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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

French: Why, How, When & What

I'm going to share what I'm thinking about French, what I've looked at and what I've read so that if someone else gets the crazy idea to teach their children a language they themselves don't have experience in, maybe this will be helpful.

1. We have a unique situation- dd's dad (my ex) is 1/2 native french and can speak fluently. I don't know how accurate his fluency is but it's something. It is part of Camille's heritage, her paternal grandmother (Paris native) is no longer with us but this is a wonderful way to honor her.

2. We also have a former french professor in our little country church that is willing to be my tutor and go-to person while we remain at our current church appointment.

3. I have a multi-lingual homeschooling friend that has provided an excellent example of a multi-lingual home. I see the benefits in her children, who by the way, take their Spanish speaking skills to minister to the field workers here in Georgia. She's an awesome child of God, wife, mother, and friend.

Why French instead of Spanish? We'll learn Spanish later, we want to be bilingual in French first and here's why. Why French? is one of the most information sites about French, why to learn it, how to learn it, how to teach French as a second language to children, etc. This site in combination with others, including two private schools elementary curriculums- Hillcrest Academy and Wyndcroft School show that it is not necessary to have a curriculum when you start young.

Of course, it is ideal to have a fluent speaker in the house, which is why I'm studying French. It is possible to learn French in a year in a French-speaking country. Laura Lawless of says it can take 5 to 10 years for someone living in a non-French speaking country. I intend to do it in 2 -3 years. How? I'm going to use multiple resources to simultaneously study pronounciation, grammar, reading and communicating. Here's an example of what I plan to do.

I will go to France. I will go to France. I will go to France.- This is a goal for the next five years. I hope to take my mother (dutch) because she's never been anywhere whereas my Navy-retired father has been EVERYWHERE! Plus, there's no better way to learn something than to teach it. Even if I don't reach the 2-3 year goal, I can stay way ahead of my children.

I looked at the homeschool offerings for French, I don't want a software program so that leaves out PowerGlide and Rosetta Stone. I'm not sure about Learnables French, Easy French/Le Français Facile! and L'Art de Dire. With the help of family, we just ordered Le Français Facile! Junior and Level 1 which will take some time to get here. I feel this will give us the structure we need for a good foundation. Through Amazon, BookMooch, library and friends, here's what we're using or will use:

Ordered through various sources, Amazon has 4 for 3 deals* on most of these books linked:
  1. Un Deux Trois: First French Rhymes (with audio cd) by Opal Dunn*
  2. Lonely Planet's French phrasebook*
  3. 101 French Idioms by Jean-Marie Cassagne*
  4. 101 French Proverbs by Jean-Marie Cassagne*
  5. French Copywork K-3 by Le Français Facile! - at (bought during sale)
  6. Michel Thomas 8 Cd program (from dd's dad, free)
  7. Weather/Les Temps (Bilingual First Books, English-French) By: Clare Beaton*
  8. Food: English-French: La nourriture (Bilingual First Books/English-French) By: Clare Beaton*
  9. Bonne Nuit a Tous: Goodnight Everyone (I Can Read FrenchLanguage Learning Story Books) By: Lone Morton*
  10. Mon papa (Parlons Livres!) By: Debbie Bailey*
  11. Milet Mini Picture Dictionary (French-English) (Milet Mini Picture Dictionaries) By: Sedat Turhan*
  12. Ma Maman/My Mom (Parlons Livres!) [written in French] By: Debbie Bailey *
  13. French workbook by McGraw/Hill - A Bit of Everything French (Un Peu De Tout)
  14. Berlitz Kids French Language Pack! By: Inc. Berlitz International
  15. Aventures Book 1, Aventures Book 2 and Aventures Book 2 Workbook
  16. I can read French;: My first English-French word book by Penrose Colyer (1971)
  17. Webster's French-English, English-French dictionary
  18. Parole et Pensée by Lenard - old college textbook for Intro to French (from my tutor)
  19. Baby Einstein DVDs (we already had) and Language Discovery Flashcards
  20. Movies we own that allow us to play them in French or use French subtitles
Yahoo Groups
  1. Two yahoo groups: The Easy French, French/English Tutor

Books I'm receiving from BookMooch:
  1. The First Thousand Words in French: With Easy Pronunciation Guide
  2. Schaum's Outline of French Grammar
  3. Essential French Grammar
  4. See It and Say It in French (See It and Say It)
  5. French bilingual dictionary: A beginner's guide in words and pictures
  6. French Complete Course (Living Language Complete Courses. Cassette Edition)
  7. French Step-By-Step: A Unique, Short-Cut Method to Learn and Speak French Fluently
From the library:
What we're currently using
  1. Bonjour Les Amis videos
  2. Berlitz's Think and Talk French
  3. Michel Thomas 2 Cd set

What I want to look at and is on its way via interlibrary loan
  1. French for beginners by Wilkes, Angela.
  2. The Kids Can Press French & English phrase book by Lacourcière-Kenny, Chantal.
  3. KidSpeak 6-in-1 language learning French by Transparent Language
  4. French : level one by Modern Language Materials Development Center
  5. Growing up with two languages a practical guide by Cunningham-Andersson, Una
  6. The bilingual family : a handbook for parents by Harding-Esch, Edith.
  7. Easy French exercises : practice for beginners by Rybak, Stephanie.
  8. Vis-à-vis : beginning French by Amon, Evelyne.
  9. French is fun lively lessons for beginners by Stein, Gail.
  10. The ultimate French review and practice : mastering French grammar by Stillman, David M.

My goodness! The books from the library are to see what we may find worth purchasing if we need it or like it. I'm walking around with my iPod with Michel Thomas, Berlitz French from the library and other free audio resources from the internet playing in my ear. I'm reading children's French books, we're watching Bonjour Les Amis children's videos from the library at least once a day. I'm also watching French in Action once a day. Okay, here's the links to website resources.

FluentFrench Audio
Songs and poems by Grade
Poetry & Folk Songs
French Single Serving Audio - Alphabet, Numbers, Basics, etc.

Basic English to French Phrases
French/English Translation Games, Activities and Quiz
French-English Dictionary Online - Verb Conjugator

BBC French Online K-12 & Adult Resources Free French lessons w/ audio files
Fluent French English speaker explains French- *very good*
French Lessons - Links galore! - Different urls for french lessons online
Tennessee Bob's Famous French Links
Fun French - For Beginners- French with audio files
French Assistant - Practice Your French Free
iLoveLanguages French links - Little bit of everything here

TELL ME MORE French Homeschool Software
Nallenart - French Curriculum for Homeschool and Classroom; Music
Check out Rosetta Stone, Learnables,, PowerGlide too.

check out what the private schools are doing, scroll down the page
Wyndcroft School
Hillcrest Academy

CPCC- French Multimedia Language Lab - Quizzes for French In Action
French In Action Summary Quizzes - Find French in Action at
Questionnaires French in Action Video series

Project Happy Child- French
French ABC- Interactive
French Nursery
Multi-lingual Books- French courses, books, audio, etc.
Language Lizard
LITTLE EXPLORERS by Enchanted Learning Software
Mama Lisa's World - Children's Songs and Nursery Rhymes
Petite librairie, french books and music for children

London Speaks French- Online Games
Poisson Rouge- Games for Children

FLTeach FSL Resources - Foreign Language Teaching Forum
French Culture | Education
French Poetry lesson plans
French Proverbs
French Resources- Classroom Materials
French Teacher's Discovery Classroom Resources *Favorite*
National French Library
French Institute Alliance Franaise
Montessori French Files
Nacell Language Supplier
Volterre-Fr, Ressources France
Resource Center for the Teaching of French

FrenchParents - French and bilingual culture, etc. for families in the US
Parents' Press- Article Learning A Second Language
Bilingual Kids



scarymelon said...

Thanks for all the great resources - I printed off a list to use for later. This will be a big help. We are trying to do both spanish (Which I speak) and french (Which I don't).

Anonymous said...

Bonne chance! And don't forget about Quebec for a closer French immersion experience.

Anonymous said...

There is a little french suprise in "McDuff Goes to School" by Rosemary Wells. Thought you might want to see if your library has it.

Christie/ IN

andie @ and the mama said...

Wow! Go, Jessica. If I wanted to learn French, I'd just go live with PariSarah. She's get used to the idea, eventually, I'm sure. ;)

Anonymous said...

I studied in France for a year back in 83 and am now teaching my 5 & 3 year old girls French. You have some great ideas on your site.

I didn't see this on your list, but you may want to consider this book: Speak French to your baby. by Therese Slevin Pirz, from 1981. I got it from It organizes by subject things you might want to say to your children, like ne renverse pas le lait.

Also, we have enjoyed Charlotte Diamond's CD: Qu'il y ait toujours le soleil. I bought it here: The girls have this on their alarm clock in the morning

And we like: Baby's first steps French CD from Amazon.

Mostly when we walk to school we practice our vocabulary from the picture dictionary. One girl will say grand, the other petit, and we work our way through opposites or play Jacques a dit. Simon says.

Thanks for your great work putting all this together,

Norma Allen said...

Hi Jessica. Your blog header is lovely! I hope your French studies went well. Thank you for including Nallenart on your list. There are many free resources now available at my new site The site is a work in progress, but already has some fun things for teachers and homeschoolers. Wishing you all the best through the changes in your life!