A French Language Progress Update: 3 Months After Our Extended Stay in France

This past Christmas Eve marked three months since my children and I returned from France, so it's fair to say that the French usage patterns that we still have now are the patterns that will endure for a while. Before we left I was so curious about how an extended stay in France would affect and impact our family's bilingual development! Everyone knows that language immersion will improve one's ability to understand and use a language, but exactly how much language fluency can a child gain in a few months of immersion? Here's what happened for our family:

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French Schools Follow-Up: Summarizing My Children's Immersion Experiences

This week marks the third week my children have attended school here in France, with my preschooler attending public school and my elementary-age child attending a private school. I'm extremely grateful that they've had this opportunity, and yet we're all glad that we will return to homeschooling (back in the U.S.) by next month. The flexibility and individualization allowed by homeschooling is wonderful, but we still feel that our time here in Lyon is wrapping up too quickly!

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Bilingual Progress Update: Before Our France Trip

Bonjour! It's been a while, hasn't it? May was a whirlwind--amidst the beauty of spring, it was my husband's busy season of coaching track, but thankfully we'll have more time together soon. This past month I've figured out some details for our first trip to France as a family. It's an extended trip stretching from July to the end of September. We figured if we're going to pay for all of us to go (we opened a savings account last year towards this goal), we might as well stay as long as possible. Without a visa, we can stay close to 90 days.

I'm really curious to know how much fluency our children will gain from their time in France! Here's where they are currently at in their French knowledge and acquisition, along with my hopes for their experience:

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Little French Steps Forward: Ages 2 & 5 Language Update

Bonjour les amis! I wrote about my children's French language use this past June, but in the six months since then I've been encouraged by my kiddos' continued language progress. My son in particular has made some solid French strides. He still talks predominantly in English, but right at the 30-months of age mark (a language milestone mentioned by Dr. Gorman in this podcast), he started using more French vocabulary, and more importantly, he became much more willing to repeat French phrases. (Perhaps we're saying au revoir to the more headstrong moments of the terrible twos?). Amusingly, he also adds his own silly tweaks to the language, saying things like "poo-poo-plaît" instead of "s'il te plaît."

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ACTFL 2014 Conference Summary: Language Learning Links

Les amis, I've been wanting to tell you about the ACTFL Conference that took place in San Antonio, Texas, just over a week ago. ACTFL is the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; their annual conference is oriented towards K-12 teachers of French, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Japanese, German, and Italian. This year's conference was the second largest--there were well over 6,000 teachers in attendance!

Here are my favorite aspects of the conference:

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Daddy Doesn't Speak French: How He (Still) Supports Our Bilingual Children

My husband grew up speaking Thai at home, but he's most comfortable speaking English because he was raised in the U.S. (This comfort factor is why he chose to speak English to our children.) His French knowledge is limited to what he's learned in hearing me speak it with our kids, and yet he still manages to support our children's French acquisition in ways I truly appreciate. Here are five awesome ways he supports our children's bilingual development:


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Our Family's Bilingual Journey: Regrets & Current Successes

Since she was two years old, my daughter has generally spoken English to me. Before then, she spoke a fair amount of French words, but it seemed that as soon as she learned an English word from Daddy or an extended family member, she'd stop using the equivalent French word. She did continue to use some French nouns, but the predominance of English as her main language happened rapidly.

Lately I've wondered if pretending not to understand English would have prompted my infant daughter to speak French with me. I've heard this can be a successful technique--but my children always seemed to grasp that I understand English perfectly well since I speak it with my husband and everyone else.

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5 Ways to Learn French (or Another Language) Without Taking A Class

When I was a high school French teacher, I told my students that high school was the last time in their lives when they could take a foreign language class for free. Now that I'm raising my children in French, however, I see that my statement wasn't entirely accurate. Here are five ways to learn French or improve your knowledge of the language for free without enrolling in a class:

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