By the end of the year, I would like to speak fairly decent French. I have French language Cd's and books and there are tons of resources on the Internet, I just need to actually do the work. So, I am committing myself to at least half an hour of French study a day. I've done this for almost a week now and it is making a difference.
Last week, Connell and I started French lessons with a high school teacher. She comes to our house for an hour and a half every Thursday morning while Finian is napping (that's the plan Finian - napping on a Thursday morning from 10 until 11:30, okay?). These lessons will hopefully help us a lot.
I would love to spend some time in Fiacra and Ailbhe's classrooms and see how their French is. Fiacra says that he knows much more French now than when we arrived and that he can understand teacher almost all the time. He has started pronouncing his school friend Lauchlan's name with a French accent, presumably following how the other kids pronounce it, even though this is a name he is very familiar with. He seems fairly comfortable speaking French.
Fiacra had done 3 months of partial French immersion in school in Canada before we left. It will be interesting to see how his French compares to the rest of his class when he rejoins them. He will have spent a year in a French school but with no concessions made for his not speaking French. He learns what he manages to pick up himself. His Canadian class on the other hand, are immersed in French every morning, but with the understanding that they do not speak French, so their teacher puts a lot of effort into helping them understand what she is saying.
Ailbhe is now starting to say some words in French. Her teacher says that she is sure that Ailbhe can understand her, but that Ailbhe doesn't speak a lot. That's Ailbhe though, when she starts at a new school or daycare it takes her a long time to open up. I would say she is shy, but shy show how implies uncomfortable or ill at ease and she is neither. She is very confident and independent and now (after 4 months) she is starting to speak more and play more at school.