Thanks all! I appreciate the feedback on why learning poems is important. I now understand. Will see tonight how much my daughter already knows, as today we have help from a French nanny after school for a couple hours. And tomorrow our old au pair will watch the kids for 3 hours so will continue with the homework help.
I think children often outgrow these mistakes, as long as they have long-term correct exposure. For example, when my children were monolingual and just speaking English, I noticed when my daughter was almost 2 or a young 2 she would make mistakes occasionally such as "hold you" for "hold me" because we would say to her "do you want us to hold you?" So if she wanted to be held, she would say "Hold you" and put her arms up. It was just so darn cute. In fact, I know this sounds bad, but my husband and I thought these things were cute and never corrected her because we thought it was so sweet and knew she would eventually learn it herself. We were right, as I assume someone corrected her at school or perhaps she learned by listening to us talk and she speaks perfect English. Any tiny mistake she made when she was little self-corrected without any input from us. However, this is different as English is the ML language and she went to ML nursery and started school there as well. With her ml language, which as you know is French. I made sure the au pairs were correcting her, as she would not get as much exposures so if she made a mistake, she needed to be told the correct way. But anyway, I think this is very normal for all children and as long as they have high-quality exposure (meaning hearing the language in the correct way) she will eventually get it.
I have learned that children memorising poems is a regular thing in French education. I am wondering what is the point of this? I understand when they are young how nursery rhymes help with language development, is this the reason why they are expected to memorise a poem every week? Also, how do you get them to memorise the poem? I am just curious about what methods people use. Do you just repeat and read to them every day or do you read a sentence and have them repeat the sentence back to you? At the moment we do not have a live in au pair, so I rely on someone to come in 2 or sometimes 3 times a week to help with the homework. I am just trying to think of the best way to help her learn it.
When you read to her or when she reads in ml2, do you ask her questions after to make sure she understands the story? This will help her as well with reading and writing a short passage. Also, for example keep up with different tasks to continue strengthening her writing skills.
My daughter, who is in CP/year 2 bilingual school gets homework (English side) with a short passage and then she has to answer questions about the passage. We have also been tasked with writing sentences using adjectives about her favourite character. She wrote things like "Snow White has red lips." "Snow White has black hair." Or the latest, finding nouns around the house to write sentences. One sentence she chose to write was "The wine glass sparkles." lol. I guess you know what I was enjoying during that homework session.
Anyway, these types of different exercises get her to think about and creating sentences. Sometimes I need to help with giving an example to get her going. It's easier for her, as it's her ML language. We are now just beginning the reading and writing in her ml language. Interesting you say in France they begin writing before reading, which is what they have been doing. I was wondering if somehow we were getting left out of the reading homework, but now it must be because they are focusing on loads of writing, memorising poems, etc.
My son goes up to different friends to say hello after school. The other day he went up to a little French girl and started speaking French to the mom. However, the mother kept trying to speak English to him, to which my son would respond back in French. She would then speak some sentences in French. I know she is fully French, so its strange she kept trying to respond in English. I know my sons French is not perfect and he is still learning, but I would think she would get that he is trying to speak French so she should help by responding in French. I was happy at least my son insisted on speaking French. I notice he does this with the children that speak only French in his class or mainly French. He will remember and then go up to their parents to speak in French. And of course to the English speaking ones, he will speak in English. However, this year he seems to have made friends with a lot more French speakers. The class also seems to be more French speakers. Last year he had a lot more English speaking friends, but it could just be because last year he was not speaking much French early on and sought out the English speakers.
I am finding the homework a lot for CP. I need to make sure to do a little each day. My problem is I tend to forget about it 2-3 days and then try to squeeze it in. Much easier with a live in au pair! Still have not found another. But at least we have French help a few times a week.
Nellie a lot of people are surprised when they find out that we are not French or that my husband is not French. They will say "But they speak so well" or "But why French if you are not French?" I even had one family member on my husbands side forget entirely that they are bilingual! The family member was commenting about my children's language ability and wide vocabulary (in English, as that is what is the common language). This made me proud. But then the family member went on saying, because their child is bilingual, they are not great in either language and how children who speak one language are usually more advanced in the language. It took me be surprise, but I guess the family member forgot that my children attend a French school lol. I had to remind them that my kids are also bilingual.
We are very lucky with our set up indeed. So many French speakers in our area. Again, today in the park my son went and found some friends. He spoke French to them and their parents (even though he has heard the parents speak English to me in the past!). I hope it continues. I believe it will, as it seems so natural for him at the age of 4, like that is just how it is supposed to be. I have never asked him to speak French. He just does. At the beginning with my daughter I used to have to encourage her "speak French." But when we had our first summer au pair, that changed everything. After that she became comfortable with French. She will also speak to her French friends in French, even when they speak English. She does this even with one French friend that she met in English nursery (and their first language together was English!).
My daughter brought home her CP homework and I was surprised to find 5 different homework books in her bag for the week! We are looking for a new live in au pair, as ours finished her contract and is back to school. In the mean time, I have found 3 different French au pairs working in the area that want to earn extra money so can come for a few hours a week to help with home work and play/read in French to the children.
I know I keep saying this, I really wish I spoke French and could help with the homework as well! I need to make time to start learning more. I have learned a lot of vocabulary. But the grammar seems impossible!
The kids have been back to school for a couple of weeks. My son has started with a new class and already made some friends. He mentioned them a few times and I asked if they speak English or French (they all had French names). He said they mainly play in French, but they speak some English. This made me happy, as I know there are a few kids that speak mainly English (he knows one of them), however, he decides to play with children in French. I have messaged the mums to set up some play dates after school. It would be nice to get to know their background as well. I know some are half English (according to my son).
My daughter is still good at playing in French with her French-speaking friends (who also speak English). I hear her regularly talking with them in French while they play in the park. It makes me happy that they both regularly use their French. I hope it continues!
Ah, yes that makes sense and sounds like a good way to wind down after the long lunch break. My children get only 45 minutes lunch break! I’m struggling to get my daughter to read most times. I hope she develops a love for it soon. She of course prefers I read to her.
I'm curious, why would they read during the lunch break and not play? Of course it's great to encourage reading, but play time is also very important!
I'm hoping things turn more positive for you, but yes, I have heard for languages, schools can have a major negative impact if they are only in the ML language. A lot of parents I know who have children in English-only schools say they really struggle to keep the ml language going. I wonder if you might be able to find any other children in your daughter's class that also speak ml1 or ml2? This would probably help. Especially as some children can be mean and might make your daughter feel uncomfortable about speaking other languages. I know this happened when I was growing up (typical America!). Any child who was foreign, it seemed would get picked on for accent etc or being different. No wonder my generation is full of English-only speakers! I don't live there anymore, but at least it seems times are changing as being bilingual or trilingual is seen more as an asset.
How does that work if they don't have any background in ml1? Hopefully your daughter likes the ml1 teacher. It makes such a big difference if they like the teacher. I'm really hoping my daughter likes her new teachers. Especially because CP is a big year, where suddenly they get a lot more work to do. My son is having the same teachers again, who are both great and he loves them.
As for the reading, all children are different. Perhaps try out different books. For example, ones with cars or dinosaurs. My son loved these. My children seem to be very girly and boyish. We have gender neutral books of course like The Gruffalo, We Are Going on a Bear Hunt, The Hungry Caterpillar etc, but my son was very keen on books just about different cars, buses and trucks or dinosaurs, bugs etc. My daughter was more keen on princesses etc. She also likes the bugs and dinosaurs too...but cars...no way! Try testing out different themes to see if something interests him. Or just stop as he gets bored and hopefully he will eventually grow more interested.
School starts on Wednesday. In the UK, the school start seems to be different for everyone! At least that is what I understand from talking to a few friends whose children are starting different days, some Monday, one tomorrow and two I know on Wednesday. Strange, as I would assume schools would just start on Monday.
My daughter had a play date today with a French friend and the mother told me my daughter's French is still good. She was surprised, as she said during the holidays usually the language regresses a bit. But thanks to the au pair this summer, my kids kept up with their French. My daughter was also playing with another French girl in the park and speaking only in French. She is one year above, but they play well and invited my daughter to her birthday this Saturday. The mother was very nice and they live nearby. We are so lucky to have so many French people living in the area, as it really helps with my children's French.
It's funny to watch my son. As soon as he hears French, he will speak in French. But if the person then says something in English, he switches to English. It's amazing to see, though, when he hears French, he automatically switches to French. This happened when we picked my daughter up from her play date. When the mother spoke French to her daughter, my son started speaking to the daughter in French. But then the mother started speaking to me in English and then my son spoke in English. He will ask other children in the park "What language do you speak?"
It is almost back to school and I can't wait! My daughter is also very excited to be starting CP, although I'm not sure she knows what she's in for, lol. I heard that it's quite a lot of work, as she will now start getting French homework.
One of her friends returned and they have had two play dates. This was the friend who initially only wanted to speak English with my daughter (she is French, but for some reason preferred English with my daughter...even when my daughter tried to speak to her in French!). Well, I'm happy to say that both play dates they spoke entirely in French together.
My son continues to progress in French. But he only speaks when he wants or doesn't have to concentrate. For example, he can speak fluently and in sentences to someone who speaks French to him or if he decides to speak French to someone. But if I ask him to say even the simplest thing in French he doesn't know, lol. It will be interesting to see what his teacher says about his French when he returns to school.
Next time we go to France, I will need to ask advice for a private French camp then! As long as it is with French speaking children! When I look up French camps in France, it only comes up with language camps...which would mean children attending do not speak French.
Today has been a good day for the French. The kids spent a lot of quality time with the au pair speaking lots of French. She told me that my daughter has an excellent level of French. This makes me happy. She said my son is doing well, but obviously still needs improvement if she is comparing to his sister. But this makes sense, as she has a bit more time at the school then he has. So I have no doubt he will catch up.
Nellie Lol. I'm glad you encourage the Anglophones to practice their French. I got frustrated a bit because my daughter would start out speaking French very quietly (I think because she was shy) and then would hear the waiter speak English to me. I was hoping she would get to practice her French a lot more then she did. The trip was still worth it culturally, though, as my children LOVED exploring Paris. However, for the French exposure, they get more at their French school in London and even in the park in London (we live in an area with a lot of French)! I guess it didn't help that we were visiting with an English-speaking-only family. Perhaps next time we go to France, I will select an area where no English or at least not much is spoken. I will need your advice on where to go for this. I really wish I could sign my daughter up for day camps in France like how they have in London.
Mayken , it was the hotel reception and a few people that worked in restaurants, which is understandable as they have to interact with tourists regularly, I'm sure. Although the lady my daughter had a long conversation with in French also spoke English! But my daughter didn't know this until after their conversation, when I approached and asked my daughter to return to the table so we can decide what to eat etc. The lady heard me speak English so then told me in English that my daughter spoke well in French etc. In fact, it seemed there were lots of random people that could speak English, which my kids kept hearing (some other random people with dogs, lol). So much so my son was saying people in France speak English. I was worried when he asked the au pair if she spoke English that he would try to speak English with her. But luckily, he is still speaking French to her. She's still pretending not to speak English.
To my great surprise, my daughter has been telling me some Norwegian words her father has daughter. She told me he promised to teach her. She has remembered a lot of random words he taught her. I am assuming during the bed time routine as this is the only time they would have talked with out me. I know my kids have an interest in learning Norwegian. I hope he continues to teach them as they are so keen.
Thanks, I think you both are right. One other thing, so many people in Paris could speak English, so my children would sometimes speak English! My son even asked my au pair today if she spoke English, in French. I understood what he was asking and lucky my au pair said no. He told me that people in France speak English! At least he did make an effort to talk a bit of French as well...but still he would try English sometimes. We met up with friends that moved to France and at least my children decided to speak to the girl in French, even though she knew English, so at least that is a positive.
I feel all this time away from proper French exposure has had some impact. We were away from the au pair 10 days when we went to Norway. Then the au pair had to go away for a few days and then we went to Paris, so the kids have been away from school (where they get loads of French exposure) and the au pair for so long. This week I am going to try and make sure we get French cartoons in, more French music and more French reading.
Mayken, yes that's right. He had a dog growing up so he probably only spoke Norwegian to it 😀 but he was the youngest in the family so no talking to young children in Norsk.
We had a short trip to Paris. I was surprised my daughter didn’t speak French as much as I hoped! She got shy in restaurants when I asked her to order food etc. But she was happy to speak to the taxi drivers in French or random people who had dogs. She had one conversation in French with a lady by our table because she had a dog. The lady told me she was very impressed with my daughter. That made me feel good. But I was hoping my daughter would be past the stage of being shy. My son also made random efforts to speak French. One thing for sure is they both enjoyed the trip so much. I love seeing them so happy experiencing a different culture.
And Nellie that’s good to hear your three week trip didn’t negatively impact the ml2. I think I got nervous because some families at my children’s school go 6 weeks every summer without French support and it seems to impact their language progression. Of course after returning to school they start to remember everything again. But they do seem more behind compared to the other kids who don’t go six weeks without. But I suspect it’s also because the parents don’t do much support at home during the school year either.
Forgot to mention about our puppy. Things are going well with her. However, my husband likes to speak to her in Norwegian for some strange reason?!? I’m like, you can speak Norwegian to the dog but not your kids?!? Lol.
Yes, Amy, that’s what I was wondering. But you are right, I can just let them watch shows in French and play music in French. Next year I definitely want to go on holiday for three weeks. We are currently on holiday for 10 days and it’s so good for the kids to be outside all day and right on the water. I brought a few French DVDs and I was so annoyed the first one also had an English option and for some reason the DVD player here decided to make it play in English and because it was a Norwegian DVD player I couldn’t figure out how to switch to French and neither could my husband!! Lol. At least the other two DVDs I brought only had the French option! The problem here is that internet is not great so Netflix and YouTube are not an option. Had to be DVD. I did download some French stories onto the iPad. Next year I plan to do all of this, but make more of an effort as this year it was just 10 days so I didn’t bring as many resources as I could have.
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Agnese: Thank you for the suggestion!
Jul 21, 2018 15:40:43 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter met some inversed ML/ml kids today who live in our ml country. Their parents probably weren't thrilled they found n ML (for them) friend in their ml country. I'm sorry...a little bit.
Aug 7, 2018 2:07:34 GMT 9
Amy: Looks like the 3 weeks in ml1 country paid off: my ML mother reports my youngest would only speak ml1 to her! Lol Not sure ML childminder will be so happy when she returns... loool!
Aug 25, 2018 0:38:50 GMT 9
Mayken: Sounds like fun times ahead, Amy! Keep us posted.
Aug 27, 2018 23:15:08 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! Something Strange Happened 2 Days After We Moved into Our New House (And Its Significance to Change and Transformation on the Bilingual Journey)buff.ly/2ww8WDD
Aug 31, 2018 10:30:39 GMT 9
Amy: Happiest bilingual mum in the world : the new lady who conducts activities in ml2 with my eldest just assessed her level as pretty much equivalent to that of a native ml2 child! After that awful back-to-school start, this is like music to my ears.
Sept 6, 2018 0:00:13 GMT 9
Wojtek: I've been thinking for a long time to write an update and hopefully, I will do it one day. My brother married a Russian woman. That was nice to see that my 5-year-old daughter could play with her and speak English together!
Sept 7, 2018 21:37:25 GMT 9
Wojtek: After some time, she ran up and told me: "She is speaking English!"
Sept 7, 2018 21:38:31 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice to hear your happy news, Wojtek! And congratulations to your brother and his bride! It sounds like they may have a bilingual child in their future, too! Cheers to you all!
Sept 7, 2018 21:58:17 GMT 9
Mayken: Victor's flashcards look amazing! I hope I'll win the giveaway - if not, I'll purchase a set for Christmas for sure. Thanks Adam for sharing these gems with us!
Sept 26, 2018 23:32:30 GMT 9
Marisa: Adam, I second Mayken's enthusiasm and gratitude for your posting about Victor's flashcards, they look amazing, thank you so much for the post! I already bought one set
Sept 30, 2018 10:25:51 GMT 9