When I was in high school I took French I and II. My friend told me he did too. We both chose it over Spanish because we heard it would be easier to learn. I still remember a few things I learned since those days some years ago. My son has been learning Latin the past two years, but he wanted to learn something new, so he asked if we would get the chance to learn French. When I found out the TOS Crew was going to review some French I was excited to get the chance to dig into it again and share with our son some of our memories from our French learning days.
Great Commission Languages is owned and operated by a homeschooling family that’s committed to providing quality language products for both the homeschooling and general education community. Marie and Peter Sherwood’s products are “unapologetically written from a Christian perspective”. They have scripture verses provided in all their products to help those who desire to carry out the “Great Commission”. Their products are “not really Bible curriculum per se so the scripture memory components are optional”.
The product we were chosen to review is their Le Francais Facile! (The Easy French) 1A. Check out The Easy French section of their website to get a feel for what they teach.
Le Francais Facile! The Easy French Level 1A is written by Marie Filion Sherwood. It’s for grades 7 and up. It consists of a 226 page spiral bound text book with 2 CD’s protected in a pocket at the back. One CD has all the audio you’ll need for the lessons. The other one has the answers to the exercises in the text book. The price for this is $84.95. We also received some extra items that goes along with this program. The test booklet and answer key are priced at $10.00 each. We also received a set of phonogram cards which are also $10.00. Be sure to see my pictures of these below.
The lesson structure is broken up like this:
1. Story: Done in a French weave where a French sentence is used with English words added to help with comprehension.
2. Vocabulary: Listen to the vocabulary words used in the story in French then English.
3. Student Helps: Has insider information on the language and will aid in better understanding the lesson and eventually the language.
4. Scripture Memory: There is suggested scripture in to learn in French for every two lessons.
5. Cultural Note: Helps you get a deeper understanding of the culture presented in the stories.
6. Trivia: Interesting information about the country being studied.
7. Everyday Vocabulary: Has a list of everyday words that can be practiced to master the sounds of French words. There’s a complete list of these words in the Appendix.
8. Activity: Has specific skills that need to be learned for the lessons.
You will want to read through the front of the text book because there is important instructions as well as an important note to the student. One of the features I like is that I don’t have to do any planning because it’s already done for you. Within each lesson is a “Lesson Planner Template” that acts as a checklist to help the student be sure all their work is done. There’s a section to add the date, and date completed. My son (12 yrs. old with Asperger’s) wasn’t able to do this by himself. I had to help him with it so he wouldn’t get confused. For sample lessons click here to download the PDF files of your choice.
There’s Phonogram Review Charts that the student can use to practice and test themselves to see which ones they have memorized. They check off as they master each one. There’s also a scripture sheet with all the scriptures he will be learning in the lessons. Both of the Phonogram Charts and Scriptures can be printed from one of the CD’s in the back of the text book. Here are pictures of what we had to work on. (Note: The test and answer keys are not spiral bound. They were sitting on top of the text book when I took the photos).
The lessons has all of the written work sections right there in the text so you don’t have to worry about extra workbook pages to keep up with. It is important you don’t miss the extra activities in the Appendix section because not only is the phonograms and vocabulary there but there are recipes and fun projects (to make soap, oils, ect.) too. Now let me share our experience with you.
I loved refreshing myself on the French language after such a long time having passed since my high school days. *gasp* I recognized many of the words so it wasn’t so hard for me to quickly catch on. My son was shocked when the audio started going and he heard the voices of the kids in a conversation with each other. He was enjoying reading along as they talked. He was getting a kick out of trying to pronounce the words. He loved practicing his phonograms. He said that was the easiest part. He struggled to keep up with the CD when practicing the vocabulary because she was going to fast for him. He needs time to process his thoughts on what he’s hearing and saying so this was just too fast paced for him. He took a couple of the tests but didn’t do well on those either. He didn’t comprehend well on what he was being asked in some questions and forgot a lot of his vocabulary words he had learned. Since this is stated to be for grades 7 and up I think we are going to set this aside for now and pick back up with it in another year or so. This should give him time to socially mature (in age).
There is an online support group (must have a yahoo account) you can join while using this curriculum. Marie F. Sherwood is an active member there are well. If The Easy French does not appeal to you they also have The Easy Spanish.
To hear more reviews about the Great Commission Languages check out what other TOS crew mates had to say about the ones they reviewed.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this review are entirely my own. I was not paid to write this but received Le Francais Facile 1A free of charge to review, and give my honest opinion.