Category Archives: Other

We are failing as multilingual parents.

OK a major revelation from me…
We may be bringing up our children multilingually, but the aspirations and reality are often very different.
My children all hit an age time for where they refused to speak German unless it really suited them (when they wanted sweets or chocolate for instance). As a bilingual parent this is a nightmare. We did a lot of soul searching as to where we had gone wrong, but just had to let it ride. My middle daughter Jasmin is almost ten and now starting to answer our German by speaking German herself. She made a friend whose parents speak German and who has a German Au-Pair which helped her confidence a lot. Jasmin has even started to ask “How do you say … in German?”

The highlight of my week was when we saw some Apple Strudel on a stall in town. Jasmin said “Apfelstrudel!” and the Hungarian lady on the stall continued the conversation in German. We ordered and bought what we wanted in German and Jasmin followed our conversation and said Danke and Bitte in the correct places.

She finally wants to speak German! We were in the Polish shop recently and she said goodbye in Polish: Dziękuję

The whole exposure to other languages and cultures we have been doing since she was tiny, is finally paying off.

My eldest son is 17 now and I will finally admit he dropped GCSE languages (huge shame for me to admit this). However, if he hears French he continues in French, he learnt some Dutch with Duolingo, he has an awesome accent and knows more Dutch than me and his dad. He learnt some Polish with UTalk and joins us in Polish conversations. Languages are such a part of his life he actually forgot to put them on his CV!

As a multilingual parent, there are no failures, just learning experiences for you all. No parent does a perfect job, our personal parenting goal is not to make too much of a mess of parenting.

So, I’ve finally admitted I’m not a perfect parent or a perfect multilingual parent either and it’s not going too badly. How is your family language learning journey going?

Our coin tin

My husband collected and swapped foriegn coins from his youth. When we married I added a few coins to his collection my grandparents had given me. 

Our children like to look through the tin and comment on the large amount of money daddy has.  Whilst looking through today we can across this coin. In the depression of the 1920’s emergency money was printed so that was not too odd. 

Written on the coin is KLEINGELDERSATZMARKE *1920*

MAGISTRAT DER STADT DEUTSCH-FYLAU

As we tried to find more about Deutsch-Fylau we saw this …

The East Prussian plebiscite of 1920 ostesibly allowed the residents to cast votes either in favor of remaining in Germany or becoming a part of Poland. The vote was largely boycotted by ethnic Poles, amid in mass persecution of Polish activists by the German side, going as far as engaging in regular hunts and murder against them to influence the vote. Ultimately the town voted to remain in Germany by 4,746 to 235 votes. It became part of Regierungsbezirk West Prussia in the Province of East Prussia.

After World War II the region was placed under Polish administration by the Potsdam Agreement under territorial changes demanded by the Soviet Union. Most Germans fled or were expelled and replaced with Poles expelled from the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union.

A lot of history from a small coin, nicht wahr?

Inspirational mum Anna from Kidslingo

This is the first in a series of interviews celebrating inspirational mums in business.rabbitThis week we have an interview with an inspirational mum Anna from Kidslingo.

Hi Anna, could you tell us a little about yourself and your family?
I am a Mum to 2 young, very active children – aged 6 & 9. They are into all sorts of activities including gymnastics, netball, swimming and Brownies & Beavers – so after-school is a busy time!
I initially did a language degree and then went into working in marketing & advertising – first in London and then in the West Midlands.

Why did you decide to launch your business?
After the arrival of my 2nd child I reassessed my career options as I needed something that was much more flexible and that could fit around the demands of a young family – nursery and school drop offs and pick-ups, as well as after school activities.
Also I missed using my language skills and really wanted to work with children. I looked at various options including teacher training & other franchises. I then decided that I could do it better myself and started up on my own teaching a few local classes and have never looked back! We now have over 30 franchisees and are growing by the month. parachute and scarves

Could you tell us a little about your business?
Our whole approach & philosophy is all about fun language learning for kids. We use songs games, actions, dance, story-telling & drama to bring the language to life & inspire our little learners and linguists of tomorrow. We have programmes starting at birth and continuing right through to the end of primary school at age 11. This covers everything from parent & baby classes, preschool classes in hired venues or nurseries and clubs and classes in primary school for KS1 & KS2. We offer a full franchise package to people – from initial training, ongoing help and support, all of the lesson plans, music, resources, marketing pack & loads more!

How are you finding it fits in your family?
Perfectly – I drop off every morning, pick up & take the kids to their activities. Having a smart phone means you are accessible anywhere. After bed time I get the laptop out again & work begins for the evening! I miss out on some downtime in the evening but I gain by the time I can spend with the kids.

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

We’d love to chat to you if you think this type of thing could be interesting for you. Anna from Kidslingo.

The single best resource for your language learning!

This week we’ve got another guest post from Maik (@lingotutor)
Okay, I admit it. I like Amazon … a lot. Or to be more specific, I like the wealth of resources they put at my fingertips as a language learner. So let me be upfront about this: I think the single best language learning resource is Amazon Prime and signing up for Amazon Prime is a no-brainer. And here’s why.

 

Physical language learning books

I’ve needed to buy a good number of language learning books in the last few months, either as a resource to use for language tuition, or to refresh / improve my own language skills. Currently I’m brushing up on Latin which I’ve not used since my school days over twenty years ago. But there’s no need to go for a brand-new book every time (although I love the smell of a new book, I’m weird like that!). So most of my purchases were sub-£3 second hand copies, which could still be in my hands the very next day thanks to free next day delivery with Amazon Prime. You’d pay more than £3 for just the delivery charge elsewhere!

 

Le tour du monde en 80 jours

Le tour du monde en 80 jours

eBooks

Sometimes I’m too impatient to wait for next-day delivery, which is when eBooks come in handy. The great thing is that there are so many free eBooks available in various languages. In French for example, you could be reading “Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours” by Jules Verne or “Le Chien des Baskerville” by Arthur Conan Doyle at no charge at all.

The choice is even wider if you have an Amazon Prime membership, as you’ll automatically benefit from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, which lets you chose from a vast number of eBooks. You can chose a new book each month, provided you “return” your previous one. My personal favourites recently have been “The A-Z of Learning German” and “Learn German for Your Holidays” by the amazing Angelika Davey (review to follow).

The only drawback is that, as the name suggests, the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library is only available to you if you own either a Kindle eReaderor Fire tablet. If you don’t, you’ve got two options:

(1) Sign up for Kindle Unlimited, which allows you to read as much as you want on any device or

(2) Get yourself a Kindle eReaderor Fire tablet. They’re seriously awesome and with the benefit of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library basically pay for themselves within 7 months.

Chinese Children's Classics

Chinese Children’s Classics

Prime Music

Okay, the selection here is not (yet) as wide as on Spotify or Deezer, but there is a lot of quality stuff here, especially for the language learner. One of our family favourites is “Chinese Children’s Classics” by A Little Mandarin. And there’s not just music, as the name suggests, but a good number of spoken language courses, including my personal favourite: the “Learn in your car” series. It’s a great way to fit language learning into your commute, and as a Prime member, you have access to Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, Russian and German courses at no charge. The CD versions would easily set you back £20 each.

Fire TV Stick

Although there used to be a good number of Foreign Language films available on Amazon Instant Video, including the hilarious “7 Zwerge” (again free to Prime members), they are now few and far between. But I still use the Fire TV Stick a lot for watching language stuff from YouTube on the big screen of my telly rather than the smaller phone or tablet screens. And the Prime membership does come in handy when I’m taking a break from language learning to watch “The Imitation Game” or “Paddington”. Not to mention that I’m ready for Clarkson, Hammond and May next year, now that they’ve left the BBC’s Top Gear and have signed with Amazon instead.

The Top Gear Trio on Amazon Prime

The Top Gear Trio on Amazon Prime

So, as you can see, our Prime membership gets used A LOT. Mostly, but not exclusively for language learning. I think it’s a must for every language learning enthusiast, and now is probably the best time to sign up. You get a month’s free trial anyway, and the free next day delivery is incredibly useful in the run-up to Christmas. Best of all, if you sign up through the link below, you’ll help us bring more language learning awesomeness to you in the future. What’s not to like? So go ahead, you know you want to 🙂

Try Amazon Prime free for a month!

Our birthday, NEW CD and holiday classes

This week has been so exciting I may pop!

It is two years since our first EVER class. A free trial at Chesham library.

laterneumzug

It’s been an exciting two years, going from one class a week to four.

Watching some gorgeous little ones grow up and saying goodbye as some move on to school.

Connecting with some amazing language enthusiasts, language businesses and language teachers both in the virtual world and the real world as we’ve met up at Language Show live.

The class (and business) is very different to when we started out with many more props, puppets and bubbles not to mention our own custom made rockets and floor mats designed and made by the amazing Emily Kane

Thanks to all of you who have come along and made the classes so much fun.

Happy Birthday Lingotastic!

Our biggest news is the launch of our first CD- mostly German

It has been a lot of fun to record, which I’m sure you’ll hear!

Lingo_web_CD

Our CD will be available to buy in classes from 14th December, at our special Christmas holiday class and in our online shop.

You will be able to preorder from Saturday 5th on our shop www.Lingotastic.co.uk/shop
Stay tuned for our special pre release offer.

It is great stocking filler and perfect timing ready for the German term in the New Year! You’ll be singing along in the car and at home and picking up lots of German (and a few words in other languages too!)

20131216_113759000_iOS

As I mentioned before we have our Christmas holiday class coming up on 21st December. 10 am at the Chesham venue 188 Severalls Ave.
We’ll be blasting off to Spain, meeting los tres reyes (the three kings) and joining their journey following the star (la estrella) and singing some brilliant Christmas songs like Feliz Navidad. We’ve a brilliant craft too with some really gorgeous craft materials.

It’s a great way to start the Christmas holiday!

If you don’t know Feliz Navidad already, learn it with us!

Nikolaustag

This morning lots of children were really excited. Last night they left out their boots in the hope that Sankt Nikolaus would fill them with coins, oranges and perhaps a few presents too! Here’s what Nikolaus left for my children (and us grown up’s too).

Nikolaus Boots

I also got a text from St Nikolaus to say he’d left something on the doorstep outside too! My daughter’s best friend is Polish, so they celebrate Nikolaustag too. They’d left a stocking on the doorstep with a book in for each of the girls. They were thrilled!

Our family is half German (with a sprinking of Polish). We love to celebrate Sankt Nikolaustag and remember how Sankt Nikolaus, though he had lots of money, choose to share what he had with those less well off than himself. VeggieTales have made a brilliant video which we’ve used to teach our own children about Sanct Nikolaus. St Nicholas- A Tale of Joyful Giving! As we give we receive benefits that may not be immediately obvious to us. This is such an important thing for children and us grown ups too.

5 surprising places for language learning with your little one

Some favourite stealth language learning tricks for families..

This blog post first appeared at Flash Sticks

In the playground

On the swings: Count in the target language whilst pushing your little one. And once they’ve mastered numbers, you can always progress to trying out days of the week, as well as months of the year. Round the roundabout: Ask your little one if they want to go faster or slower in the target language. My children learned the word nochmal – again – on a roundabout.

In the car

Family car tripsCounting: Sometimes simplicity is the most effective way for your children to learn a new language. Count to ten around in a circle in whichever language you choose. My children love this one and it’s a great way to ensure they’ve got their numbers down.

Dictionary games: This one’s great and has never-ending possibilities. Simply select a letter and give a description, then ask your child to guess the word. So, for example, you might say, “the word starts with an “F” and is a cake with fruit in it.”

Listening to music: CDs with songs in the target language are a brilliant tool. Music is a very powerful tool for language learning. What’s great from my experience is that children find themselves singing a song fluently in another language, then they become curious about what the words mean, which is where the real learning comes in.

At Home

At HomeInstructions: Give simple instructions in the chosen language, making it as much as a casual part of your routine as possible. You might say, “Schuhe an! (Put your shoes on!).” At first, you may need to do a little translation, but you’ll find that your child very quickly begins to understand the words in the target language.

Counting: There’s no end to the counting game. And counting when going up and down stairs is a great bit of fun.
Arts and crafts: Craft is good for language learning too. When you are making things together, be sure to point out the vocabulary for colours and whatever other materials you are using or things you’re making together.
Pairs: Matching games are great too. We have a few with pictures and words in the target language.

Reading: It goes without saying that bilingual books are brilliant. Your local Library can rent them from Bright Books, if they don’t have some already.

Online: YouTube has lots of brilliant videos of nursery rhymes and even Peppa Pig in a variety of target languages.
Toys: My children had some brilliant bilingual toys, which sing nursery rhymes and teach simple vocabulary.

FlashSticks: FlashSticks are brilliant for reading age children. Stick them around the home and label things. Oh and don’t forget to take pictures while you’re out and about, so you can tweet them at @flashsticks on #FlashSticksFriday.