Monday, September 12, 2016

Getting Started With French (TOS Review)

Today's review product is Getting Started With French (Beginning French for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age) published by Armfield Academic Press.
This full sized, paper back book offers three pages of  basic instruction, 172 short lessons in beginner French, a built in answer key, a one page pronunciation guide and a two page glossary of terms.   The lessons themselves vary in length from only 3-4 paragraphs in the beginning to not more than two pages in length by the end of the book.   Lessons are designed to be completed in several minutes per day, and it's quite easy to do so.

In addition to the book, you can also access free pronunciation recording downloads and the author's commentary on each lesson of the book, all of which are found on the download page.   Basically, you have a complete online language course at your fingertips

The commentary downloads are very helpful, as they have dialog between the author and Francois, a native French speaker.   These commentaries give insight into each lesson and also help the student to get an understanding of how and why certain things are pronounces, such as in lesson 1 they discuss how the vowel sounds come from a rounded mouth as opposed to the way we speak them in English.

Lindsey has been asking to learn French for quite some time, so this was a wonderful addition to an already full plate.   We combined lessons 1-4 into day 1, as there was only 2 words of French taught in those first 4 lessons.   Beyond lesson 4 we worked on 1 lesson per day, with some added review.  The pronunciation downloads for the early lessons are easy to follow.....but geez Louise, when you start getting into the more advanced lessons you barely have time to hear the first phrase before the 2nd one starts.     Lindsey also said the guy sounds really snooty, and my response was "welcome to French".

Up until lesson number 8, the student has one new word and then 2-3 exercises.  The exercises are one to two word phrases built with the words you've been learning.  In lesson 9 that jumps to 6 exercises and advances pretty rapidly until you're at 10 exercises by lesson 13.   Granted the exercises are building on the vocabulary you've been learning and practicing, but with the speed of the pronunciation downloads, it gets pretty hairy trying to keep up. The answers (or translations) to each of the exercises are in the back of the book, making quizzing your students easy.

Starting in lesson 17, the exercises are given in English.  These lessons focus on the student identifying articles, nouns and verbs as well as making nouns plural.   The student is not required to translate these exercises, but I'm sure you could if you have a good enough grasp of the language by that point.

My suggestion for use would be to read through the lesson in the book, then listen to the lesson commentary, and lastly move into the pronunciation downloads.   This order worked best for us to fully grasp the material covered in each lesson.   By the end of the 172 lessons your student will have a basic grasp of French, both grammar and pronunciation.  

The author also has Getting Started With Latin, Getting Started With Spanish, and his new Getting Started With Russian will be released soon.

 To read other TOS Crew member reviews of this product, click here.

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