However, because all of his classes are taught in Turkish, his writing skills in Turkish are at a higher level than his English skills. For the other children in his class, this is not a concern because they are learning English as a second language and are at the appropriate level for their age.
Knowing that my son was behind in language skills when compared to children his age attending school in the United States was a concern of mine, as well as some other friends also faced with the same problem. All of us are working mothers, juggling the demands of jobs and home. We all felt that we had to find a solution to the education gap, but none of us had the time or energy to try to put in extra hours of schooling at home for our sons.
Since none of us is a professional teacher or have a background in education, we did not feel comfortable trying to take on homeschooling on our own to supplement the regular course work from school. As we met and talked about possible solutions, our sons were quick to let us know that they did not relish the thought of having extra homework to deal with and they certainly did not want to sacrifice any of their precious free time on the weekends in exchange for language lessons.
Fortunately, one of the mothers had a solution. She knew of a highly motivated, professional, creative native English-speaking teacher who had recently taken a break from teaching to have a child of her own. Wanting to spend time at home with her new baby, she also found herself missing the classroom and interacting with students. The teacher was approached with a solution to both of our problems -- having her give a private class for all of our boys for two hours on the weekend.
The boys enjoy the chance to get together and play before and after class, which is held at one friend’s house. The boys have their class in the living room and the mothers gather in the kitchen and have a chance to relax and catch up over coffee. During breaks in the class, the boys can play or have snacks and then they happily go back to learn more.
At first, I thought my son might bristle at the thought of having to attend a class on Saturday. However, this is a weekly event he eagerly looks forward to, as do the other boys. The teacher is one of those special ones who has the ability to make learning fun and exciting. All the boys are roughly the same age, so she is able to tailor the classes around their mutual interests. She encourages them to be creative with the homework assignments and she has found books that capture their imaginations. Instead of my son dreading his homework or putting it off as long as possible, for this class he looks forward to reading the assignments and putting effort into the writing exercises. It has been a relief, and somewhat of a surprise, to see him so excited about learning. We were lucky to be able to find a teacher who was available and willing to tutor all six of our sons. Even though it is an additional expense for each of us, we are happy to dig into our pockets for the extra money since the result has been so overwhelmingly positive.
Our solution worked best for all of us to address the problems we faced of making sure our children were at the same level in reading and writing as children their age in America or Canada. For parents raising multilingual children, it can take extra effort to make sure their children are fluent on all levels and in all of the languages they are growing up with. There are no hard and fast rules on how best to accommodate your child’s needs and interests.
By talking with other parents and exchanging ideas, our little group was able to come up with a good resolution to our mutual problem. Our children are happy and excited to learn and we feel confident that their language skills are being brought up to the levels where they should be. We each still put in time with our children at home with their school work, but now we have one less problem to deal with or stress out about.
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