How to help your child in French Immersion when you don't speak French:
Having a child in French Immersion can seem daunting when you don’t speak the language yourself, and it is a process that takes consistent effort and motivation on your part as the parent, but it’s completely doable and something that single-language Canadian parents have done successfully for decades!
What is French Immersion?
For those who don’t know, French Immersion is a Canadian educational program that offers elementary and high school classes in French to children from non-French speaking families as well as French-speaking families that choose not to go to full French school.
They offer French classes where children are taught grammar, vocabulary and other basic language concepts but they also learn at least 50 percent or more of their other classes—such as maths, social sciences, sciences, arts, civics, geography, music, phys ed etc.—in French as well. While they often have more than 50 percent French classes, there is never 100 percent French classes in a French Immersion program.
You’re probably thinking, how can you help your child in French Immersion learn French if you don’t speak the language? Don’t fret, because we’ve got you covered in this blog with tips and methods to help your child succeed in learning a second or third language even if you don’t speak it yourself!
How to support your French Immersion student:
Communication is key when children are learning any topic, but especially when you’re helping your child to learn a new language. Making sure that any exercises or activities you do with them to help practice or improve their French are communicated to them clearly will help them not only succeed at the task at hand, but feel better about themselves when using the language!
Learning a new language is just like learning or acquiring a new skill: it takes a lot of time, effort, and practice. The important thing is to keep your children at it and maintain a positive relationship with their French-learning journey.
‘Patience Is A Virtue’
I’m sure we’ve all heard this classic maxim before and it’s crucial to keep it in mind whenever you’re doing French Second Language (FSL) work with your children. Believe us, it can be frustrating and tedious at times, but keeping those four important words in mind can really do wonders. Keeping your patience results in a much more positive experience for your children every time!
Immerse Your Child In The Language
One of the best ways to keep your child interested and happy about learning French is to make it fun and entertaining for them, which helps to create a positive bond between them and the language. One way to do this is to show them ‘cool’ movies, tv shows, and/or music that they can enjoy in French. Coming up with a schedule of weekly or daily fun activities to practice French is also helpful as it incorporates the language into their routines and really immerses them in becoming a francophone.
Thinking Of Homeschooling Your French Immersion Child?
If you’re thinking about homeschooling your children in the French language, there are some things to consider. One of the most important things to remember is to be empathetic and understanding of the challenges that a second language learner goes through. Here are a few tips to help:
- Incorporate French into their daily activities and hobbies
- Change the language settings to French on their phones or tablets
- Keep learning activities concise so the children don’t get overwhelmed
- Provide them with a goal or prize for their FSL effort
For more information on the truths and myths about French Immersion as well as more ways to keep your children motivated on their FSL journey, check out a couple of our other Camp T blogs. And if you have any tips you’d like to share with the Camp Tournesol and Brouillet Academy community on this topic feel free to contact us on our websites at campt.ca and brouilletacademy.ca or through one of our social media platforms!