Bonjour à tous! Hello everyone!
My name is Amanda (Maman) and this is my son Bryston (Loulou.)
In the early months of 2017, I had embarked on an odyssey to learn French. It became a passion almost to the point of obsession. After about a year, even though I was still trekking along in the beginner/lower intermediate stage, I asked myself why on earth I hadn’t involved my son, who was at this point seven. I knew that being bilingual is a highly sought-after skill, and adding it to his repertoire certainly wouldn’t hurt for his academics and adult life. Besides, I wanted to share my passion with him.
What I thought would be a fun adventure became about as exciting as bathing a cat. Like everything else that wasn’t playing with trains or watching a show, he fought it until we were both in tears.
I was confident that there were better approaches that would make this process more enjoyable for both of us. I found some games that reinforce some basic vocabulary, but that by itself is not going to lead to fluency. As it turns out, the only two real pieces of advice that I could find on the matter were to either fully immerse him and speak only French (a skill that I did not have) or send him to a school to do it for me. Well, I don’t live in Paris and we can’t afford to travel there at the moment.
At this point, I accepted that this was something only available to the elite. You had to be a fluent speaker to teach your child another language or you just had to live in the right place. I didn’t know what else to do except give up.
Until one night while I was tucking him in and he looked at me and said: Je t’aime maman (I love you mama.) I knew right then and there that I was not going to give up on him. I had sloshed through my own frustrations, insecurities and setbacks with the language. He deserved the same.
This is a learning process for us. This is going to involve a lot of trial and error. But because there are absolutely no real resources for parents who want to teach their child a language that they are not fluent in, who want to take the journey with their child, I am hoping that our adventure will inspire these other parents. It is my hope that we can come together to support each other.
This blog is to share our successes, struggles and resources. While the target language of our household is French, I believe that most of the advice is reasonably universal and can be applied to any language. As we expand, I intend to add resources for other languages as well.