Each month, we share a multilingual family interview from a family around the world. The interview shares their story as a multilingual family as well as their challenges, successes, tips and advice in language learning.
Introduce yourself and your family.
Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu!
My name is Umm Ameerah, I have two daughters, five and two years old. We are expats living in KSA. Both daughters were born in KSA.
I’m Egyptian in origin but was born and raised in KSA.
My husband is British and Russian origin.
What languages do you speak ?
We speak English, Arabic and Russian.
How many and which ones do you speak on a daily basis ?
Our daily languages are English and Arabic. I speak to the kids in Arabic (classical and not colloquial) and my husband speaks to them in English.
Are you teaching your children these languages ?
We teach both languages.
Do you homeschool, if so, how do you incoporate the languages into learning ?
Yes we do. We split the homeschool curriculum into two parts lessons that we typically teach in Arabic are – religious education and Arabic (as a language), maths and science would be taught in English, and of course English as a language in English.
We also teach Russian, UK GCSE style approach
What have been challenges so far ?
Our main challenge is to strike a balance between the two languages. Our daughters take preference in my language of Arabic since they spend more time with me then with their dad.
Tell us about one or two of your successes.
I would say teaching maths to our children using Montessori approach has made a big difference in our daughter’s comprehension. The hands on style of teaching kids is very suitable for our daughters.
What is some advice you would like to offer to other multilingual families ?
If you are thinking of start homeschooling your children then do your homework. Make sure you know what your are getting yourself into. It is a commitment and it takes a lot of effort to get it right, however once you get your head around it, you’ll start to see the benefits.
Name up to 3 resources you find useful for your family.
Which langauge would you recommend someone to learn and why ?
If your family is not an English speaking family then I would say English. If you are a Muslim family then Arabic. French is an attractive language and so is Spanish, there are many countries that speak it and it has the same origins as English.