Firstly, it was my friend who inspired me. She is also the English teacher. She raised her sons bilingually although neither she nor her husband is a native speaker of English. They have been my students for some time and it has been a real pleasure to teach them. I remember my surprise caused by the fact that a first-grader spoke English fluently. When I found our I was pregnant I decided to raise my child in the same way.
Secondly, I was inspired by Erasmus + courses abroad which gave me the opportunity to visit a lot of foreign schools and institutions. I mentioned them here. I was often surprised by the level of a spoken language of students in other countries. Even five-graders could communicate with me in English and Polish students of the same age don’t usually speak English when they are at primary level. In one of the kindergartens in Finland I learnt about the Doman method.
OUR FIRST MONTHS WITH THE DOMAN METHOD
I started without any theoretical knowledge about bilingualism. I have to admit I didn’t even try to get any insight into this topic. When I was pregnant I was more drawn to articles about fetal brain development and, later on, about nurturing a newborn’s growing brain than the bilingualism itself.
In view of all this, I often listened to classical music and, to my surprise, I started being fond of some instrumental works. I have to admit I had been trying to stay away from that kind of music before. Then, it became our routine that the baby fell asleep while listening to this music during the first few months of her life.
When she was really little, I used to show her black and white cards with different patterns or with pictures of animals to stimulate her vision.
When it comes to the English language, I followed my maternal instincts. The English education of my baby certainly started in my tummy as I listened to English songs. Moreover, thinking about her future bilingualism, my husband and I tried to communicate only in English on some days he also speaks this language.
I bought a book “How to Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence” by Glenn Doman. He claims that the earlier you start, the better and that is why I immediately bought the cards for both the maths and reading programmes in Polish and in English. I decided to start with maths. However, I followed the Polish instruction for the cards, which was not really consistent with Doman’s suggestions. Later on, I decided to broaden my knowledge about the Doman method and I bought his other books: “How to Teach Your Baby to Read” and “How to Teach Your Baby Math.”
MODIFICATIONS AND MISTAKES
As I mentioned before the instruction for the Polish cards for the Doman reading and maths programmes misguided me. The general idea was exactly as the Doman’s. However, the author of the Polish instruction probably invented some details by himself and most probably has never read any of Doman’s books.
Here is the list of things I did wrong:
1) I waited with maths until my baby was 5/6 months old and I could have started much earlier. I regret I hadn’t started earlier as the earlier you start, the easier it is to follow the programme with your baby. I will write a separate post about it in the future.
2) At the beginning I introduced new material too slowly and, after some time, our lessons which lasted about 15-20 seconds were too boring even for me. Now I know that the speed is crucial. We should show the cards as quickly as we can. It is like a race against time. The quicker, the better and the more enjoyable it gets.
3) When it happened that we had a longer break (one or two weeks), I tried to revise the cards we had already done for 5 days. Now I know that revising the same things is boring for a child. Even after a break, there is no need to revise. We start as if there had been no break and we continue introducing new material.