It’s been exactly 441 days since our family’s life was flipped upside down by COVID-19. Hopefully it will be over soon but for now, here we are. It might be a little more or a little less for you at this point but my guess is that it’s been about that long for you too.
It’s funny how when we go through big, sudden changes like that, so many other things change too, sometimes without us even noticing at first. For us, it wasn’t just a change to online classes and no social interaction. There was also a huge shift in the way we interacted with each other as a family. Ironically enough, we’ve had MORE opportunities for French & Chinese (2 of the languages that I don’t speak) and LESS time for Spanish, a language that I’m fluent in.
I would’ve thought it would be the opposite BUT...with my husband working from home we’re speaking much more English than was normal in the past (he doesn’t speak Spanish) and since we aren’t seeing friends or getting out into the community much these days, we’ve had more time for things like online language classes in French/Chinese. Because English & Spanish are our family languages, our kids have always experienced Spanish through everyday conversations while they’ve always done French & Chinese through playdates, classes and other structured activities. This pandemic has completely flipped how we utilize these two very different ways of learning languages.
So the HUGE question that comes out of all of this is…...How on Earth do I get our family back on track when we’ve been derailed for so long?
You’ve heard the old saying: The first step to solving a problem is recognizing you have a problem? ✓ Check ✓ Step 1 complete.
But where do we go from there??? If you’re off track, I want you to start out by making a plan. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Seriously, write it on scrap paper with a broken crayon if you have to, just get it written down. When we have a plan to go back and reference as we go, we’re a lot less likely to stray too far for too long. Write down your goal and your plan to reach that goal but, when you write down your plan, I want you to avoid the most common mistake I see parents make when creating a language plan...
Taking your child to language classes 2-3 times each week + an hour of screen time in the target language daily + reading 2 books each day + reviewing flashcards every other day, well it sounds great and would be effective but it’s just not realistic for most families. A lighter load may not seem as effective but it’s far more effective than choosing such an intense approach, burning out and giving up.
So my own personal difficulty with Spanish right now is simply that I’m in the habit of speaking English. My plan to break the habit is to leave reminders around the house in places where I’m most likely to speak in English (like the kitchen). I’ll be sure to keep my own music & screen time in Spanish as much as possible to keep me thinking in Spanish and, in a week, I’ll re-evaluate and if I’m still forgetting, I’ll set a few alarms on my phone to remind me as well.
Are you off track too? What’s your plan to get yourself back on track? Head on over to our Facebook group and let us know. We’d love to connect, support & help you stay accountable =)
See ya there!
Hey! I'm Bridgette, wife, homeschooling mama of 3, entrepreneur, Michigan native and coffee addict extraordinaire. I love photography, travel, teaching, crafting and Saturday afternoon movies with the family. I'm a former bilingual special education teacher who left public school teaching to homeschool my own multilingual kids. I use my professional knowledge of child development & language acquisition along with my own personal experiences to help other parents navigate their own family's multilingual journey.