A Favorite Cultural Film Documentary Series: Families of the World

Media is a fantastic way to supplement language learning--my children and I love the French children's books we borrow from Les Petits Livres, and I often stream French children's music from Spotify radio, but I rarely turn to movies or film clips because they're such a passive way of learning. However, there are a few educational films that I've appreciated for what they've taught my children about the world's languages and cultures. Here's the first of the film resources that I'd like to share with you:

Read More

Infant Pottying: Why It's A Sweet Way to Parent (and Have Fewer Diapers to Change)

A few weeks ago I shared some forgotten truths about newborns and I mentioned that newborns can use the potty. Western cultures like ours are largely ignorant about this, but in this Information Age, such knowledge is spreading again. If you aren't familiar with Infant Pottying, Elimination Communication (E.C.), or Natural Infant Hygiene, I'm glad to share what I've learned as we've raised our babies this way. It takes an open mind to read this without skepticism, but you can do it!

Read More

Tips for Leading a Young Bilingual Playgroup

Bonjour les amis! Last fall I told you about a conference I attended for teachers of foreign languages, the ACTFL conference in San Antonio, Texas, and it was full of information about supporting language learning (of course!). One of the sessions I attended focused on "Playing to Promote a Second Language in Toddlers and Preschoolers," presented by Raul Echevarria of CommuniKids. If you've ever thought about starting a simple class or playgroup to support language learning, you'll want to read Raul's tips:

Read More

The Overlooked Joys of a Third Child

When we were dating, my husband told me he wanted thirteen children. He wasn't entirely serious, of course, and I was already in my late twenties when we married, but we figured we'd have at least several children if God allowed it.

Yet in Western culture, once you have two children, few people expect you to have another, especially when you already have a son and daughter. Our culture isn't as extreme as Orson Scott Card imagined in his futuristic novel Ender's Game--where "third" is a derogatory term for the third child in a family, but our culture does view a third child as an extra expense--requiring upsizing one's car (due to carseat requirements), possibly adding on a bedroom (because fewer siblings now share a room), and paying more for family vacations (since hotel room occupancies and vacation packages are designed for families of four).

Read More

Beginning French Lesson 6: Likes & Dislikes Project

One of my favorite activities to do with beginning French students is to help them create a likes and dislikes chart. The chart is fun and colorful, but what I love most about it is what it enables students to do afterwards: it provides a context for learning how to use a bilingual dictionary and helps students grasp basic French sentence construction. Essentially, this activity moves students beyond the early language stage of memorizing basic phrases and towards a solid understanding of how to create their own original sentences in French.

Read More

Fascinating Non-Fiction Reads of 2014

Now that I'm a homeschooling mama of three, I'm amazed that I manage to read as many books as I do, but a few hours spent reading each week--mostly at night--add up to a lot of joy and learning! Last year I shared my planned reading list for 2014, but not all of the books turned out to be titles I'd recommend. In contrast, this January I'm sharing non-fiction books with you that I've read over the past year and found fascinating. These aren't parenting- or French-related books, but they'll make you a more informed parent and enlarge your understanding of life:

Read More

3 Forgotten Truths About Newborns

Our family is ten days into this parenting journey with our third child, so I thought I'd share three truths about newborns that I am being reminded of this week. I didn't know these truths when I started my parenting journey, and our modern society has mostly forgotten them:

Read More