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Big Families

Big Families

Date: Apr 03 2009

Themes: Family

Grammar: The Unreal Past


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Recently, an American woman named Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets. Octuplets! That’s eight babies. And she already had 6 other children at home. Can you imagine how exhausted you’d be if you were a single mother with 14 children?

Nadya and her brood may be an extreme example, but lots of people want to have big families. For one thing, having more kids means more chances that at least one of them will turn out OK. But children are also a lot of work. And from diapers to college tuition, each one comes with a high price tag. According to one estimate, it costs an average American family over $250,000 to raise a child!

Marni is surprised that Ella wants to have a lot of children. Listen to them talk about the ideal family size.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Marni:  So that woman who recently had 8 babies, it’s made me really think about the nature of big families and how it’s pretty unnecessary in this day and age to have that many children.

Ella:  Well, I don’t know, like, it could work. I mean, we have an overpopulation problem. But if I have kids, I think I want four.

Marni:  Four. Really.

Ella:  Well, okay. So, one would be an only child. Two, what would happen if they hated each other? There’s a problem there. Then you have three, there’s the whole “I’m the middle, I’m the youngest.” So four would be just right.

Marni:  So you really think that four is the perfect amount?

Ella:  Yeah, I just, I’ll figure the finances later. But I don’t know, it’d be fun!

Marni:  Fun? But really, you have to think about the expense of it. And like you said, there is an overpopulation problem. We don’t need four children in this day and age. People used to have big families to do farm work and stuff like that, and that’s pretty much non-existent.

Ella:  I’ll live on a farm.

Marni:  You’ll live on a farm. OK. So, if you really want four children do you think maybe you’d consider the Brad and Angelina Jolie route, adopting and having your own?

Ella:  Yeah, totally! Maybe half my own and the other half help some other kids that need help.

Marni:  OK…

Ella:  Yeah, I’m open to anything.


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Farmers used to need lots of children to help out around the farm. But Marni thinks it’s unnecessary in modern society to have a big family. When you think about overpopulation and how many unwanted children there are in this world, having lots of children can seem like a pretty selfish thing to do.

But Ella is sure that she wants to have four kids. She thinks four is the perfect number to avoid sibling rivalry and make sure that all the kids get along. She isn’t worried about how much it would cost to raise four kids. But she is worried about overpopulation, so maybe she’ll adopt two of the four kids.

Are you part of a big family or a small family? How many kids do you have or want to have?



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Uhm… I don't know if i really want some child.But if i watch my family ( we are three kids ) i understand how is beautiful to be a big family. So much love!  i have to think about it, yeah. 

08:50 PM Jul 02 2009 |



wow, so many

10:35 AM Jun 29 2009 |



they're so many children,now i have one child,i think its enough for me

12:00 AM Apr 12 2009 |




Why I could not find my comment made several days ago here? It is a pitty.


Big families normally appear in poor areas like Africa and ancient China. More labours were really needed in those areas and those days.


Where is the schooling for children in big families? This is the most important point. Feeding them is not all at all.



10:19 PM Apr 10 2009 |



And I want 2 kids in the future,1 boy 1 girl.I think that's enough.1 is too lonely,and 3 is too many.

10:15 AM Apr 09 2009 |



My family have 4kids,I'm the third one.That's great.We love each other though we argue often,but it's funny.When one was in trouble,the other will go to help.We are the best friend of each other.

10:12 AM Apr 09 2009 |




one of mine friends has 6kids in his family, in my opinion,it's overpopulation…i don't like big family like that…maybe there are sibling rivalry…we have 3guys in my family.but we get along with each other…

09:49 AM Apr 09 2009 |



In my family there are 4 children as Ella wants)) and I think that it's very noisy and funny! & we help each other, and if 1 of us is away, we miss very much even if we like to tease each other and we always argue..BUT it's very funny!

05:26 AM Apr 09 2009 |




Oh, my God! I can't imagin. I'm only daughter of my parents.

01:13 AM Apr 09 2009 |




The truth is that children help their parents very seldom indeed, and it's quite clear because they have their own families and their own children So you can't count on your children's help, and by the way it's not very wise to have a baby just to get a support in the future. I think you should be guided by some other reasons when you start your family.

07:44 AM Apr 08 2009 |




I have four sisters, support us have been really dificult for my parents, but they enjoyed the challenge, i thing. My parents have five persons who will help them if they need anything in the future, so i dont see the bad part. If you want to spend more in yourself have just one child, is ok, but every kid can apport more fun and nice memories to the life of a parent and thats why i will have 8 children. 

07:01 AM Apr 08 2009 |




oo my Got.. thats so much..i think one or two children are enough :)

09:12 PM Apr 07 2009 |




even 4 children is too much, and i totally agree it`s not necessary in our days 

03:36 PM Apr 07 2009 |


South Korea

I want to have a small family because having too many children is not economical.Also, taking care of lots of children is a burden for me even though they are my children.

01:19 PM Apr 07 2009 |





Mabrook wish more than those chidrens to u

12:10 AM Apr 07 2009 |



United Kingdom

i think that to have 2 or 3 child is enough for a family but it depands. there are still many farmers all over the world so if you live in a farm you could have over 10 maybe :) but how a women bears 10 babies :D it could be funny to grow up in a big family but that time parents don't give their interest to every child i think, it is hard to grow up a child and adapt her/his to the life. people should parenting how many they afford to care for. 

07:59 PM Apr 06 2009 |




I got 4 bros, 2 sisters and 2 brothers counting with me.

I think having a bunch of kids is a crazy thing to do, I mean, having so many kids can be a serious issue if you don´t be able to raise ´em. There´re a lot of expensive things kids need and I think people have to think over and over before getting into a fix.

A kid need to be raised in a place where he can live and grow health and study a lot to be a good person in this modern world, so if you had more kids than you can afford you´ll probaly be burning your bridges.

Thus, You gotta think over before opening up the industry of children.


05:29 PM Apr 06 2009 |




yeah, i think that too much children it's too difficult for parents. If you gotta good job – u'll not give to your children all attention they need cuz of a little free time. I think that 2 or 3 children in family it's a right choice. 

12:05 PM Apr 06 2009 |


Viet Nam

I think I will have 2 children.One boy and one girl..twin. but I love Japanese girls so much.Who comes from Japan..Please contact with me…I'm not a MR Right but i try to do for you happy…(Sorry my friend..I lent)

11:35 AM Apr 06 2009 |




Having a big family is good to support eachotherCool

I have four brothers and two sisters. And do not worry to have a big family, cause ALLAH promised to give foof to all creaters not for only the people, but for animals and plants as wellSmileso do not hesitate to have more kids but not without father. Do not be single momCry

11:30 AM Apr 06 2009 |

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