Both parents spoke excellent English. When it came time for the kids to learn how to talk, one parent would speak English and the other would speak Polish. To this day, both kids can speak English and Polish fluently.
I say, since you speak English as your first language, you should speak English to the children and your dh speaks Finnish as his first language, he should speak Finnish to the children. They will be fluent in both languages. As they get older, you can throw in another language if you want. Childrens minds are like sponges. They pick things up very quickly and can adapt very well.
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Old 08-23-2008, 08:02 PM   #4
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Re: Which language to teach in?

Hey, my DH is American and I'm German and our DD specks both.I talk to her in german and my DH englisch, it is so easy for them to pick the language up then there are little.
To your question I would teach both!
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Old 08-24-2008, 04:03 AM   #5
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Re: Which language to teach in?

You didn't say how old your LO is and what languages you have been using in which situations so far. That would be helpful to know.

There are a lot of different language separation models, and whatever you decide, just be consistent. We do the family language model. My husband, who is German, and I speak English to our son. DS spends a lot of time with his German-speaking grandparents and all of our friends and neighbors speak German. I do tell my son to speak to others in German- "say Danke" or "say guten Morgen" - and sing songs in German.

You can do the one parent, one language model or make language use specific to the situation. In your situation, I would try the latter approach to homeschooling. Do most of the lessons in your and your child's strongest language and do certain lessons in another. For example: science in English, math in Spanish, music in Finnish, social studies in French. Some primary schools are starting to offer integrated lessons like this here in Germany- one subject in English already in 4th grade, in addition to English language classes.

If you haven't already, you and your husband should clear up who speaks what on a day-to-day basis before deciding about schooling language.
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Old 08-25-2008, 12:01 PM   #6
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Re: Which language to teach in?

LO in question is 4, turning 5 soon. At home, a combination of all languages is spoken really. Whatever sounds right at the time. Which is ok when you are at home, but now its time to get serious and get well detailed in school. Like when teaching grammar etc. Im not good enough in finnish to teach that and well we know how dh feels, so its impossible. If I would just forget about it and teach what I know well, then English and Spanish will be the only languages. But for me, thats not acceptable....finnish is in their blood and well they may grow up their, so I feel they should have a good background on it, how do I get him on the bandwagon? I guess the first step is settle where we plan on living, bc as kids get older, they cant be traveling between 2 countries, they need a stable home. We are still in heated debates over that!

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Originally Posted by Ami in Deutschland View Post
You didn't say how old your LO is and what languages you have been using in which situations so far. That would be helpful to know.

There are a lot of different language separation models, and whatever you decide, just be consistent. We do the family language model. My husband, who is German, and I speak English to our son. DS spends a lot of time with his German-speaking grandparents and all of our friends and neighbors speak German. I do tell my son to speak to others in German- "say Danke" or "say guten Morgen" - and sing songs in German.

You can do the one parent, one language model or make language use specific to the situation. In your situation, I would try the latter approach to homeschooling. Do most of the lessons in your and your child's strongest language and do certain lessons in another. For example: science in English, math in Spanish, music in Finnish, social studies in French. Some primary schools are starting to offer integrated lessons like this here in Germany- one subject in English already in 4th grade, in addition to English language classes.

If you haven't already, you and your husband should clear up who speaks what on a day-to-day basis before deciding about schooling language.
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Old 08-25-2008, 12:08 PM   #7
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Re: Which language to teach in?

I guess if he isnt going to help, then it will be up to me to learn finnish well enough to teach it in detail. I should probably take a few classes the university so that Im fluent enough to teach them correct and formal finnish. It seems the only ones that will be the same are math and science though. Because everything else, like reading, spelling, history, all are dependent on the country, so they will have to have double to course load! I feel so bad, like I will be putting so much on them, but I think its important that if they learn about American history, they should learn about finnish history too.

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Originally Posted by germanmommy View Post
Hey, my DH is American and I'm German and our DD specks both.I talk to her in german and my DH englisch, it is so easy for them to pick the language up then there are little.
To your question I would teach both!
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Old 08-25-2008, 03:32 PM   #8
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Re: Which language to teach in?

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Originally Posted by BouncyBottomsInc View Post
I guess if he isnt going to help, then it will be up to me to learn finnish well enough to teach it in detail. I should probably take a few classes the university so that Im fluent enough to teach them correct and formal finnish. It seems the only ones that will be the same are math and science though. Because everything else, like reading, spelling, history, all are dependent on the country, so they will have to have double to course load! I feel so bad, like I will be putting so much on them, but I think its important that if they learn about American history, they should learn about finnish history too.
It kind of sounds like you're getting ahead of yourself. Your kids are still really young and teaching formal history isn't going to start for a few more years.

I'd really encourage your husband to stick with only speaking Finnish to the children, since it's so important to you that they learn it and he seems to be the only one capable of teaching it. If you decide to live in Finland, that won't be so much of an issue, but finding other Finnish speakers in the US to expose your kids to will be hard.

DH and I are planning on staying in Germany and our kids will attend school here. Though I, too, think it's important for our children to know about American history as well as German history, I don't plan on attempting formal lessons for that. We'll be visiting the US often enough that opportunities will arise for "history in action." I, personally, remember very little of history lessons I had in school prior to 9th grade but remember visiting forts and historical sites with my family at a much younger age. And reading "Little House on the Prairie" and similar books made more of an impression. Don't worry so much. Your children will learn all they need to know in due time.
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Last edited by Ami in Deutschland; 08-25-2008 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:48 AM   #9
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Re: Which language to teach in?

For history you should look into a in order program, story of the world, mysteries of history or something like that. Start at the beginning and go through time
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:03 AM   #10
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Re: Which language to teach in?

Right now, our approach is like this:

English is spoken in our home. DH is German, I am American. I primarily speak English with our son. Once in a while I flip over and will speak German with him. DH primarily speaks German with our son. Our relatives here all speak German with DS as do our friends. When he starts school up until English is offered, he needs German to function.

Therefore, we'll keep at the model this way, with the bulk of TV in German for him. He does watch some TV with me or the both of us in German... and we do also watch Japanese shows (anime too) in Japanese with English Subtitles and he's shown a lot of interests in those. I'd not at all be suprised if he wants to learn Japanese later down the road. (rofl)

We've joked once in a blue moon about him saying "Konichiwa" or "Ohayo" instead of "Guten Morgen/Tag/Abend" / "hallo".. or the equivelants in English.
As little as he is now, I'm not too concerned just yet. he seems to get on and understand us really well for his young age. He has just started playing with his stuffed dolls some and his gripping toys, and all of us tell him how to play with them "Here, grip this part!" / "nono, soft with teddy/eeyore"... so he seems to get it in both languages since he follows through.

I recall when my parents were Homeschooling us in Spain our policy was English in the home, Spanish outside. We did really well with that when we needed it.
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