Friday, 13 April 2012

What if? Part 1 - Home Ed

Two days ago, we were at a lovely birthday party, surrounded with friends. We got to talk about languages. Somebody mentioned the 6-year old son of an acquaintance. The little boy, whose parents are Irish, has a strong Irish accent himself, even though he was born and bred in England. My friends reckon this is because the little boy is home-educated.

I have contemplated home education in the past. To be perfectly honest, I am still not completely at terms with our decision to send our girls to school, full-time. But this would be the subject for another post.

So, what if we home-educated BK1? How would our linguistic situation differ?

To start with, there would be less English spoken at home, particularly between BK1 and BK2. Since BK1 started school in 2009, English has flooded in and we are struggling to slow down the deluge.

Then, I think BK1's accent would be tinted with mine. Before BK1 started school, I almost always read books to her in French, even when the books were written in English. This was not sustainable as she started to learn to read and write. Had BK1 been home-schooled, she would probably have picked more of my accent, as I would have been her main source of English reading.

I am pretty sure that if BK1 were home-educated, her literacy skills in Arabic, French and German would shoot up. She already attempts to write letters and shopping lists in French. And she is currently reading "Onkel Florians Fliegender Flohmarkt"! So imagine all the time she would be able to spend reading and writing Arabic, and exploring French and German literature...