Homeschool French with Whistlefritz {a review}

We have been enjoying learning French using the Educator’s French Collection by Whistlefritz.  Just as my oldest was starting to get very excited about Latin, my son also wanted to learn a new language.  So when we were able to review a french program, I thought it would be fun for all of us, and it has been!

This program is designed for children PreK to early elementary, but I think some students above early elementary would find parts of it enjoyable.

What It Is, How We Use It, What We Think

Whistlefritz’s Educator’s French Collection is an award winning program which includes everything you need to teach French to your student.  It is an immersion approach to learning a second language; which means it it teaches children using language in their every day life, only speaking in that language for a period of time.  The videos include live native speakers, for an easier to understand (and more accurate) pronunciation of words.

Whistlefritz uses natural language (I love that!) to teach, meaning children hear words in context, not just randomly on flash cards with no background knowledge.  This is important for vocabulary comprehension, learning cadence (flow, or rhythm of language), and also when speaking the language fluently.  Students learn just as children learn their first language, which is how we all wish we had learned foreign language in those mandatory high school courses!

This approach is fun and multi-sensory.  The lesson plans include all the senses, which as we know, helps retain and recall information for young children.

Included in the Educator’s French Collection:

  • 3 videos- (in English): Inside and Out, Let’s Play, and The Seasons
  • 2 Music CDs- Cha, Cha, Cha, and Allons Danser! (Let’s Dance!)
  • Matching Cards game- memory matching
  • Lesson Plans Book- French Lesson Plans for Kids

The DVDs teach vocabulary and how to speak the language through interaction between real people and animation characters.  This is obviously one of the most fun things about this program!  I would equate my children’s love of the DVDs to our favorite “baby genius” style DVDs that my kids all LOVE (including the oldest who is almost 7).  It catches their attention, isn’t too crazy and flashy (which you know would drive me crazy), and is perfect for your visual learners … and during down time on a hot, summer afternoon. =) The videos are done in true immersion fashion, spoken completely in French (which is amazing, and a little mesmerizing to my ears)!

The two music CDs include fun, catchy songs that will have you singing in french.  The CD booklets each contain the lyrics and translations so you can easily follow along (perhaps in a car ride, or during rest time).  The CDs are also Mom’s Choice Awards winners!  Each song is about 1 minute-3 minutes long.  The music is enjoyable, even for adults.

The card game is made up of 50 cards, each adorned with a cute french fox illustration that corresponds to the action-word vocabulary word.  Here is one part of your hands-on learning (there is more included in the lesson plans).

French memory card game

The French Lesson Plans For Kids book contains the 40 scaffold lessons (reproducible); each lesson is engaging and interactive.  They include hands-on activities, step by step instructions for the teacher, and all your reproducibles for games, paper dolls, graphs, titled sheets, etc.  The lessons teach not only language, but math, science, and PE in french.

Each lesson includes:

  • Breakdown/Summary for Teacher
    • description of the lesson
    • specific goals
    • clear objectives
    • vocabulary to be taught
    • materials needed list
    • approximate amount of time needed for lesson
  • Activities (here is your actual lesson to be taught)
    • focus
    • teacher input (short script)
    • a guided practice (modeling for students)
    • an independent practice (always fun and interactive/hands on)
    • closure
    • extension activities
    • also included are the lyrics to videos and CDs assigned for the lesson

This is a very educationally sound, and developmentally appropriate program. The lesson plans are thorough, descriptive, and easy to teach (aka-not too wordy).  I think you could do as much or as little as you wanted at a time, even dividing a lesson up (which we have done) if needed.

I believe children will rise to whatever you ask them to do or learn; but is it fun, truly educational, and do they enjoy it?  Because if not, then it isn’t really necessary at a young age.  This program IS fun, it is truly educational, it is easy to implement, and most definitely something a beginning learner interested in a second language will enjoy!

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