"Why do I need to learn Freeennnch?"

This was a common refrain in my middle school classroom years ago.

A little background - I taught French at an amazing independent school for gifted kids in the Chicago area.  I have a Masters degree in French linguistics and literature, and most of a teacher's certification. (I ran screaming from that program when I was offered this sweet job.)

These kids were all nerds* and liked it that way.  All the teachers were nerds and all the kids' parents were nerds.  It was heaven.

*nerds - people who love learning in any form and aren't afraid to show it

Still, not everyone was in love with French class.

The French language is partially responsible for shaping the person I am.  So when I heard this question - "Why do I need to learn Freeeennnnch?"  I would pull the tiny dagger out of my heart and then I would say, "You don't!"

After they stared at me blankly for a minute, I would explain that they would likely not need it for survival or even for success as an adult...however!!!...They would need richness in their lives, depth to their education, and the chance to discover unawakened passions.

Keeping my French fresh - in Paris over summer break 2001

My answer to their parents also included the following information:

40% of our English language is derived from French.  French language learning, like Latin, is a major and measurable boost to a student's vocabulary.  It stretches their brain in a unique way as well.

The answer to myself:  If we think of the sum of our lives as a hand-woven tapestry, French is the golden thread that highlights the figures and shapes on my tapestry.  Not necessary, purely decorative, but stunning.

This is Why You Need to Learn French

I crafted this post because I often think of homeschooling in those terms, too.  

What is important to the very structure of a person's tapestry?

      Nourishment, survival, safety, love

What serves as the scene depicted?

       Friends, stories, beliefs, values, risks, failures, and happy successes

What are the embellishments and unique artistic qualities? 

       That is different for every individual, of course

And This is Why You Need to Travel

By homeschooling, we spend the majority of our time witnessing and supporting our kids while they weave their own scene as youngsters, so they have the best chance of going on to add their own richness later in life. 

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