Our First Autumn Homeschooling: Rhythms & Realities

Winter doesn't officially arrive here in Oregon until next month, but strangely, we've already had our first light snowfall and an ice storm, so it feels as though autumn is already past. In addition, my daughter has started learning a Christmas song on violin, so I've been reflecting on how our first autumn of homeschooling went now that we're transitioning into winter.

Read More

Beginning French Lesson 4: Numbers & Calendars

This beginning French lesson, the fourth in a series of seven, helps students review basic numbers and gain familiarity with vocabulary for the days and months. Allons-y! Let's go! (Here are links to previous lessons onetwo, and three.)

Lesson 4 Goals:

  • Review French names of numbers 1-21; gain familiarity with numbers through 79
  • Learn a song featuring the days of the week in French; gain familiarity with the 12 months
Read More

Beginning French Lesson Plan 3: Alphabet, Spelling, & Numbers

Here is the third lesson for a beginning French class based on a once-per-week 50-minute course for upper elementary students. If you'd like to see earlier lessons, I posted lesson one and two within the past few weeks.

Lesson 3 Goals:

  • Review French greetings and introductions
  • Review and practice French alphabet sounds and corresponding letters
  • Learn to count from 1-21 in French
Read More

Our French Language Journey: A Podcast at Bilingual Kids Rock

Bonjour encore, mes amis! Just two weeks ago I shared with you my podcast with Marianna Du Bosq at Bilingual Avenue. (If you missed it, you can find it here on iTunes.) I enjoyed speaking with Marianna about what the journey has been like as I raise my children in non-native French, and I'm glad to hear that the podcast has been popular. 

Likewise, I was just as thrilled to record a podcast with Olena Centeno at Bilingual Kids Rock--and it's just been released this past week! My talk with Olena focuses more on the details and background of how I came to speak French with my children, how my family (and strangers) react to my French, and my journey as a language learner, parent, and teacher. I'm thrilled to link to my podcast with Olena for the first time here:

Read More

Returning to the Heart of Discipline

This month is bringing the harder days of parenting--days when the children wake too early, when fatigue coils around us a bit more tightly each hour, when tantrums have the power to bring a wave of anger or a rim of tears to my eyes. But the struggles are teaching me to reflect on my responses, particularly those that proved unhelpful. On occasion, when I put my children to bed, I have to apologize for my meanness and for reacting too harshly. I pray aloud that we can be more patient with one another.

Read More

Raising a Toddler Boy: On Patience, Expectations, and Joy

My son is two-and-a-half. At this age he is a challenge and a joy. (I expect he always will be, only in different ways). When I'm seated, he delights in hugging my neck from behind, nearly choking me. He insists on pouring his own rice milk, opening the garage himself, and starting each day with a formidable pile of books to be read to him. He plunges underwater fearlessly during swim lessons but refuses to kick or follow instructions.

Read More

Beginning French Lesson Plan 2: Greetings, Geography, & Alphabet

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.)

Read More

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:

Read More