“Bonjour, je m’appelle Katrina, and I cannot wait to tell you about The Easy French, or rather, Le Francais Facile.”
French was hard for me. Growing up I went to an English school in a French community. Pretty much every other student spoke French at home after they left school for the day. This gave me a certain advantage in most subject but French was a whole other story. The teacher I had didn’t really speak any English and the class moved way too fast for me. I didn’t understand a word that was said and the teacher’s only advice for my parents was to have me watch French TV. We’ll that didn’t help me much. I memorized the theme song for Passe-Partou (if you are child of the 80ies from Quebec, you probably know it too). I didn’t actually understand the words I’d memorized until quite a few years later when I moved to Newfoundland and my few words of rudimentary French were actually seen as good. Moving to a VERY anglophone community did wonders for my French and I moved back to Quebec a couple years later actually understanding what people were saying to me when they spoke to me in French. The secret……my sixth grade teacher in the little English town started at the very beginning, which is a very good place to start, and French wasn’t so intimidating anymore. Well, I spent many more years in Quebec and actually ended up married to a French Canadian, with whom I now have three children. While he is perfectly bilingual, the rest of his family (parents excluded) only speak in French so it is important that my children learn the language. When given the opportunity to review the Great Commission Language’s The Easy French as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was very much excited to take part.
We were given the choice to review the Junior version (ages K-grade 3) or Level AI (for grades 3 and up). While I think Liam would have enjoyed the version for older children, I wanted Morgaine to be able to take part so we went with the Junior version and were soon introduced to Marie and Cherie, a young girl and her cat who guide you through the lessons. This complete French curriculum can provide French instruction for your children for up to three years and includes a teacher’s guide/textbook and two enhanced CDs that include audio recordings of the text from the teacher’s guide, songs, and pages and pages of activities that can be printed off for your children to complete. The focus of the junior version is more on oral french and the stories and songs, which is fine for young children that may not be ready or eager to write. There are activity suggestions for each of 34 lessons and you can choose to do all or some of them depending on your family/timeline and whatnot. Lessons cover everything from “my name is…” to body parts, numbers and foods. The 212 page teacher’s guide also contains drawings of Marie and Cherie so that before lessons you can sit with your child, show them the picture, and introduce the lesson.
I’ll admit that we did not get a long time with this product as there was a little bit of a shipping miscommunication (that was easily cleared up once it was made aware of) so we did not complete more than two lessons. Both children have quite enjoyed them and we look forward to continuing over the next year or so. While the teachers guide says that there is enough material in this curriculum to cover three years, I cannot see us taking that long with it as we completed the first two lessons in two weeks and I certainly feel that we could have even moved a little faster with it. Perhaps this is because I am comfortable with the language and it’s not my children’s first introduction to the language (we had students with us from France this summer and I’ve always spoken to them off and on in the language) though we have never studied it formally. What is really nice about the program is that it IS easy. It starts at the very beginning. You DON’T need to speak French yourself. It wouldn’t be hard to pick up this program and use it if you’d never spoken French before. The audio tracks are not rushed and the words are pronounced slowly and clearly. I was a little bit concerned with the fact that another book (The Ultimate Lap Book Handbook) is mentioned frequently. It is NOT included but I’ve found that the instruction given are clear enough without really having to have this book and there are always ways to modify the activities. For example, my children drew their family and labled the picture instead of making the lapbook book. It would also probably be possible to find good instructions online though I would have preferred that they were given as part of the curriculum.
Because this curriculum can be used over 3 years, is great for beginners and includes audio CDs and activities that can be printed over and over again for various children in your family, I believe that $69.95 is not too expensive especially if you have numerous children that can use the program over the years. It’s more than I would normally pay for a product but I think that you get a good deal for the price. I know that my children and I will make full use of the program, though I doubt it will take us much more than a year to complete. I was happy enough with this product I will likely look into the level for older children because I think that my son, who is 8, would get more out of it as he also wants to do more writing in French.
There are numerous free activities and sample lessons on the Great Commissions website so I invite you to check it out. There’s even more good news! If French is not your thing then maybe Spanish is. Great Commissions Language also sells The Easy Spanish! There are reviews of both language programs (in two different levels) on the TOS Homeschool Crew’s blog so I hope you will visit to find out even more information about these complete language curricula.
**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.