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We encourage you to talk back! Expert advice is nice, but we all love to hear what other parents are doing. So, don’t just ask questions but share your own experience, thoughts, ideas, tips and examples.

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Helen San
Reply with quote  #1 
I am trilingual (native English, non-native Spanish, native Chinese limited).  My husband is also trilingual (native English, non-native French, non-native Swahili).  All the stories of trilingualism I know have either OPOL or mL@H or 3rd language at school as the language system.  My situation doesn't fit any of that.

We live in the USA and are homeschooling.  We agreed to teach our children English, Spanish, and Chinese.  My children are already bilingual in English and Spanish by having lived in South America for the last 3 years.  But now I want to teach Chinese while maintaining their Spanish and homeschooling in English. 

I cannot do OPOL as neither my Spanish nor Chinese is good enough to use for homeschooling.  I want to do mL@H, but I have to do both minority languages by myself, since my husband cannot help with either Spanish or Chinese.

I am thinking of giving Chinese lessons first, then dedicating 1 day a week to speaking to them in Chinese.  As they get better, I can spend half the week in Chinese and half the week in Spanish, whenever they are not in "homeschool."  Or one week for each minority language, alternating back and forth.  I have no idea how this would work.  Any thoughts?  Any experience with trilingualism with only one parent shouldering all the minority language responsibilities and without the benefit of a foreign community language would be appreciated.  Thank you.
Trisha
Reply with quote  #2 
Hello Helen!

I have a somewhat similar situation, although I have no advice to give.  We won't be able to use OPOL or mL@H either.  I'm in the US also, a native English speaker, and I want to teach my child the same languages as you - Spanish and Chinese.  My husband knows only a little Spanish and I am still learning both languages myself. 

I thinking about trying 2-3 days a week Chinese, 2-3 Spanish and using English on  weekends when my husband is around.

We should keep in touch and exchange tips!

Helen San
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Trisha,

Good idea.  A lot of the posts here have to do with native speakers.  It is hard to find good examples of successful multilingualism of non-native languages, without moving abroad.  Let's do keep in touch.

I live near a university, and I am toying with the idea of hiring a Chinese college student for babysitting.  It isn't much, but it would be better than nothing at all.

I asked my nine year old if she would want to split a week between Spanish and Chinese, and she said she would rather have one week per language.  One week Spanish, one week Chinese. 

I would love to hear any stories involving splitting time between languages as opposed to people or locations.

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