As a parent of a child in French Immersion, have you ever said that? I have personally heard it many times. You might even have given your child the opportunity to learn a second language early because you wish you had benefited from that same opportunity. There is nothing you can do about your own education as a young child, but it’s never too late to learn at least some French.
When we say we “wish we knew how to do something”, what we really want is being able to take a pill or get a shot which would literally give us the ability to do something without putting in the time of the effort. I have seen no such pill or shot so if you are sincere about “wishing you knew more French”, then get to it! If you actually have a child in French Immersion, it’s a golden opportunity to learn, which, be honest, you thought you would when you registered your little one. I am a big advocate of parents learning French alongside their child, it’s much more motivating for him or her and it’s a great opportunity for you as well. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Get yourself a travel book.
Those little language travel books are usually well made and categorize entire phrases that you can learn little by little. You can start by learning greetings. That’s always useful and easy to practice every day. You can move on to daily activities: make your bed, eat your supper, etc. Don’t be afraid to incorporate only bits of French in your sentences, you don’t have to know the whole thing, your young francophile might help you translate it, if not, at least there is some French in there.
2. Attend a French event.
Language isn’t much more than sound unless it is used to communicate. Participating in a French-related event is an excellent opportunity for a real-life lesson where you can practice your “bonjour” and “merci”. It will also help your son or daughter appreciate that French is actually used outside the classroom.
3. Get your child to teach you!
You signed up your child in French Immersion, you might as well take advantage of it. Sure, kids learn languages more easily than us but it’s no reason not to make an effort. Be flexible, an easy way to incorporate some French in your daily life is to replace some of your usual English words with French ones. Meals are a great opportunity to learn from your youngsters. They will be proud to teach you and happy to make fun of your accent!
4. Follow a board on Pinterest.
Of course you should follow our Immersion Help Pinterest board, that goes without saying :). There are many other great ones that feature vocabulary, facts or simply pictures.
5. Read both sides of the cereal box.
That really only works when you live in Canada… We are lucky here to enjoy both English and French text on food packaging. I always enjoy reading both versions, and I am particularly interested in how slogans and tag lines are translated (a little nerdy some of you might say). Many such phrases use rhymes or play on words that cannot be translated word for word so it’s cool to see how they chose to relay the same message in a different language. Apart from the marketing message, the text is essentially faithfully translated so it can a good source of quick, easy breakfast knowledge.
What better way to start your day than with a few new French words?