Hello from a French mom in the US Jul 17, 2018 1:57:24 GMT 9 via mobile
Post by Elise on Jul 17, 2018 1:57:24 GMT 9
Hello! I’m Elise, my husband is American, I am French and we have lived in the US for almost 9 years. We speak English together. We have 2 girls, 5 and 2 years old. I always speak French with my daughters, but I work full time, had short maternity leaves (8 weeks, which included my vacation time to add to the normal 6 weeks), the girls go to daycare/school in English and I struggle to keep the French language afloat in a very strong majority language environment. My husband’s family lives close by, which also means lots of weekends with the American cousins and grandparents. I have always maintained my goal in mind (full literacy in both languages), but recently I have grown frustrated by the lack of response from my daughters in French, to the point that it does impact the relationship with my 5 year old. It's in that state of desperation that I discovered Adam’s book and it has really given me hope that I can succeed in my “mission”.
So far, what saved me is an annual trip to France where I leave the oldest one with my parents for several weeks in the summer. Her French usually gets a huge boost: at age 3, it took her 4 weeks there but she eventually started pronouncing her “R” the French way, which was a great accomplishment. This year, I also brought her little sister. I am coming back to France next week and I am sure I will notice improvement. But then the year goes by and the French slowly disappears. So I have set up an action plan, which includes:
- French classes on Saturday morning for the 5 year old where they learn how to read.
- We have always followed the OPOL approach, but I failed to speak French to my husband, and very quickly, I sent the message: “Mom can understand and speak both languages”. So I am switching to only French when at home. My husband can now speak basic French but understands well (that was not the case several years ago).
- Fun activities in French at home: I am going to stock up on games and books during my trip to France when I pick up the girls. I have always done it but I am going to up my game!!
So overall, I am very excited and full of hope that it is not too late to continue working at my goal for my daughters, while making our relationship richer.
This post is way too long, so I need to stop, but thought this forum would be a great place to share my journey with people who can give me better advice than “your child will not speak your language, just accept it, it happens to everybody”.
Thanks for reading all of this!