Comments From Our Readers
I have been reading your books since just before I moved to France in 2008 with my husband, who grew up with parents from France in Canada, thus a completely bilingual Canadian. Your book about France (60 Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong) was my go-to for any time I really needed a refresher on why things were the way they were. And it’s because of your book, I went from being an unsure, skeptical immigrant, to a francophile.
We have just moved back to Canada and have made Montreal our home. I have been looking into schools for our children, and stumbled upon your site when I was looking for “English” versus French school systems. If I was confused about which school to send my kids to before we moved here, the Quebec system has put me in confusion overdrive. What a difficult decision. Because I am from Vancouver and was schooled there, I have the option to send our kids to English school. So there’s that. However, I am a little clueless on whether a French school has enough English to get my kids bilingual, since we speak French at home.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I look forward to future reads from you both. And to thank you for keeping me logical and open-hearted in France.
Thanks so much for the kind comments about Sixty Million. Most couples I know who BOTH speak English at home decide to send their children to school in the French system. The reason is that they want their kids to be able to function perfectly (or as close as possible) in French. From what I’ve seen, kids in the French system don’t get much English at all. It seems to be a few classes a week that teach some basic English. But English-speaking parents aren’t really worried about how much English their kids get at school, because the home environment reinforces their English so much that their kids are perfectly fluent in English, and can read in English.
Our case is slightly different. Since we are a bilingual couple and live in a French neighbourhood, and since we have mostly French-speaking friends, our girls naturally took to French. So we opted to send them to the English school system to make sure they would become fluent, and be able to read and write properly in English. Since our local English school, Nesbitt, is located in a French-speaking neighbourhood, it has lot of native French-speaking teachers and the French instruction is really strong.
In our case, it’s the best of both worlds. If only we didn’t have the dark cloud of a possible school closure hanging over us….