Le Francais Facile (“The Easy French”) Homeschool Curriculum Review
I’ve been using Le Francais Facile (“The Easy French”) with my children for only a few weeks, but the program isn’t as intuitive as others, so I’d like to show you how I set it up.
I’ve got an older version of Le Francais Facile. I don’t find it difficult to use, and in fact it’s pretty well planned out, but I taught school for many years – I can see why some people might feel unsure about what to do. There are newer versions that I’ve heard require less planning. I bought my copy secondhand, cheaply, because I was curious, and I ended up liking it enough to use it with my own kids now that we’re all ready to move on from our introductory months. I’d buy the newer version now that I’ve seen the older one and know that I like the way it’s set up.
I spent a very long time (compared to other things) setting up this curriculum. For my situation, it was worth it vs buying something that was set up to go page 1 to the last page.
I like the way this curriculum starts out with the words that sound similar to English. Each lesson includes quite a bit of vocabulary for elementary school (more reasonable for high school), but because the words start out with the French words that sound so similar in English, my kids quickly grew in their confidence. They easily handled the vocabulary and content. My kids like the characters and stories and it’s going well.
Here’s my video so you can see how I set up my folder and materials:
Key Advantages of Le Francais Facile
- It goes a long way towards satisfying my Curriculum Checklist.
- It can be used with many different ages and abilities.
- It comes with a disk so you can re-print the materials you need. One price for all my kids for multiple years? YES.
- The activity suggestions are great.
- The stories are sweet and engaging.
- The order of introduction of vocabulary, beginning with the easiest words to learn, is something my kids love.
- It doesn’t take a lot of time for me to go over the audio part of the lessons, and since my children prefer the games and activities over the audio direct-instruction in EVERY curriculum, this is great for us. My years of experience teaching children tells me that this will be a good format for most kids. More hands-on, less sitting there and listening = happier kids.
Drawbacks of Le Francais Facile
- High prep to get started with it. Yeah, it’s great to have a disk so you can reprint, but the downside is that you’ve got to prep it. You can order copies pre-made, but that doesn’t work for me because I adjusted for my children ages K-5th grade.
- I think that you need to add more audio/video, conversation with a native speaker, and depending on your child you might also want to add other things to round this curriculum out to make a great lesson. I use a lot of other stuff to get the time in.
- There’s not enough time in each lesson to really develop proficiency. I don’t use this curriculum in isolation.
- There’s not a lot of guided writing provided. It’s fine for my younger girls (actually right now I don’t have my kindergartener doing any writing in French), but my oldest child is finishing up with 5th grade. I bought cheap French worksheet books for my 2nd and 5th grade children.
I got this for my child who will be in 3rd:
And I got this for my child who will be in 6th:
They’re both making it easy for me to make sure that writing gets done. There’s no need for workbooks – you can do copywork, etc., but I’m very busy and this is one area that I wanted to be a no-brainer for me.
I also added some FlashSticks, simply because my kids really like post-it notes and I know this is a format that works well for us. YMMV! These are not cheap but I like them.
Neutral Aspects of Le Francais Facile
- Canadian Accent. At least I’m pretty sure it’s Canadian. The speakers rolls their /r/ sounds rather than doing that throaty thing they do in France. I’M NOT A FRENCH SPEAKER, but to me it sounds Canadian. I’d like to hear different accents as we learn, and we certainly live a lot closer to Canada than France, so I don’t mind if we end up with Canadian accents. So far, my kids have copied the throat /r/ sound that they learned from Alain Le Lait, Whistlefritz, and the other French things we listened to for around 8 months before we started this curriculum.
- There’s not a lot of reading of stories, and I know from the research I did for my book, The Homeschool Path to Foreign Language, that reading is an effective way to learn a foreign language. There’s plenty of reading for a beginner, but as we go along, I’m adding more reading for us, bit by bit.