Our family set a challenge:
to do “French Friday” every week!
Every friday, as a fun way to learn french language and culture as a family:
- we will speak only french to each other
- we will receive reward stickers for every hour we manage to avoid english words
- once per month I will arrange a french language and/or a french cultural activity
- and I will be posting our experiences right here!
Expected result: We will be fluent in french in 3 months.
Realistic result: My children will out talk me, and run riot in the house every Friday, and I will be racing to the nearest french course asap!!
French Friday was born from frustration. Our family of five arrived in Montreal almost two years ago. We arrived in Montreal as anglophones who were excited to learn a second language (or at least I was excited, my three children didn’t share my enthusiasm when repeatedly counting to ten in a foreign language).
Our first few weeks in a new country, new city, and new language had plenty of ups and downs. My excited success ordering vegetables in french at our local market was quickly followed by devastated children when I could only order drinks instead of a meal from a francophone waitress. Don’t get me wrong, Montreal is a very bilingual/multilingual city, so there was rarely an issue when I requested service in English. My struggle was when I tried to speak French. I took so long thinking of the phrase to use, that I ended up saying nothing. You know there’s a problem when the shop assistant is trying her third or fourth language to get a response from you. Too soon I swapped back to english, to protect myself from public humiliation.
I did attempt french classes and loved every minute. But when the oral exam arrived, my mind ran out the door, leaving me stammering in very poor franglish. “What happened?!” was my french teacher’s reponse. I guess it was lucky he didn’t verbalise the inappropriate french dialogue running through his head – I might have understood some of those phrases, I have watched “Bon cop, bad cop” after all!
So two years have passed since our arrival. My children have flourished, they happily translate for me in public and patiently correct my feeble attempts to communicate in french. But my public humiliation when using french has not improved. In fact, it has turned to frustration and this is where French Friday comes in.
A dinner table conversation (yes, I persist in banning screens from the dinner table – while covertly viewing mine – in an attempt to have a family conversation) resulted in a family consensus on having French Friday every week. A day we can practice our french as a family. My eldest two children jumped at the opportunity to earn reward stickers (stickers that can be redeemed for rewards) for every hour spoken entirely in French. My youngest joined in the fun when he was offered a trip to the indoor skate park when we reach our target sticker count.
We hope you enjoy our journey of learning french language and culture as a family, feel free to laugh at our failures and celebrate our successes with us!!