I’m so ready for this change. New Year’s Eve, my husband and I enjoyed our yearly tradition of making a meal together, reminiscing the past year, setting goals and making plans for the year to come. I love this tradition of ours: the good food, the good company, and the way I wake up January 1 feeling recharged and ready for the great things we have planned. Often I find myself nostalgic as I watch the clock tick toward midnight on December 31; sometimes even sad to bid adieu to the year that has gone. This year, none of that – 2013 was a mixed bag for me, and I’m happy to move on. New year, fresh start, clean slate… bring it. (Do people still say that?)
This year, we set new personal goals and made some travel plans – smaller scale than some years past, but we have some great trips to look forward to.
Here on my blog, I’m posting my language/blogging goals:
1. Volunteer at my daughter’s school by offering a French lesson each week.
I’m scaring myself with this one. Talking in a foreign language to a bunch of 2, 3, and 4 year olds? How will I keep their attention? How do I go about making a lesson that’s captivating to preschoolers, let alone in a language none of them speak (yet)? Still, I have several ideas that I’m excited about and I’m feeling up to the challenge. I’ve discussed it with the head of the preschool, and now I’ve written about it on my blog. So, I’m officially committed. Holy… merde.
2. Read five books in French.
I’ve got a few picked out already. It’s always hard to begin a French book for me – reading is normally such a pleasure, yet reading in French is work. I remind myself that once I get into a book, I forget that I’m reading in French and I start to enjoy it rather than slug through it with my dictionary on constant alert.
3. Look into pursuing a Master’s in French.
University of Colorado at Boulder has a great program, as does Colorado State in nearby Fort Collins. While in San Diego, I took a few upper division French courses at SDSU and had a fabulous time. I’m toying with the idea of pursuing a master’s. Would it be simply fulfilling a personal goal of being completely bilingual, or could this be a career change – I don’t yet know. What I do know is that I love learning French and that improving my French benefits my entire family. I’m not quite ready to return to work full time as my kids are still so small. I have the luxury of choosing to stay home with them, yet I want/need something apart from being a mom. So, why not another degree? I can hear my friends now: Or you could chill out and address your overachiever issues.
4. Blog Entries 1-2X/weekly
Yes, continuing with my blog, posting about raising bilingual kiddos, what it’s like to be a bilingual family, and Franco-American cultural clashes is definitely on my list.
5. Continue my involvement with the multilingual blogging community.
I’ve plugged in to a great group of bloggers, all of whom are raising children in bi- or multicultural/lingual families. Several of their blogs are listed on my sidebar. Whenever I need inspiration, I just visit their blogs or our groups on Facebook.
6. French lessons for my kids twice weekly (at least).
Among the problems that many multilingual families face are: kids becoming passively bilingual – they understand the second language but don’t speak it (this seems to be developing in my home), or they speak it but reading and writing skills go undeveloped. My goal is for my kids to be fluent in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing both English and French. Whether it’s me or I hire a tutor, my kiddos need more exposure to all aspects of the French language.
7. Speak in French during two dinners/week with our family.
Currently, when we are all together, my husband speaks French to the kids but English with me. Again, the kids (and I) need more French.
8. Take advantage of the French activities in the area and try to connect with other French speakers.
I’ve found storytimes, playgroups, and group lessons so far. We’re going to participate in as much as we can.
9. French language summer school for the kids.
There are opportunities both here in the Boulder area and in San Diego for French language summer camps. Since we aren’t going to France this year, we can take advantage of local summer camps, as well as combine an extended vacation in our old stomping grounds – San Diego – with summer camps for the kids at the French American School. The beach, good Mexican food, old friends, and French? Yes, please.
10. Eat more crêpes at La Crêperie of Ft. Collins.
Because they really are good enough to merit a New Year’s Resolution.
I love your New Year’s resolution to earn an MA in French. Just out of curiosity, did you earn a BA in French?
I didn’t – my BA is in Microbiology and I have a doctorate in Physical Therapy. I’ve learned French through private lessons and immersion programs in France (I’ve done 2 short term programs). I’ve been taking undergraduate courses in French to fill in some holes/prereqs for entering an MA program. We’ll see – I’m still pondering whether or not to pursue this!
Salut! J’adore votre blog. Ces objectifs sont vraiment cools. Bonne chance 🙂
Merci ! Bonne Année !
Re: #6 – I wholeheartedly agree with this one. We were living in the States when I was little and when I started first grade my mom gave me French lessons after school so I could learn to read and write in French as well as English. Came in very handy when we moved to French-speaking countries, and especially now that I’m currently living in France. She actually took it a step further and homeschooled me for 3rd and 4th grade, using a combination of French and American curricula. To this day I’m not entirely certain how she pulled it off, but as a result I was able to bounce back and forth between school systems with very little trouble.
As for #7, that’s a good place to start, though I’d recommend speaking French at home as much as possible. It sounds like your kids may have more opportunities to speak it outside the home than we did in Virginia, but speaking it regularly at home helps tremendously.
And of course you can never have too many crêpes. 😉
Thanks for reading! I appreciate hearing from people whose bilingual upbringing worked out well for them. As for #7, sometimes we have to start small 🙂 It’s a struggle for me to speak French, it feels unnatural with my kids, so I wanted an achievable goal!
Well, you know what they say, practice makes perfect. 🙂
Ima only had crepes once in my life . . . and that was in Vancouver. You must send me some 😀 A good dry champagne washes away most sins.
I wish crepes traveled well – I’d put in a weekly order from our favorite places in Bretagne! As for the champagne – absolutely 🙂
Hello, I came across your website when looking for a name for my own blog (which I still haven’t put online). I absolutely love reading your entries! I feel like I’m reading my own life at times. I too am married to a Frenchman, and have 2 little ones under the age of 4. We lived together in France, and for the past 7 years we were in Southern California until we decided to up and move to the east coast this past summer (talk about culture shock;)).
Good luck on your resolutions!
We also have the goal of speaking French at the dinner table, actually at home at all times is the goal, but we haven’t made it past the 15 minute mark and we are both fluent in English and French. It seems we never speak just one language 100% of the time which was never an issue until we had children. Being in the states, English prevails at home now. I so badly want our kids to get French, and the accent down now before it actually becomes an effort to learn. Who knew being a bi-cultural, bilingual family would demand such work and not just come naturally. If only…
I look forward to your next posts. Bonne annee 🙂
So glad you found me! Seems there are a lot of us – Americans married to Frenchman. Where in France did you live, and where in Southern California? We just moved to Colorado from San Diego, so we’re both experiencing culture and weather shocks! Let me know when you put up your blog – I’ll look forward to reading!
Happy New Year – you have reminded me to add to my list for 2014!…points #2,4, 7 should be on mine too – all too easy to slip back to english at home and forget to practice French for both the kids and myself! – Hubby makes the traditional crepes every Sunday for the kids so that is the easiest one 🙂
Wow, crepes every Sunday? I need to talk to my husband…
🙂 yup kids will wait till 10 am if they have to for Breakfast – the irony is that I am terrible at making them myself so gladly leave the job to Mr. Techno… Il ne faut pas oublier le Nutella, autrement c’est un desastre.
Oui, une crêpe sans Nutella est comme un jour sans soleil !
Thanks for participating in the blogging carnival. Good luck with meeting your goals!
Thank you for hosting!
Wow, I am royally impressed. First off, I think everyone should have a lot of ‘La Veuve’ in one’s life. My French is always greatly improved by her. Such a shame the marketing campaign was such a success and drove the prices up. I long for the days of 25-28USD bottles.
Now French books – this is one I should really be doing. Perhaps we can start an online book club in order to make ourselves read it? This has been a resolution of mine for years, both spoken and silent and yet… well I have yet to succeed here.
Oh and did I mention you may want to drink a bottle of VC before your French class? A friend of mine who was a political journalist and turned to Spanish teacher admitted that facing guerrillas holding kalashnikovs was less frightening than his first spanish class day with 5 little girls. Was that awful of me to mention? Remember, it was a bloke and we, the mothers, were all there watching. I should have handed him a stiff drink beforehand.
And if you are seriously up for some good Mexican food, maybe i can persuade you and your brood to come and visit me this summer since we will be flying to the other side of the planet to indulge? We could even practice a little French!
Coco aka Multilingualmama
Hi! Thanks for reading 🙂
First off, I am ALWAYS up for good Mexican food. I’m desperate for it since we left San Diego!
And true – my French is vastly improved with wine, VC, beer….
Preschoolers are terrifying. I’m more nervous before a class with them than I ever was before the gun went off to start a race back in my running days! Their brutal honesty has been a serious ego check: “I’m tired of this.” “Why didn’t you bring food this time?” “I don’t WANT to say that.” Yikes! Luckily, overall it’s been great fun.
Book club? I’m in!