French Homeschool Curriculum by Armfield Academic Press
Chinese, German, Spanish, Latin, Portuguese, and French. So far, those are the languages Super Hero has dabbled with, in varying degrees of course. Needless to say, he loves to study languages –despite how fleeting that study may prove. French must be one of the special ones. He’s kept at it, and made sizable progress of late. And so, when he heard about Armfield Academic Press’s Getting Started with French, his ears perked right up.
What We Received
Armfield Academic Press recently sent us Getting Started with French for review. We received the book for free in exchange for my thorough and honest opinion.
What to Expect with Getting Started with French
Some of you may have heard of the super successful Getting Started with Latin. If so, you’ve seen that book keeps a consistent top spot on Amazon’s best seller lists for Latin courses. The author, William E. Linney, went on to develop Getting Started with Spanish, which also garners favorable reviews. Armed by that proven success, Mr. Linney has launched Getting Started with French, co-authored with Brandon Simpson.
Using the same format as its predecessors, Getting Started with French, is as simple as it gets. Each lesson introduces one point only. It could be one sound or one word, or pronunciation, or just one grammar note like the articles. Each takes one page with short, concise text. Occasionally, a lesson spans two pages because of various examples, or relevant remarks or anecdotes.
Commentary via downloadable audio MP3 accompanies each lesson. Mr. Linney introduces the topic, then he speaks about it with a native French speaker, François. François also offers more pronunciation instruction and practice with additional audio MP3 files. The commentary’s nice to hear. It doesn’t sound like a formal, traditional lesson. Rather, you can’t help feeling like you’re sitting at Starbucks with a couple of friends, talking about the French language, sipping a warm, smooth caffè latte! Mmmmm, my favorite! ????
How We Used this French Curriculum
Super Hero studies Getting Started with French at least three times weekly. He reads the lesson and listens to the accompanying audio MP3 files. He finds the commentary quite helpful. So far, the translation and pronunciation exercises have seemed super easy since it wasn’t new material for him. They still nudge him into further practice, especially since he tries to imitate the native speaker.
He has picked up a couple of new tidbits he didn’t know before: More insights into the cédille, and pronunciation of the tricky French R. I liked that they mentioned the differences in the Spanish R, the English R, and the French R, of course. Since Super Hero has native command of both, English and Spanish, this hit the nail right on the head. No more rolling his Rs, for French, he must learn to gargle! (He can’t yet gargle! He usually just swishes his mouth wash~)
What he likes most of each lesson is that it’s short! He’s a motivated French student, he chooses it on his own accord. Still, I’ve seen him lose interest on things after long, drawn-out lessons. So a compact, succinct lesson is important in his book –and therefore in mine!
Super Hero did find this style of learning a bit different. Indeed its format is unique. Introducing just one sound or one word at a time, isn’t what one usually finds in most curricula. But this is precisely this program’s strength. While I don’t believe this will make you fluent, it does lay a solid foundation in a systematic, gradual and gentle way.
At any rate, Getting Started with French doesn’t claim it will turn you fluent. It does claim to be a beginners program for homeschoolers and self-taught students of any age. An adequate beginners course it certainly is. But, I wouldn’t say “any age.” I would say for ages 8 and up, maybe 10 and up. It’s hard to imagine very young children sitting willingly to read (or be read) a page of text and to listen to adults conversing, no matter how brief. I may be wrong of course, I haven’t tried it with a very little one after all. (Super Hero just turned 11 last week.)
So, What’s Our Final Thought?
I do like Getting Started with French and do recommend it for the beginner student. Its incremental approach may look simple, but it builds on itself quite nicely. Glancing future lessons, I’m pleased to see how robust the exercises become. And this just by adding only one word at a time! Yes, like Super Hero says, the learning style is different. So if your child shies away from filling worksheets or customary workbooks, she might like to consider this one. In fact, you could get her acquainted right away and for free. The website gives you free access to all you need to begin: lessons and audio files.
If you have multiple children, this book may offer your family a pleasant group learning experience. It offers us a pleasant learning experience, and we’re a single child homeschool! With more children, you could all read and listen together, then practice speaking to one another. I think you’d like that!
In a Nutshell
In Super Hero's Own Words
I like it because the lessons and exercises are short, and they give you an audio to listen to, so you understand better.
I agree. William E. Linney presents a proven, super simple, non-intimidating way to getting started with French. If your child’s motivated to learn, this program will help her approach the language with much ease. It will certainly open the door to many more self-teaching possibilities. After all, isn’t motivated, self-teaching, the best kind of learning?
Want to Learn More?
If so, there’s plenty more reviews from my fellow Crew members. Or just pay William E. Linney a visit at his facebook account:
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 are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.