I began this huge endeavor to deepen my knowledge of the Serbian language, teach my kids, my husband, and maintain a blog about my/our progress.
I cracked open a Serbian grammar book and flipped through all the pages feeling immediately overwhelmed. Then I closed the book. After a few weeks, I opened the book again and began reading each page one at a time. Lesson by lesson. Chapter by chapter. I am one-third of the way through the book. I have definitely learned something. But, dagnabit, how is it there is STILL more endings to learn.
My notes are starting to get disoriented. I found that I have to pause from the book and regroup my notes so that I can follow them better. So far, I’ve rewritten my notes two times and they are not orderly yet. Everytime I think I have them organized just right there is another section on a new ending for each case. Arrrrrr!!!!!!
I know, take a deep breathe. Maybe a break. I am doing ok. I am learning and this kind of learning does not happen overnight.
How are the kids and husband doing, you ask? My husband retains a lot right away. If we stay on top of it and use the vocabulary regularly he does great. If we don’t use it for a few weeks he forgets. So, we have to make it a part of our everyday life. We are focusing on building vocabulary right now.
The kids always surprise me with how much they remember. At random moments they bust out the Serbian. I try to hide my surprise and joyful smile so they aren’t like… “Geez mom, stop it, you’re so cheesy”, and then never want to speak it again.
This quick blog post already made me feel good. I do see progress.
There was a while there that I was so overwhelmed I would just stare at the grammar book. I had no idea where to begin. And then one day I just read the first chapter and thought. This is so easy. I got this!
To plan lessons for the family I make them short. Thirty minutes or so, once a week. Our focus is building vocabulary. I’ll come up with a list of 20-30 words to learn each lesson. I choose vocabulary of things that we use or are surrounded by everyday. We started with colors, then shapes, the body, and then bathroom terms, so on an so forth.
Each lesson we review the alphabet (in Latin for now). I decided to start as simply as possible. Start with what is familiar, build from there. My kids enjoy singing the alphabet song. I do too. It’s fun.
So, I guess what I have learned is that it doesn’t matter how you start, just start. You may not see how you’ve grown, or that you even are, you may even feel like you are moving backwards, but you are moving and that is a different place than the same place. Little steps will make big leaps someday. So stay focused, stay motivated, and get to work!
I got this.