19 July 2011

Trilingual Summer

As you all know, we are home schooling.

So I had been looking for a support group near us for quiet a long time. Finally, I found something, that is not that near us. But for now, it works great. It's a group of families that have children under the age of 9! It's perfect for us for right now - just what we needed. They are at somewhat the same level we are - new to homeschooling, with younger siblings. So they do understand when Peanut blabbers while the class is in session; when Coqui can't sit still or screams out his answers instead of raising his hand and wait to be called; they understand.

So during the summer, we stopped doing school for a little while, but we are part of a co-op that teaches Art and Spanish, something that is less school-ish and a bit more fun!

The Art class can get a little wild at times, because these are all children between 3 and 8, with one teacher and a few parents to help out. She only does one project per week, so the kids don't get overwhelmed, and neither do the parents. There is a theme that mostly goes for Art and Spanish. She reads a book that goes with the theme and teaches a few words in Sign language. It's amazing how all these kids are actually listening to her! (At least for my kids!) Then they go to the class room and do the art work. One week, they made a lion's head because it was wild animal week. Then yesterday, they 'build' an ocean in a glass.

After Art, it's recess. The kids can eat a snack, the parents chat, and we are all mostly outside, so the kids can run around to release some their energy. We've been doing this now for a little while and I have gotten to know some of the ladies and it's an interesting mix of people, cultures and nations. We can all learn from each other and get some advise if we need it. Coqui has made two boy friends that are his age and older (because his two best friends so far are both girls!) - so that'll be good for him. Peanut is not adjusting this easily, she is still mostly sitting on my lap, but she is getting better when we go outside.

Then we got to Spanish. The teacher goes over the stuff that we learned already, like the alphabet and letters and recently colors. The kids are definitely getting better at memorizing the vocabulary - but then again they are still so young. Then the theme is mostly the same, so when we had forest animals in Art, she did camping in Spanish. When we did a fish activity in Art, the kids went fishing in Spanish.

Coqui knew some Spanish before, like the numbers, but they seem to stick now a bit better. He has learned so many other words. It's great. He is so compliant when it comes to repeating words over and over - I love it! But what is even more amazing than that, it's that he now asks me all the time: "Mami, if leche is Spanish for milk, what is it in German?" What? Coqui, you are asking me that question? Hallelujah! He used to tell me not to talk to him 'like that' - meaning not in German. Now he is asking? This is awesome! And I am taking FULL advantage of it. Believe me, right now, he only hears English from his Daddy or his friends - I am all in German.
And another thing happened over the last few weeks: Peanut is now starting to listen in Spanish and repeating the words! Wow. It doesn't come out all that clear, but my little dare-devil is willing to repeat without me asking for it! I love it. Maybe, I guess, peer pressure is working better on her? Just kidding. I think it's just natural for her to join the 'choir' of children when they repeat after the teacher. She is just copying what all the others are doing already. Her favorite word is (to no surprise) zapato, which means shoe - my little shoe-obsessed princess!

Unfortunately, we won't be going for the next three weeks, as we are departing for vacations, but I sure hope to get back to it once we are back in town. The teacher wasn't sure how to manage her own three kids (including a tiny baby) when her husband has to go back to teaching in a real school. So we are working on a schedule once school is back in session, so I am praying that it will work out for us, this group was such a blessing for us, we don't want to lose them!


C. Beth said...

That sounds wonderful!! I'm glad it's going so well and it's awesome that your kids are learning multiple languages!