My girls are always asking how to say things in another my response is typically, "Ummmm....let's look it up a little later!" Foreign language is not one of my strong-suits. I did take a few years of a foreign language in high school, but it became very clear my freshman year of college I didn't retain very much! Needless to day, foreign language hasn't really been on my radar for homeschooling yet...until now!
French Essentials uses a combination of downloadable pdf files and online content to explore the French language and culture in a unique blend of interactive and pencil-to-paper instructional activities. The available assessments are a wonderful way to check and gauge the students progress. You can choose either to purchase a full set with access to all modules and downloads or to purchase modules individually. Each module can be purchased for $69.95 (available for 90 days) and the full-package will all modules (available for 1 year) is $149.95. We were given the Full Access Online Program for review.
My girls really enjoyed getting to hear the letters, words, and phrases pronounced correctly. As I said before my foray into foreign languages wasn't all that fabulous and my pronunciation is simply dreadful! Native French speakers teach correct pronunciation and the entire program was created by experienced French teachers. I appreciated how grammar is incorporated so as the students learn the language they also learn how to put the parts of speech in the correct order. Another nice feature are the audio files embedded into the pdf files so there is no need to open multiple programs.
I loved the very first activity in the first module. In order to help student learn to identify the correctly pronounced French alphabet a native French speaker calls out letters which will spell English words. This unique activity really resonated with Rose. She quickly picked up on the different vowel sounds and I really think the connection to English helped her do this more rapidly. Beth also liked the activity although it was harder for her.
This program is ideally used with students 3rd through eighth grade, but it can be used with students who are younger because of the extensive amount of oral practice and older if they are interested. The worksheet portions are best suited for students with a 3rd grade reading level or higher.
As I mentioned before many aspects of the French culture are included which provide a nice balance and a fuller picture of what the language is all about. This is a really fun portion which I think would also encourage students to be open to more cultures as they learn.
Although the girls did enjoy using this, I learned something very important. None of us is ready for language study this extensive or in depth yet! The program is excellent, but it will take more time than we have right now to add it in daily as I would want. With that in mind, when we are ready for a full foreign language curriculum, this is definitely something we will revisit. I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a full-course language curriculum as it is high quality and seems to thoroughly explore the language.
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