Free Resources

French Spelling Changes

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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.

How to Use L’Art de lire

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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, 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!

Mastering Those Difficult French Pronunciations

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Babies are born imitators. They copy our movements, expressions, and mannerisms. Eventually, they copy our speech, each child effortlessly learning the sounds of her own native tongue.

It can be more difficult for older students learning the sounds of a new language.

English speakers in North America and around the world often have difficulty mastering new French sounds. While many sounds are the same in French and English, there are several sounds that are so different they can hardly be described in English!

Here is an overview of some of these difficult pronunciations, and some tricks that will help you to master them and be on your way to speaking French like a native francophone. Continue reading

Homeschooling French with Confidence

driving the firetruck
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

Forming the Negative in French – ne…pas

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To form the negative in French, we usually use two little words, ne and pas. We place ne in front of the verb and pas after the verb. English mostly gets by with one word, not. For example:

French     je vais     je ne vais pas
English     I am going     I am not going

We can see that ne and not are very similar; both can make the sentence negative. But where does this extra little word “pas” come from?

The word “pas” in French also has another meaning. It is a noun that means “step,” as in to take a step forward. If you are a ballet fan, you have heard of the expression “pas de deux” used to describe a dance for two people.

Linguists tell us that the use of pas as a negative came from people using pas in its original meaning of a step.

Just as in English we might say “I am not walking one step,” in French the expression at one time was “je ne march pas,” with the meaning of “I am not walking a step.”

This use of pas became extended to apply in other cases also, and so evolved into the present day use of pas in most negative sentences.

This process of turning a noun, verb, or adjective into a grammatical word is called “grammaticalization” by those who study the history and evolution of languages. The French use of pas is just one example of this.

Make Record Keeping Easy in Your Homeschool

reading togetherAs a homeschooling mom for 18 years, I was never much at record keeping. Each year I vowed I would dutifully keep track of every remotely educational thing my sweeties did every day. Each year I failed miserably at this!

Thankfully, I always made sure that my kids were working from a well laid-out curriculum. This ensured that however badly I had kept track of the daily activities, at the end of the year I could say we had completed such-and-such program and so covered all the necessary scholastic bases.

I always advise that homeschoolers, especially those who are new, work from established curricula to ensure that their children don’t have any confusing gaps in their education. That this makes record keeping easier is a great bonus!

As a French teacher at the middle school level, and even with primary students, I often had new students come into my class who were frustrated with French, and not experiencing the success they were capable of.

Often the source of this frustration was some kind of gap in their understanding. Perhaps this was some point of grammar they had never quite understood. Perhaps it was that they had not been taught French phonics and so were unsure about reading aloud.

Having a good curriculum not only makes record keeping a breeze, it also gives students a comprehensive, step by step introduction to each key concept at just the right time. A win-win situation in the homeschool and in the classroom!

Yes! You can teach French at home!

footsteps in the snowSometimes homeschooling parents can be a bit intimidated by the idea of teaching French at home. Teaching a second language is like teaching any other subject, though. You can get started even though you’re not an expert. You might just be pleasantly surprised to find yourself learning right alongside your children.

When I was homeschooling, I took it for granted that I didn’t know everything. The children and I traveled together on our adventure in home education. While they were impressed that Mom knew a whole lot of stuff about a whole lot of stuff, my children didn’t ever expect me to know everything there was to know about any giving topic. What I didn’t know, we found out together. What a great lesson for my kids to see that there is no age limit to learning!

Why should learning French as a second language be any different? With the right user-friendly curriculum, you can learn right along with your children as you progress though the material. Even though you might have little to no experience with French, you really can make French a part of your homeschool curriculum.

L’Art de lire was designed originally for homeschooling parents, keeping in mind that not everyone has a strong background in the French language. It starts out very gently and gradually, building understanding and confidence as a strong foundation for success.

French Adjectives – Agreement in Number and Gender

Adjectives, words that describe people, places, things, or ideas, bring life and color to our writing and speech. They describe things so that the reader or listener can get a truer picture of what the author or speaker is talking about.

Which of these sounds more appealing? A glass of iced tea, or a tall, cool glass of sweet, refreshing, iced tea? Adjectives are essential to good communication.

In English, nouns don’t have gender so the adjective stays the same, no matter what we are describing. It makes no difference whether we are writing about a tall boy or a tall girl; we still use tall. Even when we are describing more than one thing, such as tall boys and tall girls, the adjective doesn’t change.

When it comes to adjectives in French, though, things are more complicated. Continue reading

The Challenge of Making Conversation in 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

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