Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Why I'm Cool With Being Useless Right Now and the Best Bilingual Read Aloud Books For Teaching My Kids and Myself.

I have almost nothing on my list for the New Year. 

Some of that is I'm finally getting better, with a CPAP machine to help with pulmonary hypertension and some of my SVT episodes, everything feels new. And wonderful. And I'm really just loving that right now. 

Not being in pain when you breathe in is a new thing for me at the moment. It's ridiculously beautiful. 

The other part of that is we have about half a year before my youngest enters the school system. Hearing other moms of several kids talk about their careers, I realized I wasn't imagining that it really takes them hitting that milestone before you can redirect any of your efforts into something besides being mommy. 

Maybe that's different for some people, but that's been the truth here. And I'm going to relax about it. I wish I'd known that before. Because feeling guilty about not doing more besides parenting was hard even though we fought to have these three amazing kids. 

That part of my life, the one where I have a little one following me all day, is almost over. I don't care if I get one single work-related thing done for the next six months, I'm going to enjoy this part of parenting. 

But my resolutions list isn't completely empty. 

I've wanted to learn Spanish for a long time, so I'm using Duolingo to help, along with library materials. I figured the best way might be to read to the kids bilingual books along with checking out some workbooks I could do on my own.
I also have an online course in Spanish coming up, and I hope the combination of all of this works to some degree. 

My brother, who translated surfing magazine articles, once told me that learning to write a new language was the easiest part. 

It didn't sound right, but I agree with him now.

Speaking it out loud, reading it aloud has a learning curve. Some of the bilinugual books I got were way above my level and were definitely not reading material for anyone but my husband (who already speaks conversational Spanish).  

The best books for us at my beginner level were the simpler ones; short sentences with clear subjects in the pictures. 

Viva Frida, by Yuyi Morales has some stunning art, and just a few words on each page, so it was a good thing to read to my toddler. It's mainly a picture book, but worth looking at. 



Seista, by Ginger Foglesong Guy, has a few sentences at a time and has a clear subject set. It's a great reading book for younger kids and anyone just learning Spanish to get comfortable with the wording.


Donde esta la Oveja Verde?/Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox is a book that is both cute and a great learning exercise in Spanish and English.

My Birthday Box/ Mi Caja De Cumpleanos is a bit more difficult, the subject is not as clear and the sentences are longer, but the story is overall very interesting to my youngest (all of Leslie Patricelli's books are great for toddlers) and the more complex read aloud is good for us both. 


Okay, this one is kind of self-explanatory, but it's been a nice exercise book that I can work with and can show the kids when they are interested (right now, they like Duolingo better than anything print-related). It has easy-to-deal-with lessons and puzzles and great tips. The Everything Kids' Learning Spanish Book by Cecilia I. Sojo is one I wouldn't skip.


This one we found on Skybrary and I'm buying a copy because it was so beautiful. It's not the easiest read aloud for me yet, but it's not terribly complicated, and the text is lovely in both languages for I Know The River Loves Me/Yo se que el Rio me Ama by Maya Christina Gonzalez. Whether you are learning Spanish or not, get this one because it is gorgeously stylized. 



Those are my favorites so far, and, hopefully, as I progress we can get more materials. It's been nice to have something concrete to work toward this year as I look forward to the next stage of parenting all-school-age kids.




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