I Need a Simple Goal

French Notebook

When a task is too large, people get overwhelmed and give up. I was reading about this recently in The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change.

The particular change I'm looking for right now is social in its way. I want to learn French.

Except French is a whole LANGUAGE, for goodness sake. And I admit I lose heart again and again with the trying.

After thinking about the issue of goals and simplicity, I decided that instead of trying to "learn French," I will aim to fill a whole notebook with French in a matter of weeks.

That also seemed like a really big task, so I broke it down further. I will copy one chapter of the French bible per day into my notebook. I won't bother to look up words I don't understand, unless I really, really want to know the meaning. (I wanted to know the meaning of foules and was mildly tickled at the thought that it meant crowds and it sounds something like... um, fools :)

The simple goal is working. I'm starting to think in French (a real feat for someone who can hardly choke out merci at the baguette counter). I believe the volume of French per day, written down, is serving like an immersion experience.

Either that, or I am channeling Edith Piaf as I sing-song the New Testament in French each day. (Yes, I say the words as I copy them down. French can even make suffering and sacrifice sound romantic).


I needed a simple goal. And I found une. :)


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Blogger Megan Willome said...

I think you need to come up with some homeschool excuse to go to France for a month. Simple!

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Lyla Lindquist said...

I like the approach -- seems the move to thinking in the next language takes far more bathing in the sights and sounds of the words (even if they aren't understood at the time) than conjugating verbs and memorizing vocab words will ever do. Spanish worked its way into me far more through the Psalms than any of my textbooks or always-disappointed-in-me professors ever did.

The simple goals work -- success breeds success. This week, a notebook. Tomorrow?

11:43 AM  
Blogger deb colarossi said...

This is brilliant , L.L. !!

12:44 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

I think it's a great approach. Your hand and eye are working together to put the words down and hold them in the mind.

I know someone who wanted to understand Milton and so copied out some of his lines every day until she understood him. She ended up writing a critical analysis of his work.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Wow -- I never would have thought about this way of immersion. Way to break down a very complicated task!

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl Smith said...

I can see it now - that notebook completely filled. Maybe I'm in need of a few simple goals as well. Now, if only I can focus long enough to decide what goals.

Love this L. L. The language, the immersion, the sacrifice and romance. And, of course, Megan's comment. I want to go with you!

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I love to copy things down too as a way to learn them. I think this is a great simple goal! And I wanted to mention that I read your book Stone Crossings a couple of months ago, and I enjoyed it immensely...your others are also on my list of "to reads".

9:56 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

Well, now, this is my second time hearing this...I am definitely going to start with the Hungarian text I have and get a Bible in Hungarian and begin...I have definitely been making it too hard, so I need to start with...something...I was going to ask if this was a part of your Pilgrimage, but since it's here?? but it is, isn't it??? oh dear, I guess I'm still confused w/ your blogs or you have found an integration that I can't seem to find with the two very compartmentalized blogs I have:~/

(p.s. I was signed in as my hubby, so that's the comment that's deleted since I didn't think you would know who was commenting if I left it like that...this must now be officially the longest comment you've ever had;)

10:06 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Very random, but I noticed your tea-cup in the corner--my mother's favorite pattern, Old Country Roses. Just wondering if you had her favorite tea, too--Earl Grey?

12:10 PM  
Anonymous JoDee Luna said...

Thank you for the great tips on how to break down an overwhelming project into manageable steps. I'm also interested in the book you linked. This sounds like what I need for navigating through this social media maze.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Louise said...

Hi LL. I found your French on Fridays when I first entered the blogosphere, but I think you had just stopped them. Otherwise I would have joined in. I tutor French to high school students and believe the more you read and listen to the language the better. Your method should make a huge difference especially as you must already know the gist of any bible passage you choose to use, thus allowing memory to prompt your understanding.
I laughed too at what you wrote about la foule - it's the sort of thing I'm too familiar with to notice - it needs fresh eyes.
If you need an online French buddy for anything just let me know!
La bible, c'est un bon livre n'est-ce pas?

1:52 PM  
Blogger Kelly Sauer said...

I have also missed your Frend on Fridays. Sighhhh. You make me feel all romantic-like. Hm. How to channel my inner French?

8:50 AM  

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