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What My Eyes See Worries Me

What My Eyes See Worries Me...By

I do not like to get political.  I especially do not want my blog to ever go that way.  With all of the distrust of authority that is going on in the world and the lack of respect for the citizens said authority is supposed to work for, a mama can’t help but worry about the world.  I am not here to say who’s right and who’s wrong in certain situations where people are taking sides.  However, I do have my opinions on something more important to me: my children. 

I worry about what world I have brought my kids into when everywhere you look, there are people suffering while others prosper from their suffering. I worry about whom they can trust and who they can look up to (besides their dad and our wonderful families, of course). I worry about how they can remain good when they see how badly the good are treated sometimes. 

Being from Mexico, now being a U.S. Citizen and having access to news from around the world, so many things I see worry me. I have heard that some people are afraid of the immigration amnesty. The fear is partly because there are some people who are so against it that they deliberately make them feel guilty for wanting a better life. (You can find all kinds of mean spirited remarks all over social media.) Mainly, though, they fear that if they do sign up for amnesty to remain in the states, once the administration changes, they will be on the top of the list for deportation and the amnesty will be revoked.  If the government meant to protect people is constantly fighting and disagreeing, how can we know where will we stand every time the leaderboard changes.  It is a real fear for some. How do you teach your children to respect authority if those in authority do not respect each other?

The government where I am from is not much better, in fact it’s worse.  Corruption runs rampant. There are still some good people trying to make a difference, but it’s hard to have faith when so much needs to be fixed.  I worry about my beautiful Mexico’s future. I worry about my family there.  I worry that my children will only grow up hearing stories about its beauty because they will never get to experience what I did.  I worry about the changes to come, but a little part of me is hopeful for the good changes so many want to be realized…finally.

The world worries me.  There are and have been so many wars, so many battles for control and so many people devastated by those things. The sadness of the world worry me terribly. We shield our children from these horrors as much as we can. We want them to retain their innocence and have the best childhood we can give them. But how much shielding is too much? If we keep the truths from them, will they be strong enough to deal with them when they are introduced to the truths? How do you balance it out? So now I add another item to my list of worries. The world worries me and my actions in dealing with the world worry me.

I would love to hear how you teach your kids about the not so happy things in the world. I am trying to teach them about the world the best I can, but I am keeping it light…for now. I feel they are much too young for some information.  They know that some people have more than others and that some people need a little help from those that have more.  They know that giving is a wonderful thing and helping others will be a part of their lives as long as I can help it. They know that life is different in different places and that no one way is the right way to live and believe. They know that I will always love them no matter where we are and they know that they are as safe as they can be with us.  I hope they never lose their innocence. I know that this won’t last forever, but we will enjoy every precious happy moment as long as we can. I hope you can do the same. We send hugs your way this holiday season.

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I will be taking a little time off for the holidays. It could be a week, maybe two…I haven’t decided yet, but I will peak in daily to read your comments and answer questions. I do hope to see you back here soon.

Be safe!

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

“Ojo De Dios” Craft

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I was looking for a fun craft to do with my kids that would also teach them some Mexican culture.  I have seen the “Ojo de Dios” or “Eye of God” all of my life so I decided that was the perfect craft to do with my kids. The origin for this artwork is from the Huichol Indians of Mexico. It was made by the father when a child was born. Each year a bit of yarn was added until the child turned five and then it was complete. A child surviving to five was a big accomplishment for parent and child and something to be celebrated.  Celebrating children is something I love to do, so this craft seemed great for the holidays.

I love to crochet which means finding yarn is not a problem in my house.  We also have kept quite a few chop sticks in the kitchen because we love to eat. The only other things needed were glue and a marker.  I have kids, so I have glue and markers everywhere. No home with kids would be complete without them. 🙂

Here is what you need:

  • Pairs of sticks the same size (popsicle sticks are the most popular, but chop sticks work, too)
  • Marker
  • Glue
  • Yarn
  • Scissors

Steps:

  • Before you even start, glue your sticks together to make a cross. Let them set and dry for at least a day. Having the cross already set makes it easier for little hands to put the yarn around.

glued

  • Number your sticks so they look like this

Cross Pattern

  • Now wrap your yarn in an X pattern around the center to cover the middle of the cross then begin to wrap your yarn one time around 1, one time around 2, one time around 3 and one time around 4. Make sure you go over the sticks each time so they front is always flat and the back has the curves like so.

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If you do not follow the same pattern, they will look like this (not very pretty):wrong

  • Continue to wrap in order until you feel your first color is wide enough to be the eye. Cut the yarn, leaving about an inch hanging in the back side of the cross.
  • Start same process with the second color, third and fourth.
  • wrap 2 wrap 3
  • Once you are done, you can tie the loose ends in the back together with the closest end to it, just to keep them tight and trim off the rest.
  • tie back

And Ta-dah! You have yourself a beautiful “Ojo de Dios”

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Had to also make one with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, green and white) which happen to work great for holidays as well.

Had to also make one with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, green and white) which happen to work great for holidays as well.

Full disclosure:

My kids are 2 and 4.  Anyone that has little ones knows that crafts can get messy or not come out at all like you expect.  I tried to get my kids to help. They were enthusiastic at first, but as soon as they realized how fun yarn is to throw, the craft was out the window (along with the yarn). It made a great wig, though.

wig

My oldest did help more and actually sat with me for a while trying to figure it out.  M helping

This activity is better suited for older kids. Although, I feel having younger kids watch you make things and get crafty as well is a great way to teach them details, as well as your love of your cultures and traditions.

First attempt:

I also thought it would be fun to have a hunt for the sticks we used.  The hunt was great fun, but the final product came out a little lopsided as the sticks were not straight. 

wood

It was still fun going on a hunt, though. My point is to try to have fun with whatever you have and make your own adventure!

Have fun crafting and Happy Holidays wherever you are!

Thank YOU!

 

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Since I embarked on this bilingual journey of mine in May, I have found so many resources with amazing ideas to help me teach my kids spanish as well as teaching them around the world!

It’s a Carnival!

 

I was lucky enough to become a part of a blog carnival about Bilingual Myths that unfortunately still exist.  Please read this great article in The Piri-Piri Lexicon Blog with contributions by 16 other knowledgeable bilingual writers dealing with the issue. Thanks for including me. Have a great day!

Myths busted: raising multilingual children blogging carnival

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(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

 

 

Bilingual Myths

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There are a lot of myths about learning multiple languages that have been inaccurately presented to people as fact.  I have seen many of these myths plague people’s education all of my life.  Today, I would like to talk about one in particular through my own experience:

“Myth: Parents who speak a language other than English to their children will hurt their children’s chances for academic success in this country”* 

When we moved to the states I was placed in an ESL (English as a Second Language) class to help learn English.  I remember there were quite a few of us from all over Mexico. Once I was moved to a regular class, some of the same students that were in the program with me were immersed in English at school and at home.  I also met other students of Mexican descent who were practicing full immersion in English in their homes, too.

Their parents believed what the school taught them.  In order for their kids to be successful in school, they had to do everything in English.  So, unknowing that they had been told a myth and not a fact, the parents obliged.  They cut off all Spanish from their kids’ lives.  I’m sure it’s not something they wanted to do, but they were told this would help their kids so they did it for their kids. I have heard some of those same kids (now grown) say they wished they would have kept Spanish in their lives.

My parents never bought into this myth.  They knew that being bilingual would be an advantage.  Also, they are proud Mexicans and no one was ever going to take that away. Being able to communicate with family in Mexico meant everything because family IS everything. I again thank them for sticking with their beliefs.

It is now believed that students who learn more than one language are able to process information better, work out problems more effectively and, because they know there is more than one right way to do or say something, are better able to understand different topics. I’m not saying that all bilingual or multilingual children are smarter than monolingual children at all.  What I do believe is that children who understand that the world doesn’t center around one language and one culture but is multifaceted become multifaceted individuals themselves.  And who wouldn’t want that for their children?

What myths have you been faced with in your lives?

*Common Myths About Bilingualism: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/540/bilingtl/myths.html

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

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What My Kids Have Taught Me…As I Try To Teach Them

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Exploring ways to teach my kids to love Spanish is teaching me a lot. Mainly I have learned that it’s not as easy as all of the literature I have read suggests.  I had a vision of being calm and happy while they listened oh-so-attentively. We would laugh and sing our lessons in Spanish so blissfully.  (Sigh) Turns out, I may not be the best teacher. Even though they do get excited about learning sometimes, there are times that are a lot more difficult.  Here are six lessons my kids have taught me about teaching so far.

  • Be patient and dedicated to the cause.

I truly admire good teachers. It takes such patience and dedication to get through to little excitable minds.  I am learning how to not get worked up, though.  Hopefully my kids will see how I am trying and they will then want to be patient and not give up on whatever they try in the future as well.

  • Teaching with just words gets dull fast.

If there isn’t a catchy tune, words that rhyme or a silly story I will lose their attention so fast, all hope will be lost for learning that day. There are a lot of great resources online with rhymes and songs that are so fun for my boys. I don’t even have to set the kindle up for them anymore. My 4 year old can turn it on and find the exact song he is looking for without any help from me and he even sets it up for my 2 year old to play word games in Spanish. Oh games, songs and music; how I love you!

  • Make it short and sweet.

Being how my little ones are so young, I can’t expect them to sit and pay attention for too long every day. I have said before that we try to do our “hora en español” (Spanish hour) but I have found that I have to break up that hour with different activities. We now add little dances to Spanish songs, we jump around just to shake things up and sing at the top of our lungs because what kid doesn’t like to scream?

  • Incorporate messy fun

Let them get their hands dirty while you teach. Painting is a great way to review colors and textures. Learning ingredients, steps and tools while they help you make dinner is one of my favorite things to do. Not to mention this helps me make dinner with them by my side (BONUS). We are a family that loves to eat, so if it has to do with food, they will pay attention.

messy fun

  • Be creative

Show them that you love the language you are trying to teach them. If they see that you take the time to make something just for them, they will love it, too. It could be as simple as taking the time to search for printouts they can color having to do with a specific topic or object. You can also set up the craft table in advance with everything they will need for your craft of the day before they are ready to get crafty. They will be excited to see all of the colors and everything set up just for them. This only leads to happy crafting.

  • Create Your Own Memories.

Another idea is create your own characters for them. I wrote a series of picture books in both English and Spanish just for my boys. I used the same characters throughout so they could get to know them and learn with them. Even though my drawings look like they were done by a kindergartener, they know that they were made just for them. I think they appreciate that. They even sometimes ask me to draw the main character with sidewalk chalk when we are playing outside, which is quite flattering for me.  They have become like part of the family. They may see something in the drawings that I don’t see; hopefully that something is LOVE.

Once they see how much effort you put into everything and how excited you are about it, they will be excited, too. Sure there will be the days when they don’t want to learn and days when you are so frustrated that you don’t want to teach. All you can do is find a happy place and try again the next day. Happy Teaching!

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(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)