My children love retrieving our family's mail from the letter box. Their happiness at fetching the mail is connected to the joy they experience when sending or receiving letters from friends, but it's also largely due to their monthly French children's magazine issues. Years ago I balked at the price of a magazine subscription from France, but within a few months I concluded that the literacy benefit is worth the cost. There's nothing quite like a quality children's magazine, packed with age-appropriate activities, stories, and fresh vocabulary, for encouraging a young reader. A subscription to such a magazine is especially rewarding for parents when it fosters bi-literacy. French publisher Milan Jeunesse released three new magazine lines for children within the past year or so, so I'm happy to feature these new magazines here on Intentional Mama today. Below these features, I share our tried-and-true favorites from previous years and how we subscribe to them here in the U.S.Read More
We have mostly homeschooled since my daughter was born (almost ten years ago), but this season marks a return to homeschooling after worldschooling in Lyon, France, last fall. The previous year was also quite a different experience as our children attended a private school three days a week while I taught French. It's refreshing to be homeschooling again after more than a year of formal schooling. Here's what bilingual homeschooling is like for us this year with my four children (from 11 months to almost ten years old):Read More
Bonjour! Did you make crêpes for la Chandeleur over the weekend? Much of the French population did! The Christian holiday of la Chandeleur (Candlemas) always falls on Groundhog Day here in the U.S., so it's easy for me to remember to make crêpes for dinner each February 2nd, even though crêpes have nothing to do with marmottes. I like the thought of so many people eating crêpes for dinner on the same night each year. It's a more heartwarming picture than everyone watching the Super Bowl together, don't you think? But to each (country) their own habits!
That said, the Super Bowl was a good excuse for us to invite family and friends over. Once the game was done and the kitchen was tidied, though, I continued reading Circe by Madeline Miller. Her first book, Song of Achilles, was the first book I finished this year, and it was riveting. Miller's gifted writing and her intimate knowledge of the flawed characters of Greek mythology make her novels utterly fascinating. These are not stories of moral virtue; instead, they show why we can still respect the broken heroes of the classical world.
I'll happily finish Circe soon since I have a number of fascinating titles waiting on my bookshelves, both in French and English. Here are the books on my list for 2019:Read More
It’s September 11th here in Lyon and I find myself reflecting on Franco-American relations, books, and the state of the world. When I’m teaching on September 11th, I often share a condolence letter I received from a French acquaintance just after the attacks of September 11, 2001. My French friend was so kind to offer support; his thoughtful letter still reminds me how individual actions of encouragement can cause ripple effects wider than we realize.
What we read and write can shape others in significant ways.
Four years ago on this blog I recommended a fairly obscure book on childhood anthropology because it was a thought-provoking reminder that there are many ways to parent well. My book recommendation, The Anthropology of Childhood, was spotted by journalist Michael Erard, who read the book and in turn wrote a very impactful piece about it in The New York Times. I wouldn’t have known the impact that my book suggestion had on him were it not for a fellow blogger who shared his article with me, not knowing that I had recommended the book in the first place. The world is a more beautiful place when we can learn from each other’s reading!
Likewise, had it not been for blogger Gabrielle Blair’s mention of reading Global Mom in late 2013, I would not have sought out Melissa Dalton Bradford’s book and gotten to interview her here on the blog a few months later. I’m grateful for authors like her who write honestly from their experience, especially when their words spring from a place of grief and growth and healing.
Summer reading, though, on the whole, leans towards the light and leisurely; in July and August I hope you had a chance to read a novel or two that you loved. Here are three French-related non-fiction reads that I enjoyed this summer:Read More
Our family arrived in Lyon just over a week ago, so with another ten days before school begins, I decided we'd make a day trip to Valrhona's Cité du Chocolat--an educational experience (much like a hands-on museum) focused on chocolate. Located in Tain l'Hermitage roughly 50 minutes south of Lyon by train, Cite du Chocolat opened just five years ago (in 2013). Having had a delectable first visit in 2015, I was excited on this visit to see what was new (and to taste the high quality samples)!Read More
In Northwest France, one hour from Nantes, there's a history-oriented theme park that puts on the most amazing and original shows you can imagine. Le Puy du Fou has been voted the best theme park in the world several times (Thea Awards, given in the USA), plus it attracts more than 2.3 million visitors per year and has top ratings on TripAdvisor. So why have you never heard of it?Read More
Early in my quest to raise a bilingual child, I frequently read non-fiction books on bilingualism to help me grasp the requirements ahead. Eight years later, however, I'm now a homeschooling parent of three children, and my reading on the topic has slowed quite a bit. Since late last fall, however, I've been slowly savoring each little chapter of Adam Beck's indie-published book, Maximize your Child's Bilingual Ability. His book is neither a daunting tome of scientific research nor a fluffy anecdotal jaunt through his own parenting experience, but instead, it's the ideal guidebook for parents who are sure of their commitment to bilingual parenting but in need of ideas and ongoing inspiration. That covers every bilingual parent, including me!Read More
My husband gave me an iPad mini for Christmas several years ago, and the first apps I downloaded to it were games in French for my four-year-old. That daughter is now seven, and she and her four-year-old brother love any opportunity to play on our iPad. They only get iPad time once or twice per month for an hour or so, but of course they can't take their eyes off it when they get the chance to play these games! The following are their top five favorite French game apps. These apps are designed for children who already have a decent grasp of French, though four of these apps are available in English as noted. (The prices are listed in dollars but will be in Euros if you buy from the French iTunes store.)Read More