Classical Academic Press’ French for Children {With an Amazing Giveaway!}

My eleven year old son has quite the love for foreign languages. Since we hosted an exchange student from France, he has been studying French informally, using various online videos and podcasts. He even started a notebook of his own with the words he knows but I know from my own experience studying languages, that at some point we need to formalize our learning. There is so much more than just memorizing words and having a proper pronunciation (as important as those things are).




In the last few years we have got through quite a bit of materials because of his interest in languages. We have studied Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese and a bit of Hebrew, some Latin and Greek…I was wary to invest in more materials for him while at the same time eager to encourage this interest of his. So when I happened to see that Classical Academic Press (whose materials I really do love!) had a program,  French for ChildrenI had to learn more.  Perhaps this would be “just right” for him.




Their motto is “Classical Subjects Creatively Taught,” which is something that really strikes me because, that is how I want to see learning happening. There is such power in learning that is engaging, and encourages creativity.  This kind of learning is what inspires and makes kids into lovers of lifelong learning too. And I want to see that as much as possible with my children.



The complete program of French for Children Primer A includes the following:


French for Children Primer AFrench for Children Answer KeyFrench for Children DVD




Classical Academic Press was so very generous in giving me a copy of this curriculum for review purposes, and so I here I am, sharing our experience with you!  French for Children, Primer A is recommended for grades 4 and up. There are 17 Chapters and they offer a variety of weekly schedules to help you complete this program in half a year or an academic year (thirty weeks).  We appreciated having these to use as guides as we study.  Especially since we tend to be so relaxed in our schooling; without incentive we can sometimes park on a topic for weeks! And while I love to encourage that too, there is great value in learning how to complete things in a timely fashion!




French for Children has a very immersion style feel to the program! They use lots of dialogue, translation, vocabulary, dictation, grammar, and there are quizzes too. We used this quite a bit since my oldest son really needs this kind of thing to reinforce what he is learning. Plus it encouraged him to start his own little “Book of French Vocabulary” to track his learning for himself. He even began to record himself “teaching other kids French” as he learns. Now they may seem impossible, too much – but it really isn’t at all. This is all presented in such a way that it really is quite enjoyable!




French for Children Primer: Chant and Audio Files contains all of the pronunciations as well as dialogues, grammar chart chants, complete vocabulary, conversation journal words and phrases, Say It Aloud exercises, dicteés, and lots more! These files are great to load onto an mp3 for listening to or even as we are in the car, for some of our longer drives. (And right now we do have a few of those!)  This was an especially great resource for my son!


This is a very involved and very thorough course. I admit when I saw everything that this was made up of, I was a bit concerned that my son was going to be in over his head.  I admit, I was not sure this would inspire my son to continue learning. I will say, I was thrilled to find my son eagerly completing lessons and watching the videos each day. Often I would even find him repeating lessons previously completed; again the fact that he chose to complete lessons repeatedly even, its a huge compliment to this program.  In a season in which he has really been struggling with a desire to learn those beautiful and good things, seeing this light a love within him, it warms this momma’s heart.



We jumped right in when this arrived. And we learned after the fact that it really is important to watch the first DVD before beginning. This will give you a better understanding of this course while helping you to understand the structure of the lessons and explaining all of the different aspects that are a part of it this program.


We really are enjoying our use of this program, there are just so many wonderful things about it. The level of immersion that is used within the program; the depth and yet the simplicity and fun that is had in the learning process too….It’s refreshing to see children having so much fun learning.



Listen to the Dialogue – There is a story being told; as you listen to the audio follows along while listening to the audio. This is partly in French, partly in English and introduces new vocabulary. She gets an idea of what the new words mean from the context and tells me what she thinks is happening. The dialogue translation is in the back of the Student Text.



Chant – phrases & sets of words to learn proper pronunciation. My son will put on his headphones and listen. I love hearing him speak he has quite good pronunciation if I may say so myself.



Vocabulary – There are about ten new words to each chapter. My son writes these in his notebook of French words he knows and he likes to go over these throughout the week.
Video – The videos are about 45 minutes long; these are full of information. There are times my son will watch one video in one sitting; other times he may watch a little here and there throughout the week. These are very helpful to my son (me too!) and there are times we will watch a video again because there really is so much you can get out of these.


Grammar – There is grammatical instruction involved in this course; this is taught very creatively so its not overwhelming at all.


Worksheets & Quizzes – Within these are exercises in translation, verb forms, grammar exercises, charts to complete.These are all great for reinforcing what is being learned.


La dictée – The dictation exercises are all on the CD. Interestingly, in France dictations are done similar to our version of the spelling bee. Sounds like a really fun thing to me!




I have been trying to be diligent in practicing more the methods of Miss Charlotte Mason in our home education and I have to say this is something that fits into her ways so very well. We are reading right now too (because it was mentioned in the Introduction, The Fables of Jean de La Fontaine) and seeing as we go along how the dialogues within this program weave together into these tales. What a wonderful and creative way to help engage our children as they learn!




As you begin your studies in Primer A learning subjects and verbs; infinitives, verb conjugation, tense and noun gender you not only learn these things but you write them and read them and say them. You use them so that they are more than just another lesson to complete but are a cultural immersion experience. As a former exchange student and a host mom to many exchange students along the way, immersion is a wonderful (probably the best) way to learn any language. And as you learn, you create your own conversation journals and fun dialogues to practice conversation, letter writing and so much more! I haven’t fund yet a better and more enjoyable way to learn than this.





Since we have been using this we have also been encouraging regular use of additional songs and stories in French, to listen and read along. We even have a couple primers we are using to read, online, in French, that my son is really enjoying.  I remember reading not long ago that if you really want to learn a foreign language, reading and writing it and hearing it again and again, is the way to go. This program is just that.




Classical Academic Press has for your review a 64 page pdf from French for Children: Primer A  the student text you can download and try out if you want to learn more about this program. There is also a free audio MP3 sample and the you can watch the video below, this is the first chapter in the program  (it is about 45 mins long). If you have a student who is interested in learning French, maybe they even learned a bit already, this is a wonderful program to consider.  And there is always for some fun practice!





You have a chance to win!

Classical Academic Press are giving away two French for Children: Primer A bundles for USA residents! Just use the Rafflecopter form below —

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love Languages




We have been so very blessed recently to become more active in studying foreign languages.  From the very first time I visited Germany when I was younger, I have had a passion for international languages and life. Today, as a homeschool momma of four I cannot get around the world, but by hosting foreign exchange students, we still get to enjoy the experience of another country, at home. And share our great nation with another too!


My oldest son is currently using Mango Languages for Mandarin Chinese and French too.  I currently use this same program for German and all of us are working on Spanish together using this.


I know so many people tend to shy away from foreign languages. If you don’t know one yourself it can be pretty scary. Even for those of us who have a league or two under our belt, it can be an uncomfortable thing. But, it’s possible. More than possible. It is doable. You CAN teach your child a foreign language and have fun doing it! And there are so many great reasons to study foreign languages. Believe it or not it can help you learn English, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills. How about teaching character skills? After all this isn’t easy. Learning teaches our children hard work and study skills. Which means they learn patience, self control and perseverance (we hope anyway).



Don’t forget about those things that are right there in your community too. We love the library, and its a great place to find and try different language learning programs. You can find dictionaries, audio books, and computer courses (any have the Rosetta Stone program too). You can find lots of books in Spanish, French, German and many other languages as well to help develop your reading skills. Consider using children’s books when you first begin learning a language. It helps a lot more than you may think with comprehension.



There are actually several books that we enjoy together, in our own library at home which help children learn all about different parts of the world. My favorites are: Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the WorldChildren Just Like Me: Celebrations! ( carnivals, festivals and holidays), and then the Find Out About Series which includes France Italy, and Spain.  These teach not just language but history and culture too. These are great for children, and are a great introduction for the younger ones to different people and places.



Let’s not forget the internet and YouTube, these are full of great and free resources, to help guide you in your learning. The sky is the limit here. Here your children can learn stories and songs, in the language they are learning, for a real immersion experience.They can explore maps of different areas around the world too.  Who doesn’t love to learn in a way that is living?



One central site I love to visit more for studying languages than studying a language specifically, is Omniglot. I came across this one recently and just love it. Basically it is an encyclopedia of writing systems and languages, with more than 180 writing systems and information on over 600 languages. WOW! This is full of introductions to alphabets and other writing systems. Almost all the writing systems currently in use and many extinct ones. There are many great learning tools here too to take language learning to a whole new level with details of language families, advice on how to learn languages, and language-related articles and videos. All for free. (I am such a geek)  LOL



The key to foreign language is consistency. Practice every day, using it as much as you can. Maybe fifteen minutes each day will get you started. The more you use it the easier it will be.  Consider learning as a family or having siblings learn together. There was a tie we labelled everything in the house to help reinforce the words in the language my son was learning. Play games, read books, write and sing song in that language throughout the day. Make it a part of your life and your routine. Find opportunities to use what you learn each day. It can be as simple as saying “hello” or “thank you” in a different language, or have a foreign exchange student over (consider hosting – our family loves to do this), or share a meal with your family from the country whose language you are studying.



Until we meet again… Au revoir, auf wiedersehen, sayonara, farvel, gule gule, do svidaniya, Zai jian… goodbye for now. 🙂

It’s all about Who?

Life can be crazy sometimes. It can be hard. A challenge for even the youngest of us. That said there have been a number of things that left me feeling sad this year, when it comes to my oldest son. Sad in – what have I been doing? What did I forget? What are we teaching him?

That said I had a couple amazing things I decided to do for the past few months. To point him toward the one that really matters. To give him a greater foundation than the one he had before. And to remind him that in all things, in all seasons, we need to focus on our Creator. The one true God who gives all that we need and is with us always.

And so we have taken a break from “academics” and have dedicated our time thus far to God. If we know His word; if we are walking in His steps; living in obedience to His word, we have a success few others can say they have in life.

Where do you start? In the beginning. It is a combination of science (mom, we are dirt – he made us from dirt and dust – ewww, says my 4 year old son) There is history (says my 8 year old to a stranger, God made me, not mom and dad…”) We read together; spelling and seeking in prayer a greater truth and peace and understanding only He can provide. We learn and memorize verses (my son is a Bible Quizzer; it can be a bonus in this since we can test and play games too)! Nowadays it isn’t just what the verse says but what it means being discussed each day. Using the concordances, moving from Greek and Hebrew, Latin, German and Chinese…Different languages; how does something translate from one to another? Amazing right?

Cassie & Caleb Discover God’s Wonderful Design. I really like this one although my younger kiddos were much more involved than my older son. This just wasn’t enough for him. I enjoyed the variety of stories; as did my younger ones, teaching and sharing the beauty of creation, as men and women, of God. Celebrating the differences in each, as they were created to be. It was a launchpad for my oldest son as it gave him things to ponder. But it was a bit to simple for him. Nonetheless the illustrations were lovely; the stories easy for children to relate to (day to day events we all experience and can learn from) and scripture that we can use along the way to learn and grow into strong and Godly men and women.

We also used The God Puzzle; a handy little workbook we were given to review by Liftuse Publishing. It is colorful; great illustrations. Very easy to use, so simple anyone can “get it” without lots of pressure and spending hours on planning and money on “tools” Personally I found some of the things covered in here to be a bit off doctrinally but made a point of using this as a way to point the youth to His word. I see so often people who have different ideas about what His word says; what we must do and how. Yet seldom do they test what they are told with what He says. We are called to “test all things” and so any things that are not quite accurate are an awesome opportunity to point another to truth. His word not ours. That said aside from those things my oldest (who is 8) really enjoyed the format and the fun activities within. Lots of puzzles and games in the book to make learning, and understanding, fun and easy for everyone.

In this day and age there are constant things that challenge us as parents, and our children too, in living for God. It is so very imperative nowadays that we seek to instill His truths into their hearts and minds more than ever before.  We need to keep them close, we need to love them more. And we need to make sure that they know that they are loved. Truly and intensely. Some kids are hard to love; some like my oldest son, just don’t fit the mold. No matter where they go they stand out. And we need to make sure they know that, He made them to do just that. So stand out and shine brightly! (I have been reading The 5 Love Languages of Children too)  Lots of reading because truly, some days I feel like he is slipping away (my oldest son)  Some days I feel like that whole not fitting in, standing out, always being the awkward and loud and boisterous one tires him and makes him sad and mad. And there are days I am terrible at making sure he feels loved and accepted. There are days that I spend too much time forcing my expectations on him rather than allowing him to be who he was created to be and going from there. I am not very creative; I struggle because of how different he is from the way I am.  All three of my little ones are so very different; is that not totally showing us a Creator, in charge? And I get weary and I do not love them all as they (each individually) need to be loved.. I get mad, I yell, my frustration is with me and not them. My expectations, not their abilities. And then……If we have not love, what does anything else matter.  They need to know they are loved. The need to be loved as deeply as He loves me. And I am hard to love too! Let us seek to show His love in all seasons – In fact let us pray to be able to see and love others as He does. Isn’t that how it should be?

May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters
like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace.” Psalm 144:12

See The Light – Creative Fun!

See the Light; Drawing Children to Him.

When it comes to art I have zero talent! Zip … zilch … I had a three year old tell m,e recently that my “sun” was nothing more than a “bad square” haha

My oldest son, who is soon to be eight, on the other hand is very talented already. He loves to draw and paint and can sit for hours sometimes with colored pencils and a paintbrush …

I can only dream of having that kind of skill myself. But I do love encouraging his creative spirit. And so when I had the chance to review the See the Light DVD I was beyond thrilled (as was my son) In fact Tyler himself chose the Joseph video to review and did he hunt down our mail man. Every day. Until it arrived. 🙂

I love the Biblical story woven into the lesson – each piece of the process goes along with a portion of the story of Joseph itself. Very accurate too. I like that! A lot.

The directions are simple – it moved a bit too fast at some points for my son so we did do a lot of rewinding and pausing but that is a definite perk to lessons in this format too. As my son would progress, there were some things he struggled with a bit more than others. They could have broken down a bit more, some of the images (the corn and the stars) for helping little hands to really get how to draw them (stars are hard right?)

My son was so busy with this though – he made his own way. Loved the variety of colors he was encouraged to use – the coat of many colors – how he loved that part especially!

spring in 032

I really do love this as a tool for learning and am hoping we can come by a couple more of these as time goes by. My son was actively engaged and that can be hard to do with a little boy. He was fascinated by the process and quite pleased with the detail he put into his work of art!

Its a start that’s for sure. And the variety of programs that this company offers – WOW – all I can say is just WOW. A wonderful tool especially for those of us who are artistically impaired! haha

spring in 019

spring in 030

As you can see even the little ones find a way to See the Light 🙂


Posted in Un School Home School

Hallelujah Anyhow…..

It’s cold outside. I think its colder inside today. 

Do you hear Taps playing? Its for our furnace – may it rest in peace.

Timing sure is everything- with a house full of sick kids it has to die now? Have to laugh ….

The stomach bugs every little ones has here -from one of us to the next; at least the washer still works. haha  

Then there is the major attitude issues with my oldest son that have me ready to explode….My oldest has always had a strong will, a stubborn nature – they say it gets worse before it gets better. I don’t know. I lost it last night. And I had to apologize this moring. He is so forgiving. I am so wicked some days – when it comes to him my self -control is almost nonexistent. His ability to tune me out; to ignore my requests and do whatever he like until he is made to stop. I pray for him. I know he is one of God’s special little ones … Still he tires me out and breaks my heart so many times lately. 

Its at a standstill too – an incomplete kitchen remodel leaving the house in such disarray – moving furniture about to try to “finish” and organize what we can….Tapping my feet as I wait for these darn granite countertops that my husband had to have….seems like its taking forever for this to be done. I just want things tidy again. 

I have seeds that still need to be planted….so many for the garden. Veggies and flowers to spread about the yard once it is warm enough outside … containers waiting for their dirt and seeds-  apple trees on the way and berry bushes too … So much I praying I will be able to harvest…IF I can even get any planted this year


Then there is school ….. what school? haha So blessed we can home school and do school as we can.
When it rains it pours right ….. But when it rains things grow ….. well at least lately they do (I remember our first year with my garden, it rained, and it all flooded haha)

Slowing down ….. settling in …. blankets ….books….music……rest with the little ones and stay warm…..

….And Hallelujah Anyhow…..                                                           Image



Posted in Un School Home School

unschool Joys

I have  been so proud of my little ones lately; we have been doing so much. Building, science experiments, cooking and reading and drawing…..Lots of Bible Quizzing and prayer. My oldest has really taken to praying for persecuted Christians. The idea that one can end up in jail – beaten and starved – all for Jesus name – it never occurred to him until recently. And ever since he has been as dedicated as he can be to praying for these amazing folks.

He has also decided that he would like to be an author – he has plans to publish  some amazing stories all written and illustrated by him. And maybe some help from his younger brother here and there. haha   He had the chance to meet a real life published author at our home school co-op a few weeks ago. Did that ever impress him. And inspire him.

Legos …. K’nex …. Motor Works (this is an awesome although rather expensive one from discovery Toys)  Comes with a battery operated drill; a screwsdriver and tons of little parts. Small hands and bigger ones too can build planes, trains, automobiles and motorcycles…Both of my boys love to build and create. I love the time they spend doing this too. in fact my three year old already has his own tools, in a little tool belt and loves going about the house “fixin it up .. ” His words 🙂

On  to art. Again my oldest has a real flair for drawing so I am trying to make sure that he has all he needs to design his characters for his stories – to doodle as he sees fit (he is such a multi tasker so between this and legos it makes story time that much easier – keeping those hands busy while he listens to a tale or two) He also has a keyboard he is quite fond of and while we have not focused on the exact details, he does enjoy putting on his headphones and playing some tunes throughout the day.

SO what about school? Someone asked me that the other day. When does he learn? It confounds me how brainwashed we have allowed ourselves to become. To think that outside of a school building we cannot learn. To consider that school can be nothing but hours of books and worksheets – memorization of facts and details that bore us to death – soon to be forgotten. I say, this IS school for us. Learning, having fun and exploring as we go along.

I had pictures to go along with each of these little topics however my son is also quite the photographer…Not so good with hanging on to stuff. Lost a ton of photos the other day of their creations ~sigh~  Makes me even more grateful that I am able to be home schooling them.  🙂