Teaching two alphabets - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 17 Old 02-23-2008, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
superstella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Somewhere untangling my mind
Posts: 4,371
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Anyone homeschooling their bilingual child? I will be hs'ing my 4yo, and he is starting to learn how to write and read certain things; he's just at that age where he asks questions about letters and words and so we've begun writing and reading. He can write his name in English, and several other words, and most of the alphabet. However, dh is adamant that he learn NOW to write his name in Greek as well. He insists that I should teach ds one day in English and the next in Greek (we've been using OPOL with dh speaking Greek and me English).

I don't mind teaching him both, but I think it is overwhelming him at this point. I'm trying to let him kind of lead the way, as he is still very young. He can say both alphabets, but he cannot recognize by sight any Greek letters. He does now know how to spell his name in Greek (saying it) but he's not even close to being able to write it.

How can I convince my dh that I'm really not trying to jeopardize his Greek education; in fact, I want him to learn it! At the same time, reading cues from ds, it seems like it is too much to learn to write the same thing in two languages? Anyone else dealing with a child this age and learning more than one language? Is it better to learn to write both alphabets at the same time, or first one and then the other? It would be a lot easier were it a language that used the same letters.
superstella is offline  
#2 of 17 Old 02-23-2008, 04:21 PM
 
muttix2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,827
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I homeschool my kids also and my oldest is four. He's learning to read and write but only in English. We have German books but I just read those to him. He's at the point now where he tries to sound the words in those books out but I just tell him that it is German and different than English. I want him to learn to read and write in German but everything I've come across recommends learning to read in one language at a time. After he's got a firmer footing in English I'll introduce reading and writing in German, probably around age six.

Mama to two boys and a girl.
muttix2 is offline  
#3 of 17 Old 02-23-2008, 05:15 PM
 
eepster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: growing in the Garden State ............
Posts: 9,510
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Do you have much Greek writing around? If you are living in an english speaking country, he sees english leters all the time, but hardly will ever see Greek letters. Just have your DH read him childrens books in Greek. Tell DH to use his finger under the words as he reads. Explain to DH that it's important to keep the learning process fun.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
eepster is offline  
#4 of 17 Old 02-24-2008, 04:24 AM
 
EdnaMarie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm not homeschooling but we are doing two alphabets. Our daughter has blocks (you know, the ABC blocks with letters and numbers) and books in both alphabets and all three languages. If we homeschool, which we probably won't though I had wanted to, it will be in English with special language lessons for DH's language. But we do read aloud in all three languages, which I think is the important part.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
EdnaMarie is offline  
#5 of 17 Old 02-25-2008, 06:12 PM
 
MetasMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Memphis (Midtown)
Posts: 81
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't know what technique of bilingualism you are using but if your husband is Greek, wouldn't it most probably be his job to teach the Greek alphabet?
MetasMom is offline  
#6 of 17 Old 02-25-2008, 06:31 PM
 
jul511riv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Israel
Posts: 2,565
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We are doing English and Hebrew and we've tossed some ASL, French and Spanish in the mix as well, though that is WAAAY not consistant, though we try to do at least one of those languages a day...be it a word or something here or there. With those languages, it's more about exposure and less about fluency.

At any rate, we have books in both languages. I read English and dh's got the Hebrew, but lately we've shaken things up and switched off if dd truly insists!

Just having the letters around and answering the questions in the language they come up. For example, when dd asks me something in Hebrew I will repeat what she said in English and then answer in English OOOORRRRRR I will do that and then answer in Hebrew as well. I see what SHE wants to do. If she were to ask me how to write Daddy's name, I would write it in Hebrew for her FIRST and then English later, if she were still interested. For her brother I write it both ways. It's more about my associations with the person and the language than anything else.

It's like the grandparents, we call my parents Grandma and Grandpa but dh's parents the term "grandma" and "grandpa" in Hebrew. She will often say, while pointing at a picture "there are my (in hebrew)"grandma" and "grandpa" and there is my Grandma and Grandpa, but sometimes she will just say "there are my Grandparents" or refer to everyone in Hebrew. For times like that I would show her the spelling as SHE presented it. What ever language slant she presented it in. Does that make any sense?

Are you comfortable with Greek? If your dh is speaking it non stop with your child(ren) and reading at least one book a day, I dont think this will be an issue. Your child's readiness will quickly manifest and he'll let you know what language he would like to learn that particular word in at that particular moment.

I learned Hebrew as an adult. I find it distracting to learn to speak, read, and write at the same time. I decided that I would first learn to speak, like a child, and then I would do whatever came naturally. I think speaking is the most important thing. Having a visual to look at (like a book) is wonderful! And when dc is ready to look at those letters/words he can sort it out for himself, no matter what language that is in. Just making it available is key. What you teach him is very important, but it is not the end all and be all to his education. .Have a little faith that exposure is also a great teacher!

 http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Wise-Woman-Fertility/182752565080597
jul511riv is offline  
#7 of 17 Old 02-25-2008, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
superstella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Somewhere untangling my mind
Posts: 4,371
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks everyone for the feedback. To answer a few questions - yes, I am comfortable speaking Greek, but it is my second language which I learned as an adult and I do worry about my spelling (and frequently look up spellings lol). Dh is so not comfortable in a teaching role, even though I encourage it and he has already taught more than he realizes. I think the issue here is that even though my family was from Greece, a lot of Greek traditions were lost - including the language! My dh wants to go back to Greece to live and it is very important that the language not be lost.

He sees ds learning English and writing his name and he is worried that he will then never learn Greek. I've been following ds's lead because sometimes the pressure is too much and he flat out refuses to speak or attempt anything in greek. /I don't want it to be a source of stress for him, but dh is convinced that I must spend one day teaching english and the next greek. At 4, I think ds is overwhelmed by this approach. He loves writing if left to his own devices, although it is mostly in English so far.

Thank you all so much for the perspectives.
superstella is offline  
#8 of 17 Old 02-26-2008, 07:34 AM
 
jul511riv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Israel
Posts: 2,565
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
that's really tough. I think the answer is moving to Greece (and you'll be closer to me so we can meet for coffee, but we'll have to do it there cause the most readily available coffee here...isn't (no offense to anyone who considers Nescafe sold in Israel AUTHENTIC coffee)

But really, Just keep books and the alphabet visable and speak speak speak. I think teaching one day in English the next in Greek is interesting. It's not a totally unique approach, but there are other options, like having an hour (or three) of Greek each day. This could be reading and writing and speaking and math and going for a nature walk. It's not important.This might be more appropriate until your little one gets a bit bigger so that he is not overwhelmed by learning the two languages simotaneously. If preserving Greek is important to both of you, well then that should go a long way in keeping the language alive. Having one parent communicate in one language only and then having reinforcements with the non-dominate language should even out the playing field. I think it is unrealistic to expect your son to learn two languages EXACTLY alike at EXACTLY the same time. There will be times when he has more English and times when he has more Greek. Forcing him to learn EXACTLY at the same rates EXACTLY the same skills at EXACTLY the same time is pretty much just like going to school...so why homeschool? It seems to be anthical to the fundementals of homeschooling,imho.

We live in Israel so the kids hear Hebrew on the street. The dominate language in the home, therefore, is English. DH is working and I am home with the kids. I make a point of only speaking to them in English and trying my best to only play videos in English. I'm the native English speaker so as far as "accent" and coliqualism and that sort of thing, I'm best suited for that, I believe. But DH is a native Hebrew speaker and so he is best suited to that. So we make a point of trying to STICK to our own native languages when in a family setting. We also make a point of speaking in the language of our guests to show the children that this is most polite and that the world outside the house is mostly one way or the other...not bilingual.

People get a kick out of the fact that my kids are so exposed to English. When dd speaks to me everyone around us comments about how "ooh, look, that little girl is speaking in English just like her mommy!" It really throws them for a loop when I answer them in Hebrew or when dh (if he is with us) with then talk with her in Hebrew.

There ARE parents who have gone before in teaching their children multiple languages. I don't think there is one right way. We all just muddle through!

 http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Wise-Woman-Fertility/182752565080597
jul511riv is offline  
#9 of 17 Old 02-27-2008, 02:09 PM
 
AladdinsLamp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 193
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
your post is really about bigger issues than the writing the name in Greek thing, teaching two (or 3) alphabets to bilingual children is a big issue - but i'm just going to address that one little name issue -

could you make a picture (like draw the outline of the greek letters) and let your ds color or paint it in, of his name in Greek? and hang it on the door to his room, or in his room, over his bed?

and when he does artwork or writing, write his name on it in english and his name on it in greek, right there together? i know that since you are homeschooling you don't have to do that to keep straight who did what, but I know that seeing the names all the time on just artwork has helped my ds recognize his friends' names in his class.

You could even go so far as to do the big wooden letters you hang on the wall - or paint on the wall - with his name in Greek.

I think the more exposure he gets to seeing his name in Greek everywhere, the easier it will be for him to write it when he is ready. And your dh seeing it everywhere will show him that you are working on it!

forgive me if you are already doing this...
AladdinsLamp is offline  
#10 of 17 Old 02-29-2008, 02:18 PM
 
mntnmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,835
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This makes a lot of sense to me. DD is not learning to put sounds to letters yet, but it seems that having warm memories and connecting the sounds with the sight of the letter would be a good place to start.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Do you have much Greek writing around? If you are living in an english speaking country, he sees english leters all the time, but hardly will ever see Greek letters. Just have your DH read him childrens books in Greek. Tell DH to use his finger under the words as he reads. Explain to DH that it's important to keep the learning process fun.

Mom of 4 aspiring midwife "Friend"ly seeker
mntnmom is offline  
#11 of 17 Old 02-29-2008, 02:26 PM
 
Ruthla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 47,873
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
I never HSed at the preschool level, but my kids were all in Jewish preschools where they were taught the Hebrew Aleph-Beis at the same time as the English alphabet.

IIRC, they would do a "letter of the week"- and either they did one English letter and one Hebrew letter a week, or they'd go through one alphabet and then go through the other one, covering both alphabets throughout the entire year.

I think it's reasonable to teach him how to recognize his name in both languages at this age, although I wouldn't insist on writing just yet. If you're going to do a "letter of the week" in Greek, I'd start with the letters in his name, even if it means going out of alphabetical order. Also, if you have Greek storybooks, he should get read to frequently, so he can see the words on the page and start to connect them with the words he hears.

My son was taught to read two languages in kindergarten (focus on English the first half of the year and then they focused on Hebrew the second half) and I think he was overwhelmed. He really doesn't enjoy reading in either language, and I'm seriously considering pulling him out of school next year so he can learn without pressure and hopefully rediscover the joy of reading.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
Ruthla is offline  
#12 of 17 Old 02-29-2008, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
superstella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Somewhere untangling my mind
Posts: 4,371
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jul511riv View Post
that's really tough. I think the answer is moving to Greece (and you'll be closer to me so we can meet for coffee, but we'll have to do it there cause the most readily available coffee here...isn't (no offense to anyone who considers Nescafe sold in Israel AUTHENTIC coffee)

There ARE parents who have gone before in teaching their children multiple languages. I don't think there is one right way. We all just muddle through!
Dh agrees with you, he would love to move to Greece! And I love that last line, no one right way...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AladdinsLamp View Post
your post is really about bigger issues than the writing the name in Greek thing, teaching two (or 3) alphabets to bilingual children is a big issue - but i'm just going to address that one little name issue -

could you make a picture (like draw the outline of the greek letters) and let your ds color or paint it in, of his name in Greek? and hang it on the door to his room, or in his room, over his bed?

and when he does artwork or writing, write his name on it in english and his name on it in greek, right there together? i know that since you are homeschooling you don't have to do that to keep straight who did what, but I know that seeing the names all the time on just artwork has helped my ds recognize his friends' names in his class.

You could even go so far as to do the big wooden letters you hang on the wall - or paint on the wall - with his name in Greek.

I think the more exposure he gets to seeing his name in Greek everywhere, the easier it will be for him to write it when he is ready. And your dh seeing it everywhere will show him that you are working on it!

forgive me if you are already doing this...
Those are some great ideas, thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I never HSed at the preschool level, but my kids were all in Jewish preschools where they were taught the Hebrew Aleph-Beis at the same time as the English alphabet.

IIRC, they would do a "letter of the week"- and either they did one English letter and one Hebrew letter a week, or they'd go through one alphabet and then go through the other one, covering both alphabets throughout the entire year.

I think it's reasonable to teach him how to recognize his name in both languages at this age, although I wouldn't insist on writing just yet. If you're going to do a "letter of the week" in Greek, I'd start with the letters in his name, even if it means going out of alphabetical order. Also, if you have Greek storybooks, he should get read to frequently, so he can see the words on the page and start to connect them with the words he hears.

My son was taught to read two languages in kindergarten (focus on English the first half of the year and then they focused on Hebrew the second half) and I think he was overwhelmed. He really doesn't enjoy reading in either language, and I'm seriously considering pulling him out of school next year so he can learn without pressure and hopefully rediscover the joy of reading.
Thank you for the perspective. It's important to me to keep learning fun, and I don't think there's any pressure (or should be rather) at his age to write anything! I like the idea of a letter/week.
superstella is offline  
#13 of 17 Old 04-19-2008, 01:24 AM
 
Elena'sMami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 112
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I homeschool in English and Spanish now, but I used to teach in a dual-language immersion multi-age classroom in CA. We did "1 day English, 1 day Spanish" with preview/review in the other language. So for instance, before starting a lesson in math on a Spanish day, we would preview the lesson in English "today we are going to make a bar graph to show our favorite flavor of ice cream. First you will interview everyone in the class, and then you will work with a partner to make the graph" The lesson was then conducted in Spanish. After the lesson was done, we'd do a short review in English (1 - 2 sentences.) This method works well when you can extend lessons over more than 1 day - kids understand the academic vocabulary of the minority language better because they can connect it with the academic vocabulary of the majority language. OK, that was probably more information than you were asking for...on to the alphabet

For the alphabet, we worked with the students for over 2weeks to make our own alphabet posters. Each letter had one or two pictures and 2 words: L poster had a picture of a lion, and the words "lion" and "león" for example. Kids decided on the words and pictures, did the artwork, and we did the writing (because their handwriting wasn't neat enough to be read by everybody yet.)

On English days we recited the alphabet/sounds in English, and on Spanish days in Spanish. For Greek, unless there is a strong correlation between English and Greek letters, you might have to make 2 sets of alphabet posters. Otherwise you could put the English letter and the Greek letter on the same poster, with appropriate pictures and words. This is also a good way to expose your child to sight words. After weeks of seeing "lion" written in Greek beside a picture of a lion, they learn the word without any formal drilling.

We had our posters on the wall, but you could make yours into a book with removable pages, then you could take the appropriate page out to hang up if you are doing a "letter of the week" thing, right?
Elena'sMami is offline  
#14 of 17 Old 05-20-2008, 10:51 AM
 
umsami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Capital City
Posts: 10,401
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
DS1 is 4-1/2. He learned the English alphabet first... and was quite comfortable in it before he really started learning any of the Arabic alphabet. I think that made it easier in many ways.

He learned most of the English alphabet and songs via Leapfrog's Letter Factory DVDs. :

For Arabic, he goes to a weekend Arabic program where they do one letter per week. We also have books, Arabic Sesame Street, and toys at home with the Arabic alphabet.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

umsami is offline  
#15 of 17 Old 05-20-2008, 11:48 AM
 
cappuccinosmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: SW Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
could you make a picture (like draw the outline of the greek letters) and let your ds color or paint it in, of his name in Greek? and hang it on the door to his room, or in his room, over his bed?

I think that is a very cool idea. Make it fun. Make it familiar.

Would you be able to get manipulatives for Greek letters (like alphabet puzzles, blocks, etc)?

4 is pretty early for writing (we were *so* surprised when our just-barely-4 yo started writing his own name), but I can also see your dh's point. Maybe you could make just one day "Greek day" for a while, and make it the super-fun day of the week?
cappuccinosmom is offline  
#16 of 17 Old 05-20-2008, 12:01 PM
 
4clothkiddos's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Parker, CO
Posts: 126
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
we homeschool in English and Spanish. I pretty much just focus on conversation in Spanish. When you learn your first languages as a baby you learn by hearing, then speaking follows, reading and writing follow that. I think it is important to understand the natural way of learning a language. That's not to say don't try to teach any alphabet early on, but just speak, speak, speak and immerse your child in the languages and don't force the written too soon.
4clothkiddos is offline  
#17 of 17 Old 05-23-2008, 02:23 PM
 
Mali's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 166
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Our daughter isa few months shy of 4 and can write her name and is very interested in practicing her letters. We have several handwriting books that she loves to practice in. We have the same type of books in Thai and she now likes to try to copy the letters in those as well. She is still learning the Thai alphabet with DH but the interest is there so I think with some consistency she will get it. I agree that exposure is the most important. I notice a huge change in her interest and retaining of info when we are doing regular Thai books and letters than when we get lazy about it. She also learns Hebrew at her school - not the writing but they have pictures with the English and Hebrew words in the classroom and she as totally absorbed that as well!
Mali is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off