Beginning French: Lesson Plan 2

Last month I began teaching a beginning French class to a small group of upper elementary students. If you'd like to follow along on their language journey (or borrow lesson ideas!), here's the basic outline of what we did during our second and third classes. Keep in mind that this is only a once-per-week, 50 minute class, so we spend about twenty minutes or so reviewing and practicing what we've previously learned. (You can find lesson 1 here.)

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Suzuki Violin Lessons at Age Four? One Year Later

If you've read my blog for a while, you might remember that my daughter started taking Suzuki violin lessons last fall at age four and a half. She had expressed an interest in learning violin after listening repeatedly to a fictional story featuring Vivaldi's music. I was concerned that formal music lessons might require too much rigor for her age, but we took the leap after talking with friends who had started Suzuki lessons at a young age. Now, a year later, I'm thrilled that we started lessons when we did, and my daughter has loved playing! Here's my quick summary of the Suzuki method and what I've learned about music lessons as a parent:

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An Encouraging Podcast and Sweet Reading

Bonjour les amis! It's been quiet on the blog this week, but today I'm glad to share with you two linguistic resources that may delight you:

First is a children's picture book called Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World. Published in 2011, each page features several terms of endearment that parents use with their children in their own language. From mon petit chou (my little cabbage) in French to docinho de coco (little coconut candy) in Portuguese, it features sweet nicknames along with their translations and pronunciation in each of fourteen languages--German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, etc. We discovered this book at the library, and my daughter has loved choosing the nickname that she would prefer from each language.

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Beginning French: First Lesson Plan for Ages 8-12

Last month I started teaching a beginning French class to a small group of upper elementary students in our homeschool co-op. (Most of my current students are around age 10.) Over the next two months I'll post my weekly lesson outlines here for teachers, parents, and those of you who'd like to learn or brush up on basic French skills. I lean heavily towards immersion and emphasize speech over writing, at least in beginning classes. Each class is 55 minutes and meets once per week for eight weeks.

These lessons are designed for a small group of students with limited materials--we have no textbooks, workbooks, computer access, or video player in the classroom. We do use a CD player and mini-whiteboards. (You can learn how to make your own set of mini-whiteboards here.)

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5 Truths I Learned About French Parenting from Bringing Up Bebe

Though I lived in France for a year and a half in my twenties, it wasn't until I read Pamela Druckerman's Bringing Up Bébé in 2012 that I started to gain a full picture of French parenting. Here are five general truths about French parenting that I learned from reading Bringing Up Bébé:

1. French women don't breastfeed their babies all that long, even by American standards. A few months seems to be typical, partially because the vast majority of French women return to work after several months of maternity leave. I expect I'll be nursing our seven-month-old infant when we stay in France next summer, so I'm curious if my French friends will see this as an unusually long time to breastfeed a child.

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October Nature Events for Families in Oregon (& Elsewhere)

Bonjour, les amis! Because of September's heat here in Oregon, October often feels like the true beginning of autumn. Have you enjoyed any pumpkin treats or cider yet? We're having homemade pumpkin ravioli tonight. (We haven't tried it before, but my children like stuffing wonton wrappers.) And if you're craving a seasonal drink, this past week I blended a few spoonfuls of pumpkin puree with a cup of rice milk and a dash of nutmeg, and it was surprisingly refreshing! For more ways to enjoy the season, here are some family-friendly nature events around Portland, Oregon, this month:

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Upcoming Blog Topics & Free, Printable French Educational Worksheets

Bonjour, les amis! For me, blogging is a joy, enabling me to be more intentional as a parent and allowing me to promote French learning, but I'll admit that blogging often and consistently is becoming more of a struggle. Now that I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy, I just can't give up as much sleep as I used to in order to write. These days, I aim to write twice per week, but it may not happen as I'm hoping it will. Merci pour votre patience--I appreciate your staying with me through my less frequent times of writing.

Nonetheless, I have several upcoming posts I look forward to sharing over time: my reflections on Pamela Druckerman's Bringing Up Bébé (as I mentioned in this post), thoughts on spanking (so controversial!), my daughter's experience since starting violin lessons at age four, and a review of CNED, the French distance education subscription service (assuming I sign up for it soon).

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A Little Croissant In the Oven - Pregnancy Update

On the Fourth of July I shared that my husband and I are expecting our third child in January. That little one is now six months along in utero, and my two-year-old son likes to ask me with a hopeful grin, "Baby come out now?" I'm sure "after Christmas" must seem so far away to him!

This pregnancy has gone fairly well. I was fairly queasy the second month, but having my husband home for the summer was so restful for me! At the nineteen-week ultrasound, we chose not to find out baby's gender because we love the joy and surprise of finding out at birth. It's not that we don't want to know; we simply think that it's even more fun to discover whom God's given us when we first meet him or her. For us, a little patience makes the birth more exciting!

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