Wednesday, November 13, 2013

French Essentials - French Curriculum for Homeschool (TOS Review)

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I have one student almost through high school and one on the horizon. The experience that we have had with foreign language hasn't been very positive and really left me in a quandary on what to do with the my up and coming high school student. Enter French Essentials Full Access Online Program which I have had the opportunity to review over the last few weeks.

French Essentials is a downloadable curriculum with online features developed for homeschoolers by French teachers. It is easy to use and uses four components to aid in learning French. They are:
  • Watching
  • Listening
  • Repeating
  • Speaking
These components are reinforced through the use of audio, video, and written exercises. There are additional resources available online which include quizzes, learning activities, and exposure to the French culture.
French Essentials is recommended for Grades 3-12 and offers 4 modules with 6 more coming. Younger students should work through one module a year whereas older students should work through more than one module a year. If they work through 5 modules they can earn a credit. If they complete all 10 it is equivalent to 2 years of foreign language.

Each module is broken up into units and each unit is broken up into lessons. The modules are downloadable and open in a PDF format. A nice feature about this is that the lessons can be done with the audio and video components, yet you don't have to have access to the Internet at the time the lesson is being done. Also available is the student workbook, answer key, and a checklist that can be downloaded for each module.

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After I had set up our account I went in and downloaded all of Module 1, Student Workbook, Answer Key, and the Module checklist. I could have saved myself some time by watching the Quick Set-up video or opening a PDF that takes you step by step through how their downloadable lessons work, but being the person that I am I did not see this until later. I figured out how it worked by trial and error, which I don't think it was a bad thing since it shows how easy it is to use this program.
To do a lesson you click on the PDF lesson that is saved to your computer and start reading. Throughout the lesson are icons that can be clicked on and an audio clip or video clip will play. These can be listened to or watched as many times as needed. at the end of a lesson instructions are giving for signing into their French Essentials account and accessing the written exercises, online exercises and test.   
French Essentials Online Module Area photo frenchessentials2_zps530122b6.jpg
Destini did French Essentials and since she never done a foreign language she started in Module 1. She took full responsibility to work through this on her own. I showed her where to find the folders that she needed and she did the work. I had printed off the worksheets ahead of time and put them in a binder for her. She would do them at the end of each lesson and then would check them by accessing the answer key that was downloaded to our computer.

At first she kept skipping the online portion, but as she became more familiar with the program this was soon remedied. The activities in the online portion included flashcards and games. These in turn prepared her for the test.

French Essentials Collage

The checklist for the Module she was doing was beneficial to me, since she was working independently. This helped me be able to see what she had finished and if she had gotten behind in anything. It also helped her stay accountable.

If I had any complaints that are small. One was that the sound wasn't very loud. We solved this by having Destini use earphones. Like I stated before Destini struggled with remembering the online component. Since the lessons and worksheets were downloaded to the computer is was easy to forget about the online component. Yes, I know it was in the lessons, but it took a while for her to get used to it. As she become more familiar with everything and then I started using the check off list this quit being an issue. Again these were very small problems and were fixable.

For us, I think we have found an answer for our foreign language woes which makes this homeschool teacher a very happy one! Destini really enjoyed doing this program. Her biggest reason was that no one had to hear her and secondly that she could work on it independently. I also think she found French more appealing than Spanish.

As mom I know this was a big hit with her because I didn't hear any complaints whatsoever!!! And let me assure you if she hadn't like this that is all I would have heard. It was also noticeable that she is learning since I heard quite a few French words being used in her conversations even when she wasn't doing French. French Essentials will be staying around with the goal to get 5 modules finished to earn one foreign language credit.

French Essentials can be purchased in a two ways:
Single Module - $69.95 (90 day period to download curriculum)
Full Package - $149.95 (1 year period to download curriculum)

Try out a sample lesson here.
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