Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Au Revoir, Leisurely Life of Summer!

My level of French around the home with my children is at an all-time low. Ce n'est pas bien!!! Not good! If I were to blame it on something, then I'd blame summer...and it's relaxing, restful, vacation-style living one is afforded when both parents are teachers. But really, let's be real. It's my laziness! French is not my native language and by not being at school teaching languages (Spanish/French) these days, I have let my brain turn to English for this leisurely life of summer!

Well, it's time to get back into the swing of things. I start work tomorrow and my husband starts next Tuesday. Time to jump back into "pas d'anglais" (no English) with my children! It'll be a perfect year for this as I am able to finally fully implement AIM this year!

The good news is that I have kept up with story time every other night in French throughout the summer. My husband reads to them in English on the other days. I have also been speaking some French throughout the day, but it has been a lot of mish-mashed franglais, to be honest. Whenever we watch a movie together (and there's no monolingual friends around) we will put on the French audio track and add the English subtitles for daddy. We have hosted 4 "Sunny Earth Camps" in French, which have been amazing for my kids! (Future blog post required!) Plus I ran a week long camp for my town's summer rec program and the kids were able to participate in that. So, maybe I'm being too hard on myself? "Lazy"? Am I? Well, perhaps not, but I definitely could have made a more concerted effort to keep en fran├žais during our daily routines around the home.

Today was the turning point...my last day of summer vacation! I spent the day at work, meeting my new students at orientation and arranging my classroom just so...so the turning point didn't actually start until about an hour ago. We made the kids go to bed early tonight as they've had a very eventful long weekend and we need to start working their hours back to the normal work-hours that will start next Tuesday. Neither child could fall asleep. This was a perfect opportunity for extra snuggle time and a little number game en fran├žais to help unwind their minds. Well, it worked! They are both quiet now as I write this! Here's how the game went with my speech-delayed four year-old. 

I have not been asking my son to speak French that much as he has had issues articulating English. I still speak to him in French and most times he'll answer me in French when I give him a couple choices, so that's how I played the game. To read more about my son's speech, check out his blog Geo's World of Words.

The game is basically like this, in case you don't speak French:
What's the number that is bigger? 1 or 2? 2 or 4? 10 or 5? etc.

After playing with my son, then my daughter was up saying she couldn't sleep. With her, I extended the game into higher numbers and also asked the opposite question...which number is smaller? Here's how she did:

So, if you are French or a French teacher, perhaps you'll notice some errors? I noticed I used "c'est quoi..." instead of "Quel est..." and I'm not even sure if that's proper...the thing is, I could go crazy double guessing every word out of my mouth. When I learned French in France, mainly, I acquired it. I didn't learn it. I acquired it by completely surrounding myself with French people and by being a social butterfly. When I speak French, I speak without thinking...but when I stop and listen back, like I did tonight, I start wondering how many errors I could possibly be teaching them. This has been one thing that has made me question my efforts. Luckily, for my classroom, I have AIM. That'll help me stay on track with my French!

What do you think? Am I doing the right thing raising my children in my non-native French? Would you ever consider this? If not, why not? If yes, why?

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