Episode 7: How one bilingual family is introducing a third language

Episode #7

On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, I interview Adriana Zoder, a homeschooling mom, author, blogger and newspaper columnist!  Adriana discusses how she is introducing a third language to her bilingual children, the challenges she has faced raising her children speaking English & Romanian and some wonderful proud parenting moments.

Episode #7 Quick Guide

On this episode, Adriana discusses with us:

  • Her background with languages starting with her appreciation of how life would likely change once the Berlin Wall fell;
  • How languages are managed in her home including Romanian, English and French;
  • Her decision to homeschool her children;
  • How she has managed to overcome her children’s natural desire to speak the majority language and cultivate an appreciation for their minority language;
  • What she does to motivate herself to stick to Romanian (and French) when interacting with her children;
  • A funny anecdote that will surely have you using Google translate in Romanian;
  • Two beautiful proud parenting moments that clearly make Adriana’s hard work worth all the effort;
  • How she is going to leverage Wakou Magazine and a French group she started to increase exposure in French for her children;
  • Her homeschooling routine.

Once we hop on the Autobahn at Bilingual Avenue, Adriana shares –

  • Her favorite resource: Books
  • Best advice received: Don’t give up!
  • What has held her back: Being tired when her children were newborns
  • A great family habit: Discipline
  • Favorite Books: Babar stories in French
  • Best Advice to others: Have family and friends that speak the minority language interact with your children as much as they can

Summary of links Adriana mentioned on the show:

    • Homeschool Ways – Adriana’s Blog
    • Caillou – Children’s cartoon in French
    • Petralingua – a curriculum that teaches children under 10 English, German, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.
    • Wakou – A magazine that Adriana described as National Geographic for kids in French
    • Babar – A great children’s book series in French


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Comments 1

  1. I have mainly focused on me speaking and teaching Spanish. My husband has been the one speaking English. We speak English to each other. I have been slowly added A little Russian. Daddy speaks some Russian. His grandma spoke when his father was small. They learned English. They stopped speaking Russian when his father went to school. He had to learn on his own and he also did mission work in Russia and Ukraine. He got better then. Now after so long with no one to speak with, his Russian is a little rusty. We also learned a little German as my oldest son has started getting into learning that language. My grandparents are mostly German. All the older grandparents who spoke German are long dead. My third son took up learning Chinese, so we have learned a little Chinese. He knows a fair amount of the language. He still needs to work on his pronunciation and structure. My second daughter started learning French. We have learned a little French as well. I have helped with us learning French and German. I learned a little German from my great grandmother and French from my Great Aunt. My dad taught me as much Spanish as he could remember. I asked questions and learned words until he had no more to offer. I learned all my preschool basics. He had a few higher up words. I soaked it all up so well. It gave me a good foundation from which I have done well. He did what he thought he could do. Today I am bilingual! My Spanish is not as strong as my English. I can still read, write, speak, and understand. My Spanish is at an elementary level, but bilingual is bilingual. I can converse in English and Spanish. I still have difficulty expressing myself in Spanish sometimes, but as I use more, I am getting better. I am trying to get my kids there. Since my Spanish is not strong, I have to work a lot harder to teach my kids. They are trying and so am I. We are getting there. My third son has an elementary level just below me because of our heavily Hispanic community and all his Spanish speaking friends. They speak mostly in English but have private conversations in Spanish. I have to really pay attention. He sometimes dreams in Spanish. I know because although he tells me, he also talks in his sleep. I have been introducing Spanish since there Spanish speaking is taking off. I was so proud when my 5yr old told me,” mommy, milk, leche and молока are the same thing. They are all words for milk.” She told me herself. I was so excited! I was really blown away by how she made that connection. I tell them that all the languages are just a different way to say the same thing. We are all speaking in the way we know how. She said, ” like how daddy says that when he can not understand me, I must be speaking ‘sasha’nese?” That is her name. “Yes, even babies and children have languages.” That is why we taught sign language to our little girls. We needed a language that we could understand, together. If I had realized the power of using this to overcome frustrations with speaking; I would have used this with the boys. It made a huge impact on easing frustrations. We had fewer break downs. Sometimes we have had quiet time where you can only Sign, no talking. I really enjoy hearing from other people’s experiences. It is so encouraging! : )

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