Language is a Bond

Take a walk-3

Did you hear the news?  The US has more Spanish speakers than Spain.  This shouldn’t really come as a surprise due to the size and population differences between the two.  What is amazing to see (for me at least) is how many Spanish speakers there actually are in the United States. A recent study conducted by Instituto Cervantes* found that there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US plus 11.6 million others who are bilingual.  How awesome is that? 
For me this means that I am not alone in wanting to teach my kids to speak, understand and love Spanish. There is an awesome community right outside my door. Thanks to someone special, we were able to put both boys in Spanish summer camp this year. M went last year on his own because T was too little. We thought T was ready this year. That is still up for debate. M loves school, comes home excited about the new words he learned that day, knows a lot of new songs and has made new friends. T cries every time we drop him off and on and off throughout the day. He hasn’t even bonded with his teacher or his classmates. I’m hoping this changes as they have 4 weeks to go. I really don’t like having him be so sad and would pull him if we didn’t think it may just be the terrible twos taking effect for not getting his way. What would you do? 
Once he gets past the tears, however, he does throw out some Spanish words without being asked. He also gets excited when we read books in Spanish at home and when we sing our songs. That makes me happy. We will keep trying with the summer program this coming week and revaluate at the end of it.  
But I digress. As far as Spanish always being a part of their lives, the new study gives me great hope.  Also, with all of the attention being brought to our language and culture in the news today, it makes me proud to see how we have come together as a community no matter what part of the world we are come from. Spanish is our bond, family is our heart and pride is our power. All of these are great lessons for my boys in the long run. Let’s keep our love for languages alive! 

What languages do you speak with your kids?

I’d love to learn more about your love for languages!
Also, if you haven’t done so, please send a family pic. You do not have to include faces if you don’t want to…shadows, backs to the camera, hands held together, etc) for a fabulous future post. Thanks and have an amazing weekend. 
*The Guardian
Advertisements

A Little Mandarin Review

logo

Disclosure: A complimentary copy of this kit was kindly provided to me for review purposes. All opinions stated here are my own.

I was fortunate enough to review another multicultural product.  This time around, my kids and I are able to learn a little more about Mandarin. We received music through ITUNES from Little Mandarin called “Chinese Children’s Classics. Col. 1.0”. This CD is so lively and inspiring to my kids, we couldn’t help but dance to it. Even the ballads were lovely. They make me wish I could sing them to them at night.

I love the fact that I received the lyrics to the songs in both English and Mandarin so that I could tell my kids what the songs were about. This made them more relatable to them.  Since the songs are for children, the lyrics were short and sweet making it easier for my kids to understand.  

The singer has a beautiful voice. It is the type of voice that both kids and adults can like. If you are a parent, you know a lot of kid singers and characters can be a little grating to us. The music and singing is very pleasing to all.  I would say it’s even whimsical.  It does really make you want to dance.

Another great thing about the CD is that it incorporates some songs already familiar to children like “Happy Birthday” and “[Twinkle Twinkle] Little Star”.  They recognized the music right away and were very excited about that. I feel it made them make the connection with music and language. I’ve been trying to teach them that there is so much in the world to learn and so many cultures to respect and this CD definitely helps broaden their sense of the world.

I also loved the creator’s, Toni Wang, description of each song.  It makes them more relatable to me as a parent.  I especially liked the description of “Find a Friend”. The dance beat is a “‘tribute’ of that era of our lives” when we would go clubbing in our younger days.  Thanks for including our past in your music. 🙂

This CD has won a number of awards including Creative Child CD of the Year in 2013. It is educational, entertaining, engaging and uplifting. This is one we will include in our dance parties at home in the future. As I have previously mentioned in my blog, our dance parties are held pretty much daily when we play fun music to jump around in case we have a little too much energy or need a release at home just because.

I would recommend buying this CD for your children or students to introduce them to Mandarin. This would make a great cultural lesson as you go through a world map showcasing different parts of the world.

You can listen to samples of the songs here: A Little Mandarin Music Samples

If you would like to purchase this CD you can do so several ways:

  • You can purchase them on ITUNES by searching for “A Little Mandarin” in the ITUNES store.
  • You can purchase the MP3 on Amazon  or Google Play
  • You can purchase hard copies of the CD through their website here

If you want more information about the CD, the creators and their project you can find their website here.  You can also find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

I hope you enjoyed my little review. Keep on dancing no matter what music you choose. Remember kids love movement and doing a little silly dance with them doesn’t hurt either!

(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!)

Celebrate the World!

 

Celebrate the World

The other day we took a ride around the neighborhood to look at the beautiful Christmas lights.  As we drove around there were, of course, the houses with amazing lights and decorations.  There were also many houses that had none. M said, “They need to put their lights up.” I told him that not everyone decorates and that’s ok. I said maybe they don’t celebrate Christmas.  I wanted to explain how there are so many religions out there that have their own customs and celebrations, but the moment passed as they began to cheer excitedly at the next brightly lit house.  We have brushed on the subject a couple of times before, but we have never really had a good discussion about it since they are so young. This made me think of how I can teach them better about the world.  I want them to learn and appreciate all of the beautiful celebrations the world has to offer even if they are too far away for us to experience personally.

My house...just kidding. Beautiful, though.

My house…just kidding. Beautiful, though.

Starting this blog has opened up the world for me.  I have readers from all around the world and that is amazing! (Thank you, dear readers) I hope to learn about their (your) celebrations through here as well. With this opportunity I have also met some very creative and intelligent bloggers from amazing lands if only through social media. I follow and have joined a number of communities dealing with bilingualism, biculturalism, the Latin world and multiculturalism. I was even lucky enough to be asked to join Multicultural Kids Blog (MKB).    Through them I am educating myself about the great traditions of the world so then maybe I can share what I learn with my kids.

One of the things the MKB does is a festive card swap.  I am so excited about this one. I wrote a previous post about it here. It’s such a great idea. I had a pen pal when I was younger and loved writing to and receiving letters from her. We have received two of our three cards so far and they are so beautiful.  I love the stories they share and feeling like my kids and I have made new friends. (Sorry we didn’t include a letter, too. I wasn’t sure if we should. We owe you, sweet families).

Through this great community, I also have the opportunity to receive music and books for review.  This is my favorite part.  I received Little Mandarin‘s music on ITUNES  to share the beautiful music with my little ones and I received DARIA Celebrate the Season CD with great holiday music. We love the new music we have to dance to and cuddle to. I mention these to show that without joining the blogging community I would never have found such great things to show my kids. Thank you, again!

Here is my new plan.

  • Keep practicing our Spanish at home, of course
  • Keep reading books in Spanish, of course
  • Introduce something new from another culture as often as possible
  • Keep researching and learning from my fabulous and worldly fellow bloggers
  • Find cultural activities suitable for little ones nearby or online

I highly recommend this series on MKB to help learn about celebrations around the world. I would read it for days, if I had the time.  It is full of information and very thoughtfully put together: http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/christmas-different-lands-2014/. It’s a fun way to learn traditions, recipes and crafts that you may not have heard about before.  I know I hadn’t.

Here is an activity kit you can buy with activities from around the world.  I just bought this and I love it! It has taught me so much already and can’t wait to show my kids. http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/product/celebrate-christmas-around-the-world/

Xmas-cover

Let’s keep this community growing so we can all become World Citizens! (I love that saying)

What holidays do you celebrate?

What are the most fun celebrations you would love to share with others?

(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!)

Jumping Into Bilingualism

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to go to a lake that is close to our home and swim.  My big boy is very comfortable in the water.  In fact, he can spend hours in there practicing his swimming and splashing around just for fun.  But his absolute favorite thing is playing with his papa.  He throws him so high in the air and he loves the ride.  It’s very exciting to see! My little one is starting to get comfortable in the water and one day he will be flying through the air as well. Watching them always makes me think of how lucky we are.  How fortune I am to be able to stay home with them and teach them about my life, my culture and my native language.

Being a bilingual family is like being thrown into the air, flying high and then landing in the water with great big splash.  You know it’s something you want to do, you look forward to it, the anticipation grows then you jump.  And all you can do is hold your breath and enjoy the ride until you make a big splash!  I hope that I am making a big splash in their lives.  I hope that they are learning from me. I come from a family of teachers, my grandmother was a teacher, my mom, my aunts and uncles and even one of my sisters. It probably goes back further than that, I’m sure. I, however, am not a teacher.  I do not have the patience or skill required.  I know I could do better at it, but I am doing the best I can. I just have to hold my breath and jump.

I like to look for ideas all of the time on how to incorporate Spanish into our daily lives. Since I know that English will always dominate in our home, Spanish should then be something we practice for fun. I think next time we go to the lake, I will find a way to use teach more Spanish as we play. I found some fun games on Pinterest that may work nicely for this.

 

Do you know any songs about the outdoors I can use? Do you have any games you like to play to teach your native tongue? I want to look through your bilingualeyes.  Will you jump in with me?

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

Bringing Themes to Life Through Language

zoo

The second session of Spanish school is complete.  This time, my oldest learned more about animals.  He loves to point and name them in Spanish.  We also had a planned trip to the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary which happened to fit in nicely with the theme. While at the zoo, we would review the names of the animals as we passed them. He seemed to be really interested in this as we went along. 

Now the zoo here is an animal sanctuary so it’s not as large as other cities’ zoos.  It’s a wonderful place where the animals are cared for nicer than they probably ever have been before. It’s a great place and a great cause that I urge you to support if you have the chance. But, back to the story, I don’t know how receptive he would have been to repeating names in a larger setting for hours on end.  This was just the right size for a little review. And we had the additional bonus of being surrounded by total cuteness.

How can we tie in a theme like we did this week in future lessons? I’m searching for new ways to make it fun just like the zoo was. And I’m hoping to be able to combine settings and activities to give them different types of exposure to themes. I think this will help him visualize the words better.  At least that is what I’m hoping.

Being able to make the connection between words using different examples or in different ways helped me learn English. I loved when I made the connection and finally got it.  That feeling of accomplishment is one of those good feelings that I want my boys to experience over and over in life.

So with all of that being said, I’m researching themes and ideas to help with this little plan.  I know a lot of you have developed your own systems to make learning fun and interactive.  I would love to hear your ideas. What do you see through your Bilingualeyes

 

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

Nominated for an Award!

very-inspiring-blogger-award

My blog has been nominated for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” by writer of “Viviendo en el Extranjero” who writes about her amazing world travels, learning to live in a new country and starting a bicultural family keeping her roots. Thank you for thinking of me! This is so cool!

So it’s now my turn to keep it going.  I have to nominate 10 other blogs and state 7 things about myself.  Here goes…

These are the blogs I have been reading since I started on this journey through the blogosphere less than a month ago:

Blogs I have gotten to know through this journey with two very cool ladies I’d love to meet one day

Viviendo en el Extanjero

Cafechica

Blog I find inspiring by a good friend about life as a wife and mother of two sweet boys we love (been reading longer than a month, but deserves to be in my top list)

Little Bit of Life with HK

Blogs I started reading to learn more about the bilingual world

Journal of a Bilingual Family

Bubu Books

On Raising Bilingual Children

Bilingual Mom

Taco de Lenguas

Blogs I like about the writing world

A Little Birdie Told Me

A Little Goes A Long Way

 Seven things about me:

Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Observer, Writer & Dreamer

I hope I do inspire someone out there.  It’s awesome to have your thoughts validated in this way! I’m a happy mama.

 If you have been nominated, please keep it going as well.

1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.

 2. List the rules and display the award.

 3. Share seven facts about yourself.

 4. Nominate 10 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

 5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

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

Teaching Language Through In Music My Own Way

Music has always been a part of my life. Even though I cannot play an instrument, I have always loved listening to different types of music. I also enjoy singing along to the ones I especially like and dancing in the privacy of my own home. Since both my singing and dancing leave a lot to be desired I will not subject anyone other than my husband and children to those. My husband is very sweet and never teases me on what I compare to be Elaine-esque (from Seinfeld) moves and I think my children find them funny.  At least they are good for something. 🙂

Anyways, I do believe that music is universal. You do not have to understand the words being sung to understand the tone and mood it is trying to achieve. You do not have to know the place the music comes from to accept it in your own home.  And you do not have to do anything other than listen to it and enjoy it. Sure there are certain types of music I just cannot for the life of me get into.  And there are certain singers whose voices I cannot listen to. But I respect them as artists if they created their own music, wrote their own songs, have an amazing voice or all of the above. And I appreciate the talent it takes to do so. These are all gifts I really do wish I had. Hopefully my children will have that extra passion for music so they can share it with the world one day.

As I was growing up, music was always being played in the house. And when we moved to the states, music was not only our companion for singing and dancing, but it also became our teacher. My parents would let us listen to music in English and we would sing along to it, learning what the words meant as we went along. My most vivid memory of this process is learning through ABBA. Now I know that they are not native speakers in English either, but perhaps that is what made them easier to understand. My mother has always said that she understands people who speak English with an accent better than those from the United States. And she means accents from anywhere in the world. I always found that interesting.

ABBA and all of those old records we had allowed us to pretend to be the artist. We could sing and act out the words along with them and just be one with the songs. My older sisters would help explain the words we were unsure of and we learned a lot of vocabulary through song. And my parents would make us look them up in the dictionary if we weren’t sure. (I still love looking things up to this day)  This is a memory that I love to hold on to because not only did I learn a lot, but I had fun being silly with my sisters.

I started trying to create this experience for my children as well. I have a couple of CDs with songs for kids in Spanish on them and we play them all the time. We usually have our own little dance party after our Spanish hour. Sometimes, however, we have it just because. My oldest tries to sing along with the words and is actually getting to be really good at it. My little one just yells and hums.  And sometimes, if my husband is home, he even joins in. It’s very sweet.

I have attached a little video of them singing along to “Juanito” sang by Jose-Luis Orozco. It is one of their favorite songs. I hope you enjoy it.  If you have any suggestions for music in Spanish to share, I would love to hear it. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, do you have any songs in your native language that you play for your kids? Any favorite artists or records? I would love for my babies to hear music from all around the world. Like I said, music is universal and you do not have to do anything other than listen and enjoy. And with that I hope you enjoy what I see through my bilingualeyes. 🙂

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