Remember when you first decided to venture out on this journey to raise multilingual kids? Regardless of whether it was 8 years ago or yesterday, my guess is that you had a reason for wanting your kids to be bilingual and a goal for where they would end up.
So what was your reason? Did you want your kids to communicate with family, travel with ease or have better career opportunities? Maybe you wanted them to be able to learn languages easier later in life or you simply wanted them to experience the cognitive benefits of a bilingual brain. Whatever your reason, your child would need fluency in the language, right?
….but what does fluency even mean? It might not be what you expect.
Fluency is defined as 'the ability to speak or write a foreign language easily and accurately'. The definition doesn't say anything about speaking or writing like a native speaker. It also doesn't mention anything about how much language has to be spoken or written easily and accurately to qualify as enough.
It grows as you acquire more and regardless of where you stop, you still have some skills and some fluency.
We put such a strong emphasis on having a native level of fluency that we forget about all of the wonderful things that lower levels of fluency can achieve for us. Your kids (and you too) can travel with ease, hold a job, read a book, completely understand an age appropriate show and even experience cognitive benefits all without having a native level of fluency.
Don't get me wrong....there is nothing wrong with your goal being to achieve native-like fluency BUT it is absolutely ok if that's not your end goal.
p.s. If you’re interested in specific definitions of the different levels of fluency, I recommend looking into CEFR. CEFR is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and is the international standard for describing a person’s abilities in a language. I love this framework because it makes it so easy to understand our fluency level but it also does an amazing job of helping us understand what we can do with each level of fluency too. You can read all about each of the 6 levels of fluency defined by CEFR here.
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.