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Because this is my first post on bilingual/multilingual parenting, I want to give you a brief background about my experience. I am a native English speaker attempting to raise a multilingual daughter in the United States. I speak Spanish and French as well, but they are not my native languages. My daughter and I are the only ones in the house, so I also don’t have another adult living with us that could potentially expose her to a different language. The odds are definitely stacked against me on this journey, and I have wanted to give up many times, but so far, I’m still standing.
I know many of you might be in situations where it’s tough to expose your kids to the minority language(s) for a number of reasons. I haven’t figured out the perfect solution, but I want to take what I’ve discovered and share it with you on Spanish From a Distance. I’m hoping that by blogging about my multilingual parenting journey, I can connect with others who share the same struggles.
So, here’s one cool thing I did this week–I signed us up for a virtual ceramics workshop through a museum association in Argentina! Here’s a 20-second clip of us playing with clay while the ceramics instructor talks us through the project:
I found this workshop on Facebook while I was searching for events for kids in Spanish. We have been attending virtual storytimes in Spanish and French lately, but I wanted to switch it up a little, so I was thrilled to come across this! The organization is called “La Asociación Amigos del Map.” There are various workshops and lectures listed in the “Talleres y Charlas” section of their website. They also have a Facebook page you can follow. Most of the workshops are aimed at an adult audience, but there are several classes for kids.
One thing I noticed right away when I clicked on the “Inscribirse” button to register was that there wasn’t an option to pay with a credit card. There was just a line at the bottom saying “If you are a foreigner you can pay through this website: https://transferwise.com.” Now, if I weren’t a part of several expat Facebook groups, I never even would have heard of TransferWise. A lot of people who have bank accounts in more than one country use this website to transfer money between the two at a reduced cost. You might have heard of this service or even used it yourself, but signing up for this workshop was the first time I’d needed it for anything. Luckily, I’d seen people talking about TransferWise online, so I knew it was a legitimate service.
I set up an account on TransferWise and paid for the workshop. I sent $1,200 Argentine pesos, which equaled to $21.03 US dollars getting pulled out of my bank account. $4.88 of that was for the transfer itself. All in all, I think it was a great deal for 4 ceramics classes of 80 minutes each taught entirely in Spanish!
The instructor was thrilled to have us there. There was one little girl who found it especially interesting that we spoke a different language and lived in a different time zone from everyone else in the class. My main purpose of signing up for this workshop was to expose my daughter to more Spanish used by native speakers in an interesting context. It never occurred to me that the children and the instructor of the class would be just as curious about us as we were about them! I love that our presence sparked so much interest. I’m hoping we’ll encourage a few tiny ceramicists to become future world travelers and language learners.
What are some interesting ways you’ve found to engage your child or children in the minority language? Leave a comment so we can connect!