An international correspondence

It all began two years ago when we hosted a fellow educator who has quickly become family to us.  She has a friend, another educator, who has two sons, one who is slightly older than Mon Cœur (MC).  

When we visited France back in February, we had the chance to meet this family – we had a nice dinner together followed by illumination lights at a château (castle) nearby.  MC and this garçon (boy) became quick friends, flirting and running around in the restaurant, and continuing to chase each other throughout the festively lit château afterwards.  

It wasn’t until it was time to say goodbye, that there was a little misunderstanding… MC went to say goodbye, and when I told her bisous (kisses), I heard from her new Ami (friend) very shortly after, “Pas sur la bouche! Pas sur la bouche!”  (Not on the mouth! Not on the mouth!)

Needless to say, since MC couldn’t give bisous on the bouche, she didn’t say goodbye at all.  But the correspondences have continued for both our friend and for this family and boy.  All throughout the coronavirus stay at home orders, we would receive a French children’s song once a week from this family, and we reciprocated with a song in English.  

MC recently just had her birthday, and she received the most amazing gift from her Ami, a year’s subscription to Toupie, a French kid’s magazine published by Milan.  How cool is that?

Toupie Magazine, published by Milan offers preschool aged children an opportunity to learn through song, story, games, and sticker activities. My favorite part of the magazine is the inside front cover and first page, where it goes over what month & season it is, with special dates, and then asks the reader to point to how they are feeling for the day.

On top of this, she received, about a week later, another magazine – Picoti joue also published by Milan, as well as a birthday card and a painting.  This girl is loved!

Picotie joue, also published by Milan is a cute little booklet offering coloring activities, sticker matching activities, short stories, and practice with math concepts like matching shapes and categorizing. It’s geared towards 1-4 year olds.

In the card, her Ami had some questions for her – typical toddler questions – and one stood out – When will you come to visit me?  This has been very helpful in giving MC cause to let me speak to her in French.  

The other day when we were driving and I was speaking to her in French, she gave me her usual, “Don’t speak to me in French, Mommy.” plea.  But after receiving that card, I asked her, “Don’t you want to go back to France? And visit your Ami?  You will need to speak French if you go to visit him and his family…”  and then I continued, ”And you want to invite your Ami to come stay with us, right?  He will need to know English.  I bet his Mom is teaching him English so he can come visit you.”

This has been an amazing experience for MC to have – exchanging songs, notes, and magazines in different languages, and it gives her a need to learn French other than just because I speak it to her.  I look forward to the day when we will actually be able to have summer exchanges and host her Ami as well as send MC to France.

Her Ami’s brother is celebrating his birthday soon, and MC had some questions to answer from her birthday card she received.  So today, we sat down to write in the cards she made yesterday.  She stayed focused, and dictated what she wanted written in each card.  After I was done writing her letters, she drew a picture in each, and we wrapped up the cards and activity books.

How we’ve been corresponding:

I can’t take any credit for beginning the correspondence, only in continuing it. The mother, a preschool teacher, is the one who initiated the exchange of songs, activities and letters. We’ve followed suite, responding to the communications in kind. Below are some technologies we’ve used to sustain our international friendships with her Ami, as well as other amis.

  • WhatsApp – texts, phone and video calls
  • Instagram – DMs between families with video clips, short messages, and pictures
  • Old-fashioned mail

How it works:

  • They send us a song in French one week
  • We send them a song in English the next week
  • Extensions from songs include:
    • Pictures inspired by songs (we received one of a spider from the Itsy Bitsy Spider);
    • Exchanging songs back practiced in the other language (MC sent him Petit Escargot, he sent us The Wheels on the Bus;
    • Picture flashcards to help learn songs – I wrote one line each of the song to Petit Escargot on an index card and drew the hand gesture that went with the line.

Which language?

They send us mail in French.  It is my instinct to want to respond in French and practice, but I know that is selfish of me, so I fight the urge and respond in English.  I should have realized this earlier with all my other correspondences, but I get it now, so I suppose better late than never. 

I read everything that is received in the language it is received to MC, and when we respond, I ask MC in English, and I write her answers in English, too.


Although our exchanges have been a little more sporadic due to summer break and also being able to leave our homes, it has been such an enriching experience and something that MC looks forward to. I am so glad for the opportunities we’ve had to meet our international friends, and for the technologies that have allowed us the level of exchange while we are physically distanced.

We’d love to hear of other ways people are communicating and exchanging internationally. How do you sustain your friendships with international friends?

Six steps to creating a themed learning unit for my toddler

My mentor and supervisor once provided game-changing feedback in a post-observation meeting. He said, “Every great lesson has an invisible thread – a theme that ties it all together.”

In four years of teaching, I hadn’t received as valuable feedback as I did in that year, and truly in that moment. That’s when I began switching gears to using literature as a springboard for learning. I targeted areas to teach (grammar, writing, reading, science, math) and built activities around a chosen piece of literature. After making this switch, I’ve found much supporting research on why deeply exploring a theme boosts vocabulary and deep learning.

As I have embarked on the at-home teaching journey with Mon Cœur (MC), I have continued to embrace this idea of thematic learning through literature. Luckily, for the preschool aged audience, practically all the resources I’ve found are naturally organized into themes, since at this stage, toddlers are learning all about the world around them.

At the beginning of the year, I had reorganized MC’s bookshelves by theme to facilitate this. As I strive to bring more structure and learning opportunities, I am trying to plan more activities and lessons around these themes, too.

How am I doing this, and what resources have helped me? Read below for my six steps on how I am making this work. I am just starting to assemble themes, and so I am still learning as I go what works for us. I will continue to revisit this topic on the blog and share themes and resources that have been successful for us.

1. Choose a theme

When thinking of themes, I thought, “What is MC interested in right now: unicorns? dinosaurs? the farm?”… Additionally, I think ahead about any upcoming trips, events, seasons or holidays.

We are between beach trips right now, and before we left for our first trip, I began the theme of the beach.  I knew this would be a fun unit, and a perfect theme for summer.  

After our first trip, she now understands the beach better- having played in the water, felt the sand between her fingers, found shells, and observed crabs, fish, and jellyfish.  She asks to go back to the beach every day! We talk a lot about the experiences she had on her first trip, as well as what she will want to do when we are back at the beach.

2. Collect and assemble materials

I searched MC’s bookshelves for any books that have to do with the theme. I also looked through all of the maternelle (preschool) workbooks I purchased while we were in France.  

For our theme of the ocean, I had a surprisingly good stash of books:

  • The Underwater Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta has wonderful drawings and some excellent specimens of underwater creatures – from Angel Fish to Zebra Pipefish. This book has amazing illustrations and is chock full of ocean facts for MC and me!
  • Ballyhoo Bay by Judy Sierra is a personal favorite – it incorporates art and all manner of sea creatures, and the rhythm and rhyme of the story is catchy, too.
  • Two books from a boxed set found at Goodwill: Les petits animaux de la mer, which gives a few facts about four small ocean animals (clownfish, seahorses, octopus, and starfish); and Les grands animaux de la mer, which gives a few facts about four large ocean animals (dolphins, whales, orcas, and sea turtles).

Other books had a few pages that complemented our learning of all things ocean and sea:

  • A to Z animals coloring book: This coloring book had a few pages (Narwhal, Shark, Whale) that tied into the theme, and allowed for a little down time (coloring) as well as a learning conversation (I would read the short facts, and MC would ask a question that would require some research on my part).
  • Je découvre et j’apprends en images!: This is one of the preschool workbooks I found while in France. Each spread in the book covers a different theme – the farm, the beach, at the market, the bath, pirates, in the forest, etc. I love that there is one huge picture for discussion and then just a few activities to do. This book has been a great starting point for different themes, and allows MC to practice language, math, and writing skills. Plus, she loves the stickers that come with the book, making the experience fun and more interactive for her.
  • Raconte-moi des histoires d’animaux: This is a cute book that is intended to be read together with your child. The parent reads most of the text, however there are images throughout, that are meant to be “read” by the child. There is one story in the book (below) about a crab and a girl who hides her “treasures” in the sand.

3.  Search online for additional materials

I bookmarked a list of tried/true websites using keywords for my theme and “preschool.”  I included a list of keywords and thought of any possible synonyms.

I focused on resources en français (in French) for this theme because I knew we would be discussing and talking about the beach a lot in English with our family, and I wanted MC to have dual language input.  

At first, I was just searching using the keywords: maternelle petit section (pre-school, 3 years old), activités (activities), and plage (beach) and not coming up with much.  When I widened my search to include mer (sea) and océan (ocean), then I found many more resources. It was astounding to see how much more was available in resources when I used different keywords with similar meanings.

Any resources I found to use, I downloaded and saved to my computer in a folder labeled with the name of the theme. I renamed files as necessary, adding the type of resource (writing, reading, math, song) to help when I was searching for them again.

4.  Find a way to incorporate lots of different activities

I thought of all the different activities I wanted MC to do: art, numeracy, literacy, songs, physical activities, etc.

I found comptines (children’s songs), craft ideas, and coloring book pages to do alongside with the theme of the ocean. On the first day, we made a crab with half a paper plate, google eyes, paint, and pre-cut construction paper arms. We sang a comptine, Le Crabe, with hand movements that I made up to go with it.

The pictures above show the coloring pages we’ve completed from the A to Z coloring book. The coloring activity has been a good, creative break, and lends to learning as the book includes a few short facts for each animal. MC has had questions about each animal – I like to write down her question, then we look for an answer together, and I write that down, too. For the shark, I found some sandpaper in the house and had her tape it on the shark, so she could understand the texture mentioned in the first fact about sharks.

Other activities we’ve completed with the ocean theme include:

  • Art: creating a shell garden with sand and shells brought back from the beach,
  • Art: tracing MC on a piece of butcher paper and adding a mermaid tail – she added shell stickers and colored in her outline,
  • Math: practicing one-to-one counting using resources from dans le sac de maitresse Claire
  • Math: complete the pattern/ what comes next? with sea themed stickers
  • Literacy: practicing matching text and reading pictures of different sea animals using resources from dans le sac de mattresses Claire
  • Music: listening to various songs from the Vive les Vacances CD of le Top des Tout-p’tits
  • Music: Singing comptines such as Le Crabe and Le Coquillage magique
  • Play: Fishing game with magnetized poles & fish
  • Play: Water table with plastic fish, net

5. Whenever possible plan ahead

I kept all resources that could be used for the theme together in our kitchen (where we do our work). I tried to choose a few activities everyday to do with MC, and I often revisited activities that MC liked or I wanted to practice more.

One resource which has been helpful in creating an overall game plan for the themed unit is Guidepost’s Family Framework. The website is a *free* Montessori resource website for parents. I like their weekly activity planner, and they have great ideas for age-appropriate, stimulating, meaningful activities for toddlers.

I completed the activity planner in the beginning with potential activities, and have been checking them as we have been completing them – this has been a great resource to help keep me organized and see the overall big picture.

6.  Have a predictable routine, remain flexible

I have pockets of time I dedicate to the theme sprinkled throughout the day: morning, late morning, and early afternoon.

Above: a morning activity with fish. I drew different types of fish, then added colored dots in each fish – one color per fish. The colors correspond to the dot stickers we have, and MC had to place a sticker on each dot. Then she practiced one-to-one counting with the stickers.

I have been working to create a morning activity MC can complete independently while I have coffee and prepare breakfast, and then we usually have a time to read or sing together later in the morning and do a craft, math or reading in the afternoon.

Sometimes activities get switched around or skipped, other times we end up spending more or less time on an activity depending on MC’s attention that day.

I have attempted before to have a “schedule,” however, I have found a flexible routine without time restraints (other than fixed meal, nap, and bed times) works better for me.

MC and I have had a lot of fun with learning about the sea, and it’s been an opportunity for us to use French more. Switching gears from planning for secondary students to an empty slate with one preschool student has been a definite change of pace and a welcome challenge.

I am still working through how best to organize our days in general to fit in learning, as well as everything else. Planning has been my biggest challenge so far.  However, it’s summer, and right now, I am trying to balance play and learning (I need to work on not trying to make everything a lesson!). I have decided not to truly “buckle down” until fall.

We have just been going with the flow every day, navigating days, moods, to-do lists, and life as each new day comes. We are making it work one day at a time, staying flexible, and enjoying the journey as we go.


Resources:

These are just some of the websites I’ve found to be helpful while creating themed units for MC. Some are in English, others are in French.

Happy Tot Shelf: Fynn has some great themes with activities around each theme. Ice cream, farm, garden, apples, ocean, and weather are just a few of the themes for which she has created shelves and learning activities.

Family Framework by Guidepost Montessori: This is an amazing, free resource to help parents to establish routines, make kids more independent, and plan activities for kids to learn. I love their Activity Planner and they have sample plans as well as activity banks to help parents get started.

Orphée école: I have had this site bookmarked for years, and frequently visit for ideas. There are so many resources for pre-k through elementary, and with a plethora of themes and lessons, I can’t list them all here. Wonderfully organized resources.

Dans le sac de maitresse Claire: This is an excellent site with French resources organized by theme: the farm, the sea, insects, back to school, etc.

Les docs d’Estelle: Another fabulous site with French resources and themes such as spiders, snails, hedgehogs, and ladybugs!

Little Chef

Today was a big day in the kitchen for us, starting this morning with Krusteaz’ Blueberry Muffin mix – yum!  This was a nice surprise from Chouchou – he had left it on the counter, and Mon Cœur (MC), ever observant said, “I want muffins for breakfast!”  It sounded pretty good to me, too.  

So, I prepped all the ingredients, gave her a bowl and a whisk, and let her get to it.  She chose to make mini muffins, so while she poured and mixed the pre-measured ingredients, I lined the muffin tin and sipped my coffee.  

MC is really mastering her pouring skills, and although messes still happen, I am at least not cringing every time she goes to pour something.  I can’t believe what a little chef she’s become.

A recipe book for MC 

We had dinner guests coming tonight and I’ve been eyeing this recipe for savory madeleines that are in a kid’s recipe book our French friends gave her back in February.  I really wanted to give them a try – I was curious because I’d never seen a savory madeleine recipe before.  In addition, my sister gave me a madeleine tin about eight years ago, and I’ve never used it, so this was the perfect occasion.    

I always thought madeleines would be tricky to make, so I steered clear.  But with MC and I adventuring so much in the kitchen recently, and guests coming over, I thought, “Why not?”

The kid’s recipe book, Les Recettes de Petit Ours Brun is really well done and I love it.  There’s an introduction with all of the tools used and the abbreviations they use for measurements.  It has a table of contents with recipes organized from appetizer to birthday treats, and everything in between. In the back it even has birthday invites, place name holders, and decorations for straws.


Helpful (approximate) Conversions

I had not jumped in quickly though to make any recipes because I lacked motivation to do the prep work for these recipes and convert between centiliters and cups, grams and cups, and Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Below are approximate conversions – I’ve rounded up or down depending. For example, 10 cl of milk converts to 0.425 cups. It was easiest to measure ½ cup. One hundred grams of flour is 0.425 cups, again ½ cup was more manageable. Two hundred ten degrees Celsius is actually 410 Fahrenheit, but since I have a gas oven that tends to run hotter, I rounded down.

  • 100g (dry ingredients) = ½ cup
  • 10 cl (wet ingredients)= ½ cup
  • 20g (butter) = 1 ½ Tablespoon
  • 210 degrees C = 400 degrees F
  • 180 degrees C = 350 degrees F

While MC was napping today, I grabbed the recipe book and my phone and noted conversions on a sticky note, and began gathering and measuring ingredients.  

I did as much prep work as possible before she woke up and joined me in the kitchen.  Then we both got to work. I loved how this book outlines by step who does what – Maman Ours (Momma Bear) and Petit Ours (Little Bear).

I really let MC do most all of the mixing, and I stepped back.  She made a bit of a mess at one point, pouring the liquid ingredients into the dry.  It wasn’t a big deal and I quietly began cleaning it up.  She made a fuss though, “Oh!  It’s all my fault!” 

Say what? (I digress)…

Oops.  She had heard me say that the other morning as I cleaned my coffee she spilt all over the floor and phone and computer.   It turned out not to harm any of my technology, but in the moment I was so upset and trying not to yell.   

Since it really was my fault – having technology by a side table with coffee in an open container and a free ranging toddler (because I really should know better) – that’s all I could think to say.  Funny the things toddlers pick up on and how they choose to reuse later…

Back to the culinary adventure

The next step was to put the batter into the pans, and I anticipated the madeleine tin to not be big enough for all of the batter, so I readied the American counterpart, the trusty mini muffin pan.  I let MC continue to be the chef, and gave her a mini ladle, showing her how much to put in the ladle and how to spoon it out.

Here’s where it got really messy, on a fait des bêtises (we made a mess). They didn’t quite turn out as pretty as what you would find in a pâtisserie (pastry shop)…I headed to the other side of the table to take pictures for this blog post…

And moments later I hear, “Oops!” and some giggling. She had taken a completely full ladle and poured it right between the two madeleine forms. Oh là là…c’est la vie.

Savory Madeleines

(makes approx. 24 mini muffins or 20 madeleines)

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of ham (or we used 3 slices of Treet!)
  • ½ cup of flour
  • 2 ¼ tsp of yeast (or one packet of yeast)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tbs melted butter
  • ½ cup of grated parmesan
  • ½ cup cooked frozen peas
  • salt & pepper to taste

How we made them:

  1. Maman preheats oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut the ham (treet) into small cubes.
  2. MC mixes the flour and yeast together in a bowl and makes a well in the middle of the bowl.
  3. Maman mixes all wet ingredients together: eggs, milk, olive oil.  Then she mixes in melted butter, parmesan and salt & pepper.
  4. MC pours wet ingredients into dry, then mixes together.  Maman whisks and mixes a little bit, too, just to make sure everything’s incorporated.
  5. MC pours in the peas and ham and mixes again.
  6. We grease the pan(s) together (We use Crisco and a paper towel, à ma Maman – in my mother’s style), then we fill the pans.
  7. Maman puts the pans in the oven, lowers the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and sets the timer for 5 minutes.  After five minutes, she turns the oven off, and sets the timer for another 5 minutes, and voilà!

I enjoyed making a recipe from this book for two different reasons.

First, MC loves to cook, and this was the perfect book written for kids and parents to cook together.  I appreciated how it laid out the utensils needed, and gave advice as to who should help with which step.

Second, it was in French.  I have to admit, being stuck at home all day and being exhausted from the first trimester (and apparently a pinch of hypothyroidism), I unfortunately have not been speaking very much French to MC at all.  

I am trying to get back into speaking a majority of French with her, but she has been a little hesitant.  In fact, the past few times I’ve started speaking to her in French, she looks me in the face with scrunched eyebrows and a puckered mouth and says, “Mommy don’t speak Fwench to me!”  Aïe! (Ouch!)  

So the fact that the book was in French set my mind to that language mode, and helped us to have an immersion experience in the kitchen today.  It is sometimes a struggle to try to stay in French when that’s not my native language, but having resources in the language have really helped to “flip the language switch,” at least for an afternoon! 

This post contains affiliate links. For more information about affiliate links, please see my “meet Maman” about page.

About un œuf

A mysterious title, and I’ll explain it in just a moment. First, I wanted to answer a question that many, many, many people have asked me since our return:

So, is Mon Cœur (MC) speaking to you in French yet?

-Everybody

No, she is not. Despite having spent two and a half weeks pretty much immersion style in France, Mon Cœur (MC) is not yet speaking to me in French. Neither is Chouchou, who was also on the trip with us. Slight age discrepancy there!

I have been consistent with my language input for MC, and despite her responding to me English only, she understand exactly what I am talking about.

Case in point: When putting MC down for her nap today, I told her in French that I needed to work on my blog in the kitchen (Je dois travailler – je vais écrire un article pour mon blog.) To which she responded, “You have to work?”

I can not remember her saying anything more than bonjour, merci, or au revoir while we were on our trip. But anytime someone asked her to do something, she did it. They may have asked her to come to them, to bring them something or put something away, and she would do it.

Or, they would ask her a question, and she would shake her head yes or no or answer in English. She read along intently when stories were read aloud, watched cartoons in French, and was otherwise surrounded by the language. But she does not speak it yet, and that doesn’t bother me because I can tell that she follows what I am saying.

Okay, back to today’s blog post title – About un œuf (an egg)!

Yesterday I was cleaning out our pantry closet, and in timely fashion, found our plastic Easter eggs, stowed away in a Ball jar. I brought them down and continued to clean, not thinking anything of it.

This morning, MC was playing with the eggs, and one fell on the floor. She said, “Oh my œuf!” I was just a few feet away, organizing some books. I was so amazed and astonished to hear this.

I wasn’t so shocked about the word – she knows an egg is un œuf. We use it frequently when we’re in the kitchen and recently we’ve been reading an interactive book in French where you have to find and count the eggs.

I was simply impressed that without me prompting in French, or us having any conversation before this response, she would think to use the word œuf.

Later this morning, when MC went to the bathroom, she pointed to her book and said, “I’m going!” which although in English, was a direct translation for the French potty training book she was pointing to, J’y vais! that a friend gave her on our recent trip. This book has stayed in her bathroom and she requests a reading (or two!) every time she goes to the bathroom. She occasionally repeats along with me, “J’y vais!” (I’m going [there/ to the bathroom]!

This, I think may be the beginning of her starting to respond, in simple words, in French to me. This is such exciting news! I’m happy with her simply speaking understanding French. This is an added bonus though and I hope this is just the beginning and not some fluke use of language.

If you’re raising bilingually, was there a moment that marked the beginning of your child’s use of the second language?

How we bilingual: Part 4

Over the next bit of time, I will be sharing specific blog posts and bloggers who have helped validate what I am already doing or that have great ideas that we will be incorporating it into our great bilingual family experiment! Check out previous posts below:

This week, I want to focus on some tips and thoughts from the website and blog Multilingual Parenting. I can not remember how I found this blog, however I am glad I did, as it has many great articles, tips, and thoughts to ponder as we continue our bilingual journey.

I started off by reading the Seven Tips for Parents. I loved Rita’s ideas, and may share some takeaways in a later post. For now, I want to focus on a post in her series about passing on a non-native language, since this applies to me.

I’ve stated before that I hesitated in the beginning about teaching Mon Cœur (MC) French, since I myself am not a native French speaker. In the end, I decided to give it a go, without much research or knowledge of what and how to raise a family bilingually.

So Rita’s post about things to consider before diving in are a little late for me, but all the same, I had taken some time to still ponder these points:

What is your motivation for using a non-native language?

Rita weighs the benefits of knowing another language versus the benefits of creating a close and positive relationship with your child.

Being able to speak more than one language is a great gift, but it cannot be compared to the importance of a close connection between a parent and a child.

I have mentioned before how I do not speak in French to MC 100% of the time. When we need to have serious chats, when I want to make sure I am understood, or if one of us is feeling miserably sick or on the verge of a meltdown, I don’t force it. I use English. But when we’re doing well, I speak French.

I wrote a lot about my motivations and considerations I thought through beforehand, in my post Why bilingual? so I won’t repeat here.

However Rita presents a valid thought about the applicability of the language as part of one’s motivation to teach the non-native language. I hadn’t put too much thought into this previously. In our community, we do have some friends and colleagues who can and do speak with her in French, we have the Alliance Française which is another option, and we have our adopted families in France who are a big part of our lives and with whom we communicate regularly.

In addition, French is also an official language in 25+ countries, is either the primary or second language for many organizations, including FIFA, the Olympics, Red Cross, and the European Union, and is rated as the third top language for business by both Eton Institute (2019) and Bloomberg Businessweek (2011).

Own fluency

How fluent are you in the language? 
I have never been officially evaluated for my language proficiency level, although I just stumbled upon Lawless French and I really enjoy the website. It features a paid subscription through Kwiziq. I use the free subscription and it starts with a test to determine your level. I’m B2/ intermediate advanced; I really wish I could tell you I had a better command of French grammar. I know I can get by, and I know where I need to improve. The free lessons on the website and the free quizzes each month will help get me back on track.

Are you used to speaking the language with a child?
Rita again offers really good questions that should be considered when embarking on a bilingual journey. I will say though, even if you were to answer “no” to some of the questions, I wouldn’t let that keep you from trying. Just because you don’t know the nursery rhymes, animal sounds, etc in your target language, there are so many resources out there that can help teach you and your child.

I don’t know many kids songs in French, so I am learning les comptines (nursery rhymes) along with MC on YouTube as the occasion calls for it. All I need to do is a quick search with “comptine” and the theme or vocab in French and I’ve found a song. For example, on a recent rainy day, I wanted to teach MC a song in French, so I searched using comptine and pluie, et voilà (and there it is) three different songs with images to sing when it rains.

Emotional connection – I have learned to take one day at a time, and switch languages as needed based on how we are feeling mentally and emotionally. I am not worried right now about having deep conversations with MC about boyfriends or bullying, and I will ponder that further as we get to a more appropriate age-range.

Time – there is definitely a time commitment to raising bilingually. Gathering or creating resources, brushing up on the language, creating experiences for MC and meeting with others to speak the language together are all actions that take time. It is a worthy investment, and yet another way I can be spending my extra time now that I am at home with MC.

Expected fluency for your child – again, we’re taking it one day at a time – I’m not worried about MC being able to read or write in French right now, and when that developmental stage appears more closely in the future, then we will focus on it.

Possible negative effects – Rita raises a few different scenarios to consider. Language delays and confusion were never anything I was worried about, as a language teacher these were non-issues for me. I have not encountered anyone yet who shares an adverse reaction to me speaking French with MC, although I know that day will come. I can’t worry about it though.

Rita has two follow up posts – one that addresses family language strategies, and the third which has resources and activities, which I am currently working through. As I try these resources and find more, I’ll post back and let you know what works for us!

Are you raising bilingually, too? What resources have you found online? Share them in the comments section!