Preparing for an Extended Family Trip to France

What a monumental weekend it was for France last weekend, with la fête nationale on Saturday followed by the Coupe du Monde win on Sunday! My first visit to France (as a high school student) was just months before their first World Cup win in 1996, so this weekend brought back fond memories.

My husband and I and our four children will have the opportunity to see if France is still celebrating a week from now when we arrive in France for our extended family séjour. Three years ago we took our children to France so they could improve their French language skills and even attend school for several weeks. We had an amazing stay in Paris and Lyon, and the children enjoyed their school attendance even though we had only homeschooled until then.

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We're Americans Who Speak French to Our Kids: Our Interview with High Five Family (in France)

it's fairly unusual to find other parents who are raising their children in their non-native language, so I've recently been delighted to get to know Laure, the blogger at High Five Family. Laure is a French maman raising her children in English (her non-native language) while living in France. Laure just posted an interview with me about how my husband and I are raising our children bilingual--what the challenges have been, where my children's current language levels are, and what advice I'd give to parents hoping to expose their children to another language.

You can test your French comprehension and read the French version of our interview on the blog High Five Family: Ils sont américains et parlent français à la maison

For an English version of my responses, read on:

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Reflections on a Semester of Teaching French

This past school year brought a different family season for us as we temporarily left homeschooling and I began teaching French full-time at a local high school because of their last-minute need. This meant a whirlwind of change for my family, but we agreed to try out this season of work and private schooling. For the first time, our older two children are attending school three days per week (in English, not French, unfortunately) but we expect to return to homeschooling after our stay in France next fall.

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Decision Point: Can This French Program Be Saved?

After a beautiful Northwest summer, my social-studies teaching husband returned from his first day back to work with news: the French teacher at his high school had suddenly retired, just days before students were set to arrive. I was wide-eyed at this revelation. I had wondered if I would ever teach French at our local school, and I've kept my teaching license valid, but homeschooling our children has been my top priority over the past few years--particularly so that I can raise them in French. We wondered what the school administrators would choose to do.

Forty-eight hours later, my husband told me his principal would like us to decide immediately if I would step into the French position. I was overwhelmed with the suddenness of the request, particularly since no one from the school had contacted me directly, but I agreed to meet with the principal the following day to find out the details. I was told the position would entail teaching four levels of French, six classes per day, full-time, starting in two work days.

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French Summer Day Camps in Oregon: Our Experience

Oh là là--can you believe la rentrée (back to school) has arrived? My husband returns to teaching high school this week, and my children and I will officially continue our homeschooling journey. We would have loved to return to France to continue the incredible experience we had there last summer and fall, but since we needed to stay in Oregon this summer, my older two children were thrilled to attend a week of French day camp. Here in Portland, Oregon, there are two French schools offering French immersion summer day camps, and both programs are fantastique. Here's what we loved about them:

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Transforming Children's Lives: My Family's Simple Story of Compassion

When I was fourteen, my dad decided to sponsor a child through Compassion International, an organization that aims to release children from poverty and to enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults. Actually, my dad chose to sponsor three children so that my two sisters and I could each be paired with a child, writing letters to update and encourage each other every few months. My child--a girl from the Philippines--I and corresponded through my college years and into my early married years until she grew up. Now I sponsor another Filipina girl, Angielyn, and it's been a delight to watch her grow through annual photos and bi-monthly letters.

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A Day in Our French Homeschooling Life: Ages 1, 4, & 7

This is our second year of homeschooling if you consider that my oldest child is now seven, but our "education at home" lifestyle has been gaining momentum since that daughter was young and we first decided to take this path. This year we've found a definite rhythm, but that's not to say that we follow a set schedule. With my children's young ages and with my belief in the importance of play at this stage, certain days are far less orderly than others--but here's a typical homeschooling day for us:

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