Friday, October 23, 2015

an unexpected result of a parent-teacher conference

I hate soccer. Je déteste le foot.

Griffin, par contre, adore le foot.
No, wait, that's too strong.  Rather, I am ambivalent about sports and I dislike the commitment that playing on a kids' soccer team requires--two practices a week, right at dinner time (which means that we can either eat early without my husband, who is still at work, or eat later, which throws off the kids' bedtime routine), plus a game on Saturdays which can be as early as 9:00 or as late as 4:00.

On soccer afternoons, Griffin has to walk home from school, decompress from his 7.5-hour school day (he craves time by himself most days), eat a protein-heavy snack, do his homework (20 minutes or so), practice his music (10 minutes), find his shin guards and cleats and water bottle and hat, and walk to practice, all in two hours.

This would, of course, be a piece of gâteau to a grown-up, but not for a lollygagging seven-year-old.  And not for the seven-year-old's mother and his little sister who must accompany him for all these steps.

He loves her very much, of course, but sometimes he just wants her to leave him alone.
So I feel confident in blaming le foot for the fact that it's been hard to get Griffin to do anything in French at home with me lately.  He's a busy little boy, and I don't want to push him to read and write in French if he doesn't want to; he'll resist and resent it.  (Fortunately, he still willingly snuggles and listens to me read aloud in French at bedtime.)

At his first parent-teacher conference of the year, as we discussed how to keep him engaged and challenged in second grade, I had a brainstorm: I asked the teacher if I could come in a couple of times a week to do French lessons with him during the school day.  And she agreed!

So far, so good.  He's thrilled to skip the school breakfast and calendar/circle time for half an hour at the beginning of the day while spending time one-on-one with maman. We sit at a table just outside his classroom and take turns reading aloud, then we discuss what we read, then he writes a little about it, and--his favorite--sometimes we play word games. It's low-key, and lovely.

It makes me so, so happy to spend time helping him explore this language that I love.  And not having to coax or cajole him to interact in French, not having to ward off and wrangle his inquisitive, imperious sister, not having to squeeze our lessons in between snack and soccer, or chores and bath, or homework and dinner--that makes our time together all the sweeter.

my smiley garçon, showing off the chameléon he made in art class


  1. (I am, however, relieved that soccer season is over.)

  2. I'm afraid I feel the same as you, Sarah, when it comes to team sports. I'm so glad my kids haven't done too much of it. The boy scouts consumes enough of our time and at least my daughter loves ballet right now - which I love too!

    1. That sounds ideal! How old are your kiddos?

      I'm torn--half of me wants to encourage my children to try out music, theatre, dance, other languages, art, STEM stuff, scouts, cooking, volunteering, even sports, while the other half wants to keep them at home so we can hang out and do all of the above together! School just seems to get in the way sometimes.

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