Super Mom

Don’t we just start at the beginning?

Maybe I totally don’t understand school, teaching and finally getting kids to be able to think for their own selves.

Quintus was to write an English spell test today.  All fine and dandy where the words are short and easy. Where they really don’t need to spell and think but just recall the work.  Sure then I suppose it’s all fine.  I mean not much to think about when you are writing “me” “you” “him” and the likes.  Then you can learn and recite words like a parakeet.

However when it gets to more complicated words, then the kids must surely be able to spell?  Know the alphabet in the language they are supposed to be reading, writing and spelling?  How on earth do I ask my Afrikaans speaking son to spell an English word and he turns around and start spelling it in Afrikaans?  HUH?  Is not right that!  He will never learn to think in English if he tries to do it by thinking in Afrikaans first.

I don’t get it. It’s like trying to get kids to build a Toyota bakkie but only giving them the manual for building a Volkswagen Beetle.  Yeah, both cars but you cannot build the one on the same manual as the other.

This weekend I will teach Quintus the alphabet in English. I will teach him that you cannot learn one language through another.  They are all wonderfully and specially different.


9 responses

  1. How cool! I didn’t realize you guys spoke Afrikaans at home. Such a gift to be fluently bilingual.

    Also, there is something about doing it from childhood. Somehow the knowledge sits there. I thought I had forgotten all of my Spanish until I lived in Central America for awhile and it came back. The important part is getting the language path wired in the brain. Your kids have a huge advantage that they are doing this while young.

    And the fact that you are supporting him at home. This is great stuff!

    May 23, 2008 at 4:13 pm

  2. Gen

    This has been an ongoing battle in the schools – they actually don’t place any importance on spelling anymore…..if the word looks and sounds right then it gets marked right. Because of this we as parents do have to work hard to make sure our children can spell and properly too. It frustrates me like you won’t believe and I have become the “dragon lady” at home when it comes to spelling and thinking in the right language so to speak!

    Have a great weekend, if the boy’s are playing rugby tomorrow – tell them to “skop gat” and enjoy!

    May 23, 2008 at 9:16 pm

  3. you think you’ve got problems, my nephews go to a welsh speaking school, speak german at home to their father and english to their mother, when i shout at them i do it in all 3 tongues just so they can’t say that they didn’t understand

    May 23, 2008 at 9:41 pm

  4. mybloggylife

    I teach French Immersion (second language in Canada). Does Q go to school in English? It is possible to learn to speak in the way you have described but it’s very hard to learn to spell that way. Good luck!

    May 23, 2008 at 10:14 pm

  5. I remember while studying Spanish that they said we needed to get to the point of not thinking about it in English first. For example, if we want to say table in Spanish, we shouldn’t think “I want to say table and the word for table is mesa” We should just think “mesa” I don’t think I ever got there. And I remember hearing someone say they knew they were truly bilingual when they thought in a second language and even dreamed in their second language. I would love to be able to do that. We are looking for a program where our boys can learn Spanish now while they are young enough to do it the right way, the way you are describing that it should be done.

    May 24, 2008 at 3:06 am

  6. I can’t even imagine the difficulty of trying to teach my child a second language. I can barely manage my first! Daughter took French this year and did not retain a bit of it, unfortunately.

    May 24, 2008 at 6:55 am

  7. Wenchy

    I wish you were here with me today.

    May 24, 2008 at 11:19 am

  8. Hey they that the ability to learn a language naturally for a child ends at the age of 8 when a part of the figurative brain separates ‘mother tongue’ from ‘other tongue’. Best you get cracking…how old is Quintus?? 🙂 Joking.

    May 24, 2008 at 7:39 pm

  9. wow… i never thought of that. i’ve always spelt in english unless i’m speaking to someone who’s afrikaans- like in class way back in the old days…

    May 26, 2008 at 7:17 am

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