IF ENGLISH GRAMMAR IS DIFFICULT, LA LANGUE FRANCAIS EST FACILE

It’s interesting to me that Sophie is so excited about French. She absolutely loves it, on her own, and, when she was in TJS last year, she had some Spanish, and she absolutely hated that. Funny.

When we were in CA I’d have said Spanish was a must for school mates, but, truly, I could have said the same thing about Farsi, and no one out there was teaching Farsi lessons to kids that I saw. Here in DE it could also be a must to speak Spanish, but she is stone-cold not interested. And yet, she adores French! And, of course, that means if we ever do travel outside of the USA ever again, in addition to China, it will have to be France. Oh, boo-hoo; nobody wants to go to France.

Am I insane? France is amazing. Back in March when we first heard the USA was going to be closing its borders during the pandemic I said to Dave, “Quick, let’s get stranded in France!” Of course, we were slow packers, so we’re still stuck here. (And don’t yell patriotic things at me. France is, well, special, and, it must be said, it also suffers from a nasty undercurrent of over zealous nationalism, but at least that comes with a side of brie, or croissant.)

It took me ages to find a French curriculum. I could find college French textbooks, but nothing for K-12.

I finally found Skoldo on the Secular Homeschool website. If you are likewise interested I would say that you don’t need the elementary (yellow) book. You need the red book, which you see pictured above, and the …. green, nope, rainbow book, pictured below.

I got the yellow book, which you don’t need unless your child is in K-2, and the red book, student book and teacher books, on Skoldo’s website.

I got the rainbow student book on Amazon, and I am going to get the rainbow teacher book on eBay. Skoldo no longer has the rainbow teacher book on its website, only the student book.

You can buy some flashcards at Skoldo’s website. I bought the vocabulary flashcards, and that is the only download I felt like I needed.

If you curious about our schedule, it usually begins around 7am with getting up and breakfast. Dave usually has some time in the morning, as he is more on West Coast time, so he does essay writing, novel reading, science, and music theory.

Then Sophie is responsible for practicing bells, and then piano, which takes her up to lunch which she usually makes herself (usually Annie’s Mac and Cheese or Annie’s All Stars, sometimes cheese grits, and sometimes ramen). She chills out for 1/2 hour with her iPad and eats.

Then the afternoons are me. And we do grammar (how do I hate thee?) French, math, reading comprehension, vocabulary. Next month I am going to try to add in art history in the afternoons. She also got her first bank account this fall, which we deposit a little money in each time we get paid, and she looks at that with me I think about twice each month. I am also trying to get her to work on projects so that we can make her a studio website, and I have a book on entrepreneurship I hope to get into one day. For the math, grammar, reading comprehension, and vocabulary I am using the Sadlier books. They are not cheap, but they cost less than college textbooks, and they are MUCH less expensive than those canned homeschool programs you can buy.

I will confess that I am ambitious about homeschooling. I want Sophie, when/if she goes back to regular school, to be beyond the grade she’s in, because the teachers didn’t do right by her in grades 3 & 4 at public school, and I don’t trust the system. I also confess that we have had one “come to Jesus” meeting in September and one in October, where we had to remind her that she had to be nice to all her teachers, even the ones she lives with.

Sophie also takes two music lessons a week, and is in a weekly geometry class for two months now on Outschool, as well as the various art classes she takes there. The music lessons run about $200/month, as do the Outschool classes. And add in the shear amount of coffee pods I go through in a week, and the care and feeding of three cats, a dog, and two guinea pigs, and we’re damn lucky I’m not driving 100 miles a day to work this year. BUT, and still, I think this comes out to be cheaper than a canned homeschool program.

I think Sophie was about 2.5 when she started in preschool, and we paid for the most expensive school in our area, not because we’re snobs, but because we tried two before that, one cheap, one moderate, and they both sucked in various ways. Before that either Dave or I were home (part-time work for me and FMLA for him). And then, for awhile, we had a babysitter, and, in LA, that was 15/hour, for 8 hour days, which was pricey for us.

And I guess, what I am saying here in this post that began by talking about how great French class is, is that being a parent, for us, has been expensive and labor intensive. And I would not change that, in fact, the only thing I would change is, in 3rd grade, when our public school got a new principle and new teachers and took a nose-dive in quality, I wish we had left then, and paid for two years of private school instead of just the one abbreviated one we got. We probably still wouldn’t own this house, but hell, a house is just a building. And the other thing is, more than a trust fund, more than a new car, more than an iPad or a MAC, an education and practical skills (like piano playing, dance, etc. and being able to make your own lunch) are things that neither feast nor famine can take away from your kids. When Sophie and Dave read The Week and write an essay on it, not only is she getting a great skill, but she’ll never forget debating the metric system with him, or making sourdough starter for science class.

And I know that not every parent can afford the time or the money to do what we are doing. And every single pandemic-day I am grateful for that blessing.

A bientôt!

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