French Essentials provided access to their program for the purpose of this TOS Schoolhouse Crew review.
French Essentials is an answer to my 8th graders' elective wish list. She shared with me earlier this year that she would like to learn French. She started with lessons that were included on our SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership and was happy to be able to continue with the same lessons through this program that she had started there. For this review, we received a one year membership to French Essentials full access online program which includes access to all of their modules (available for $149.95). It includes a downloadable workbook, parent corner, audio files, and videos. We easily accessed this from our PC.
Step by step foreign language lessons were designed by native French speakers specifically for home learners. I appreciate that this program isn't adapted from one used in a typical classroom, but instead designed purposefully to meet our homeschooling needs. I found the downloadable workbook in the "parent corner" and printed it as well as loading it on my iPad for my daughter. Some of the lessons included audio files, then as she progressed videos were also included. Audio and video files required the PC, though maybe with a different app I could have accessed them on the iPad, too. Pictures also aided her understanding.
Videos include conversations between native speaking French teachers and students which showed how more than one person pronounced the words. At times, pauses were built in to allow the student to repeat phrases. Correct pronunciation was then repeated for comparison.
My daughter shared that she liked the way the lessons were designed. She found the step by step method worked for her without being overwhelming. After a few weeks of lessons, she actually used the lessons as a sort of teacher's guide to teach her little brother (4th grade) the information from each lesson after she studied it.
The French Essentials program is set up in modules which loosely correspond at the highest numbers to high school grade levels, however each student works at the level appropriate for them. Modules are further broken down into lessons. Lessons are broken down into manageable sized content, however students are not tied into completing each one within a certain time period. I appreciate that my daughter is able to work at her own pace. She is enjoying learning each new word, phrase, and sentence. My mom and I have enjoyed listening to her happily share with us as she progresses, and both of us have been trying to recall from our own high school French lessons as she shares with us.
Cultural activities were included as well as links which covered landmarks and French information that helped add relevance to the lessons.
My 8th grade daughter shared that the downloadable checklist was a helpful feature as she was able to easily see which components still needed to be done for each module. She had very little knowledge of French when she started (just a few of the lessons had been completed through Schoolhouseteachers.com) however the program is appropriate for students at many levels. A placement test on the French Essentials website helps students know with which level to begin.
The audio portions of the lessons were the only component that wasn't fully functioning on the iPad. Other than that, the components were viewable with the file hub app. When she accessed workbook pages from a laptop, simply tapping sections of a page allowed her to listen to proper pronunciation of words and letters.
Listening, speaking, and pronunciation exercises incorporated into the lessons provided opportunities for several learning styles. Just since beginning this review, she can now share quite a few French phrases, all thanks to this program and without me actually teaching her this information.
See what other crew members shared in their reviews here. For those students who already have some French experience, their online placement test can help determine the best place to start.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.