Homework in French…but I don’t speak French!

How Can I Help?

Many parents either have a limited background in French or do not speak the language at all. If this is the case for you, don’t feel alarmed! The most important factor in your child’s success will be your encouragement and the positive support you are able to give your child. You should make homework a top priority at home; assignments should take no more than 30 minutes to complete each night at the elementary level, not including daily reading of 15 minutes each night.

Provide praise and support, and contact your child’s French teacher if you notice a problem. You and your child’s teacher must work together as a team that is committed to your child’s progress. The secret to building and maintaining that relationship is through communication. Remember, if a child is having problems in the French program they would likely be having the same problems in the English program. Find out what these problems are and address them immediately!

French immersion parents can help with homework, too. The difference in language can be daunting, but the purpose is still the same…the attitude of the child to homework is influenced by the parents. If homework is seen as an arduous task, or a punishment for not finishing in class, it will become a negative experience. You, as parents, should encourage a positive attitude towards homework; if you are positive they will more than likely follow your lead and enjoy the experience of a second language, even at difficult times.

What can parents do:
1. You can start by establishing a good rapport with your child’s immersion teacher in a spirit of collaboration and support. Discuss with the teacher and the child the reason for homework – most teachers will have an information session at the beginning of the year. Ask what to expect in homework and how much.

2. Ensure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to work, away from the TV and distractions.

3. Treat homework as your child’s responsibility, with yourself as a helper, if needed. Try to encourage your child to use the dictionary – an excellent resource to have.

4. At home, your child should be free to read for pleasure in French or in English and encouraged to talk about his/her experiences at school. Showing interest in what your child is doing at school and providing encouragement and support is of the utmost importance.

5. You can help by sitting with your children and encouraging them to complete their work. This will help your child in the short and long run. It is particularly easy to work with your child in math, social studies, science or art because they can be done in English at home.

6. Discuss with your child the rules of studying; lay down and STICK to the rules and consequences for poorly done or undone homework. Know the teacher’s rules and try to reinforce them.

7. Set a regular period for homework to be completed – emphasize the fact that if the homework is completed first, the rest of the day is theirs.

8. Be interested in the work your child has accomplished…notebooks, worksheets, especially quizzes and tests…develop a system for remembering assignments and test dates so you can both plan for them.

Source: Canadian Parents for French, Help your Child with Homework