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How are you children coping with French homework?

Posted by NadiaG-192314 - Created: 13 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by jacqui d - 11 years ago

I personally think that the french education is far better than the British,well i can only compare it to scotland as that's where i was educated .As for homework i haven't got to that stage yet as my daughter is only five and i am dreading it.We moved here one year ago my husband is french but only spoke english to our daughter as he worked away a lot and felt that he would confuse her,now after 8months at school she is speaking very well in french i am so proud of her and when i say she speaks better french than me i am not exaggerating.

We also have a 17 month little boy ,my husband speaks french to him which has prompted my daughter to speak to him in french(which makes him so proud) and it has brought them closer .

As for me making mistakes in french my daughter stands in front of me(like a teacher) and says 'mummy listen its like this' then she will say it very slowly,several times i might add,and i repeat it and then she says 'bien mummy, bravo'.


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Posted by szozu - 13 years ago

A friend of mine's son was born in Spain and at home they spoke a combination of English and Spanish. Though both he and his wife were Americans they spoke excellent Spanish without an American accent.

Their son was fully bilingual, but at school he was going along with the programme and mispronouncing words in English along with the rest of the class, even though he knew better! I used to do the same thing when I was a child when I had Spanish lessons. I was capable of speaking Spanish without an American accent because my native language wasn't English, but I copied the lousy pronunciation of the teacher and the other children in order to fit in. This passes after a certain age when children no longer care about beign different from the rest of the herd.


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Posted by NadiaG-192314 - 13 years ago

Are there any other parents who would like to tell us what they think about school and homework in France?Nadia

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Posted by Montana99 - 13 years ago

My child is Franco-American with a father who only speaks French.  As a baby his first words were in English (called his father 'Daddy' but now only says 'Papa').  My pediatrician was very supportive and said to always speak to him in English so that he would learn it properly, intuitively and told me to ignore people who felt 'left out' if we spoke in English (and I never ever would talk about people in a foreign language in front of them!). 

Sometimes when I speak to him he responds in French, sounds peculiar, but it happens.  His English is better than the kids' at school and he's learning German and Spanish as well.  He takes Latin and excels in it...needless to say, Math is not his favorite subject.

He easily picked up some Swedish and Dutch through various friends in those countries and is very open to other languages and other cultures.  It's a great advantage for them, and I would have loved to have been raised with several languages at home as some of the other respondants have.

The school system, compared to the American system is tough (it's an elitest system) and it's basically learning by rote.  They don't appear to be concerned with applying the knowledge to make it work, but then the American system has given into to not pressuring the children to work (but that's another subject completely).  The children in school here are definitely more intelligent than their American equivalent, the school day is long, the vacations are many and the work is tough.  Nevertheless, our children who have 2 different languages or cultures tend to survive and do well within this type of a system.  And for those with children getting into lycée and going off for studies at university, there are programs that allow them to study in other countries for minimal amounts of money - compared to the American system of private education.  A French friend has two nieces who've studied in Edinbourg, Stockholm, Helsinki and now has a daughter with her cousin in Copenhagen (they are all going to be engineers of some sort) and Daphné is learning Danish (on top of French, German, English, Spanish and Italian)...

Yes, as a teenager, he loves making fun of my mistakes and finds that just hilarious to laugh at me; but that's normal for his age.  He'll never sound American speaking French, although he sounds a bit European (not necessarily French) when he speaks English (and no, he'll never sound British either). 

One negative thing comes to mind, when they stated teaching English (with a French teacher) to his CM2 class, he obviously had a big advantage over the other children; but he wasn't mature enough to correct the teacher's mistakes ('puppy' and 'poppy was the problem) although he knew the teacher was wrong.  The teacher favored the other children in games and wouldn't allow him the same courtesy as the others when he could not understand the teacher's British English spoken with a terribly thick French accent.


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Posted by Markdo-187997 - 13 years ago

NadiaG, sorry for the late reply. My son is 8 months old so I have a bit of time yet to decide on his education! I will always be primarily English and I feel I will only be able to communicate effectively in English. Hence the English culture/language will play a v. large part in the household. I am assuming that there is a good chance that my children will rebel when they become teenagers - I want to ensure that this is not compounded by a French/English split. As I write this mail it occurs to me that the underlying issue is not my childerns education but my inability to integrate. There are many open issues: do teenagers rebel less in France than the UK? Is my attitude any different from first generation Asian immigrants in the UK who I feel should integrate more? ...

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Posted by nicandsi-188743 - 13 years ago

My Daughter is fluent at speaking french and I think she thinks it's great that she does know something better than me but we joke about it . I know that some children get very emmbarresed (spelling sorry) about how bad thier parents speak french and would rather them say nothing at all. But she's not she thinks it's great fun.

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Posted by orme-197181 - 13 years ago

Hello NadiaG!

Although my French is fluent, I sometimes still make mistakes on gender and my 11 year old son corrects me with infinite patience!  He loves that superior feeling.  It's the same with maths - I never got to grips with algebra, but as he is learning it he is coming home and explaining it to me in a way no-one else ever did, and it is all clicking into place - if only I'd known it was so easy when I was at school!  It's all in the teaching method .....

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Posted by NadiaG-192314 - 13 years ago

Another question....A lot of you mention that their children now speak better french than them. Are they teaching you or making fun of you?It is always interesting to see what children react when they have some sort of 'superiority' feeling towards their parents!Looking forward to more school/education/language related replies.xxxNadia

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Posted by Miss Varna - 13 years ago

Although I do not have any kids yet, I want to share with you my childhood experiences.

Father Bulgarian, mother half-Bulgarian, half-German, I was born and raised in Germany. My mother spoke only German with me, I went to German kindergarten and school, I had only German friends. My father wanted to teach me Bulgarian but as soon as he started talking, I put my hands on my ears and did not want to hear it. For me, it was useless as noone else spoke that language (and my father spoke very good German, why not talk German with me?). We went to Bulgaria once every year and I only knew very basic things like counting to 10, hello, please, thanks, goodbye, how are you, my name is.

This did not change until I was 12 and then I felt the urge to learn the language. We then went to Bulgaria 3 times a year and I learnt the language during my stays, and back at home I taught myself writing and reading (cyrillic alphabet). By the time I was 16, I was fluent, read Bulgarian books and started going to Bulgarian besides German school and obtained my highschool diploma.

So now I speak Bulgarian as well as German, albeit with a slight accent, who cares. I read as well in both languages and on top of it, I am fluent in 2 more and have basic knowledge in a 5th, including another, totally different alphabet.

But I agree with those who mentioned an identity crisis: I myself identify more with Bulgaria than with Germany and consider myself being Bulgarian. In Germany, I am regarded as such wheras in Bulgaria, everybody calls me "the German". Having both nationalities (passports) does not make it much easier. I also agree with the huge advantages of being exposed to 2 different cultures.

Let's see how my future kids will be raised, trilingually (French/German as my husband is German/Bulgarian)?

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Posted by tigers-192191 - 13 years ago

Our son has just started Maternelle in Nice in September - he is 3 in a couple of weeks time - we came to France when he was just 6 months old. We have made a purpose of talking only English to our son as we feel that he is exposed enough to the French language and will soon be speaking French better than us. We only let him watch English television/English videos and we read books in English to him at home. We also make sure that he mixes with English children and french children after school. The school has been very good so far - his teacher only speaks French so he is completly immersed in the language for 3 hours each morning and he also attends a completly French Halte Garderie on a Wednesday. His class at school also consists of Portugese and Russian children so fairly cosmopolitan bunch of kids...who all are finding it a bit difficult to understand all the French at the moment. We think that if you are here in France it is down to the parents to ensure that their children maintain their indigenous language or send them to a bilingual school - there is a choice. But also think that if you truly want to live here in the community with full integration then what's the point in sending them to bilingual school...may as well be back in England and have your son/daughter take French lessons....because of our sons age he know's no different and although he is slightly confused at the moment - mixing both languages we are confident by Xmas the penny will drop!

Having bilingual children is a hugely positive thing that will benefit them greatly as they get older - and one of the reasons why we came to live here in the first place.