Well, this is my first post here at Sra. Casado Teaches Bilinguals. I am super excited to share what I do at home and in the classroom to help my kiddos on the journey to becoming bilingual! I also look forward to learning more about other families and teachers that share my passion for teaching children a second (and third, and forth…) language.
I thought that the best way to get started was to write about why my husband and I made the choice to raise our children in a bilingual household. We did not choose this path to reap the educational benefits (added bonus!), but, instead for personal reasons:
1. To communicate with family:
Probably the most practical reason we decided to teach our kids Spanish was so they could have a relationship with family and friends in Spain. Since they do not speak English, our children should absolutely speak Spanish!
2. To learn about their roots:
Goethe once said, “There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.” One of my most important jobs, as a parent, is to provide my children with a foundation–to teach them who they are and where they come from. I truly believe that you cannot separate yourself and your culture from your language. As my boys develop their language skills, they will continue to learn about us, our families, and themselves.
3. To learn about different cultures:
The world is becoming smaller every day. When I grew up in the 70s, airplane travel and long distance calls were prohibitively expensive. We moved across the country when I was 11 and it might as well have been to another planet. The clothes were different, the music was different…. we even had trouble understanding the new accent! While my BFF and I made a valiant effort to maintain contact, sending snail mail and once-every-two-month phone calls could not maintain a relationship.
Times are different now. With the internet, face-time and cheap travel, my kids have seen more of the world than i had when I was 3 times their age. I love how they can identify with kids all over the world and learn about how, while some things are different, many are similar. I believe (and the research shows) that they are more open to learning about cultures because they speak a second language.
4. To increase opportunities for work and travel:
While I certainly hope that when my kids leave the house, they will settle down near us and not move too far away, odds are that they will want to explore the world as their parents and grandparents have. Learning a second language will open doors for them to do so.
5. It’s fun!
Yes, it’s a ton of hard work to teach your kids a second language. However, it’s really fun too! I love finding new books, games, and tv shows that I have never heard of and experiencing them with my kids. Who knew that Frozen’s Let it Go could be as amazing in Spanish as in English? And how awesome is it to have a “secret language” to use with your family when you don’t want others to understand?
Teaching your children a second language is certainly not an easy choice, but it was the right one for us. How about you? Why did you decide to go the bilingual route?