|Dear Multilingual Living Friends,
We’re back! We returned from California a few weeks ago and then in one fell swoop our fall activities jumped into full swing.
While my husband started preparing for the new year of classes (he is a Physics instructor) the kids and I started getting our bilingual homeschooling plans in order. For the first time ever, we were going to use curricula in our homeschooling adventure! My kids were literally jumping up and down each day the packages arrived full of books and materials.
Within a week, however, everything had changed. Our overwhelming excitement about the new homeschooling year had been replaced with frustration, arguments, complaints and a good amount of tears. To say the least, things were not working well. I was berating the kids about not focusing enough. The kids were arguing with one another and whining to everything I said. That first Friday evening, after the kids were in bed, I tearfully told my husband that I was not cut out for this homeschooling gig anymore, let alone doing it bilingually. I was ready to throw in the towel.
Talking it through with my husband that night helped me realize just how trapped I was by a number of expectations that I had created in my mind. I had drawn up a completely unrealistic image of how things were supposed to go in our homeschooling this year being that we now had the magic of real, live curricula. Wasn’t curricula supposed to solve all of our problems? Wasn’t it the miracle cure to all of our struggles? By the end of the evening, my husband and I were laughing hysterically about the ridiculous things I had said to the kids that week in my desperation to make things go the way I wanted them to go.
Be it homeschooling or raising children bilingually, we each have images of what the experiences will be like. Most of the time reality fails to meet these carefully constructed images and thus, not surprising, disappointment follows. When this happens, don’t throw in the towel, even though you feel like it is the only option. Step back far enough to see things from a distance (you will know that you are far enough back when you can laugh about the whole thing), take a deep breath, and get your family together for a discussion. Talk honestly with one another. Talk from the heart. When it comes down to it, we have nothing to lose except everything that truly matters most.
As for Multilingual Living… We have had the privilege to post an amazing list of articles these past few weeks. Prof. Wang wrote an article just for us about helping children to read and write in more than one orthography. Melanie Taylor shares a list of famous bilingual writers (you just might be amazed with what you learn). Leslie Collins explains how learning Spanish can help us understand English! And don’t miss your chance to WIN Learning to Read and Write in the Multilingual Family!
Plus, Multilingual Matters is taking entries for its Multilingualism in the Community Award! You just might be the 2012 winner of £2000! See below for more details.
Many Multilingual Wishes,
Founder, Multilingual Living