What do you do when you need some outside help for your kids to learn French? If you live in a French environment, great. But for those of us who don’t, what can we do?
Summer day camps – ‘tis the season – hurray for summer! Depending on where you live, there may be French day camps available. Many Canadian cities offer affordable options. Look for your local recreation & parks department online. If you’re outside Canada, I have no idea whether these will be offered for you, but it’s worth a shot. 🙂
Language teaching – Heritage language classes are often offered during the year on Saturdays or in one-week blocks during July and August. A friend of mine takes her kids to Dutch classes each summer (and Dutch certainly isn’t a widely-spoken language in this area). There may be French options close to you, even if you don’t live in a French community.
Live online classes – If you’re looking for something online that comes with live instruction, this option may be for you. One possible source is Currclick. I haven’t tried any of their live classes myself, but I have bought a lot of other curriculum from this site.
Less structured options
Playdates & social gatherings – This probably works best if the other participants are French and promise to speak in French during your time together. In my experience, if the kids speak English, then that will end up being the language used. 🙁 That being said, we have had success with our French club meetings – 4 families who are learning French as a second language. We get together weekly for fun activities. While the kids are hearing and following instructions completely in French during that time, they do not always respond in French. We do manage to get a small amount of dialog from them, which is huge progress!
Extended family – if you’re lucky enough to have extended family that speaks French, recruit them to help you! Use Skype or FaceTime or whatever works best for you if they are long distance.
Local library – there may be programs offered, or the staff may be able to direct you to other options in your city. They may also be able to point out some great books.
Social media support – There are many groups out there where you can find support, encouragement, and answers to questions:
- Frenglish learning – This is the Facebook group for this blog. I chose to make it a private group rather than a public page so that people could post without their questions being picked up by search engines.
- Raising bilingual/multilingual children – This Facebook group isn’t specifically focused on French, but I find that many of the questions and comments apply.
- Yahoo Groups and Google Groups may have some options as well. If you use any of these, please let me know in the comments.
What support have you found in your French journey?