Petra Lingua Revisited

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Petra Lingua is our curriculum of choice for learning French. We read books in French and I talk to them in French in the afternoon, but we build vocabulary in a systematic way with Petra Lingua.

I have written before about this website: here and here. You can learn many languages, like German, Chinese, Spanish, Italian and even Swedish.

In the fall, when it became clear that my local homeschool community did not really have an interest in our French Play Group, I put Petra Lingua to the side and focused on reading to the kids in French. I also tried using French on a more consistent basis with them, in the afternoon.

Then life happened: the holidays in November and December; my father’s passing in January; the flu in February. While they lingered on the bed with no energy, I read to them a lot, but then I also put a laptop in front of them to see if they had any interest and energy for Petra Lingua French. They did!

Children studying with Petra Lingua

My children study French with Petra Lingua while having the flu

So much so, they fought over who to do the exercises. Continue reading »

 They brought the account we have with them from 25% accomplished to 40% and, a few days later, 50%. I was happy to see the progress, and then wondered if we could do this on a more consistent basis, say twice a week. When I grew up, we took French and English in school, starting in middle school. Every week, we had two hours of French and two hours of English. If you applied yourself, you could become an advanced speaker by the time you finished high school, and some of us did.

Children study French online

My children’s energy came back as they worked through the exercises on Petra Lingua

Petra Lingua is not very expensive, it is fun for young kids, and it provides lots of repetition to facilitate memorization. You can purchase it online or on CDs and DVDs. The mascot, a dog named Oiffy, is adorable. You can even get a hand puppet to use with your youngest audience.

They do offer me this software for free in exchange for an honest review. I am here to honestly tell you that this program works if you work it. My children sing along and remember words and phrases many weeks after the lessons. Here’s to consistency in teaching languages!


French Friday, Petra Lingua Review

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We love French in our homeschool. I have started teaching my children French on a regular basis this spring. We joined the Alliance Française of Knoxville, signed up for Popi, and watched Caillou on youtube. However, I felt the need for a systematic approach to learning French. Enter Petra LinguaContinue reading »

Full disclosure: they are one of my sponsors. But I would not be writing about this curriculum if I did not think it was great or if I did not use it with my children.

French learning for kids under 10 - Petra Lingua

French learning for kids under 10

So Petra Lingua is for younger elementary kids, say ages 3-10. However, if you are an adult who needs to study French and enjoy animation, this is a great product for you, as well. I would add that if you feel intimidated by language learning, you should definitely consider Petra Lingua. Their mascot, a cute doggy named Wuffy, will become your best buddy – while teaching you French.

I know my kids laugh every time he enters the screen. He makes an entrance in a different way every time.

The lessons contains songs, repetition, a chance for you to repeat back what the speaker said, as well as exercises to practice what you learned.

Also, you should know this product comes in two versions: an online version and a DVD kit, which offers a booklet with exercises and a music CD, as well as the DVD for the lessons. At the end of the 20 lessons, you will have learned 500 basic words in French and, hopefully, you will have gained some confidence toward more lessons.

They even have a lesson plan you can follow so that you know what to expect (or what to do) for each lesson.

The online product costs $4.99 per month for six months. How’s that for a bargain? You can do one lesson a week and be done in 20 weeks, with no stress and without breaking the bank. If you wanted the DVD kit, which also contains a Wuffy Dog Handpuppet and a set of playing cards to practice vocabulary, it is $75.

So it boils down to how good your internet connection is. I use this set to teach my French Play Group at the library and their connection is not so good on some days. The result? The songs get interrupted a lot as the laptop keeps buffering. I have learned to bring the DVDs instead.

My kids love Wuffy and they play with the handpuppet a lot. They sing the songs and request certain lessons just because they like them. For instance, my daughter really, really likes the Vegetables and Fruits – which happens to be available for free on their website. My son prefers the lesson about counting to 20 – things come in train cars and he loves trains.

If you want to watch the free lesson, go ahead and sign up. You will receive a code for 15% off when you do decide to purchase. How cool is that?

As we progress through these lessons, I will be back to tell you some more about them. Until then, au revoir!


French Friday – Our First Play Group

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A few days ago, I ran our first French Play Group according to Lesson Plan Numéro 1.

We had five children ranging from one to ten, two girls and three boys. One family traveled 45 minutes to attend and said they would be back.

Everybody behaved well. All the kids showed great interest in learning French. They made an effort to sing and pronounce the words when I asked them to.  Continue reading »

The Library moved us to a different meeting room and it actually worked for the better. They needed the larger, Burchfield Room, as an art studio for now, because they were busy painting large props for their upcoming Summer Reading Program workshops.

Two boys work on the laptop

Two of our students working the exercises on Petra Lingua

They gave us the Community Classroom – a smaller, more intimate setting, perfect for our purpose. The small quarters discourage running, roughhousing, and talking.

I placed the blocks in one corner, the Lincoln Logs in another, the Madeline puzzle on a table, and the felt board on another table. I encouraged the children to play while I set up the rest of the materials.

The Library sent their technology person to help me connect my laptop to the large screen in the room. We had a great atmosphere as I played Allons Dancer from Whistlefritz while the kids were playing and getting to know each other.

We start on time (that’s the plan, at least) and do not wait for stragglers. However, given our new location, I waited five extra minutes to make sure people had time to get their bearings and find us. It is a larger building – by small town standards.

We ran through the Bonjour song twice, then I read them the books. Petra Lingua was a hit – maybe because the kids loved operating the laptop and seeing their work projected onto the large roll-down screen.

They actually took turns doing the exercises over and over, which only gave them more practice.

We sang another song – Dans la forêt lointaine.

We barely had time for free play – which tells me we really need to start on time AND I need to read less books. No more than three books, I think. And, maybe, no extra song for now.

We sang our Au Revoir song twice and then we actually said “au revoir” to each other on the way out. On parle français déjà!

Later, I checked with the building manager and she agreed to move us into the Community Classroom from now through Aug 24, when we go to Bridgemont – another smaller, more intimate meeting room.

I am glad to be completely out of Burchfield, which is a huge room. I ran a LEGO Club in there two years ago and it just feels like you get lost in it, especially when you have less than 10 students.

Several of the families interested in our Play Group went to the Petting Zoo that day – a field trip they had planned for four months, long before I started the French Play Group. So we will have to repeat the lesson and that is just fine by me. Repetition is the mother of learning.

I did not mean to create a scheduling conflict, but I had to start somewhere and working with a Library gives you only so many options.

À bientôt!


French Friday – French Play Group Lesson Plan Numéro 1

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About two months ago, I had a burning desire to start a French Group. All the details have been worked out and, in a few days, we will have our first meeting. So, so exciting.

This is a post for all the parents bringing their children, but I thought it might inspire others, too.

 

Here’s the lesson plan for the first French Play Group:

1. Start with Bonjour, bonjour les amis, a song from the CD Whistlefritz, Allons Danser. I will have the kids sitting on the floor, girls on one side and boys on the other side. That’s to demonstrate the difference between masculine and feminine nouns and adjectives in French. Also, to be able to point at the girls when we say “copines” and to point at the boys when we say “copains.”

I will bring the CD and we will sing along twice. I am making up some hand motions.

You can listen to bits of the song on the Amazon link above, to get an idea. I have not found a youtube video for it. – 5 minutes

Whistlefritz French Learning Allons Danser CD

2. Read several books to them:  Continue reading »

a. L’Été – for simple vocabulary about summer time; Reading A-Z is a great source of French leveled books; our e. selection below is also from the same website

b. Popi magazine article – for the story about Petit Ours Brun – Moi, j’ai un copain – in the May 2014 issue

c. Popi magazine article – for the story called Coucou, bébé – in the June 2014 issue – to learn another way to say hi

d. Madeleine – it’s a rather difficult book for them at this stage, but they must be challenged a bit. Plus, Madeleine will be one of our French friends throughout the year and we must introduce her. Our end-of-the-year party, in May, will have a Madeleine theme, definitely. Maybe.

e. Chaud, froid – to reinforce the words for hot, cold, which are also found in our Bonjour song

Reading should take 10-12 minutes. Our children are young, but I hope they can make it. I don’t know them very well, either. So I will adjust. If they get antsy, I will keep one or two books for another time.

 

3. Sing “Dans la forêt lointaine.” I will bring a felt nature background with a faraway forest and I made two puppets, a cuckoo and an owl, to go with the song. We will go through it twice. – 5 minutes

 

4. PetraLingua.com French Lesson nr. 1 – Woofy, the Petra Lingua mascot, will teach us, hopefully in person. This is our curriculum for the year and we will do one lesson per meeting. I am expecting a package from them (they are in Croatia), which will have an actual stuffed animal Woofy – it’s a hand puppet. If it does not arrive by next week, we will have to make do with admiring him online. It will increase the anticipation for next time.

Petra Lingua - online languages for kids

The plan is to connect my laptop to the TV screen in the room. I will ask an older child or several to come and do the exercises on the laptop and then all can see it. 10 minutes

 

5. Free play time – bring toys that do not require batteries to “work,” please. – 20 minutes

I will bring wooden blocks, a Madeleine puzzle, a Lincoln Logs set and similar things. No video games, 3D Angry Birds or toy guns, please.

The kids will speak to each other in English for now. Those of us who speak French can play with them and point out a French word here and there.

 

6. Clean up – 5 minutes

 

7. Sing Au Revoir – twice, from the same Whistlefritz CD – 5 minutes.

 

I have saved several documents on our Sevier County Homeschoolers Facebook page: guidelines for the group; a calendar showing the meeting dates and rooms we will be using at the library throughout the year; the titles of our lessons for the year; and lyrics and vocabulary for the songs.

 

À bientôt!

 

For other French Friday posts, please click here.

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