Thursday, November 16, 2017

French - Foreign Language Studies (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

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French - Foreign Language Studies (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

After so many years of homeschooling, I've had plenty of opportunities to try curriculum and explore all kinds of resources, so during this Blogging Through the Alphabet tour, I'm highlighting some of the many homeschooling resources that have been stand-outs. Sometimes it will be a walk down memory lane as I share something we enjoyed many years ago, and sometimes it will be something we're using currently. Sometimes I'll focus on a specific curriculum, and sometimes on a subject area. And I imagine I'll have to be a bit creative with a couple letters of the alphabet! This week I'm looking at Foreign Language Studies, specifically French.

One of the classes offered in our homeschool co-op group this year was French I, and even when we were in the planning stages, I knew Kennady would jump at the chance to learn French from an experienced instructor. I was absolutely right! When I mentioned that French was going to be offered and asked if she would be interested, she immediately said "Oui!" We are fortunate enough to have a certified instructor teaching this course, and since it's a classroom setting, Kennady has the opportunity to learn and practice with other students. The textbook is French I for Christian Schools from Bob Jones University Press, and the students are also using a book called Un Ete Pas Comme Les Autres which gives them practice in reading and understanding a story written entirely in French. They practice a lot of dialogue in class, and the instructor does a little more of the class instruction in French each week. He starts the class by greeting the students and taking attendance, all in French, and then moving on to ask them conversational questions and quiz them on their homework. After a half semester in the class, he now encourages them after this opening dialogue by pointing out that they have just conversed almost entirely in French for twenty minutes or a half hour, or whatever it might be. 

Since Spanish is the second language most commonly studied by American students, and a Spanish class is offered through our co-op, you might wonder why we would have chosen French instead. Aside from it being just Kennady's personal interest and preference! Although we're from Canada, where French is one of the two official languages, I can't say that our family has any French background. My husband studied French more diligently when he was in school than I, and even went on an exchange trip to Quebec when he was in high school, but it's not like he speaks French fluently at home. Sure, Kennady was named for his favorite hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens, and we've often watched or listened to hockey broadcasts in French, but still . . . Yes, Kennady chose to learn French mostly because she simply wanted to, but I did a little research, and there are actually some pretty valid reasons to study French as a foreign language. 

French - Foreign Language Studies (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Turns out French is considered one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. Part of the reason is that so much of our English vocabulary has its roots in French. About half of our current English vocabulary, in fact. Because it is a Romance language (based on Latin), it makes it easier to learn Spanish (or Italian, or Portuguese) as well. Granted, learning Spanish should presumably make French easier too. 

French is truly a world language, probably more so than Spanish! French is spoken by over 220 million people on the five continents. It is an official language in 29 countries, including France (duh), Belgium, Switzerland, Monaco, Canada, and many countries in Africa - about half of Africa, believe it or not. In Europe, French is the most studied second language in schools. French is an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross, and international courts; and it's also a working language, so the opportunities for those that may be pursuing careers in the international job market or international relations are obvious. Or how about studying abroad? Students interested in attending some of the world's top universities in Europe should be fluent in French to take advantage of those opportunities. Of course, with French spoken in so many countries all over the world, international travel will be easier for those who can speak and understand French. French is also the third most widely used language on the internet. Ahead of Spanish, by the way. The two more commonly used languages are English and German.

And of course, French is the language of culture. Think about cooking, fashion, music, dance, theatre, the visual arts, architecture, and so much more. Full of French terms, and France itself is a center for culture. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to read some of the great works of literature in their original French, or to watch French language movies without needing to rely on English subtitles? How about singing or understanding songs in French? This is something that really appealed to Kennady, as she has learned a number of songs at choir in French, and knowing the language for herself instead of just memorizing relatively meaningless syllables to sing is clearly a richer experience.

French - Foreign Language Studies (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

See more about good reasons to learn French at the website France Diplomatie.

Do you want to learn French? Here are some resources we've used or referred to that you may find useful.

You can learn French using It's one of the several foreign language courses offered, and it's suitable for all ages. (Now is a super time to check out - no coupon code required to take advantage of their current Flash Sale. Just go to the Join Now page and choose the Ultimate Annual BOGO Membership.)

And a long time ago we reviewed French Essentials, a complete curriculum designed for homeschoolers, and suitable for students in Grades 2 through 12. You can read our full review here: French Essentials {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

French Essentials LOGO photo frenchessentiallogo_zps55e20538.jpg

Talking about study of the French language and all the countries where French is spoken has me thinking back to our geography studies several years ago, when I tried to include some foods from many of the countries as part of our experience. And as I wrote this, I was also thinking about my need to plan a menu, and then I got hungry as well. Which led me to hunt up these French recipes from my blog archives. 

 Tourtiere is a meat pie hailing from French Canada. And it's delicious. I love it, although my kids are less enthusiastic. Check out my post Eating the Americas - French-Canadian Tourtiere for more information and for my recipe. Now I'm really hungry.

Or you might want to look at my posts from the year we studied European cultural geography. In A Taste of Europe - Adding Some French Flair to American Fare I discovered that some of our favorite American foods are ever so similar to some French dishes. Just dress them up a little and refer to them with their French names, and they sound very fancy indeed. In fact, I'm making Bifteck Hache and baguettes for dinner tonight, and I think we'll have Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame for lunch on the weekend. Sounds delightfully high-brow, but it's actually fancied up hamburger patties and grilled cheese.

Food with French Flair

You'll find the baguette recipe, and a good recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu in my Middle School Monday - France post. I'm thinking maybe Chicken Cordon Bleu should go on my menu plan for sometime soon as well.

A Taste of Europe - Chicken Cordon Bleu @


Blogging Through the Alphabet again? Yes, I'm taking the challenge, along with several other Crew members, including our three co-hosts for this round - Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool, DaLynn at Biblical Womanhood, and Kirsten at DoodleMom's Homeschooling Life. The link is open from Thursday to Wednesday each week, so join in if you'd like!

This post is linked at Blogging Through the Alphabet for Week 6, Letter F.

This post is part of a #breakthrulinkup at Breakthrough Homeschooling - Join us! This post is also linked at the Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop hosted by Apron Strings & Other Thingsat Homeschool Blog & Tell at The Homeschool Post; and at the Homeschool Linky Party on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

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Mother of 3 said...

I took French classes for three years in middle school and high school and went with my class to France. It was amazing and funny enough my middle son has been trying to teach himself French! I love it but wish I remembered a lot more than I do.

Mia White said...

I love this! I have long lamented not learning French when I was younger-- my conversational stumbling helped quite a bit during a mission trip in West Africa. I have a similarly French-obsessed daughter who taught herself the language & later invested her own money into a proper computer tutorial program. She even had a French, Marie Antoinette-themed birthday party!

zekesmom10 said...

I never learned a foreign language in high school; it wasn't required back in the olden days. I did not do well with Spanish in college. I'm always trying to decide what language we should dabble in next, but I know we should pick one and stick with it at some point.

Lori said...

So good that she is learning this year from a certified instructor. That's got to be tons of fun! Great resources. Thank you. - Lori

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