French has got to be one of the most difficult subjects to incorporate into homeschooling. Math, language arts, and science curriculum options seem endless, but with French, there isn’t as much out there. So, what’s a homeschooler to do?
First, figure out your goal.
Do you want your kids to be fully bilingual when they leave your home or just be able to ask where the washrooms are at the airport? Or maybe something in between? Figure out what you’re aiming for, so you can begin (or continue) with the end in mind.
Second, decide how important it is to you.
It took me a while to figure this out, but last year I finally realized that if I don’t pass along bilingualism to my children, I will be disappointed in the results of our homeschool – even if my kids eventually excel at absolutely everything else. I had to realign some priorities and make sure that I had the head space to teach them what they need to know.
How important is meeting your French goal to you? If it’s really important, align your school schedule such that you’re able to meet your identified goal. If it’s a take-it-or-leave-it type thing, that’s ok too! In that case, you can just treat it as an add-on option when you have the time to fit it in.
Third, know your own abilities.
Are you bilingual yourself? If not but you want your kids to be, then you’re going to need some outside help – if only to teach you before you teach your kids. Don’t be afraid to bring in reinforcements!
If you speak some French, go with it. Practice and learn more along with your kids. Don’t be afraid of saying things “wrong”. Sure, it would be great if your kids were around native speakers all the time, but that’s just not going to happen.
If you don’t speak any French, then make sure that the resources you choose do not require any teacher input. You might also be interested in my Top 10 tips for teaching French to your kids when you aren’t French yourself.
Fourth, choose your resources.
Keep your goal and abilities in mind when you’re weeding through the options. If you’re looking for resources that cover introductory levels, there are a lot of choices. Lisa Marie has many options listed here on the Canadian Homeschooler. I also have a number of introductory resources and activity ideas listed on my site.
Once you get past the basics, it gets a lot harder to find resources. As I find things, I write about them on Frenglishlearning.com. To make it easier to find what you need, you can filter the resources I’ve reviewed by your student’s age, student and/or teacher proficiency level, and many other options.
Fifth, don’t give up!
It’s never too late to start, something is better than nothing, and you can do it! Just like it can take a few tries to find the right curriculum for other subjects, it can take a few attempts to get into a French rhythm that works. Keep trying and eventually the pieces will fall into place.
I am passionate about teaching French to my kids. I’m currently homeschooling a 10 year old girl and an 8 year old boy. Get this – they are actually speaking French! Nowhere near perfectly, of course, but we’re making progress. Read more about our journey, as well as the resources and activities we use at Frenglishlearning.com.