Sunday, October 14, 2012

Nous parlons français

I gave up.

I honestly thought I could remember enough of my schoolgirl French to teach Older Daughter the beauties of this second language, but no such luck. Though we acquired a number of useful books, the fact remained that after thirty years, my skills were too rusty.

This left us in something of a dilemma. Older Daughter needed to study a second language in order to maximize her potential for becoming a nanny. The nanny school's preferred choice of a second language was either Spanish (if Older Daughter wants to be placed with a family that lives in the south) or French. Since a southern climate is too hot for Older Daughter's preference, French it is.

When I determined I wasn't qualified to teach her, we inquired at our local county high school. We found out the school is too small to offer anything other than Spanish. So I asked an older woman I know who is fluent in French (and who taught it for 25 years) if she could tutor Older Daughter. But this lovely lady felt too busy to take on such a commitment, so she referred me instead to a small in-home facility in Spokane called La Petite Maison Française.

This is run by a very French (imagine me saying that with a very French accent) woman who teaches both French and Spanish. She gives private classes in a petite maison in her backyard. (This photo was taken at dusk, hence the weird colors.)

Mme. Sessard teaches French by immersion. Older Daughter has had a start with the language (in both accent as well as basic vocabulary) so she's picking it up quite quickly. Sitting quietly in a corner (and snapping this circumspect photo, I might add), I'm also re-learning a fair bit as well, so Older Daughter and I can practice during the week.

Hey, when you homeschool you have to roll with the punches. We'll continue these private language lessons as long as we can afford them. Et pour maintenant, je suis satisfait.


  1. We went to a German language Church Christmas Ceremony one year.

    After the service we sat down at a large table with some German ladies.

    One of the ladies asked my (than 4 year old) son, "Do you speak any German?"

    He said no, but I speak some Chinese.

    She looked a little surprised, but impressed. I was just surprised.

    I asked him if he knew enough Chinese that he could make his way through China if he went on a trip there. He assured me he did.

    I asked him where he learned Chinese, and what words he knew.

    He said "I watched Scooby Doo and the Chinese Kooky Caper", and I know Won Ton, Egg Fu Young, et cetera.

    The German ladies were confused but I was trying very hard not die laughing as my eyes almost popped out. He of course was completely serious.

    There are a number of Scooby Do episodes set in France. Possibly that is all she needs.

  2. We went an easier route (well, maybe) and learned ASL for our foreign language. Good luck!

  3. Well...sest la vye!



  4. I can sorta read French, but couldn't understand a word of it spoken-part of that is due to the fact my older DVD player insists you read the French subtitles if the DVD has them(you can go into the menu and change it, but on startup, if the French subtitles are there, you're gonna see 'em. A Francophone DVD player?). There's enough similarity between English and many languages that makes it fairly easy to read(knowing a relatively few words), but not easy to understand it if spoken-if that makes sense.

  5. how about buying the "rosetta stone" ...i have heard that it is quite good. my son learned japanese and okinawan dialect while stationed on okinawa thru the "when in rome, do as the romans" method and when he was in first grade public school he actually learned enough italian to travel italy with.

  6. When my son needed to take a second language his school had several to choose from. I saw one of them was Latin. I thought Ah Ha! Who uses Latin? Lawyers and Judges, by extension politicians, Doctors, Contracts of all sorts. Latin is the base for French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, and heavily influences English. If he could use Latin, he would not be in the dark with any of these. How much more useful than limiting himself to something like Russian.

    He took my recommendation, and has found it very useful. Enough so that he sought out more classes than his school offered.

    He enjoys that self-important lawyers (whom he encounters often in his line of work) can't "end run" him with their big words. He can read all the European languages at least somewhat, though the accents and speed it's spoken prevent him from understanding them much while spoken. He says Latin has been one of the most useful classes he's ever taken.

  7. Comme prof de francais, je dis 'Bonne courage'.

    1. LOL -- merci. C'est très intéressant pour écouter leur parler, c'est à coup sûr.

      - Patrice

    2. ''Bon courage''
      ''C'est très intéressant de les écouter parler''
      À coup sûr, can't apply here. But you could say:
      ''C'est sûr que c'est très intéressant de les écouter discuter''.