Getting a head start

The boys are looking forward to their trip to France, but it is fair to say they are not especially excited about the prospect of going to school… 😉

That’s no surprise: I do not remember my first months in French school with much fondness.

My first day consisted of being treated like a simpleton: a designated buddy followed me round all day,  pointing at everything in sight while repeating the French name for it slowly and loudly like I was thick. I may as well have been thick for all I understood!

According to my diary the next 6 months consisted of me sitting at the back of the class reading CS Lewis and doing wordfinds while the class carried on mysteriously around me. But then I started from a fairly low level: I think I probably only knew about 10 words in French when I arrived.

With that in mind, the boys have been learning French for a while and should hopefully have a better start then mine – though I’m sure we won’t get much thanks for it!

Last year they took classes once a week at the Alliance Francaise. Oliver also had an hour a week at school. This term they’ve had private lessons at home three mornings a week before school, which has been brilliant.


Ollie’s morning lesson with Marion

Marion is a trained French primary school teacher, so it couldn’t be better. They are learning a lot of the lingo they will encounter in the classroom, based in some cases directly on the school environment in Quillan where they will be attending class.

They are each building a portfolio based on their lessons, which will be a great reference to have with them in class, when they forget what something means.


The boys’ French language portfolios

It’s remarkable what you can find on the internet when you go looking. We found pictures and even a virtual tour of the Ecole Paulin Nicoleau. Marion found a photo showing the pupils in the current year’s CM1/CM2 class – the boys already know what some of their peers look like!

Their experience will be quite different from mine in many ways. The world is so much smaller than it was thanks to technology. But at the end of the day, it will be just as challenging and I expect they will feel just as thick as I did at times.

Luckily – deliberately – our apartment is 200m from the school, so if they run away, they won’t have far to run! And maybe, in 30 years time, when they are working for the UN, we will get that thanks.

P.S Thanks Mum and Dad! 🙂

One thought on “Getting a head start

  1. Pingback: How’s your French? | putitontheslate

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