Friday, May 6, 2016

Lottery Results

As I've mentioned before our first choice for kindergarten is for the boys to go to Spanish Immersion. I can't tell you how much I want this! Raising bilingual kids is NOT easy, I know this all too well. I speak to my kids in Spanish 99% of the time. They are with me for all but 7.5 measly hours of the week and yet they stubbornly default to speaking in English. They understand everything I say but getting them to speak in Spanish is a whole other story. We were doing so well until preschool happened and then it's like a light switch went off from Spanish to English! I know this much, it's inside their brains but getting them to use it is like pulling teeth. I NEED them in Spanish immersion so they retain their Spanish and learn to use it well. I simply can't shoulder all of this burden myself! Not to mention it's part of their culture, they are half Mexican after all!

At least in Portland, it's crazy competitive to get into the immersion programs (much like the charter schools). Last year like the many years before, hundreds of families apply for only a few slots. It's almost a miracle to get into a "focus-option" program. However, it's infinitely easier for native-language speakers to get into these programs because there just isn't enough of them to go around (depends on the school but there is also Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Vietnamese). The program defines a "native speaker" as any child who has at least one native speaking parent and has heard the language spoken to them since birth (check and check!). The school we applied for has 8 spots for native Spanish speakers who live in the neighborhood (16 spots for native speakers out of neighborhood, 16 spots for non-native speakers in neighborhood, and 8 spots for non-native speakers out of neighborhood). Last year only 6 applied to our category, so you'd think with 8 spots available we'd be shoe in's right? But the thought of two or even one extra kid applying would then mean I might not get one of my own kids in! I was worried sick and remember I have 3 kids to get into this program, that's 3/8ths of the slots! The thought of only getting one or two in is worse then getting nobody in at all!

Last Wednesday we got our letters in the mail and here are the results....

There was some major fist pumping and high five-ing from me!
The boys were a little befuddled as to why I was so happy : )
I have found a few tricks for getting my boys to speak more Spanish. For starters I only teach them academic stuff in Spanish (letters, shapes, numbers, etc). So far they only know how to count in Spanish (they have no choice since they don't know them past 10 in English, ha! suckers!). And I've been having them learn lots of little songs and nursery rhymes in Spanish. All of which they've memorized with ease. They get so proud when they learn a new song and get so excited for the next. I cannot wait for them to start school because they'll have no choice but to speak LOTS Spanish MUAHAHAHAHAHA (insert crazy scientist laugh)!


Jonalyn said...

Yes!!! Fantastic! I had the same problem with the girls. They hit the age of 4 and started speaking more English than Spanish. That's why we did immersion. I'm very excited for you guys!

nan cee said...

Looks like they all got approved! I've heard them in your videos speaking Spanish guess it is just a matter of getting them to it.

MCox said...

That is great news. I am so happy for you. I know how hard it is to establish bilingualism in an English-dominant society. The same thing happened to me. You are giving your kids a fighting chance. They will be grateful for it one day.