Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our Homeschooling Adventure: French

One of the (many) neat things about homeschooling is that you can "offer" subjects that are not generally offered, either at a certain age (my children are elementary-aged) or at all. French has been a part of our curriculum since we began our adventure. But I have to admit it's been catch as catch can, and we've missed more than we've caught. Until now.

After messing around with small French books and workbooks, I finally purchased Rosetta Stone French Level 1 for this school year. Yes, this is a pricey curriculum, but it's worth every penny so far. Its multimedia/total immersion approach is outstanding. Termed "Dynamic Immersion," the approach combines images, intuition, interactivity, and instruction. In effect, students learn the new language much as they learned their native language. As students move through the lessons, they select images when prompted, speak syllables and phrases, and write (by typing on the actual keyboard or an on-screen keyboard) in the new language. (If you want more information on this methodology, read this review from Rainbow Resource, which includes a link to a demo of the program.)

It gets a big thumbs-up from me because the girls work on it independently. They sit at the computer, pop on the headphones/microphone headset (included), click on their program of study, and off they go. Each child works for about 15 minutes a day.

I even included myself as a student on our Rosetta Stone and am completing the lessons myself for a refresher. I took four years of French in high school and three years in college, and I did rather well with the old-fashioned translation approach to learning a foreign language. But I can see that Dynamic Immersion is by far the superior method.

Finally, I feel like my daughters are really learning French, as opposed to dabbling in it.

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