What do you use for French?

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  • 4myboys

    I feel really strongly about starting French this coming year.  I would prefer not to use something on the computer, but I would like something with a good audio component –preferably something that could be listened to in about 10 mins or so in the van a few days a week.  I am not stuck on this, however.  I’ve looked at The Easy French, which seems pretty complete, and Ecoutez, Parlez! which looks not so complete but might be satisfactory for an introduction, and the price is decent.  I’ve heard of Learnables and I know I’ve looked at them but they couldn’t have left much of an impression on me from the website because I don’t remember anything about it. 

    What do you use or have you used?  How do you/did you use it and how impressed with it are/were you and your children?  My boys are 11.5 (going into 6th) and nearly 8 (going into 3rd).  My older is not so impressed with the idea of learning French, my younger is looking forward to it.  He is able to pick up on the little I’ve taught him quickly, but I’ve exhausted my vocabulary ages ago, so of course I’ll be learning right along with them.


    We are using the Learnables, and like it OK. It is not very exciting, but seems to be solid and my dd6 seems to be picking up stuff from it – we are about 1/2 way through level 1. (She doesn’t speak a ton yet, but The Learnables emphasizes listening and understanding in the beginning and speaking later as it comes.) We also supplement this with these videos http://www.knowitall.org/instantreplay/content/program.cfm?SeriesIDpassed=45 and other French cartoons on YouTube which my dd6 likes, but I would venture to guess your 11.5 year old would not. I also speak French conversationally so I speak to them and read French picture books with them. We are also in the process of working out a language exchange with a French friend (she would come and do some French speaking/activities with my kids, and I would do some English with hers)…haven’t started it yet, but we’re looking forward to it. Anyhow…all that to say that I’ve done quite a bit of searching, and I don’t know that there IS a complete program out there – I think you have to attack a language from multiple modalities to really make it stick. We tried the Easy French and did not like it at all. I thought the actvities were kind of dumb and there just wasn’t a lot to it. My kids liked listening to the CD that came with it OK, but it was a lot of money to pay for just a CD – and again mine are younger so they didn’t mind these CDs..but I’ve heard of others with older kids who didn’t like the dialogues on the CD – so you may want to use caution with that before you buy, especially if your older son isn’t that excited about it to begin with.

    HTH some,



    We have been using Ecoutez, parlez. We used something else before that which I don’t remember the name of. I liked Ecoutez at first but it seems to have become very fill-in-the-blanky as time goes on. So I finally bought Rosetta Stone for my dd to try next but we haven’t started it yet.




    Here is what I am doing with my 11 year old daughter.  I bought a copy of Beginning French by Victor E. Francois.  This is a textbook from early 1900’s.  You can find it at gutenberg.org, I believe.  I found a nice copy on ebay.  We have completed the first four lessons (this took about a month) and we are now ready to begin working our way through the Easy French Reader http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071428488/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00 and Learn French the Fast and Fun Way  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0764125591/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00.  We will work through these together.  When she is working on a lesson, I have her type in the sentences at http://www.acapela-group.com/text-to-speech-interactive-demo.html to hear correct pronunciation.  She practices saying the things along with them.  

    This is working very well with her because she really wants to learn french and because she is a child who learns best by reading and writing, as opposed to learning by auditory or kinesthetic methods.  So, depending on what type of learners your kids are, this may or may not work for them.  We also use the videos at knowitall.org to gain some vocabulary and get used to hearing french spoken.  I have not done this with any of my younger kids, although they have been watching the videos with us.  They have not really shown me that they are ready to “work” at learning French, so I am going to wait a bit.


    We are planning on http://theeasyfrench.com/. It follows a CM method and even better is that the company wholeheartely believes in home education and teaching language to serve the Great Commission. 


    I haven’t purchased our curriculum, yet (for 12yo & almost 6yo). But, I’m seriously considering French Mission ABC (w 6yo) and Mission Monde (w 12yo). Have any of you used these?


    Has anyone done this below? It’s had great reviews, but I’m not sure if I can put in the time to teach it. Right now we are beginning Rosetta Stone which my kids can do independently.



    Is there an answer key to the book by Francois?



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