As part of the TOS Crew, I was given the opportunity to review The Easy French! Level IA by Great Commission Languages, written by Marie Filion Sherwood.
I have used other French programs in the past (none of which we liked well enough to stick with), so I was anxious to receive this program and give it a try. Prior to receiving it, I read about The Easy French on their website, www.theeasyfrench.com, and although I wasn't very impressed with the visual aspect and navigation of the actual website itself, I loved what I was reading about the program.
Some of the program highlights that really caught my attention:
- Easy to teach, even if you don't know any French at all. That would be me! I LOVE that all 36 lessons are recorded on CD for us to use and include everything and anything we may need help with during the course of the program. The lessons are very pleasant to listen to, and all of the lessons were under 4 minutes which makes it perfect for those with shorter attention spans and also to listen to over and over again.
- Program includes French Culture of France and Quebec with optional projects (including idiom projects). This is something that I, myself, am interested in learning about. I have traced my family tree on my father's side to Quebec, Canada and before that to Anjou, France all the way back to the 1500's. I have an unsatisfied curiosity about their culture and I think it is absolutely fantastic that each lesson includes both a "Cultural Note" and "Trivia".
Interesting Trivia from lesson 16 (this explains A LOT!):
"Female children were christened with MARIE as their first name, their God-mother's common name as their second name, for the first female child their mother's common name as their third name and then a name or two that was specific to them. 99.9% of female children had Marie in their name.
Now you know why the French have so many names."
- Includes Christian content. This curriculum is based on scripture. Scripture is introduced in Level I and the frequency list introduced in Level II is made from two different versions of the French Bible. Now, I am ok with this fact and I am not ok with it at the same time. We are strict KJV 1611 (I'm not saying this to start a debate, simply stating a fact), so I'm not crazy about my children memorizing scripture that is NOT King James. However, by learning the scripture in French, they are being given the best tool to communicate and deliver the message of the Bible to a large part of the population, in vast areas, because so many of them speak French.
Some of the scripture memory work includes Genesis 1:1, John 3:16, Psalms 21:1, and John 8: 31-21.
I couldn't be happier with the lesson structure. Here is an outline of a typical lesson:
1. Story: Each story is done in a French weave that is primarily a French sentence construction with English words added to aid comprehension. (This suits my children's learning personalities very well.)
2. Vocabulary: You hear the vocabulary that is used in the story in French first.
3. Student Helps: These are written so the student has insider information on the language.
4. Scripture Memory Work: There is a suggested scripture for every 2 lessons.
5. Cultural Note
7. Everyday Vocabulary: This section will provide the student with a list of everyday words that they can practice.
8. Activity: This section works on the specific skills that need to be learned for the lesson.
I received a set of French Phonogram Cards to use as well, since they are used in conjunction with the lessons. There are a total of 50 that my students will need to learn this year. Due to the fact that we started reviewing this after the school year had already begun, we will most likely continue on into the summer so we can begin The Easy French Level IB next year.
At customer request, they made an alternative format available of their existing Level I curriculum. Level IA is the first half, and level IB is the second half and have been updated with a few different stories to make the program appeal more to an older audience (grade 7 and up). They also integrated grammar and other exercises right into the textbook so there is no need to print everything out. I appreciate having everything I need for our lessons all in one place and the fact that there are no loose papers to keep track of is an added bonus. The New Format Levels are one year programs each unless you begin in the 10th grade or above and then you will need to do a level per semester.
Watch a video overview of Marie explaining the program to a fellow homeschooler HERE.
Great Commission Languages follow the requirements laid out in order for your child to pass the foreign language CLEP exam (see www.clep.com for more information) and Le Francais Facile! is aligned with the International requirements for elementary and high school French and follows The Noah Plan (see www.face.net).
Because a number of different concepts and activities are used throughout each lesson, my children are better able to understand the language they are learning and to retain the information. I absolutely love this program and I look forward to working our way through this book and into the next. I highly recommend The Easy French!
The Easy French Level IA is available for purchase HEREPhonogram cards on cardstock to your order for an additional $10. Other supplies needed (not sold on their website because in their own words "Amazon has them at such a great price that it doesn't make sense for us to stock and sell them directly.") are a French-English dictionary and the Big Blue Book of French Verbs.
For a list of available products and current prices, take a look at their catalog. They also offer The Easy Spanish. Visit their website HERE for more information.
They also have a group on yahoo. To join, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheEasyFrench/join. I just joined it myself!
To read what other TOS crew members thought about this product, please visit HERE.
*Disclosure: I received this product for free in order to provide an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.