Now that we are back in America many people have asked how will the kids keep up their German? Well it is a challenge.
As soon as we moved back to America, my oldest took the CLEP exam for German. She was two questions away from a perfect score and earned herself 12 college credits. I'm thrilled. Now that she is fluent, I want her to retain the skill. So keeping up with German is a language priority.
Here are a few ways the kids are staying connected.
All three kids are still doing DuoLingo and loving it. DuoLingo allows language students to follow each other and earn points. So in addition to sending my husband messages, they have personal goals to keep their streak going as long as possible. In other words, if they spend 15 minutes or so per day on DuoLingo, they keep their streak going, if they miss a day, the counter resets. To keep their streaks alive, they even practice on Saturdays and Sundays.
DuoLingo is an easy way to stay connected, but there are a few other languages opportunities we have found. My oldest made a connection with a local German exchange student and asked her if she likes to eat schnitzel und Pommes? We purchased lots of books in German at all different levels, so the kids can read in German at home. There are books available in German on the internet. My daughter enjoyed some of Aesop's Fables through The Baldwin Project. We purchased music in German and you can too through iTunes. Deltev Jocker and Rolf Zuckowski are two artist that produce nice kids music in German.
Last, but not least, my daughter is cooking in German. Cooking in German is actually quite different than cooking in America. In addition to the written instructions being in a different language, measurements are different. Americans normally use cups to measure ingredients such as flour, but German recipes tend to measure ingredients by weight.
We all miss eating German pretzels. They were available at every corner bakery all across the country. We became addicted. Although, big soft pretzels are sold in America, they are just not the same. In fact they don't even come close to German pretzels. First, German pretzels tend to be dry, not buttery, cold, not hot, and eaten plain, not with mustard. Parents often purchase several of them and carry them in a paper bag as snacks for kids when they are on the go. Pretzels are much more common snack foods than fruit snacks, chips or granola bars. In fact, pretzels are a staple food and they became a staple for us too.
Once we were in America, I emailed my landlord, in German, and asked her to send a pretzel recipe. My daughter eagerly read, translated and baked pretzels.