teaching french in homeschool
Brave Writer Lifestyle, History and Geography

How I Teach French in Our Homeschool

“Language learning is uniquely powerful in that it is really about other people and learning to love them.” – from the Brave Writer Podcast episode featuring Anne Guarnera

From the moment we knew we wanted to homeschool, my husband and I knew that learning about other cultures was going to be a cornerstone of our children’s education (and our own.) Down the road, we’d like to travel extensively, spending time with people from all over this big, beautiful world. But for now, we are opening that worldview up with a different window–learning foreign languages.

We’ve always included the casual addition of foreign language into our studies. As we read our way through the continent of Africa, we are learning to count in Swahili (or Kiswahili, as we learned to be the proper name for this beautiful language.) When we lived on the Big Island, we attended a program that taught us songs, words, and phrases in Hawaiian. I read the Spanish words and the English words on the signs that my daughter points out when we’re shopping.

Languages help us to see how beautifully diverse our world is, and teach us the value of seeing things from someone else’s perspective. It’s a wonderfully humbling experience to clumsily ask someone for help in another language, and it’s a very touching experience to have that person patiently smile at you, then offer a hand when you’re done. Languages remind us of our many difference while simultaneously assuring us that we are all tied together.

We want our daughters to be familiar with many languages by the time they leave our home. I decided early on that I wanted them to be fluent in at least two foreign languages by then, and knew I needed to start now (in the early years) when learning them is so much easier. French was the obvious choice for the first language they’d learn–I speak it myself.

An Unsuccessful First Year of Homeschool French

Despite this fact, the first year of trying to teach it was unsuccessful. Even though I speak it, I didn’t know where to start with teaching it. I taught them a few random phrases, then panicked and tried to find a curriculum. I tried Dino Lingo, videos that I could stream through our library, but we all found the videos obnoxiously over-stimulating. I wasn’t willing to invest in Rosetta Stone for a language I already know. The apps and books that were recommended to me seemed disjointed and stiff. I gave up halfway through the year, telling myself I’d come back to it for the 2018-2019 school year.

Somewhere along the line, it occurred to me that I was trying way too hard in my first attempt. Almost everything else in our homeschool is relaxed and designed to delight, why not French? My daughters love to be read to, they love to sing, they love to play games–this is how we learn almost everything else. So I decided that’s what we’d do for French, too.

A New Approach to Early Language Learning

This year, I’ve approached French with a completely different mindset. I use a variety of materials I’ve pulled from TeachersPayTeachers and Amazon, which I will link to at the end of this post. I am focusing on introducing vocabulary and simple phrases through games, readers and books, and songs. We do French during our morning basket time, and I spend less than ten minutes a month on planning. We’re having so much fun, and the girls are learning new words and phrases every week. When they get a little older, we will join our local French Alliance so they can really dive into the cultures that speak this beautiful language.

Watch the video below to see all of the resources we are using, and how I am combining them in an easy, stress-free way:

Links from the video:

Emergent Readers:

For French Immersion store on Teachers Pay Teachers

Fairytale Emergent Readers:

Speak Up Language Learners store on Teachers Pay Teachers

Vocabulary Cards:

Maternelle avec Mme. Andrea store on Teachers Pay Teachers

Bingo Games:

La Classe de Mme. Angel store on Teachers Pay Teachers

Music (I stream it on Amazon Music):

Whistlefritz music on Amazon (I say Whisker Fritz in the video…oops lol)


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  • Reply Cathy November 12, 2018 at 2:07 am

    Thanks so much for this! My oldest said he wanted to learn French. We’d been completing Duolingo online, but he’s a kid who needs to move while learning. Sitting in front of a screen want cutting it. I’ll check out these resources– love the idea of learning through music!

    • Reply Kristina Garner November 15, 2018 at 5:01 am

      You’re so welcome! My youngest is similar–she must be moving for things to really sink in. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Amanda June 19, 2020 at 3:19 am

    We started using TalkBox.Mom for learning German at home and it has been wonderful! Weโ€™ve gotten out of that funk of making it difficult and using phrases we need everyday as then expanding.

    • Reply Kristina Garner July 5, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      That’s awesome! I’ll have to check that out. Thank you!

  • Reply Julie June 25, 2020 at 10:10 am

    Do you have a way you look for books in French on Amazon? Do you just search particular titles?

    • Reply Kristina Garner July 5, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      I just search for children’s books in French, sometimes on amazon and sometimes through the French alliance in our city (Denver.) I also find a lot of mini-books on Teachers Pay Teachers.

  • Reply Elise November 7, 2020 at 6:18 am

    This is awesome! it makes me so happy to see that families like yours are working so hard learning/teaching French. I’m a French teacher and parents always ask me what to do at home to help their kids with their French. While I was looking for podcasts, I quickly realized that they aren’t really any options for kids who are learning French. A ton of options for adult French learners, but nothing for kids really. But kids and adults learn differently. Therefore I created a podcast for kids and families who want to learn French. It is called French with Elise and you can find it on Itunes, or Spotify. I thought you might be interested ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Kristina Garner February 24, 2021 at 12:28 pm

      Thank you so much for letting me know. That’s wonderful! I’ll have to check it out. I’m so sorry it took so long to respond to this. I didn’t see the notification for some reason. Thank you for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Tayleigh April 30, 2021 at 3:19 am

    Thank you for sharing all of this! Iโ€™m a high school French teacher, but it turns out teaching French to a 5 year old is a little different from teaching 15 year olds. ? I honestly had no idea where to begin, and then I found your post. Emergent readers, of course! Brilliant! I love that it gives us some structure and my son is LOVING his books. Thanks again!

    • Reply Kristina Garner May 3, 2021 at 12:00 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad it was helpful. ๐Ÿ™‚

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