“French should be acquired as English is, not as a grammar, but as a living speech. To train the ear to distinguish and the lips to produce the French vocables is a valuable part of the education of the senses, and one which can hardly be undertaken too soon. Again, all educated persons should be able to speak French.”
We have not been studying French long and have only learned the basic greetings as well as a few songs. My goal in learning French is simply to know and understand the basics so that when traveling we don’t expect others to speak English to us (though they usually will anyway!) Here are some of the resources I use for learning French:
Coffee Break French: I love this series because you get to learn the basics as well as hear conversation and they are short 15 minute lessons. And the best part is they are free!
BBC French: Free audio of basic words and phrases…
Skoldo French: I like this series because it includes CD with pronunciation and it includes a lot of songs which my kids love.
French for Children: My kids enjoy this series because it is mostly song-based and it’s the same exact program for German as well as French so they already know the tunes and though they don’t understand all the words in French, they know what they mean in German.
Cherrydale Press: This French program is based on Charlotte Mason’s (Gouin’s) methods. I only recently purchased it so I can’t give a review of it yet, but I do like that you learn conversational words and phrases rather than simply objects like most language programs teach.
Youtube: I have found lots of fun kids songs in French and we learn at least one per term. There are also a lot of cartoons available in French. We don’t own a tv and don’t spend much time watching things online but combining cartoons with education is a win-win that we occasionally indulge in…
DuoLingo: This is great for adults and older children. The only reason I don’t recommend it for younger ones is because it requires you to spell which is something that shouldn’t happen until the children are comfortable in the language.
We also use a handful of French children’s books that we picked up while traveling in France (although I must admit I have to use Google Translate to figure out how to pronounce half the words!)