There are multiple ways to teach any subject, French is just like any other subject. Given any advice, you'll find that immersion, reading French, learning vocabulary and grammar and speaking French is the best way to learn French. So, I'm trying to accomplish all of these things without overwhelming myself or my children. Please realize I'm just starting out and doing the best I can as a French learner myself. That said, let me share with you what I'm doing to teach my children French.
I created posters based on posters I saw for purchase, here's our "wall of French" that we review.
Top Left: Alphabet; Top Right: Days of the Week; Middle Left: Colors; Middle Right: Numbers 1-20
Bottom: Common school-related words
I wanted to be able to say, "get your _____" even before I could say it in French. My drawing of scissors is atrocious but you get the idea. I also realized that having the articles (un, une, la, le, les, des) is important to learning vocabulary. Did you know what when French children learn French they don't learn masculine/feminine words? They just learn the words with the appropriate articles, like "un livre" is book instead of just "livre".
Our colors poster. White is blanc but I couldn't figure out how to put that on there.
Below are two posters we have above our kitchen table.
We try to use the French words on this on a daily basis, even if we cannot formulate the question entirely in French. Camille may say, "Maman, can I have le lait with dîner?" "Qu'est-ce que vous voulez manger? is something I say daily. Lol.
Here's Our Lord's Prayer in French. Currently I'm studying this to be able to help my children learn it. I like that it is up there though. I copied it 4 times before I was able to write it without mistake, the hazards of creating your posters in a foreign language!
Here is our daily schedule. I say schedule because right now we're working towards this and I'm being pretty strict about it until it becomes habit. This is more of a homeschooling thing than teaching French but it's an example of how we're starting to use French in our daily lives. It's not just a subject for us.
MOVIES & LEARNING VIDEOS
Bonjour Les Amis 3 Volume Set: Love this! I love it even more that I was able to purchase it for $3.00 at our local library sale.
First Fun With French by Usborne
Brainy Baby French
Baby Einstein: Language Nursery, Baby Wordsworth-Words Around the House, Baby Newton-Discovering Shapes and Baby's Favorite Places-Words Around Town
Most of the Baby Einstein DVDs have French language tracks where the words on the screen appear in French and the voice on the video is in French. This really extends the life of these movies! I thought once Danny was older we'd be done with these but they are perfect for language learning. When looking at them in the store, look for this.
If it says it has a Language Track in French, you're good to go! Also look at the DVDs in your movie collection.
If they have this...
You can watch that movie dubbed in French. This particular one does not have subtitles in French but look for that too. The "heard" words will not match the person's mouth on the video but it is still great for immersion. I particularly like to watch movies heard in English with the French subtitle.
Pictured: Berlitz French Je Parle Français, Let's Learn French Coloring Book, Un Peu De Tout (A Bit of Everything), Mon Papa, Ma Maman, Milet's Mini Picture Dictionary, Barron's French/English Food, Barron's French/English Weather, Berlitz' Bilingual The Missing Cat, Berlitz' Bilingual The Five Crayons, Berlitz' Bilingual A Visit to Grandma, Usborne Internet Linked French Dictionary for Beginners, Camille et ses amis, Camille ne veut pas prêter ses jouets, Camille et son drôle de nounours, Help Your Child Learn a Foreign Language by Opal Dunn and Qu'est-ce que c'est?
Inside the Let's Learn French Coloring Book (which is just an alphabet book coloring book)
Inside the Milet Mini Picture Dictionary (has the all important articles!)
and inside Qu'est-ce que c'est? Which can be made into a game, there are other books like this that use the question words.
This book has flaps that open.
AUDIO & ACTIVITY
Okay now back to talking about Baby Einstein. I found these at Toys'RUs. They are Language Nursery Flash Cards.
I covered the English on the front and put the French word instead. We review these everyday and Danny loves them, especially the car, truck, fire truck and train flash cards!
On the back of them is multiple languages with pronounciation
I put the sticker right underneath the French so I could locate it quickly but I've got these memorized now.
That is what we do daily so far: read a book, review these flashcards, the posters and watch one of the videos. We're about to start The Easy French or Le Facile Français Jr. Level, I just finished putting the notebook together after printing out the activity sheets and combining them with The French Copywork K-3 from www.HomeschoolEStore.com.
I'm still in the planning stages of what songs, poems, nursery rhymes we'll memorize for the year and what order we'll learn them but we've been playing with Hop, Skip and Sing French which is quite fun!
Pictured: Aventures French Language Learning Program for Elementary Schools Book 1 set. (Private schools use this, I'm not sure I will just yet), Play and Learn French, Un Deux Trois: First French Rhymes, Teach Me French, Twin Sisters French, Teach Me French Spiritual Songs and Springboard to French.
There are some things I have too much of, such as I didn't realize that Springboard to French and Un Peu de Tout would be so similar in content. Thankfully, each is a little different. I've collected these those private sales, 4 for the price of 3 deals on Amazon, www.bookmooch.com, www.powells.com
Useful link about teaching elementary children
French Links that I have bookmarked that will help you do anything you'd like teaching/learning French
When I have a schedule ready for what we're learning, I'll share it. I'm currently reading up different techniques for teaching elementary aged children. I'm also working on developing a sequence of concepts, I need a plan. : )
I feel like this is very disjointed but it's hard to share something when you haven't got it all figured out for yourself just yet. The idea right now is to keep the "concepts" or "theme" the same but use:
-nursery rhymes or poems
-learn vocabulary and use vocabulary
to learn/teach the concept or theme.
I'll post more about this later. I hope this helps someone else and I haven't caused confusion!