Has it really been a whole year since I’ve checked in here?! Yikes! So here’s what we’ve been up to….
Our year with Lisa flew by! She finished in May, and then we had a lovely woman helping out for the summer. She spoke French, though, not German :) So we tried to work it in where we could.
In July, we traveled back to the Netherlands. This time, PER had the idea to fly in and out of Frankfurt (mostly because of the nicer airplane!) and then drive the 4 or 5 hours to the Netherlands. It worked out really well. On the ride, Kearnan was beside himself with joy every time he spotted a windmill! :) But the best part was that Aleksander’s awareness of the culture and language was definitely perking up. By the time we were ready to leave Oma & Opa’s, he told me that we should move to the Netherlands, so he could learn Dutch!
Okay, but the very best part was that on our way home, we actually spent 3 nights in Frankfurt!! We had a hotel right near the Fußgängerzone, so we could walk everywhere. The boys were still pretty young to really appreciate it :) But I just LOVED it! On our second day, Lisa drove up to meet us!! It was so wonderful to reconnect with her again. We all went to the zoo together (an easy 15-minute walk!) and had a fantastic time.
A week after we returned home, our new au pair, Julia, arrived from Austria. She’s been amazing, too! I think we could always have more German in the house, but it’s so helpful to have her here – on so many levels!
I’ve started leading the story hour again at our local library. I’m really getting into it this year. I’m trying to make it more than just books and songs by adding a little learning for the children. I sometimes have vocabulary words to share with them (pictures, mostly) and also a project. We had some fun with colors and Eric Carle’s Brauner Bär, Braunder Bär. Last week, we celebrated Martinstag and made lanterns. We even paraded through the whole little library!
Even more exciting for me is that I’ve started teaching a German class at Aleksander’s school!! I go in every other week for a 30-minute lesson with his pre-K/Kindergarten class. There are about 17 children, ages 3 to 6. I’m absolutely loving it! I wasn’t sure exactly how it would work. I’m so used to going in to story hour and just speaking German! So I had to change my approach and realize that I’m not there so much to teach as to expose the children to the language at this point. That being said, I was THRILLED when one of the children remembered both auf wiedersehen and tschüss from our previous lesson – even after 2 weeks!! We also worked on colors for our first lesson and then talked about Martin last week. The teachers in the classroom are extremely supportive. And another thrill for me is hearing a little voice pipe up with a beautiful German accent …. and then realizing it’s my own Aleksander :) He really has been listening all these years! He doesn’t like to speak up when we go around the circle to repeat phrases, but with a little coaxing, he does!
This whole process has never been perfect. There are always a million more things I wish I were doing to help further my kids’ language learning. But it is still happening!