French as a Second Language is a subject that many homeschooling families in Canada want to include – given that it’s our official second language. For many though, the biggest challenges they face are a lack of resources and confidence in their own French skills. In this post, we’ll explore some ways to include French into your homeschool.
French as a Second Language Curriculum
The most common way to learn French is to use a pre-made curriculum. The best plan is to find something that includes not only reading and writing activities, but also audio and verbal pieces as well. It’s important for kids to hear how the language sounds, not just how it looks. Here are some ideas for French Curriculum.
Grade level: PreK-K
Price Range: $4.99/monthly or $49.99USD/yearly (check if this is available through your library)
This early year program uses short, engaging videos to introduce themed vocabulary. Little Pim is a cute panda bear teacher.
Grade level: PreK-K
Format: DVD, CD, and Printable Worksheets or Downloaded
Price Range: $69.99 to $130US
Whistlefritz uses videos and music to bring French to young ones. In combination with these, parents / teachers are given a series of 40 lessons to develop on the language learned so far. Videos are a combination of live action and animation to engage young learners. You can choose to order physical copies of the videos and program or download them instead.
Grade level: 1+
Format: Workbook, Teacher Guide, CD
Price Range: $31.99 for guide with CD + $9.99 for the student workbook
Ecoutez, Parlez focuses on oral exercises and activities through out loud repetition and listening skills. Lessons are short – aiming for only about 10 minutes a day. There are 4 levels from beginner to intermediate, and can be used by children as young as 4 or 5.
The Easy French For Homeschoolers (Le Français Facile!)
Grade level: K-3, 4+
Format: Teacher Guide + CD
Price Range: $69.95 – $139.95
Easy French or Français Facile! offers first a Junior version for the early years and then a more advanced version for older students. Each program uses stories of various characters and songs to teach from – especially with dialogue, focusing on the use of phonics for language development. As a Christian program, it also includes Scripture verses and centres around missions. Lessons are laid out in a simple format. Canadian.
Grade Level: K-3, 4+
Format: Digital Download with Teacher’s Guide, Student Workbook with Audio, and Answer Key
Price Range: $90-$100
Mission Monde uses stories of Christian missionary children from around the world to bring cultural experience to students while teaching them grammar, phonics, oral conversation practice, and more. There are two programs. The first is Mission Monde ABC which is for K-3 and uses various topics to introduce vocabulary and language. The second is the actual Mission Monde program for grades 4+. It’s broken down into 4 levels and corresponds with the BC, Alberta, and Ontario provincial learning outcomes. Canadian.
French Essentials (read my review of their 1st edition)
Grade level: 5+
Price Range: $80-$180 depending on the version and level
French Essentials is a downloaded program that includes instructional videos, audio files, and a workbook all within an ebook format. Included are also notes about French culture. The original 1st edition has 6 levels of books, but they are in the process of updating everything in a new 2nd edition. Laid out in an easy to follow lesson plan, this is an all-in-one program. Canadian.
First Start French 1 & 2
Grade level: 5-8
Format: Teacher Guide, Student Workbook, CD
Price Range: $44USD
Created by Memoria Press, First Start French has two levels of program that follow the same format as their popular Latin lessons to develop grammar, vocabulary, reading, translation, and an understanding of French culture. This program includes a CD with pronunciations and songs as well as both a Teacher Guide and Student guide. Designed for beginners, First Start French helps with developing conversational skills.
Breaking the Barrier French
Grade level: 9+
Format: Workbook, CD, Pacing Guide, and optional upgrade for online access
Price Range: $115USD
Divided into three levels – Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced – Breaking the Barrier French focuses on the mastery of reading, writing, and speaking with an authentic voice. Each homeschool edition of the levels comes with a pacing guide, student workbook, a test pack, answer key, a CD for audio, plus a dictionary and is considered a full-year’s course.
Use a French Tutor / Teacher
If you aren’t confident in your own French skills, it can be challenging to feel confident to teach it yourself. That’s when tutors can be a terrific option! Here are a few options:
Ms. Samantha Star
Grade Level: K – 8
Format: Outschool Classes
Grade Level: K-6
Format: Online classes and one-on-one tutoring
French Language Learning Tools / Workbooks
If you just want to add in French without a major commitment to a curriculum or program, your child can do a variety of other activities such as:
Workbooks have been a staple of education for a long time. You can absolutely use them to help develop French as a Second Language skills.
Grade Level: 4-8
Price Range: $19.99
Created by Popular Book Company to go along with their SmartSeries books, this workbook provides colourful pages and worksheets divided into themed units. Focusing heavily on understanding and building vocabulary, the books use translation and pronunciation guides to help make it easier to understand.
APPS & WEBSITES
There are so many great apps and online programs available to help develop second language skills. Here are some of the most popular ones :
This program is available both as an app and on their website, offering lessons for multiple languages. As you work your way through the activities and lessons, you earn experience points and rewards. They also have an app called Duolingo Kids which is only available through the Apple Store and GooglePlay in Canada.
Price: $7.99US/month (although it may be available through your library)
Aiming to give students skills in conversational French, this program uses reading, comprehension, listening, memorization, and review along with the ability to record and playback your own voice to create a personalized learning experience as you learn a second language.
The ULAT takes a different approach to learning another language – training them to learn the same as a first language speaker of that language. It starts with speech and understanding the spoken word, then adding in phonics, reading, and writing later. Using symbols and images to trigger word recall, it creates a foundation of oral language as a base before building to more complex language development.
There are so many great channels that offer lessons and activities for French learning, such as:
Learn French With Alexa
This channel offers easy to follow lessons for French which are usually only 5-15 minutes long.
This channel features French teacher Steve who creates educational videos for kids.
The French Experiment / The Fable Cottage
These websites share classic childhood stories like the Three Little Pigs, The Little Red Hen, and Snow White and present them in fully animated French videos.
- Challenge your children to listen to their favourite shows in French, with or without English subtitles.
- Play card games or other board games and refer to numbers and colours, etc. in French.
- Borrow French language books from the library.