Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

French Essentials - A Review

Bonjour, mes amis! Are you shopping around for a foreign language program, specifically French? Are you looking for an online option that will provide lessons, quizzes, games, an introduction to the French culture, and more? Well then, this review is here to help! My daughters and I have added an all in one French language study to our daily routine.
French Essentials has provided our family with the Full Access Program (one full year, all modules of their French lessons) , and we were all too willing to see what it could do for our foreign language skills.

Included in the program we received:

*  access to audio within the exercises- just click on the letter or word and hear correct pronunciation

*  videos - not only will students watch, they will also have the opportunity to listen and repeat
     French phrases

*  written/printable exercises

*  online quizzes/tests

*  games

* online flash cards

*  Savais-tu? -French culture

This program has been designed by experienced French teachers, and targeted for homeschool students. No previous experience in French is required. The pace is gradual, so if you begin at the earliest level -2nd or 3rd grade- it will take you through high school. Upon completion (10 modules), the equivalent is 2 years of  high school French. Right  now, there are 5 modules, with more coming soon.

Should you have experience with the language, there is an online placement test available so you can identify which module to begin with.
My daughters are just beginners, so we started at the first module.

You'll find the downloads waiting in the student area, and it will display the options to choose from.
The lessons are downloaded in pdf's, with audio embedded in them. Everything is laid out clearly, just read, and follow the directions. You are told when to read any special notes, click on an image, and when to move on to the next section.
So, first you'll read the objective. Next, the audio, and you'll click on the image to hear the online teacher. Then comes listen and repeat, where you. . .listen and repeat ;)
Now it's time to write it out, and move on to the online exercises. It's pretty simple that way.

The first several lessons are fairly easy to work through, and didn't take long, then the work increases as you move on up. Then, you'll hit your individual pace depending on age and experience.

The material also provides information regarding French culture. The main focus is Quebec and France, although other areas are looked at as well. The girls found this section interesting, as they like to compare their life experiences to other cultures, and learn about traditions and such.

We worked on lessons 4 times a week. My daughters are at the early end of the recommended age, and it was very necessary that I do the lessons with them. That was fine. I did find it a little challenging to find some of the online exercises and get to certain sections that we needed to get to. Directions weren't always clear to me, and the time it took to get there interrupted the flow. Once we were at the section, it was good, and the girls did well in taking in the material.

In general, I vacillate between  appreciating the convenience of an online program, which allows me to print off just what we need as we progress, watch videos, and listen to audio, versus just wanting a physical textbook in hand with everything already there in its entirety. Various issues of  computer speed, and the need for certain additional downloads slowed us down more than once.
I also felt like I had to hunt around the site to find what I needed to access, which once again, took up some time that I would have rather spent teaching and learning.

This has been one of those reviews where my experience and my daughters' experience just didn't align.. I was really excited to introduce this into our home school. I absolutely love the French language, and have a little knowledge of the language from my college days, and I was excited to share some of that with the girls.
I can't pinpoint exactly why the enthusiasm wasn't there, but it simply hasn't clicked with them. It hasn't been that they are actively resistant to going through the lessons, there's just an all around lack of enthusiasm in general. It may be due to the fact that they are still on the younger side of the spectrum as far as the material goes, and that as we progress, they may enjoy it more. At any rate, we'll keep plugging away.

Keeping this in mind, this will probably work great for students that are in the older elementary grades. There's so much that has been put into this program, and definitely worth looking over to see if it might be a good fit for your homeschool.

French Essentials

Full Access Program (one full year, all modules of their French lessons)

Ages: Grades 2-12 can use this, Grade 3-8 is ideal

Price: $149.95 for 1 year of full access to all modules (over 90 lessons), plus online activities
            Individual modules may be purchased for $69.95 each

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

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