I am an optimist. I thought my inspiring speech to my boys about all the immediate and long term benefits of learning a second language would keep them energized for the rest of the semester: it lasted two weeks. After two more weeks, my oldest son informed me, "I'm not going to thank you for teaching me French when I'm older." This was a reference to my inspiring speech. Even though he said it as a joke and with a big smile, I am still planning my I-told-you-so speech for just the right moment. I envision it being used more than once.
French lessons have not halted in my house during the times my boys don't find them entertaining, and despite the fact that one son has discovered the uselessness of the exercise. But I did get inspired one day, and I hit on a fun way to practice our French skills. Last Saturday, I labeled objects throughout our house in French with the appropriate masculine or feminine definite article.
For the next couple of days, I saw my boys trying on their own to read the labels. Most of these words are familiar to them orally, but they had never seen them in written form.
I also made a preposition chair. Prepositions were written on yellow paper and place around the chair according to their meaning. "Sur" was placed on the chair, "sous" was placed below the chair, "derriere" was taped behind the chair, etc.
Our first project was to go around the house reading the labels, replacing "the" with "my" in French. My husband informed me that projects are very important this year in the public schools, while activities are not (I'm not kidding here). So I'm doing my best to fall in line; this is a project and not an activity. Here's how the project was conducted: If I said "la," they had to find a label with a feminine noun in the room, then read it to me in French, replacing "the" with "my." If I said "le," they could run over to the fan, for example, labeled "le ventilateur," and they would point to it and say, "mon ventilateur."
Another project was to find all the hidden French labels within a room. I taped labels to the underside of object throughout the house. Their job was to find the label, then read it to me, replacing the definite article with the indefinite article. They were almost jumping out of their skin for this one. It was like an Easter egg hunt.
Today, my oldest son thanked me for not having played our Pimsleur CDs lately for French practice. I haven't, only because we use to practice with our Pimsleur CDs during breakfast, and lately I've been reading Calvin's Institutes at breakfast time. But Pimsleur will reappear in the near future. And my boys will thank me when they're older:)