Decision Point: Can This French Program Be Saved?

After a beautiful Northwest summer, my social-studies teaching husband returned from his first day back to work with news: the French teacher at his high school had suddenly retired, just days before students were set to arrive. I was wide-eyed at this revelation. I had wondered if I would ever teach French at our local school, and I've kept my teaching license valid, but homeschooling our children has been my top priority over the past few years--particularly so that I can raise them in French. We wondered what the school administrators would choose to do.

Forty-eight hours later, my husband told me his principal would like us to decide immediately if I would step into the French position. I was overwhelmed with the suddenness of the request, particularly since no one from the school had contacted me directly, but I agreed to meet with the principal the following day to find out the details. I was told the position would entail teaching four levels of French, six classes per day, full-time, starting in two work days.

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Hawaii's Aquarium: Why Maui Ocean Center is Worth a Family Visit

If we lived on Maui, or visited frequently, an annual family pass to the Maui Ocean Center would definitely be on our wish list. Two years ago we visited the Newport Aquarium here in Oregon, and while it was fantastic to view creatures of the northern (colder) Pacific, it's a pleasantly different experience in Maui to admire the incredible creatures of the tropical Pacific.

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Family Must Do's on Maui: Our Favorite Hawaii Activities

Bonjour and Aloha! One month ago a acquaintance asked me, "So when can your family go to Hawaii this summer?" The only correct answer to that question is "Anytime!" Thanks to their offer of a place to stay, we've just gotten back from a week on Maui and a week on Molokai. The last time we visited Maui our baby was a year old, so it was a wonderful family experience to visit now with our 2 year old, 5 year old, and 8 year old. Here's what we loved during our week on Maui, and what I'd highly recommend you do if you get the opportunity to visit:

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Inspiration for Bilingual Parenting: Adam Beck's Thoughtful Guidebook

Early in my quest to raise a bilingual child, I frequently read non-fiction books on bilingualism to help me grasp the requirements ahead. Eight years later, however, I'm now a homeschooling parent of three children, and my reading on the topic has slowed quite a bit. Since late last fall, however, I've been slowly savoring each little chapter of Adam Beck's indie-published book, Maximize your Child's Bilingual Ability. His book is neither a daunting tome of scientific research nor a fluffy anecdotal jaunt through his own parenting experience, but instead, it's the ideal guidebook for parents who are sure of their commitment to bilingual parenting but in need of ideas and ongoing inspiration. That covers every bilingual parent, including me!

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Marathon de Paris 2017: Sweat & Joie de Vivre

Twelve days ago I sat cross-legged in the middle of the Champs Elysées, feeling strangely calm as the sun warmed the cobblestones and I waited for the start of my first marathon. I regarded the sea of running shoes and bare legs--many of the 52,000 marathon runners had chosen to wear shorts because of the predicted warmth. A friend who'd run this marathon years earlier had warned me about the low number of porta-potties here at the start, and now I was grateful not to need to join the ranks of worried-looking runners currently queuing at significant lengths from the occasional toilet.

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Approaching the Paris Marathon: from Oregon Snow to Sunday Sunshine

Signing up for a marathon is an act of faith: you hope for good weather, ever-increasing health, and adequate time to complete your training. From my standpoint last fall, the 2017 Marathon de Paris seemed possible: my toddler would be weaned (hopefully), our year-long homebuilding project would be finished, and although my husband wouldn't be able to travel with me, my mother and sister could help watch my children while I was away.

In reality, unforeseen training hurdles piled up like snowdrifts over the past few months.

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ZooLights in Oregon: Why it's Better than Ever (plus a giveaway!)

Last week was our final week with a French friend--she had been living with us for three months, and without a visa to stay longer, her time in the U.S. was legally drawing to an end. As you can imagine, we had several activities that we wanted to squeeze in with her before she left. ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo was one of them. (I'm happy to give you a chance to win tickets too. Just keep reading!) Here's why I think ZooLights is better this year than ever before:

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