Category Archives: Member Content

French Curriculum FAQ

I don’t know French myself, can I teach my child using your program?

Yes, you can! L’Art de lire is designed to be easy to use. The lessons begin with the most basic concepts. The audio files walk the child right through the book, giving him or her opportunity to hear and repeat the words and phrases that are taught.

The unique “story” approach makes the lessons fun and develops confidence by giving students a sensitivity to the flow of the language. Many homeschooling parents have written me to say that their children are “teaching themselves” using L’Art de lire. It is that easy to use! Continue reading

Why Learn a Second Language?

There is more to knowing a second language than just the possibility of carrying on a conversation with someone who doesn’t speak English. There is more than just the possibility of travel to exotic places and being able to mingle with the locals.

Learning a second language offers an amazing glimpse into the way people in other cultures think and process information. It has the side effect of knocking the learner out of the center of the universe. We discover that it is okay that someone else has a different way of looking at things. It is a fascinating and delightful experience to see the world from someone else’s perspective. Learning a second language makes this possible.

“I have ten years.”

Here in Canada, French isn’t exactly a foreign language in that it’s an official language of Canada. It is, however, foreign to the many school-age children who have spent the first years of their lives hearing little or no French. Continue reading

How to Choose Your French Curriculum

When choosing your French curriculum, the first things to consider are the age and abilities of your child. Follow these guidelines and read my FAQ pages to find the level that is right for you.

L’Art de DIRE
Perfect for pre-readers in grades Kindergarten-3, L’Art de DIRE is a great introduction to learning French. A totally oral approach with detailed lesson plans, reproducible teaching aids and fun activities make this program ideal for teaching French to children who are not ready yet to learn to read in French. More Information

L’Art de LIRE
Designed for beginners in grades 3-8, L’Art de LIRE combines conversational French with French phonics, enabling children to read in French from the first lesson. Simple stories get children accustomed to the structure and flow of the language. Lessons introduce French grammar and verb conjugations. More Information

French for high school

Students who have completed L’Art de LIRE Level 6 or Grade 8 (Ontario) Core French or equivalent are ready for L’Art d’ÉCRIRE. In addition to working on grammar lessons, vocabulary and exercises, students examine their likes and dislikes, the uniqueness of their personalities, and their hopes and dreams for the future. They are also introduced to French literature through the novels of Jules Verne and the play Cyrano de Bergerac. More Information

How Your Brain Learns a New Language

Learning and using language is one of the most amazingly unique and complex things that we do as humans. While certain intelligent animals have shown some ability to communicate using signs and symbols, including human words, these displays by chimps, gorillas, or dolphins don’t even come close to the level of speech and understanding displayed by human three year olds. We are in a league of our own when it comes to communication. 

Language philosopher Noam Chomsky theorized that people were “hard-wired” to learn language. Continue reading

Learning Numbers in French

We use numbers every day as we shop, play games, discuss times and dates, and interact with each other. In order to be able to function in a second language, it is important to master using numbers.

While learning numbers in French is really just a matter of memorizing them, there are many ways to make the process fun and enjoyable. The secret to mastery is to make sure the numbers are practiced out of order. Let me explain why.

As a French teacher, I have encountered many students who can count like wildfire, but have no idea how to identify a number out of order. Attempts to do so usually involve rapid counting. This can take some time when the number is over fifty!

Practice Numbers Out of Order

The good news is that there are many fun ways to ensure that numbers are drilled randomly. Continue reading

What is the Best Age to Begin Learning French as a Second Language?

Many parents are uncertain about the best time to begin second language studies. There is often a fear that it might be too late to begin past a certain age. While it is true that it is generally better to start younger, children, or even adults, can be successful starting language studies at any age. The key is understanding how this type of learning takes place.

It is true that there is an optimum window for learning language naturally. Children learn language so quickly from birth to age two or three! The incredible leap in vocabulary and the grasp of basic grammatical concepts during this period is mind-boggling. Continue reading

The Challenge of Making Conversation when Homeschooling French

Many homeschooling parents find it a challenge making everyday conversation when teaching French as a Second Language. Not every homeschool teacher has the fluency required to speak comfortably in French. Don’t let this hold you back! Even beginners are up to the challenge of making conversation in French!

Children need to see you making the effort to speak too, even if your own French language skills are a bit rusty, or even non-existent! Practice with your children as much as possible, making the things you are learning part of your daily interactions whenever you can.

Using French in Everyday Life

As you go through your day, remember to review the vocabulary that you have learned so far. Continue reading

Homeschooling French with Confidence

This is a momentous week for me. Today my daughter is beginning to homeschool my oldest grandson, who is five years old. I am so excited for them as they begin their adventure!

While my daughter is among the most fearless young women I know, she still admitted to being a little nervous about taking on the task of home education.

Having been homeschooled herself, she is looking forward to having fun making homemade volcanos, working on art and crafts, and playing with math facts.

She also remembers that being homeschooled allowed her to get the academic learning done early in the day, leaving lots of time to play outdoors, imagine, and be creative.

She is excited to be able to give her children the same rich, positive experience.

Continue reading

How to Use L’Art de Lire

Using L’Art de lire

Here’s what you will receive in your L’Art de lire Package for each level:

  • 1 Student Workbook pdf
  • 1 Teacher Key pdf
  • Zip Files containing Mp3 Audio

Student Workbook

The student workbook has introductory vocabulary pages, story pages to read and colour, flashcards for vocabulary review, and exercise pages to put that new knowledge into practice.

You can print the entire student workbook at once and put it in a binder, or just print off the pages as you need them.

Teacher Key

The teacher key is much the same as the student workbook with some important differences. As expected, it has the answers filled in to save you time.

The teacher key also contains flashcards (towards the back of the book) that can be printed both sides so that you can use picture flashcards to review French vocabulary.

In addition, your teacher key pages are marked with a special symbol to indicate where to listen to the audio files.

Audio Files

The audio files need to be unzipped. Files can be unzipped by clicking “Extract all” in the file manager for Windows users, or by simply double-clicking in your Mac.

Each zip file contains several Mp3 audio files that are named like this:

  • lire-1-06 vocab.mp3

The 06 in the file name indicates that this is the audio for page 6 in the workbook. Use the names of the files to find the file you need for each lesson.

How to Review

As you go through the program, be sure to review the story regularly, if not daily.

You can use the audio to do this by choosing either to listen to the story all at once or by choosing the listen-and-repeat version of the story. Listen and repeat files are named with the word repeat in the name like this:

  • lire-1-08,9 Repeat.mp3

Just reading the story together is another great way to review. The stories help your students to understand the structures and flow of the language.

You can also review by going through the vocabulary flashcards that are provided at each level.

You don’t need to do a workbook page every day, but it’s a good idea to do something, even just listening to the story or a quick review of the flashcards.

Relax and Have Fun!

Have students colour story pages and other picture pages and draw their own pictures or make their own flashcards and posters.

Adapt the curriculum to suit the time you have available by taking advantage of the different ways to learn and review that are built right into the curriculum.

Having a busy day? Are you on the go? Bring the flashcards and review them. Listen to the story. Read the story. These are little things that you can review even when you don’t have time for a full lesson.

Nallenart makes it easy to include French in your homeschool!

French Spelling Changes

French spelling changes

The Académie française, the institution that regulates official changes to the French language, has approved a proposal to change the spelling of approximately 2,000 French words.

This includes eliminating the accent circonflexe when it appears over the letters i and u, eliminating some hyphens (eg. week-end becomes weekend), adding some hyphens (vingt et un becomes vingt-et-un), and changing some accents.

In other changes, oignon (onion) becomes ognon. The accent remains in cases where the meaning would be too confusing without it. For example:

  • un homme mûr – a mature man
  • un homme mur – a wall man

Lest we panic, all official sources say that both the new and the old spellings should be considered correct.

Here is a link to an eight page document describing the changes.