Diving into French immersion can be stressful for the child and the parent. We get it! To help parents out, we have created a list of the 10 most important things you can do to help your child be successful in French immersion.
1. Have French resources available
Making French resources available in your home can make homework time a bit less stressful for you and your child. The two must have French resources are a French/English dictionary and a Bescherelle. Both will help your child figure out problem words when reading and writing.
Having a variety of French books on hand is another way to ensure your child’s success. Just make sure that the books are in subject areas and genres that your child enjoys. Also, try to make sure that they are in your child’s reading level range.
2. Ask your child to explain homework
Making a daily routine of asking your children to explain their homework is an extremely helpful habit to get into. Not only will it keep you informed about what is for homework, but, over time, it will help your child to better understand their homework before leaving school. Being able to explain it in both languages means that they will really know it inside and out.
3. Use online translation sites
Online translation sites, such as google translate, are a good way to gain a better understanding of what an assignment is asking. These types of sites aren’t perfect when translating sentences; however, they will provide you with a general idea of what the assignment is asking. Please, please, please DO NOT allow your child to do an assignment in English and then plug it into google translate and submit the translated version.
4. Help your child with organization skills
Together, with your child, come up with strategies to keep them organized. Learning and maintaining an organized school life is half the battle to being successful.
Here are a few:
– Come up with ways to keep track of assignments and deadlines. This could include keeping an up to date agenda, a home wall calendar, or even a calendar app. Make sure that all assignments and tests and their associated dates are tracked.
– Teach your child how to keep their workspace at school and their backpacks neat, tidy and uncluttered. This will help ensure that all of their assignments, homework, projects, and tests are all accounted for and are able to be use.
– Work with your child to keep their notebooks neat and orderly. This includes keeping all subjects separate and ensuring that good notes are taken for each class.
– Remind your child to pack necessary materials for school each day. Leaving books or accessories at home, their locker, or in another class means that your child will have difficult time learning. Bringing everything to every class will help them to succeed.
5. Ask your child what they are learning about in school
Keep an open dialogue with your child about what they are learning about in school. The need to translate from French to English and then explain it will help them with their understanding of what they are learning. If they have a hard time telling you what they are learning, encourage them to approach their teacher to clarify any trouble areas. The more they are able to discuss what they are learning the more it will solidify in their minds.
6. Check in regularly with your child’s homeroom teacher
Your child’s homeroom teacher sees your child in a French environment on a daily basis. They will be able to identify your child’s trouble areas and offer solutions or strategies. If nothing else, your child’s homeroom teacher will be able to give you a gauge on how your child is doing as compared to a typical student in their situation.
7. Seek opportunities for French exposure
The more your child is exposed to French the better. Listening to French radio or watching French TV will not only keep your child exposed to the French language, it will also expose them to different accents, terms, and words. Visiting francophone communities is a great way for your child to remain immersed in French outside of their school time. Asking directions, ordering food, and having general conversations with native French speakers will better develop your child’s confidence, vocabulary, and accent.
8. Encourage your child to “show off”
Showing off their language skills to family and family friends is a great way for your child to practice their new found skills and to gain confidence. Hearing reactions from family and family friends will only help encourage your child to use their French in more and more scenarios.
9. Don’t panic
If your child reports feeling a bit lost at first, don’t panic. This is completely normal. Check in with your child’s teacher, but expect a period of adjustment that may last until Christmas break or early spring. Remember that your child is learning new topics and subjects in a new language. They will experience difficulty in all subject areas, given the language barrier. They will work through it.
10. Access tutoring services for additional practice
As with any subject, hiring a tutor is a great way to help push your child over any hurdles that they are experiencing. Be sure to seek out a tutor or tutors who have strong oral communication skills as well as can help with the specific subject area of need. We offer French language tutoring services in a range of subjects through our web app, rockEnroll.
To learn more about what we do, check out our first blog post.