Friday, April 1, 2011

Raising bilingual children- Where we're at

We have been trying the OPOL (one person one language) approach with Owen since his birth in June 2009. Dad speaks English and the goal was for me to speak to him only in Spanish. This has proven difficult not only because Spanish is my second language and there are holes in my vocabulary but also because there are many words, phrases, songs, and books I wish to share with him in English. Over the past few months he is hitting a peak language development time and about a month ago my husband and family said, "Now's the time." If I really wanted my son to learn both English and Spanish I needed to buckle down.
That day I started and for a solid week I spoke only in Spanish 100% of the time when speaking directly to Owen. He already has a lot of vocabulary in Spanish, using some words exclusively like "agua", "jugo" and "venga". He identifies body parts in Spanish and seems to understand me when I speak to him. From Monday to Friday I went strong, ignoring the uncomfortable feeling when on playdates with non-Spanish speakers. Friday at five o'clock, like a laborer going off the Friday shift, I stopped and switched to English. I want Owen to know spanish. The question is, do I want him to be fluent or would I be happy if he has a solid vocabulary background and some conversational skills?

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