When my children have good teachers, I wish they could have them longer. But I'm glad my daughter's first French teacher did not stay on. Also, I'm glad she didn't ruin French for her! She was very strict, scary, and a lot of the children were scared of her. Thank goodness, she moved to a different section, so my son didn't end up getting her next. I'm so happy that this year my daughter has a French teacher she's happy with. Last year, the French teacher was slightly better, but not by much. At least her English teacher was great. It makes such a big difference if the children like their teacher. My son has an amazing French and English teacher. I still remember some of my teachers fondly.
I definitely agree that having to say things a zillion times is normal. I'm always asking my daughter to "listen", because she lives in her own world and she's always thinking of playing and running around. I don't know how many times a day I count to three -at some point, I stop repeating things and start counting, lol-.
I agree that it looks like your daughter is paying more attention during French week than during the English one because of the teacher.
In Spain children usually have the same teacher in nursery school (0-2), then again the same teacher at school from age 3 to 5, and from 6 on (primary school), a different teacher each year.
I think having to ask your daughter to do things many times is totally normal!
At my daughter's school they change teachers every two years in the early years at least, because they do English half the time and French the other half. So the same teacher spends half their time in one class and half in the class of the year above (or below). I didn't realise that in some places they keep the same teacher for many years!
I wish they kept the same teachers at least two years, as I think it would help benefit the weaker language (some children it would be English and some French). The teacher would know the language ability and the children would feel comfortable with the teacher. Every year the children need to get comfortable with the teacher again. My daughter always starts off shy, but at least after a month or two she is comfortable and opens up to the teachers. But I guess it also has its benefits, if one year the teacher is not great or does not mesh well with the class etc it's nice to switch the next year!
It’s been a while. Let’s start with our holiday skiing. The children had some French exposure, as when skiing in the afternoon the instructors spoke French and luckily all the kids spoke French. Instructors are also required to be able to speak English, but since all the other children were French speaking they stuck with French. Also, the chef in the house we were staying at was French speaking so my son spoke French to him a lot. Everyone got a surprise, as extended family heard how fluent he has become for the first time.
One mom told me the other day that her daughter was telling her my son is French, lol. It’s because he speaks French and hangs out with the French children, lol.
We finally got another live in au pair. We were sad when our other au pair moved out, but lucky she still watched the kids a few times a week. But happy to have another live-in, which means more exposure. So far it’s going well and I hope it continues. I hope she doesn’t mind reading 6+ books a day! My children quite like being read to in French because we found a series they like.
Thanks Raquel 😀 things are going well. The children are getting read to loads and they have a new favourite series Mini Loup. I have bought several books including books with CDs so they have been enjoying these a lot. We are looking into a beach holiday and someone suggested club med beach holiday and the location we want is a Spanish speaking country. But as my good luck would have it - the hotel staff mainly speak French and English, but mainly French. 😀 This is at the kids club as well! And apparently most of the kids are from France. How lucky is this for me?? But we're not sure we'll go. There is another option. It depends on where we can get flights and hotel, as it’s so last minute.
That is lucky, Marie!! Finding a hotel where the staff speak French (and English, so that you can speak to them too) while being in a country where neither language is spoken is fantastic!! I hope it works out for you guys. Going to the beach sounds wonderful right now.
It has been a while, so thought I would update. I feel we really need to up the French effort. I noticed my daughter seems to play in English now with her French friends. To be fair, if someone speaks in French she will also speak in French, but the other girls are now also choosing English! I knew this would eventually happen, as it tends to happen with the ML. My son still speaks in French with his French friends. However, today when we were talking about a French game he was saying "oh...but I won't understand..." That took me by surprise, as he seems to understand most French. We had a problem with our last au pair, so we are getting a new one. But she doesn't move in until May. I need to up my efforts in making sure the children are getting enough talking in French etc. Hopefully, in a few months I will have a more positive update.
It sounds like a simple setback, because of your last au pair. It's just over a month before the new one comes, and things go back to normal, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.
That's a shame that your daughter's French friends are now choosing to speak English, but I guess it was to be expected. The good thing is she's still attending a bilingual school, so there's still lots of French in her life.
Regarding your son's comment, I wonder if it's just a matter or preference. My daughter sometimes claims she doesn't understand things that well in the ML, just because she's used to them in the ml and she doesn't want them in a different language. It may also be that in his mind his sister speaks French better than he does, so he thinks it'll be too difficult for him.
Don't be a stranger, Marie!! Hope to hear back from you soon.
Marie, it was nice to hear from you! Though your path right now may feel a bit bumpy, you and your kids have already traveled a great distance together on your bilingual journey and you'll no doubt continue progressing along well over the months and years ahead. Just keep at it, as best you can, and know that we're all here cheering for you!
Adam Beck is the author of the popular nonfiction books "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability" and "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!" (illustrated by Pavel Goldaev) as well as the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear" (illustrated by Simon Farrow).
Thanks Raquel and Adam Beck for the encouragement. On a positive note, my daughter had a play date on Friday with a French friend, a new friend she recently started hanging out with. They all played in English, but when the mother came to pick her up she started speaking in French to her daughter and straight away my children started speaking French to the friend and the mother. My son started speaking a string of sentences and the mom asked if their father was French or if I spoke French as well. She was amazed at his level so young with no French speaking parents. This made me feel proud and perhaps I should not give myself a hard time about feeling like there isn't much progress. One thing I need to do is try to get out of the house more and leave the new au pair with the children alone. I tend to be around, which then means less speaking French for the kids (as when I'm there they always ask me for things etc). They only speak French with the au pairs, but if I'm around, instead of asking the au pair for a snack in French, they will ask me in English. So I need to make an effort to be out of the house, perhaps go to the gym!
I love that plan, Marie!! "Oh, I'm going to the gym to help my children practice their French". I think I need an au pair too.
I think we sometimes are too hard on ourselves. It sounds like your children are doing great, but because you're used to it and your last au pair hasn't been as good as previous ones, you feel they haven't gotten to the point you expected them to. But they will, once the new au pair arrives, and they're already doing great as it is!
Marie, I think that multilingual development sort of ebbs and flows with kids, and this is particularly the case when the ml isn't really spoken by the parents with the kids, as is your case and also mine for ml2. We are responsible for fostering the ml but at the same time it is not our language of communication with the kids! When my daughter had a bit of a 'retreat' at one point in terms of ml2, I really doubled up on the input for a couple of weeks and it worked wonders. You are getting a new au pair in only a month, which will fly by very quickly, and in the meantime both kids are in bilingual school. So I don't think you need to worry. Maybe find some fun audiobooks and play those a bit, so that they have some extra input.
What are your holiday plans? That could also prove a great motivation for the kids (and parents)!
A lot has happened since I last updated! Shortly after, we went on holiday to Portugal, which was lovely! We had such a nice family holiday relaxing in the sunshine, kids playing in the sand/water. We also found out we are expecting a little one, due to arrive around 20th of December! We now know this little one will be a girl. The kids are thrilled. My daughter claims she will speak only French to her and that her first language will be French. Lol. I asked what she will say. She responds....Bonjour! I sure hope she plans to say more then just hello to her in French! I doubt they will speak to the baby in French, as English is the family language. But we will have an au pair, and the children only ever speak French to the au pair and have never uttered a word of English to any au pair we have had. We are now at the stage I can speak English with the au pair in front of the children and they still speak to her in French. However, I am always strict with the first two weeks of having a new au pair, no English, so the kids get used to hearing only French from her first so they associate her in only French.
The new au pair is great with speaking, playing and reading to the kids in French. Nothing new really to add regarding the French. My daughter seems to have taken to reading in French very easily and has progressed well. I am told she is a strong reader in English and French. I keep thinking I need to be more strict about the kids reading, as I do not do it as often as I should. I notice a huge difference when you stay consistent with it. My son needs this more, as my daughter is now basically a free reader. She can just read on her own. Of course I still have her read out loud to me a few times a week to check progress, but she also reads on her own before bed every night. My son is like my daughter was when first reading, not keen. Not keen to read to me or practice. It’s so boring for me to sit with him as he reads. I can't wait until he can just read more easily instead of sounding each word out! My goal is to get him to that level this summer.
It will be interesting planning French for the new addition, as none of my children had the French exposure so young. My daughter only started at age 4.5, my son was 3 when he started (with him he was kind of just there in the background, while my daughter had to learn the French vocabulary early on). He just absorbed it naturally. We were more strict with my daughter, as she was entering the school half way through the year almost, so we wanted to make sure she was up to speed.
My plans for the new baby include playing French music and having the au pair speak to the baby in French. Not that the au pair will have much to say, but I just explained that I want her to make an effort to say a few words to the baby in French. The baby will probably also just hear the au pair talking to the kids. When baby is a few months old I will have the au pair read to her daily like to the children (but baby books). Of course I will always be there as an au pair does not take care of such young ones, but I want the baby to be read to. I guess I can also get my daughter to read to her in French as well.
Marisa: "Victory moment:" My almost 4-year-old daughter told me yesterday in the ml (rough translation): "mom, there's something wrong with the cartoons, can you fix it, please?"... she was accidentally watching TV in the ML! So I gladly obliged
Jan 18, 2020 4:15:02 GMT 9
Amy: Awww bless her, Marisa!!! That was so cute!! <3
Jan 18, 2020 5:25:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Marisa, give that little minority language lover a big hug from me!
Jan 18, 2020 8:04:49 GMT 9
Mayken: We're at Harry Potter Book Night at the English bookshop in Paris. The activities are all in French but my daughter teamed up for the treasure hunt with a girl who also speaks ouf ml German!
Feb 8, 2020 3:50:49 GMT 9
Amy: Was stunned to hear eldest had an anglophone (ml) accent when she began to read in the ML this afternoon!! Didn't last more than a paragraph until her brain switched language, but chuffed mum here!!
Mar 7, 2020 23:05:49 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter found the secret stash of ml books I'd bought at the closure sale of the ml book store two months ago and hidden away for later. Guess it's a good time for new books now, right?
Mar 18, 2020 5:29:38 GMT 9
Caro C.: My baby (16mo) perfectly knows what "hi5" means and readily shows her hand even when we are not showing our hand first. It feels like the first minor blossom of the bilingual seed.
Jun 1, 2020 13:05:36 GMT 9