Have you ever thought about raising bilingual children (or wondered how to teach your children multiple languages), but you don’t speak any other language?
What if I told you that raising bilingual children or teaching a foreign language is easier than you think?
Raising Bilingual Children | Answering Homeschool Foreign Language Questions When You Don’t Speak the Language
Part of the reason why my kids like homeschooling so much is because they get to ask a lot of questions.
My Kids Never Run Out of Questions, Even in Foreign Language
My kids ask questions about everything, and most of the time I can fake my way to some sort of reasonable answer.
This is important because it helps me maintain my image of being a smart mom.
The kids decided a long time ago that I’m definitely not cool, and they don’t laugh at my jokes, so being smart is a vital part of my image as a teacher-mom.
However, it is possible that they’re starting to catch on to my stealthy googling capabilities.
But how else am I supposed to know whether or not a platypus can be poisonous?
(FYI: “Male platypuses have a poison apparatus on their hind legs. There are poison glands in the thighs and a hollow spur near the heel.”)
Anyway . . .
This all comes to a screeching halt when I have to answer their foreign language questions.
You see, I’m raising bilingual children (actually, multilingual).
But, I need a lot of help answering their foreign language questions because I’m teaching them a foreign language that I don’t speak.
NEED MORE ON THE TOPIC? READ THIS NEXT: FOREIGN LANGUAGE FOR HOMESCHOOL
It’s in this arena that I’ve had to admit my ignorance.
I can bluff my way through obscure animal questions, but I can’t just fake speaking Chinese.
(My husband and I do speak multiple languages between us, but Chinese isn’t one of them.)
My kids want to learn Chinese, so they go to a class for two hours per week, and I help them at home the rest of the time.
It took time, but I collected many resources to help answer their foreign language questions.
And, that’s the key: you don’t need to speak a foreign language to help your kids learn a foreign language. You just need to know where to find the right resources.
Raising Bilingual Children | Resources for Foreign Language
So, how do you help in raising bilingual children?
Or, have you been wondering how to teach your child multiple languages when you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing?
(Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think. Trust me.)
If your kids want to learn Chinese, it is a more difficult language to find support or resources.
But, if your children are learning the Spanish language, or even French, German, or Latin, you’ll find many more options than you can possibly use.
Foreign Language and Multilingual Resources
There are great foreign language resource videos now! So, be sure to add them to your multilingual resources!
The NativLang YouTube Channel has some great videos that explain things I could never explain on my own – especially regarding the history of some languages and proper pronunciation.
Next time somebody asks me what Latin sounded like, I’ve got a video ready.
Need to know how the Spanish language got its ñ? There’s a video for that, too.
Are you worried about pronouncing German correctly? Now you’ve got it covered.
And, there are so many more fun FREE foreign language videos that cover almost any language you need!
Also, did you know that you can use Google’s translate feature to speak words aloud?
There’s a little speaker button that you can push, and voila, the word is pronounced for you.
Also, you can use Beelinguapp, which is free to download and has many free stories, to read stories aloud to your child while your child looks at the words.
There are also many read-aloud stories on YouTube, in many languages.
When your kids ask you about the story of the Three Little Pigs in French? You’ve got it covered.
(And, that video is hilarious. I’m just saying.)
Raising Bilingual Children | Questions About Writing Characters and Non-Roman-Alphabets
If your kids are writing in another language and using something other than our regular Roman Alphabet, and they ask you a question about how to write, get help answering it.
My oldest child went to Chinese class for two years before we found out he was writing his Chinese characters using the wrong stroke order.
His tutor told us and my husband and I said, “There’s a stroke order?”
It makes sense that there is a stroke order, but it never crossed our mind.
Fifteen years ago we would have struggled to help our son, but now it’s much easier because we have so many options on the internet.
(And, it turns out there are a lot of videos on learning Chinese character stroke order.)
The point is, we don’t live in the dark ages of the 1980s anymore.
There’s a lot more help available now than there was just five years ago.
If you need help, it’s probably a few keystrokes away, even in foreign language. So, don’t be overwhelmed by raising bilingual children . . . even if you don’t speak a foreign language!
BOOKS FOR RAISING BILINGUAL KIDS / MULTILINGUAL KIDS
If you want to know more about how to teach your child multiple languages, check out my book and also these other great resources:
Lisa Yankey is a regular contributing writer for HomeschoolSuperFreak.com and the author of the book, “The Homeschool Path to Foreign Language.” You can find her at www.highenergyhomeschool.com, on Facebook, on Pinterest, and on YouTube.