French Summer Day Camps in Oregon: Our Experience

Oh là là--can you believe la rentrée (back to school) has arrived? My husband returns to teaching high school this week, and my children and I will officially continue our homeschooling journey. We would have loved to return to France to continue the incredible experience we had there last summer and fall, but since we needed to stay in Oregon this summer, my older two children were thrilled to attend a week of French day camp. Here in Portland, Oregon, there are two French schools offering French immersion summer day camps, and both programs are fantastique. Here's what we loved about them:

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Bastille Day 2016 in Oregon - Vive la France!

The biggest French national holiday is arguably Bastille Day, though the French don't call it that. En français, It's simply le 14 juillet. And for fourteen years now, the Alliance Française of Portland has organized a Bastille Day festival the weekend before July 14th. This year's fête was held outside the Portland Art Museum, with the usual mélange of colorful vendors' booths, live accordion music, a wine garden, and mouthwatering treats for gourmands of all ages.

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Transforming Children's Lives: My Family's Simple Story of Compassion

When I was fourteen, my dad decided to sponsor a child through Compassion International, an organization that aims to release children from poverty and to enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults. Actually, my dad chose to sponsor three children so that my two sisters and I could each be paired with a child, writing letters to update and encourage each other every few months. My child--a girl from the Philippines--I and corresponded through my college years and into my early married years until she grew up. Now I sponsor another Filipina girl, Angielyn, and it's been a delight to watch her grow through annual photos and bi-monthly letters.

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Trying out Math by Hand, the Waldorf-Inspired Math Kits

This past spring I shared about a typical day in our French homeschooling life and a reader (merci, Shannon!) told me about Math By Hand, a Waldorf-inspired curriculum created by Marin Lipowitz here in the USA. I was intrigued by the idea of math learning kits that revolve around crafts and activities--aren't you? My children and I tried out the initial kit for first grade and here's what we found:

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Running on Empty

Last March I completed my first half-marathon. It was simple, thankfully—a fresh morning race alongside the Columbia River with ample wildlife and enough other runners to keep it interesting. The next day I pinpointed a few other upcoming races to keep me motivated to stay fit, but to my great disappointment, I haven’t run since that half-marathon. Not once.

It’s not because I don’t enjoy running. Distance running has always been an enjoyable challenge for me, and even more so now that I can listen to podcasts and audiobooks along the way. Learning AND getting time alone? My INTJ brain type thrives on this!

But . . .

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A Day in Our French Homeschooling Life: Ages 1, 4, & 7

This is our second year of homeschooling if you consider that my oldest child is now seven, but our "education at home" lifestyle has been gaining momentum since that daughter was young and we first decided to take this path. This year we've found a definite rhythm, but that's not to say that we follow a set schedule. With my children's young ages and with my belief in the importance of play at this stage, certain days are far less orderly than others--but here's a typical homeschooling day for us:

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