Mother tongue – please help this new mom

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  • CL

    Hi everyone,

    This is my first time here.  I have a wonderful 2 1/2 year old son.  Even before he was born, we’ve researched and decided to follow the CM philosophy of education.  In preparation, I’ve already ordered quite a few books on the CM topic, however, as my little boy is showing signs of being so ready to learn (he LOVES books), I’m at a cross roads and need the advice and experience from other mothers.

    We currently live in Canada, but we are originally from South Africa.  My husband’s Mother tongue is English (but he is fluent in Afrikaans) and I am Afrikaans.  Since our son was born, we’ve decided to speak only Afrikaans to him so that he can learn that language – which he now fully understands and speaks.  It is our desire for him to be able to speak, read and write in Afrikaans.  My husband and myself speak mostly English to each other.  We figured that our son will pick up the English language because we live in Canada.  However, both myself and my son is very ready to start learning the Alphabet as well as counting.  Question is – do I teach him the English Alphabet even though we speak Afrikaans?  I’m not too sure which language I need to teach him first.  Of course, English is a high priority since we live in an English speaking country.  But I feel if I don’t teach him the Afrikaans Alphabet then he will not be able to learn it until much later.

    Can anybody please give me advice as to how I should go about this.  We really do desire for our son to be fluent in both languages – speaking, reading, writing.  I just don’t know with which one to start with.  English seems like the logical choice, but we are speaking Afrikaans to him and I’m afraid it might confuse him to teach English words.  Please help.

    Thank you that I can reach out to this wonderful community to get help for this first-time-mom to get it right,




    I have friends who have raised bilingual children. You are totally capable of teaching him to speak, read and write both languages. He’ll have no problem understanding that there are two different languages that he is speaking and reading.

    Since he speaks only Afrikaans now, it would make sense to start by teaching him the letters and numbers in that language. Later, when you decide it’s time to have him to learn to read in English, teach him that alphabet.

    He’ll do fine!

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