I am new to the site and so excited to be here!
I am Arab (Palestinian) and my husband is American. My husband is SAHD. We have a 26 month old daughter whom we are raising bilingually. I speak to her exclusively in Arabic and DH speaks to her in as much Arabic as he knows, which is considerable though not fluent. We read lots of Arabic books, listen to lots of Arabic music, watch Arabic DVDs and do Arabic language games on the IPAD. We don't have much of an Arab community, so there is very little chance for Arabic classes etc. as she grows up. I am trying to get together a playgroup, so if you live in the Greensboro, High Point, Winston, NC area and would like to start an Arabic playgroup, please let me know.
Anyway, as a result of our efforts my DD is doing great with both Arabic and English though her Arabic, understandably, is stronger.
She will be starting pre-school in a month: 3 hour a day program.
Here's my dilemma. Everything I've read and heard so far about bilingualism in our situation seems pretty depressing. Children seem to become passive bilinguals, preferring to speak the dominant language and while understanding the minority language, sometimes flat out refuse to speak it.
I am trying to think of ways to keep my DD interested in speaking Arabic: Skyping with family members, hiring an Arab speaking babysitter so she has others around her who speak Arabic on a regular basis besides me, visiting as many Arabs as I can in our area, visiting Jordan as often as the budget (small indeed :) allows etc.
Now here's my question: Have others had success raising active bilingual children who have continued to speak the minority language even after they've entered school? I'd love to hear those stories because they will give me much hope, but also because I'd love to hear about how you were able to achieve this success. I would love to get as many tips as I can that can help us achieve our goal of active bilingualism.
Thanks so much!