Are you looking to teach your children Arabic at home as non-native Arabic speakers and not sure what to purchase or where to start? I’ve had the same trouble myself. That’s when I discovered Arabic Seeds!
Now luckily for me I WON a year’s subscription to Arabic Seeds membership in an online giveaway – it was the best prize ever! It was only then that I got to see first hand what Arabic Seeds is all about. The membership gave me access to so many Arabic Resources perfect for my children! With unit studies, fun activities and even videos to hear the language, I could feel this business started with a real sense of passion and love for the Arabic Language. But rather than just hearing my thoughts on the membership, I wanted the founder herself to show you her passion for the Arabic Language which encouraged her to start her journey to creating Arabic Seeds, so I interviewed her! Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us about yourself and how you got started with ArabicSeeds.
Assalamu 3alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!
I am Emilie, founder of ArabicSeeds, a French mom currently homeschooling and living in British Columbia, Canada.
I started to learn Arabic by myself at home around 2010, starting with reading, writing, and then grammar with the first Madina book. Since I was not practicing the language in my daily life, I started to feel the difficulties coming more and more, forgetting my lists of vocabulary, not really acquiring the grammar rules…
But then two experiences boosted my learning and moved me towards more fluency alhamdulillah: I discovered the Arabic teaching book “Arabic between your hands” (“al arabiyyatu bayna yadayk”) using audios and real-life dialogues and I started to raise my baby in Arabic (along with French). Her father was speaking to her in Arabic but since he was away at work during the day and we were in a French-speaking environment, I decided to emphasize on Arabic with her: reading aloud to her everyday, talking to her in Arabic as much as I could (I started with words and simple sentences, and then was able to use more complex sentences and speak more fluently as I was practicing), playing in Arabic.
She could understand it and then speak it from toddler age like any other children can do with their native language. She had acquired Arabic grammar rules without us having to teach her, but by just being exposed to the whole language in her daily life.
When she was 5/6 years old she was able to read and write in Arabic and I truly believe that the fact that she was already used to the sounds of the language and what she was reading/writing was making sense to her eased her learning. She also can read Qur’an and basically understand various verses and ahadeeth (of course a more advanced knowledge is necessary when reading religious sources). We now homeschool in order to better balance her 3 languages (Arabic, French, English) and protect her Arabic in particular (and it’s not without challenges but we don’t give up, with the permission of Allah)
I would like to add that at the beginning, I particularly struggled to find quality, suitable Arabic children resources adapted to non-native speaking parents, like books with harakat and easy-to-read clear Arabic fonts, and no mistakes in the harakat (now even my daughter can spot them but at the beginning as a non native parent I needed more quality!) These experiences inspired me to start ArabicSeeds in order to help other families.
Tell me more about ArabicSeeds. What does it feature? What makes it so unique?
The goal of ArabicSeedsis to provide adapted Arabic resources to non-native speakers so that they can use the language in real life and really acquire it, and to promote the use of Arabic as a living language (not a dead-language that is only written and read and kept in textbooks. I studied some Latin and Ancient Greek during my Education in France and I don’t want Arabic to get classified in this category in the future). I strongly believe that the struggles experienced by a large part for Arabic learners in the West comes from the approach used to learn/teach it and by the lack of daily life exposure and practice. I don’t like to say that Arabic is a difficult language because that idea actually holds back learners instead of having them persevering and looking for the right approach to learn it.
The uniqueness of our resources may also come from how we create our resources. Based on my experience as a non native speaker, we create them following our own criteria to ensure the best/right quality for our customers:
carefully proofread resources (my husband is my trustworthy Arabic proofreader, and my daughter now also helps me spot the first typos)
English translation included.
We purposely don’t provide transliterations as it can hold back and mislead learners, instead we now provide read aloud videos and audios to help non native speakers (members advantage)
vowels (“harakaat”) in the Arabic text, more space between letters to ease beginning readers, clear Arabic font for beginners.
meaningful topics inspired by kids & daily life and resources including full sentences so that learners can re-use what they learn in their own life and acquire the language! What you read or listen from our resources can be re-used when speaking.
resources designed with a professional software, illustrated with our own hand-drawn illustrations.
What’s on offer at ArabicSeeds? Can you tell me more about the membership?
ArabicSeeds started in 2015 with an online digital shop and a blog to share tips with parents and teachers. Since 2018, I have started a new exciting adventure by offering an affordable membership subscription that give members access to all our resources as well as exclusive perks: read-aloud and “listen and repeat” videos of our stories and flashcards, tutorial videos and short texts with audios written by our daughter, exclusive printables, and resources organized into themed units. We are currently at 100+ resources alhamdulillah, adding more every month and planning to add online educational games in the future (I plan to outsource some content creation as soon as I can afford it in order to provide more and more to our members inshaaAllah).
The goal of ArabicSeeds‘ Membership is to offer a “feast” (to use a concept I discovered through the Charlotte Mason approach while homeschooling) of Arabic resources in order to expose learners to the whole language and make them listen, speak, read, write and connect with Arabic. Seeing the great response our membership has received alhamdulillah, it seems that this is what parents, teachers and homeschoolers were looking for. As a homeschooler myself, I absolutely love the convenience of being able to choose resources from a wide range of topics and formats in order to integrate them in my weekly plans and daily routines.
What are your most popular resources and why?
I think that one of our most popular content are our themed units (offered in our membership). The themes we currently offer are: “Greetings and Introducing myself”, “Daily actions and routines”, “Fall’s treasures”, “Animals and little stories”, “At the park”, “Five senses at the beach”, “Winter joy’s”, Space, “I love Spring”, “Around the house”.
Each unit is deliberately based on a printable book/story to give learners a meaningful context and engage them into learning. We then create the other unit’s resources (worksheets, flashcards, crosswords and colouring pages, rhymes, read-aloud videos etc.) to make the learners practice vocabulary/structures/sentences introduced by the book, and make them practice the 4 language skills (listen, speak, read and write).
We also recently started to release an engaging Arabic Alphabet series for preschoolers featuring our 2 kittens (Nashoot and Bannoon who are the main characters of several of our stories) and we have already received good feedback about these resources.
Our Seasons & Weather wall display includes full sentences to avoid a dry list of vocabulary.
The Arabic commands freebie and free Spring bundle are also very popular.
What advice would you give to parents teaching their children Arabic as a second language?
First, I would say that it is never too early or to late to start alhamdulillah!
Then, my experience in raising my child in Arabic, as well as recommendations from bi/multilingualism experts (I particularly love to read the website multilingualparenting.com to debunk myths and concerns and to learn about strategies and tips) show that the best way to pass on Arabic to our kids is to regularly expose them to the fluent language (avoiding dry lists of vocabulary or grammar rules and cookie-cut language) and to integrate it into our life as much as we can.
I know this approach sounds overwhelming for non-native speakers so I recommend to start small but with regularity (10 minutes of “Arabic time” per day and then increase as much as you can). You can read more practical tips by age range in our Parents Guide.And if you have Arabic speakers around you, ask them to speak Arabic to your children even though they might feel it’s “weird” to speak in Arabic and not in a dialect, and they might have to search some words in the dictionary and refresh their memory and speaking fluency at the beginning. All the common efforts are so worth it! Make it a family/community affair! (By the way, our daughter uses Arabic when we visit her father’s family in North Africa – which delights them – and she also quickly picked up their local dialect. I am glad that we chose to put Arabic first alhamdulillah!)
Also, know that you won’t probably see results quickly, this is a long term journey, brain mechanisms are developing and making connections, don’t give up! With the appropriate resources, regular exposure, commitment, patience and perseverance, it is possible to acquire Arabic and to make it a language we use in our families bi’idhnillAh.
If you want to check out Arabic Seeds Resources before hopping on to sign up to the membership programme – check out the FREE RESOURCES on offer!
Arabic Seeds are also offering 10% OFF for our readers on a monthly or annual membership. Use code mamateachesarabic at checkout!