The Challenge of Making Conversation in French

Many homeschooling parents find it a challenge making everyday conversation when teaching French as a Second Language. Not every homeschool teacher has the fluency required to speak comfortably in French. Don’t let this hold you back! Even beginners are up to the challenge of making conversation in French!

Children need to see you making the effort to speak too, even if your own French language skills are a bit rusty, or even non-existent! Practice with your children as much as possible, making the things you are learning part of your daily interactions whenever you can.

Using French in Everyday Life

As you go through your day, remember to review the vocabulary that you have learned so far.

Use your French greetings with one another:

  • bonjour for hello (good day)
  • bonsoir for good evening
  • bonne nuit for goodnight

Ask the question “Qu’est-ce que c’est?” (What is it?) frequently.

Use your French please and thank you: s’il vous plaît or s’il te plaît, and merci.

Refer to numbers in French whenever you can in order to help the children recognize their numbers in French when they see them.

Do you need something counted? Count in French!

Refer to colors in French whenever you can. Ask “Quelle couleur est-ce?” (What color is this?) frequently.

Play Hot Potato (patate chaude!). Toss a beanbag back and forth. When you catch the beanbag, it’s your turn to say something in French!

If you are looking at family photos or illustrations in a picture book, ask the questions “Comment s’appelle-t-il?” (What is his name?) or “Comment s’appelle-t-elle? (What is her name?).

Have you learned how to tell time? Ask in French “Quelle heure est-il?”

What is the weather like today? “Quel temps fait-il?”

Ideas for Practicing French

There are several other options for increasing the amount of time your child spends practicing his or her French as a second language.

Perhaps you know an older child in your family, neighbourhood, or church who has studied French or who speaks French as a first language. See if he or she would be willing to come to play games and speak French to your children in return for some pocket money.

Here in Ontario, Canada, all high school students are required to perform a certain number of community service hours in order to receive their diplomas. Tutoring young children in French could be a great way for a young person you know to give back to the community (you!) and earn his or her community service hours in the process.

Another option is to consider starting a French Club, or co-op with other homeschooling families. The children can practice their French together. Someone will need to organize this, and plan for some kind of curriculum to follow to provide some structure to the time together. Many families provide this type of opportunity as a way to cover the oral component of second language studies.

These ideas are applicable whatever language you might happen to be studying. Practice often to ensure mastery. With enough repetition, your children will remember these words and phrases for a lifetime. Paris, anyone?
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