Our Family

Our Family

Friday, November 8, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: French Essentials

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All year long, my 9 year old has been asking me when we were going to be able to review a French curriculum.  He really, really wanted to learn French. I was very excited when I found out he would get his wish when we ended up being able to review French Essentials.  We received the Full Access Online Program for review purposes.

French Essentials is a complete French curriculum for students in grades 3-8, although when all the modules are completed High Schoolers will be able to use as as well as completing all 10 modules will be equivalent to two years of High School French.  French Essentials does not teach Parisian or Quebec French but instead teaches International French.  No prior knowledge of French is needed to take this course.  The course is taught through downloadable muti media lessons and online exercises, tests, and culture lessons.  French Essentials can be used both by PC and Mac users although you will need to have Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash if you are a Mac user and Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash , and Quicktime if you have a PC.

There are currently 5 modules of French Essentials available.  When French Essentials is complete there will be 10 modules available.  You can purchase single modules for $69.95 with 90 days to download the files to your computer.  Or you can purchase the entire package for $149.95 with a full year to download the materials.  To order click here.

Now that I have told you a little bit about the program, let me tell you how it works.

Once you purchase the program you create a user name and password.  Once you go to the student log in, this is what you will see.

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When you go to the download area, you click on which module you are working in.  We of course are working in module 1 since we just started the course a few weeks ago.  There are 20 lessons in module 1. You will also find a module checklist (very helpful to parents), student workbook, and answer key (download these first.)

Each lesson downloads in a zip file that you have to extract to open (don't worry this is very easy!)  Once you extract your files you can begin your lesson.  The lessons are interactive so you have the ability to not only read the lessons, but you get to hear the words (or in lesson one the letters) pronounced for you.  All you have to do is click on the box.  Depending on your security settings you may have to click on something to allow your computer to play the audio and videos.

There are also videos in each lesson so you can see and hear what you learned again.  The videos pause to give you an opportunity to repeat it back.

After you go through your lesson, you complete your workbook page.

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Beginning in Lesson 4 there are online activities and tests as well.  You can log in to your student account, click on online exercises, the module you are in, and your lesson.  There are online flashcards, exercises, and games to play to help reinforce what you have learned.  There are also online tests you can complete.

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 There is also a culture section for your student to learn and explore.

As I mentioned above I have been using French Essentials with my 9 year old son.  He is really enjoying it! We have never done French in our homeschool before, and I personally have never taken French and have been learning right along with Alex.  We have been using the program 3 days per week completing 2 lessons a week and using the third day for the online activities for review.

If your child is a really strong reader, they will be able to complete the program on their own.  If not, you may have to do it with them or at least be available to help as needed. Alex is mildly dyslexic an struggles with reading and spelling (although he has made great improvements!)  So, I read the lesson portions to him.  The audio and video in each lesson are awesome!  That really is my favorite feature of French Essentials.  By being able to hear the words and listen to them on the videos, he really is learning French very easily!  I think it is so cute when he speaks French to his brothers and sisters, and his pronunciation is MUCH better than mine.  You have the ability to play the videos and audios as many times as you want or need to. The lessons are broken down in easily digestible chunks and not overwhelming at all. Some of the worksheets he would have been able to do on his own, but others have been a little challenging for him, especially the ones where you have to write the French words.  Instead of having him do them on his own, I just have him tell me the answer and I spell it for him.  Our favorite part of the online exercises are the flashcards and a game that you drag the word card to the matching one as fast as you can to make them disappear.

Some people may think that needing to download the lessons to your computer is a negative, but I think it is a positive thing.  That way they are stored onto your computer and you will have access to the lessons even after your online subscription is up allowing you to complete lessons if you did not have time to finish or to go back and review lessons at a later date.  It is simple to create a folder on your computer to store all the files in as you get them downloaded.  The download time varies depending on the lesson.  My internet is pretty slow and each lesson only takes a few minutes to download.

We really are enjoying French Essentials and plan on continuing with it to the end of our subscription period.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.

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