Learning Doesn't Stop on the Weekends

This is what I wanted this winter. Days of winter play. Making and meeting friends at the ski hill. And snow, lots of snow.

It was one of those weekends. A weekend to make up for the last half of January. Damien's knee is now mended and the snow is falling. We skied 4 days in a row (three mornings and one full day), all at the hill. I had a telemark lesson Saturday morning that totally revolutionized my turning technique so that I actually enjoy telemark now. I'm still learning, to be sure, but it doesn't kill my thighs so very much. Juste une petite peu...

Speaking of which, my French is coming along well. Saturday afternoons Céline and I take an intense 4 hour class. It's a class for beginners and it's all in French. Our instructor is excellent and these immersion lessons are just what I (badly) needed to take my French language learning to the next level.

I'm starting to think in French, just a wee bit. I am trying to speak to our bilingual Francophone friends in French. I want too. When I sat down to write this after a weekend of conversing en français with as many people as possible (not very well mind you but trying, and trying hard) I wanted to start writing in French. That has never happened to me before. This is weird. And not entirely welcome as I don't want to lose my writer's voice with some bilingual confusion going on in my brain circuitry.

There's a huge amount of learning going on in my life right now. And I feel I am being stretched physically and intellectually this season (and emotionally when it comes to what I'm learning as a mother). And you know what? When it doesn't scare the heck out of me - it really excites me. I'm learning another language! I get to speak this second language in my everyday life. It's not an academic exercise for me. I'm learning how to telemark ski. I'm learning how to let go and let my kids grow.

This season, when it doesn't exhaust me (because sometimes it does), learning feels vibrant. Like living in vivid color.

And I remember why I am so passionate about lifelong, interest-led learning. Because learning is a great way to live. There is no buzz, no high like the feeling of growing beyond your boundaries.

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  • Jen @ Anothergranolamom

    Jen @ Anothergranolamom on Feb. 18, 2013, 5:35 p.m.

    Several years ago, our family entered into a full immersion situation with the Spanish language. I still remember the exhilaration as I began to really be able to express myself in our new language. That was one of a series of steps that shaped my view of my own personality -- I realized I was brave! I love your learning weekend. And I agree -- there is no buzz like lifelong learning. And our kids learn that from us!


  • Kim

    Kim on Feb. 18, 2013, 5:37 p.m.

    Great post!!!! And how exciting to be learning French. I studied French in elementary and high school, but 20 years later it is pretty much all gone.


  • Lori

    Lori on Feb. 19, 2013, 2:11 a.m.

    I agree about lifelong learning, and I feel that now I really "get" it, rather than just thinking it sounds ideal. I have been getting really excited lately about the things I am learning as I attempt to make up for a less-than-perfect education in my youth.


  • Anonymous

    Anonymous on Feb. 19, 2013, 7:41 p.m.

    Good work for the french learning. I studied it in high school, all the way through, and at the end, I was starting to think in French often. But then, I didn't choose to go further with it (no idea why, I guess I had other ideas at the time). I live in a fairly french community- most people are bilingual with French and English. So I would like to learn more too, and for my kid's sake. I have tossed around the idea of Rosetta Stone...but its a lot of money and not sure if it would even help. I think long term speaking with francophone friends is probably better. Have you ever considered Rosetta stone or other programs?

    Glad you can enjoy the snow, we are getting lots more here too (although we've had ours all winter). Its fluffy and powdery out there right now and not too cold!


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 20, 2013, 1:20 p.m.

      Yes, we have looked at Rosetta Stone, Fluenz & Rocket French. We used the free lessons of Rocket French last season but then switched to these lessons (which we pay for) because we're learning more this way. I don't know enough to discuss the merits of different programs. There are lots of free resources out there including FrancaisFacile.com, which our french teacher showed us.  My focus this season is on my own french learning and Celine's, I'm not doing anything with my younger two kids. If you are wanting to learn a second language or practice it more and need encouragement I recommend Everyday Language Learner resources. Aaron knows his stuff and is full of encouragement and ideas for the tough challenge of learning and speaking a new language. 


  • Sarah

    Sarah on Feb. 20, 2013, 11:40 p.m.

    Learning is a wonderful way to live (I really feel so lucky to have this time in my life dedicated to learning--being a student). And there truly is no buzz like the feeling of growing beyond your boundaries... but (while I honestly would be happy listening to good lectures all the time) I think that the "buzziest," most rewarding learning is self-directed (or self-initiated) and learning "practiced" or "active" activities (what I mean by that is that the learner is engaged with the activity in an active way--speaking, creating--including writing, or moving, or engaging with others as compared with thinking, generating and processing ideas). I believe these are the most rewarding types of learning because they are the most challenging. In my life, the outdoors has been the place where I have had many of these "active", weekend lessons (in learning how to be a supportive friend or family member, how to push myself physically--and mentally!, and how to ask for a break). Have fun learning (woo)!

    P.S. I realized after I posted my comment on cleanliness that I made HUGE racial/cultural generalizations--sorry! Please excuse that!


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 21, 2013, 2:11 a.m.

      I wasn't offended. I say a lot of things in comments on other blogs that are off the cuff. They're comments, not blog posts. But if you want to edit that comment or remove it I will do that for you. 


  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on Feb. 23, 2013, 3:16 p.m.

    I always feel very connected to what you say Renee, but even more so lately... Even if my girls are a bit younger, I feel this shift happening too and I am so very grateful for JF's role in their life, his patience and his understanding of what is going on, that seems to be much more clear and helpful than my muddy interpretation right now... I struggle. I find this stage ackward and challenging. I lose my patience more than I'd like and see old patterns reemerge. Not always very graceful. Thank you for your beautiful words, my friends, they feed my soul, as always, and lead me further on that path of evolution.


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