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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Self-Learning at 30, yikes!

I have our life under some semblance of order which will only improve more as we adopt our new systems as habits. I have goals for Camille's 2nd grade year, goals for Danny and I'm the only one still mulling over what in the world I'm going to do.

I have to learn french, I have to. Speaking is imperative! I have neglected my french studies for the last two months as I have been meticulously preparing for another year of homeschool. Now the notebooks are ready, curriculum is ready, goals have been prepared, a schedule made- all that is left is to do it. This makes my heart glad, I cannot tell you!

Now it's time to get back to French. The main problem is I don't know when to study or how to study effectively anymore. When I was in school, there was a purpose for study- the upcoming test or to achieve a good grade. The very thing I don't want to teach my children but it is ingrained in me! I dislike the freedom I have because I can excuse my own learning time away with other tasks and desires.

I enjoy french, so that is a plus. The only difficulty I have is when I have to truly concentrate or memorize something complicated. With a 3 year old boy and a 7 year old girl, time to concentrate is very limited. What about after they are in bed? Yep. That's when I need to do it but the pull of our couch or this Self-discipline, yikes. It really isn't about self-discipline, it is about pacing myself and rediscovering a good pace. When I'm passionate about something, I go full speed ahead and jump the hurdles, I need a plan of action now that the passion driven speed has slowed.

What I think I need to learn:

- correct pronunciation
- brush up on english grammar
- french grammar and formulation of sentences
- to speak consistently in french
What I've done so far:
- listened to Michel Thomas up to #4 CD of 8 cds with 70% understanding
- watched French in Action up to episode 3 with immersion frustration
- read various French children's books with 80% understanding
- read Easy French Reader up to #8 of of the first section, which isn't very far
- listened to Edith Pilaf and other french songs (including children's)

I am currently better at reading and understanding than speaking and listening with understanding. I know I need someone to speak with and I have that but what I can't figure out is how to formulate my own studies in a manageable way that won't leave me wanting to quit because I've made it too difficult on myself.

  1. How much work should I give myself?
  2. What period of time should I block off during the week?
  3. How often during the week? (everyday doesn't seem doable)
  4. How do I determine my progression?

Should I even try to do a formal study on my own or learn with my children? - Yeah, that's not going to work for my goals. The kids and I are going to have fun with french this year. I'm starting us off with Bonjour Les Amis, which reminds me- if you have the DVD version please tell me! I have the VHS tapes and I would really love the activity sheets from the DVD. We have plenty of activities for the year and we're just going to work through them until we're done, one step at a time.

My english grammar is rusty, thankfully I have a few books to help with this. Should I study English grammar instead of French right now? Hey, that's doesn't sound like a bad idea! Study English grammar, continue with Michel Thomas, watch French in Action and practice speaking everyday. I'll meet with my tutor once a week parle en français and worry about the french grammar once I have refreshed my english grammar!

I seriously want someone to come over to my house, look at my resources with me and plan out a syllabus for me. Then I want that person to hold me accountable! All for free, mind you- out of the kindness of their heart because I cannot afford to pay anyone. Dh and I discussed the possibility of my return to college to obtain a degree in french and it isn't doable this fall. He will be starting his bachelor track of his education with a new university and with three churches, there just won't be enough time for me to have the necessary study/class time I'll need. I would have to spend a significant amount of time at the local college's language lab to fulfill the course requirement.

Any advice? Been here and done this?


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