Monthly Archives: Dec 2012

Have an Amazing Bilingual Year!

FAN 2
   As the year come to an end I feel compelled to look for more ways to bring more bilingual joy into our life and to strengthen my commitment to raise a bilingual child and keep my culture’s flame burning to open my son’s mind to a world of endless possibilities, since I also continue to bring Hispanic heritage into the mix!

As any busy parent, I see myself conflicted between spending the little time left during the day with crazy bilingual maneuvers…..but you know, after being a few days home with no work, I realized it is all worth it and I not only contributing for my son’s education, by introducing foreign languages to him, but also filling his spirit with rich traditions in the books we read together, in the food I so carefully prepare and in my attempts to keep my mother language and Spanish alive in our home!

My husband is an American and does not speak a foreign language, although he has been talking about learning Portuguese, which made me very happy, but I must confess, I would have to find an instructor to teach him and I will help bring the language alive at home, that is one of my goals for 2013!

Another goal is to work harder on using a foreign language at home and bringing things like music, which my son loves, closer to us, so we keep the foreign language flame burning!

My son attends a Christian school and latin is taught until 6th grade, so I have no help there to keep his Spanish skills sharp! He attends most of our summer camps, which brings him an amazing amount of knowledge but it slowly goes away as the year passes and I see myself divided between Portuguese and Spanish at home…..you know, always conflicted!

So instead of worrying about being conflicted, another new year’s resolution is to keep doing what I have been doing and bring more in 2013; I would love to see my son speaking Portuguese fluently by the time we travel to Brazil in August! He speaks short sentences but we need to take it to the next level and establish a more consistent conversation!

I do want to share what I already do and has proven to show results, whether you are starting or just wondering how to start! Please share if you try some of our ideas on how to bring bilingual joy into your home, even if you don’t speak the foreign language!

Yes, I set time aside! We have Spanish night,  Tuesday Tacos! When I cook a Hispanic meal and we speak Spanish at the table, I also read some of my books I am using in my classes during our bed time time, he watches me prepare classes at night on my computer, so he watches and listens to videos! I also have a long playlist on my ipad and iphone, so when I’m home cleaning the house, guess what, only Spanish or Portuguese music on!

Failing is not an option! There are no wrong or rights, every effort is worth it!  You must find time, but above all, make it fun, so it is not a chore for you and your children! It’s easier for me because I have all the books and activities at my finger tips but I wanted to share some resources: go to my blog: www.easylearnlanguages.com, search for a themes, each theme has suggestions on things to do, songs and videos to watch. We need to do age appropriate and keep them engaged. Also if you and your husband are native speaker, it’s easier, make a point to bring the language and establish a reward chart if they are reluctant to reply in Spanish, every reply worth a star!

Books are a great option for spending time with your child and bringing bilingual love at bed time! You can find books here in our store and also at Barnes and Noble, my two best sources for buying new bilingual books!

Videos are a must! Today’s children are connected with technology, tv, shows, so youtube becomes your first option for new videos, itunes also offers many apps to bring bilingual practice and games to your little or not so little ones! I will be sharing my favorite apps next year, stay tuned!

We also make a Brazilian dish once a week and I share memories! Memories of my childhood and memories that the food evokes…This week we made brigadeiros, recipe available on: www.kcocina.com and also made a typical Bahian meal with muqueca and farofa de manteiga, not one morsel left!! I shared how my mom used to make this meal and all about dende oil and how it was brought by African slaves to our culinary mix! Use of dende oil is typical of north of Brazil, not found in most Brazilian restaurants in the US, so my meal brings an unique experience to my son!!! I was so proud to see him enjoying every bite! Muito Bom!

bahian food

 

The Brigadeiros are a must on every birthday party in Brazil, another great addition to our new year’s munch table! Recipes here: http://kcocina.com/latina-cuisine/brigadeiros-brazilian-truffles/

briga-1-300x225

I hope my suggestions and my experience has helped you continue to do more or start to make 2013 an amazing bilingual year! Please share if you use some of our suggestions???

….And remember, there is no wrong when you put effort and love to bring bilingual love into your home! Feliz Ano Novo!

Claudia K. –

A multilingual Mom, foreign language instructor and owner of EasyLearn Languages

Holiday Activities with a Bilingual Twist

 

The Holidays are coming and you are wondering how to celebrate the holidays and keep the bilingual traditions alive? Your children take a foreign language but you don’t know how to keep the flame burning during the holiday break??? They watch Dora and love Spanish but you want more? I have the answers for you!

Traditions are easy to create, to keep! I wanted to share some of my traditions and some traditions from Latin Countries!

Gifts in shoes – I keep the American tradition of putting gifts in our stocks but also put gifts in brand new shoes outside my son’s door, and he finds them early on Christmas morning! Fun way to bring new sleepers or new shoes without having the children complain, shoes again??   🙂

Caroling – I have plenty of cds and music around the house to teach my son holiday songs in Portuguese and Spanish! Our Favorites are Jingle Bells, Oh Christmas Tree, Frosty and some originals like Botei meu sapatinho in Portuguese! If you would like to listen or show your children some of our videos, please search on youtube for EZLearn Languages.

I posted my favorite one!

We are lucky enough my husband plays the guitar so on Christmas eve, we sit and sing for hours!

Gift Giving – The tradition in the US is to open gifts Christmas day, but in South America, we open them on Christmas Eve and actually there is not much celebration on the 25th, than a day off! So I let my son open one gift and remind him why, there is only one box under the tree for him, waiting from the Portuguese Santa! Papai Noel!

Food – Why not add some spice to your holiday meal or brunch?

I always cook Brazilian Food the night before or add a table of appetizers Christmas day to spice up our holiday traditions! We also have a side dish and a dessert! Among my favorites are the chicken salad with avocado or the rice with raisins and the farofa (cassava flour), great additions to your table! My favorite appetizers are: salgadinho de queijo, empanadas, olive and cheese bites, sanduiche em camadas  (layered sandwich) and sweets like pannetonni, brigadeiros, casadinhos. I also love to add the fatia de parida (a Brazilian version of french toast), a large fruit plate, lunch meats and fresh Portuguese bread, are great additions to muffins, eggs and breakfast casseroles!

I included some recipes for Brigadeiro:

http://www.cktranslations.com/blog/portuguese-language-discussion/brazilian-culture-fall-in-brazil

Farofa

http://honestcooking.com/2012/01/20/farofa-with-bacon-recipe-brazil/

Fatia de Parida

http://www.gastronomias.com/portugal/min022.html

Great Reading – I have been bad in bringing foreign language books and help my son be more proficient but I try to include Brazilian stories during our holiday break, I also have Brazilian comic books which we read together! Many book stores have bilingual books, Foreign Language books in different languages!

I wanted to share some:

Crafts: 

We make snowflakes by making random cuts in a folded square

Build paper figurines and make origamis (my son favorite thing to do!)

We make a new year list of places and things we want to do and I keep it all year and check when we actually do it! 

I hope my suggestions will help you bring latin flavor to your holidays! You can adapt our suggestions to traditions in your own country or language! No matter what, it needs to bring fun and joy to the children! 

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Feliz Natal, Fröhliche Weihnachten, Merry Christmas is Sheng Dan Kuai Le(Traditional: 聖誕快樂; Simplified: 圣诞快乐) in Chinese.

 

Claudia Krusch

Bilingual – Buddies

Elf on a Self, on a table, on the taco, the guacamole, by the maracas! Ole!

I bought the book The elf on a shelf in Spanish to use in upcoming classes and story time sessions I had scheduled for December!

Forgot to hide it and my son found the box and said wow! We have a Spanish Elf! So much fun! Is he going to speak Spanish too?? Can you read the book? Is he coming tomorrow too? He had been visited by the American elf for a few days! I was in trouble! I decided to think about ways to make my elf authentic 🙂

Went to my laptop and decided to list places where he would appear and things he would do to show his Hispanic character! Tomorrow, his first day at our home, he will be sitting on a tortilla with some sour cream!! 🙂

I have decided to have fun and welcome our new elf with a real Hispanic hospitality and will be sharing the pictures on our facebook page!

If you wish to join my journey, the book is only sold at Target online, not in stores and the main website has a Spanish version!

http://www.elfontheshelf.com/es-es/aboutus/latradicion.aspx

The book can be found on this page:

http://www.target.com/p/the-elf-on-the-shelf-una-tradicion-navidena-nina-elf/-/A-14247066

Look forward to seeing you there!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bilingual-Buddies/183113808473788