So, as unbelievable as this is to me and as hard as it is to think about it, next month I have register my son for school. If you know me IRL then you probably know that I tend to get all misty at the thought (no, I would not say “weep uncontrollably” but I am a weeper and since I have been known to bawl at Canadian Tire and coffee commercials, it shouldn’t be surprising that my baby going off into the world would do it). My friend Pam and I, whose children have known each other since before they were born, already have our first day of kindergarten plan solidified. It involves dropping the kiddies off then getting quite drunk (ensuring that hubbies will care for the children once they leave school, of course) There may also be a tattoo involved in there somewhere. We say this somewhat facetiously (but ya never know). The point is that I really hate to think about it. I mean, this is sending him out into the big, cruel world. People can be mean to him and bully him. Teachers will start to judge him and it won’t be all about “as long as you try your best, sweetie, that’s what’s important”. And as if the thought of all that is not enough, our house is now embroiled in a big French immersion debate. Maybe you can help.
Hubby is of the belief that my son should start French immersion in Kindergarten. He really wants him to be bilingual and I’m cool with that. The problem is that most everyone I know who has done FI or whose children have done it, all say that when you start them in Kindergarten, they never quite learn English as well as if they hadn’t done FI from the get-go (although statscan says differently). Husband’s response to this problem was “well, will he really need English that much?” My response to that involved more exasperated sounds than words and possibly some repeated smacks to hubby’s arm. The other thing you can do with FI is have them start later (junior high, I believe) but I know of children who have really struggled trying to catch up in school when they chose this option. There is an information session we’ll be attending next month in order to find out more. Apparently, from what I read online, the personality of the kid, rather than his capacity for language, is the key indicator of if FI is right for him. In the meantime the debate rages on. Any advice or personal stories relating to French Immersion would be greatly appreciated.