My Journey Attempting Bilingual Education at Home

For this blog, my goal is to show snapshots of myself, a semi-proficient bilingual person, teaching my toddler son to speak French. Just FYI: I’m not formally trained as a French teacher, but I am in Early Childhood Special Education with a minor in French. I’m here to put out some fun and effective language learning ideas, resources and activities, as well as to collaborate with the bilingual community. I believe learning a second language is a fun and challenging experience for both the child and parent. I’ll give a brief background as to WHY I decided to have my son become bilingual. Before I get started, I want to touch on the fact that I really enjoy writing in lists and bullet points. I think lists are an easy-to-read format that would help readers be able to access the information best. For me, I know that when I click on a link to a blog post and it is long, all I do is skim!

My Background

-My name is Iris and I have a 2 year-old son.

-My dad is French, from the Caribbean Island of Martinique. He taught me a bit of French here and there, but did not raise me as bilingual.

-My formal French education started in 6th grade.

-I have a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (Special Education PK-3) and a minor in French.

-I studied abroad in Dijon, France in the summer of 2011 for 2 months.

-My first job out of college was in France! I was an assistante de langue (assistant English teacher) in the Rhône-Alpes region for 8 months, where I taught middle school and high school.

-I speak to my dad only in French since I was in middle school and had an interest.

-I absolutely love the French language and try to keep up watching movies, studying through a workbook, podcasts, YouTube videos, books, you name it!

-I’ve been speaking to my son primarily in French since he was 12 months old. Before that, I spoke about 50/50 French/English. I committed to speaking more towards 100% French once I saw how quickly he was picking up language and his pediatrician reassured me to keep with it since he would pick up English easily.

So…WHY speak in French ALL THE TIME to my son?

-Growing up I always bugged my dad, asking him: “Why didn’t you just speak to me in French all the time, I’d be easily fluent by now!” His response: “I tried, but you didn’t seem to have an interest, so I didn’t push it.” Oh well! 🙂

-I want my son to speak a language that is apart of my heritage and that I adore!

-My cousins and uncles only speak French

-Being bilingual has cognitive benefits as well as social ones.

-French is adorable when a toddler speaks it! As my son says it best (elongating the first part of the word) “OOOUUUI.”

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