Tuesday, November 12, 2013

French Essentials Online Review

Lydia loves a certain fancy little girl that loves to use French words...because she's fancy.  So Lydia has asked a few times to try and learn French.  I have been a little wary of this task, simply because....I don't know French.  So French Essentials was a welcome challenge to our homeschool schedule.

French Essentials is a full French Curriculum that you can download and still have features online.  It was created by French teachers for use of people at home.  Each step-by-step lesson is easy to follow along with and no previous experience is required for the student (or the parent).  As long as you can use your computer, you can use French Essentials.

Like I mentioned earlier, French Essentials is a combination of both online and downloadable lessons.  The online area of French Essentials is very user friendly.  As you can see below.

Culture is even included along with the lessons.  So you are not just learning a few words to get you through a trip to France, you are learning about the French culture and way of life.
Each easy to use lesson focus on pronunciation with follow-up workbook exercises to really help the student to grasp the material.  
Lydia thought it was very neat that her "workbook" even had a link that helped to pronounce and teach her the French alphabet. All sections are broken down into modules.  Each module then is broken further down into shorter lessons.  

Parents are able to tract this with a checklist, so they can assign students their work.   French Essentials has a goal of helping your students to be successful at learning a new language.  They have a special approach to that allows for a multi-sensory approach to learning French.  The use both audio and video.  They believe that seeing someone actually using the words the students are trying to learn is one of the main keys to success.  And I have to agree with them, when I see and can watch someone doing whatever I am attempting to learn, I learn so much more. So how are we doing with French Essentials?  

Well, as excited as Lydia was to try and learn French....she is struggling.  She does have some speech issues that cause for mispronouncing of sounds.  So when she is constantly trying to force herself to think one way about how a letter will sound, it gets very frustrating to be attempting sounds that are similar but not the same.  She understands how the French alphabet has many similar letter sounds.   Her frustration though is where the short videos and online ability to see how she should be saying words is actually extremely beneficial.  She could read me words all afternoon, but I will not be able to help her understand or even understand myself what she is trying to say in French. 

I do like that she can watch someone's face as they say the words.  This really makes French Essentials a wonderful resource for all different types of learners. Again, we are working our way slowly through French Essentials.  I love how easy it is to use.  I do have a little bit of planning.  I read through each lesson and watch what needs to be watched ahead of Lydia, just so that I can be prepared to show her what to do.  She is unable to work independently with this program yet, but there are not many programs that she can work completely by herself.   Lessons are simple and do not require a lot of time.  

Lydia spends maybe 30 minutes a week on foreign language studies.  I know this doesn't seem like a lot of time, but for Lydia that is a lot.  French Essentials though allows for self-paced learning. If you are trying to decide whether or not French Essentials will work for your family, they have samples of the various Module levels available online.  Take some time to browse through and even take their online assessment test to see what section your child should start with. French Essentials was created for kids in Grades 3 - 8, but completing the modules through 10 will be like completing 2 years of high school French.  A subscription to French Essentials allows all the kids in your household to use the program, so you do not need to worry about individual subscriptions.  That is a big plus for us.  

You can purchase individual modules of French Essentials for $69.95 per module.  This gives you 90 day access to download workbooks and access to online materials.  You can purchase all the modules and have access for a full year, giving you plenty of time for download and work, for only $149.95...which is almost a 50% savings. Take some time to read through the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog and see how the members of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew have been able to French Essentials with their families.


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