2017 Challenge – Day 2: Goodbye 2016!

  • January 10, 2017 at 8:44 pm #12865

    As 2016 was winding down, the consensus was that it wasn’t a great year for most.

    But when I think about my family’s language journey, it was a great year.

    Sure there were ups and downs but overall I am really happy with what we accomplished.

    How about you?  How was your 2016?

    Today’s challenge will help you recap the year!

    Get day 2 of the challenge here and post your reflection in the replies!

    I am originally from Venezuela and live in Washington DC with my two bilingual kids and husband. My daughter, Juliet, is 4.5 and my son, Adrian, is 2.5! They keep me on my toes.

    January 11, 2017 at 1:13 am #12874
    Caro Mawdsley
    Participant

    Hola Marianna, is this for our achievements for the year in general or just language related?

    ———————
    We live in Melbourne Australia, I have two daughters Alice (6.5 years) y Amber (3 years) and we are learning Spanish.

    January 11, 2017 at 9:25 am #12877

    Caro,

    Thanks for the clarifying question.

    This guide will work a little differently for everyone.  The intent is to help you come up with a path forward for 2017 for your language journey.  For some people, that means that the reflection will focus 100% on language achievement in 2016 while for others other elements may come into play.

    For example, let’s use discipline as an example since that is a universal concept.

    Let’s say that parent A struggled a lot with disciplining one of their kids in 2016.  There were many power struggles yet by the end of the year both parent and child were at a better place with discipline.  Parent A had found a system to prevent power struggles and the child had matured in age which was helping him or her control emotions.

    This achievement is not 100% related to language learning but the improvement in discipline is likely going to positively impact language learning in 2017 so it may be something Parent A would want to include in the process.

    Ultimately, go with your gut as to what would help YOU most. If you want to include other parenting elements beyond language, go for it.  Chances are many of us will probably be able to relate anyway : )

    I am originally from Venezuela and live in Washington DC with my two bilingual kids and husband. My daughter, Juliet, is 4.5 and my son, Adrian, is 2.5! They keep me on my toes.

    January 12, 2017 at 12:08 am #12889
    Caro Mawdsley
    Participant

    Thanks Marianna for clarifying.
    I actually considered 2016 ‘my most favourite year’ of my life! I was on maternity leave for the entire year and achieved so much with my family. I tackled the newborn stage a lot better second time around, it was my first full year of being vegetarian, I figured out the spiritual path I wanted to take (and lead my girls in to) and mid year is when I decided that the girls and I would be bilingual in Spanish ‘one day’.
    I believe I was able to do all this because I co slept with Amber and got a lot more sleep, I cut away from toxic people/ family politics, and I reflected as much as I could about my family and our life (direction and goals). Accidentally finding a local Spanish playgroup and coming across Bilingual Avenue was also instrumental to my year.
    I actually achieved everything I wanted to achieve in 2016… Most importantly I completed the Language Plan before Christmas so I already accepted the fact I had not ‘started earlier’ teaching the girls and myself Spanish. I was realistic in thinking we wouldn’t be bilingual overnight!
    I am grateful to my husband, my Aunty, nana and family friend for being supportive of this bilingual journey. None of them speak Spanish but they encourage the girls to tell them Spanish words and will attempt to say words in Spanish that they have heard me say a lot. Thank you to Marianna and the other lovely people on this Bilingual Avenue forum who have shared their stories. I have been inspired to try find a Spanish- speaking family day carer for my girls while I am at work. I hadn’t even considered this a possibility beforehand. I am currently struggling to find someone suitable but I’m trying hard not to settle!

    ———————
    We live in Melbourne Australia, I have two daughters Alice (6.5 years) y Amber (3 years) and we are learning Spanish.

    January 12, 2017 at 12:20 am #12892
    Laura
    Participant

    My kids’ amazing accomplishments (okay, mostly I’ll be writing about Abner Phillip, the 3 year old, because the exciting things that Carolina (1) is learning are walking and saying “mama.”) in 2016:

    • starting to read! This I think is mainly due to our practice with “Sonidos Iniciales” and going through a workbook my husband created for his K class that is based on the Estrellita curriculum.
    • memorizing verses. I am pretty amazed at how quickly he can memorize – and retain – verses. We started learning them in English, and then we switched to Spanish. This is mostly through repeating them throughout the day, learning verses to music or like a game.

    The main thing I struggled with in 2016 was consistency in maintaining Spanish language time. This is partly due to laziness (and taking the easy way out) and partly to still running into words/phrases/topics I don’t know well in Spanish.

    I love the last bit in our assignment for day 2! Thanks for encouraging us to say “thank you” to those who made an impact in our kids’ lives.

    *also, a side note…maybe I’m doing something wrong, or don’t have the right program to support PDF on my computer, but whatever I type into your document I can’t copy-paste to put anywhere else. It also won’t save what I write when I download it. If I download it first, then I can’t type into the document.

    January 12, 2017 at 10:15 am #12894
    marietab
    Participant

    The amazing things my kids accomplished in 2016:

    León always says the colors and numbers first in English, even when he’s talking with someone in Spanish. He’s also able to sing a couple of songs, and knows many of the ending words of some other lyrics. When asked, he knows a lot of vocabulary (animals, rooms in the house, vehicles, the weather…) and is able to answer in short sentences. If we model a longer sentence, he will repeat it, even correcting himself along the way.

    Pablo’s favorite songs are the nursery rhymes we started singing to him when he was born, they always calm him and make him happy.

    We try to read a variety of books to expose him to different themes. When playing we emphasize the colors of the toys and the counting words. We also try to do everyday tasks in English, like watering the plants, cooking, doing laundry…

    I would like to achieve him creating his own answers, or telling a short story or recalling a memory as he does in Spanish. The main problem is that I wasn’t able to create a need, that’s why, even though he understands very well what I say, he answers most of the time in Spanish.

    Pablo was born in 2016, that is by far the coolest thing! We also traveled quite a bit, and we have enjoyed it as a family of 4. Both kids did really well, keeping high spirits even when they were tired.

    I would like to thank the Bilingual Avenue community! Reading your stories and listening to the podcasts are truly an inspiration 🙂

    ***********
    Hola! I'm María and I live in Salamanca (Spain) with my husband and three kids León (6), Pablo (4) and Bárbara (8 m.o.)

    January 12, 2017 at 10:53 am #12895
    Conchi
    Blocked

    2016 had his ups and downs but I can say that it has been a great year. My husband got a permanent job after some years of inestability. I found the resource I was looking for so long to help me find the path to build a bilingual family: Bilingual Avenue. I completed our language plan and I could focus on it.

    As a family we had the experience of having an aupair with us last summer. I learned about it and now I will not make the same mistakes.

    After summer our English teacher Susana, who was with us the last two years and a half left us because she found a job at a Bilingual school (mix of emotions: I was happy for her but I felt down (she was a great support and my children main source of native input) like “otra piedra en el camino ” , but I took a deep breath, keep moving and now we have Melisa who was their first English contact at least four years ago and now she is a mother of two bilingual gourgeous girls who want to play with mine. She understands my feelings so well.

    And at last, I have accepted that I am not going to be able to create  a need for my children to speak in English with me and by accepting this, I am happier and lest frustrated. This doesn’t mean I am going to quit, but I don’t have to put so much pressure on me. To help them with practicing their speaking, I am planning of make them talk without realizing (theater play, reading books aloud…)

    Thank you for all your support!?

    January 12, 2017 at 11:15 am #12897
    ladylauramal
    Participant

    Some of my 2016 highlights:

    Dax (6) spoke into a microphone in Spanish in front of the whole school.
    Paige (4)  started forming some basic complete sentences in Spanish.

    They both understand a lot more Spanish vocabulary, and my mastery of the language was exponential (I still need to think fairly hard and speak slowly but I can hold a conversation!)

    My goals for 2017 are

    I wish Dax and Paige were speaking in more complete sentences in Spanish.  We’ve been around other kids who don’t speak English and I didn’t see them interacting with them much.  Also, they say they can’t understand the native speakers very well (the neighbor and the babysitter), so I would like them to understand the native Puerto Rican accent more.

    Like Conchi, I have accepted that their progress will be exceptionally slow due to lack of need, even in Puerto Rico, because nearly everyone here in bilingual and will automatically switch to English when they see us gringos, unless we persist and speak Spanish.  Which my kids won’t, given the option 😉  But some day they might want to join clubs and participate in group activities and will need to follow directions and make friends in Spanish.

     

    January 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm #12900

    Thanks Marianna for clarifying. I actually considered 2016 ‘my most favourite year’ of my life! I was on maternity leave for the entire year and achieved so much with my family. I tackled the newborn stage a lot better second time around, it was my first full year of being vegetarian, I figured out the spiritual path I wanted to take (and lead my girls in to) and mid year is when I decided that the girls and I would be bilingual in Spanish ‘one day’. I believe I was able to do all this because I co slept with Amber and got a lot more sleep, I cut away from toxic people/ family politics, and I reflected as much as I could about my family and our life (direction and goals). Accidentally finding a local Spanish playgroup and coming across Bilingual Avenue was also instrumental to my year. I actually achieved everything I wanted to achieve in 2016… Most importantly I completed the Language Plan before Christmas so I already accepted the fact I had not ‘started earlier’ teaching the girls and myself Spanish. I was realistic in thinking we wouldn’t be bilingual overnight! I am grateful to my husband, my Aunty, nana and family friend for being supportive of this bilingual journey. None of them speak Spanish but they encourage the girls to tell them Spanish words and will attempt to say words in Spanish that they have heard me say a lot. Thank you to Marianna and the other lovely people on this Bilingual Avenue forum who have shared their stories. I have been inspired to try find a Spanish- speaking family day carer for my girls while I am at work. I hadn’t even considered this a possibility beforehand. I am currently struggling to find someone suitable but I’m trying hard not to settle!

    Caro, how great is it to be able to say that you just had your favorite year in life, that’s wonderful!

    Your post made me tear up a little because I was so touched by everything you were able to accomplish this year! What a great way to wrap up 2016 and build on all the clarity you received this past year and move that into 2017!  I am excited to be part of the journey with you and think you will get so much accomplished in your daughter’s language journey!

    I am originally from Venezuela and live in Washington DC with my two bilingual kids and husband. My daughter, Juliet, is 4.5 and my son, Adrian, is 2.5! They keep me on my toes.

    January 12, 2017 at 3:21 pm #12901

    My kids’ amazing accomplishments (okay, mostly I’ll be writing about Abner Phillip, the 3 year old, because the exciting things that Carolina (1) is learning are walking and saying “mama.”) in 2016:

    • starting to read! This I think is mainly due to our practice with “Sonidos Iniciales” and going through a workbook my husband created for his K class that is based on the Estrellita curriculum.
    • memorizing verses. I am pretty amazed at how quickly he can memorize – and retain – verses. We started learning them in English, and then we switched to Spanish. This is mostly through repeating them throughout the day, learning verses to music or like a game.

    The main thing I struggled with in 2016 was consistency in maintaining Spanish language time. This is partly due to laziness (and taking the easy way out) and partly to still running into words/phrases/topics I don’t know well in Spanish. I love the last bit in our assignment for day 2! Thanks for encouraging us to say “thank you” to those who made an impact in our kids’ lives. *also, a side note…maybe I’m doing something wrong, or don’t have the right program to support PDF on my computer, but whatever I type into your document I can’t copy-paste to put anywhere else. It also won’t save what I write when I download it. If I download it first, then I can’t type into the document.

    Laura,

    Wow, the accomplishments in 2016 were impressive!! Good job

    As far as the struggles, it’s ok to take the easy way out sometimes. It’s a long journey and we can’t burn ourselves out! We can just plan to be more proactive when you don’t know something or when you find that you are getting tired. You can rely on this community to help you navigate the things you don’t know and to keep you accountable.

    As far as the PDF limitations, it is likely due to what you are using to view and work with the PDF. You should be able to copy/paste and save what you write. Do you know what version of Acrobat your using?

    I am originally from Venezuela and live in Washington DC with my two bilingual kids and husband. My daughter, Juliet, is 4.5 and my son, Adrian, is 2.5! They keep me on my toes.

    January 12, 2017 at 3:28 pm #12905

    The amazing things my kids accomplished in 2016: León always says the colors and numbers first in English, even when he’s talking with someone in Spanish. He’s also able to sing a couple of songs, and knows many of the ending words of some other lyrics. When asked, he knows a lot of vocabulary (animals, rooms in the house, vehicles, the weather…) and is able to answer in short sentences. If we model a longer sentence, he will repeat it, even correcting himself along the way. Pablo’s favorite songs are the nursery rhymes we started singing to him when he was born, they always calm him and make him happy. We try to read a variety of books to expose him to different themes. When playing we emphasize the colors of the toys and the counting words. We also try to do everyday tasks in English, like watering the plants, cooking, doing laundry… I would like to achieve him creating his own answers, or telling a short story or recalling a memory as he does in Spanish. The main problem is that I wasn’t able to create a need, that’s why, even though he understands very well what I say, he answers most of the time in Spanish. Pablo was born in 2016, that is by far the coolest thing! We also traveled quite a bit, and we have enjoyed it as a family of 4. Both kids did really well, keeping high spirits even when they were tired. I would like to thank the Bilingual Avenue community! Reading your stories and listening to the podcasts are truly an inspiration :)

    Don’t worry too much about not being able to create a need for León from the start. Every little bit that you are doing helps and I am glad that he is doing so well in the things that he is able to say. It’s exciting to know how his vocabulary is growing so much!! I am really encouraged to read how he is even correcting himself along the way through your modeling. Keep up that modeling in 2017 and I know you will see some great progress as well!!

    I am originally from Venezuela and live in Washington DC with my two bilingual kids and husband. My daughter, Juliet, is 4.5 and my son, Adrian, is 2.5! They keep me on my toes.

    January 12, 2017 at 3:33 pm #12907

    2016 had his ups and downs but I can say that it has been a great year. My husband got a permanent job after some years of inestability. I found the resource I was looking for so long to help me find the path to build a bilingual family: Bilingual Avenue. I completed our language plan and I could focus on it. As a family we had the experience of having an aupair with us last summer. I learned about it and now I will not make the same mistakes. After summer our English teacher Susana, who was with us the last two years and a half left us because she found a job at a Bilingual school (mix of emotions: I was happy for her but I felt down (she was a great support and my children main source of native input) like “otra piedra en el camino ” , but I took a deep breath, keep moving and now we have Melisa who was their first English contact at least four years ago and now she is a mother of two bilingual gourgeous girls who want to play with mine. She understands my feelings so well. And at last, I have accepted that I am not going to be able to create a need for my children to speak in English with me and by accepting this, I am happier and lest frustrated. This doesn’t mean I am going to quit, but I don’t have to put so much pressure on me. To help them with practicing their speaking, I am planning of make them talk without realizing (theater play, reading books aloud…) Thank you for all your support!?

    Conchi,

    I love the honesty in your reponse, thank you for really opening up. First off, thrilled to know about your husband’s job! That’s one less thing to worry about that can help you all as a family. I am also so happy that you found Bilingual Avenue and we are so happy to have found you! : )

    You learned so much this year from the good and the bad. From all the piedras and all the puertas that opened! I have to commend you on how you are managing the limitations to create a need but that you are still keeping your optimism to create that need in other ways. Here’s to your 2017!!

    I am originally from Venezuela and live in Washington DC with my two bilingual kids and husband. My daughter, Juliet, is 4.5 and my son, Adrian, is 2.5! They keep me on my toes.

    January 12, 2017 at 3:40 pm #12908

    Some of my 2016 highlights: Dax (6) spoke into a microphone in Spanish in front of the whole school. Paige (4) started forming some basic complete sentences in Spanish. They both understand a lot more Spanish vocabulary, and my mastery of the language was exponential (I still need to think fairly hard and speak slowly but I can hold a conversation!) My goals for 2017 are I wish Dax and Paige were speaking in more complete sentences in Spanish. We’ve been around other kids who don’t speak English and I didn’t see them interacting with them much. Also, they say they can’t understand the native speakers very well (the neighbor and the babysitter), so I would like them to understand the native Puerto Rican accent more. Like Conchi, I have accepted that their progress will be exceptionally slow due to lack of need, even in Puerto Rico, because nearly everyone here in bilingual and will automatically switch to English when they see us gringos, unless we persist and speak Spanish. Which my kids won’t, given the option ? But some day they might want to join clubs and participate in group activities and will need to follow directions and make friends in Spanish.

    I still love so much that your phone spoke into the microphone, it’s just so cool and how exciting to see that Paige is getting braver with Spanish! Congrats on your own language progress too!! I do hope you are able to dig up more opportunities in 2017 for your kids to use Spanish. Maybe we can work together to think about their general interest and how local activities may complement those interests. They are at such a perfect age to tap into those interests. I am looking forward to seeing how we can tie your goal for 2017 into some of the work that we will be doing in the next few days here!

    I am originally from Venezuela and live in Washington DC with my two bilingual kids and husband. My daughter, Juliet, is 4.5 and my son, Adrian, is 2.5! They keep me on my toes.

    January 18, 2017 at 9:45 pm #12972
    vacnd03
    Participant

    2016 is a blur. Did my kids learn some Spanish – yes. But I have  a lot of work to do.

    January 19, 2017 at 9:09 am #12977

    Vanessa,

    It’s important to be honest and I love that you were!  We can make 2017 more intentional and this group can help you do JUST that!

    I am originally from Venezuela and live in Washington DC with my two bilingual kids and husband. My daughter, Juliet, is 4.5 and my son, Adrian, is 2.5! They keep me on my toes.

    January 29, 2017 at 5:20 am #13177
    Judichi
    Participant

    Amazing things in 2016: seeing how Felicity becomes more and more confident in both languages, Spanish and English. It was amazing to see her interacting with her abuela in Mexico without my help. I feel comfortable now to saw that she is bilingual because she clearly knows which language to choose according to the situation. I guess I managed this because I have always been consistent on my use of Spanish with her and I have been exposing her to as much Spanish as I can at all times.

    What didn’t go well: over the summer I tried to teach her to read and completly failed. I failed because I didn’t know how to make reading exciting, and I got scared when I realised that she did not want to learn. I didn’t want to push too much beacuse I didn’t want her to hate Spanish. My feeling was that she was not ready for reading yet and decided to postpone it.

    What I loved from 2016: seeing how much she has grown up and that now we are able to do things for “grown ups” like swimming together in a river in Mexico, going to theme parks and enjoying rollercoasters, and seeing her wearing her school uniform for the first time and how proud and happy she was her first day of school.

    We are very fortunate of having many people supporting us in a bilingual journey, but in particular I am very grateful to my mum for taking the time to read books to Felicity from Mexico using Facetime. Also I am grateful to my in-laws because although they don’t speak Spanish they are happy for me to speak Spanish to Felicity in front of them, and even tried to say few words in Spanish.

    January 30, 2017 at 1:48 pm #13182

    Judith,

    You learned a lot from 2016 and are now better prepared to tackle reading.  Your daughter is also more mature and has more cognitively abilities and skills to help sort out reading in Spanish.  And if all that wasn’t enough, she will also be picking up more skills at school that ultimately be transferred to Spanish lectura.

    I think 2017 will indeed be a great year for your daughter and her language journey.

    I am originally from Venezuela and live in Washington DC with my two bilingual kids and husband. My daughter, Juliet, is 4.5 and my son, Adrian, is 2.5! They keep me on my toes.

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