Hi Waiting for Godot,
I am not sure that the experience of your DS could be similar to moved’s and P's mum’s children for two reasons:
- Length of the stay abroad
(only one term for your DS versus two years for moved and also many months for P's)
- Age of the child in immersion
(at around 9-10 years old, the children lose the proper ability to hear correctly foreign sounds: they become ‘deaf’ to the sound which does not exist in their language)
So the impact of such a stay for one term won’t be as magical as you may wish, though there will be certainly many gains for his level in French (I do doubt your child would stay in the bottom set after such an experience!
However, it would be excellent for developing cultural awareness, helping your child to be more independent and mature (being away in a foreign country for a whole term for a twelve years old is not an ‘adventure’ any child would be able to undertake. By the way, for phone conversation, I would recommend you to use skype) ... and I really do hope that he would meet there an excellent French friend with whom he could make exchanges during the summers to come.
On his return, I would recommend him to watch TV in French regularly
. For example:
- French news
(if he likes to keep informed... It is not everybody’s cup of tea): everyday at 7:30 p.m. on TV5 europe (journal d’Antenne 2), or little news bulletin (duration 10 mn) every half an hour on France 24 or continued half an hour news bulletin (+ advertisement) on BFM TV
- French films
on TV5 or Arte (you can check daily the programmes on Arte at the bottom of the site http://www.lefigaro.fr
( a French daily newspaper).
- French cartoons
on TiVi5 on Saturdays and Sundays morning on TV5 monde (I think it finishes at ten). Well, to begin the day by watching TV is not a great start, but you could at least record the cartoons your child might enjoy (le petit Nicolas? Commandant Cousteau?). Here is a list of all the hero on this channel http://www.tv5.org/TV5Site/tivi5/heros_liste.php
- You could also buy some DVD of French films
) (Ignore all the British films or American ones and choose the French ones! DVDs are more expensive in France than here). As Christmas is approaching, you may have some promotions (the cheapest DVD in France would unfortunately be 5 Euros; generally there are offers like two DVD for ten Euros ... or 6 DVD for 30 Euros. See http://www.amazon.fr/dvd-dvds-doccasion ... ode=405322
). And in January, there will be some sales. If you know some friends in France who could receive these films for you and then you collect them at their home, it would be cheaper as you won’t have to pay for the European chipping fees.
Personally, I did buy two French films on amazon.co.uk:
- Belle and Sebastien - the complete first series. Attention, this is a very old film, made in the sixties, so in black and white. The story might not be up to the taste of a teenager used to American blockbusters! However, my 9 years old DS really loved that series and was always impatient to see the next episode. (you don’t have subtitles when watching the French version, but you have the option to see the film entirely in English, unfortunately spoken with a very heavy French accent)
- Shut Up! (Tais-Toi!) [DVD]  Starring Jean Reno and Gerard Depardieu (you can have the subtitles while watching the film in French). It‘s a comedy.
There might be some other films available here but I am not aware of them as I tend to buy films in France.
On his return, it could be also a good idea to get some information about the subscription to French magazines
for teenagers having English as the mother tongue. I am sure the French department of your DS’s school could advise you on that. Or even, your child may be able to read these magazines at school without you having to pay for a subscription!
Well, I really do hope that your DS will be enthrilled and have an excellent experience in France in you choose that option... and I hope you will keep us informed of the results afterwards!
PS: I couldn't understand clearly from your post if your DS will keep in touch with the curriculum in UK schools. I think it is important he does, at least in English and science... You are lucky there are no more SAT for KS3 but I do believe it will be important for him to be sure he doesn't miss important concepts...