I have spoken to several parents that would like their children to learn another language and ask me where to start. I tell parents that you must first decide what is the outcome that you are expecting from your child's language skills. Would you like for your child to just get an introduction to the language (colors, numbers, etc.)? Would you like for you child to be able to speak at a conversation level? Would you like for you child to read, write, and speak fluently? For us the answer is the latter.
Now that you have decided the level that you hope for your child to obtain, you have to realistically decide whether you are willing to put in the time and effort it take to make that happen. Research has shown that for a child to become fluent in a language he must be engaged in it for 30% of his waking hours. After much discussion and research we realized that they only language besides English and Spanish that we could come close to providing enough exposure to would be French. Here are some of our plans for our French education in the coming months.
1. Kid videos. Almost every video sold in the US has a French language track. I am going to look through the kid videos that we have and see what which ones might work. After that I will search our public library.
2. I plan to use the internet to look for free materials and websites. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :)
3. I have several friends who are French teachers. They have suggested that I hired a college student who is majoring in French to come to the house to play with the boys once a week and only speak to them in French. I love this idea but I am curious as to whether it would work out.
4. I am going to keep looking for a playgroups or storytime sessions in French in our area. There is an excellent French private school that is WAY out of our budget. They do provide, however, camps and classes in the summer.
I am lucky that Diego is very receptive to learning another language. He is already used to the idea that there is two ways to say everything. He has no problem understanding that there will now be a third. We are starting slowly by just counting objects in French here and there. One very strange thing for me is that I am teaching Diego a third language (French) while using my second language (Spanish.) It is going to be a challenge but I am exciting to start this journey of learning with my husband and sons.
If anyone has any resources that you would would recommend, I would love the help!