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!


7 Ways Modern Technology Helps Me Raise Multilingual Children

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We live in the United States, but my European background inspired me to raise my children with at least the languages I am fluent in: Romanian, English and French. It’s one of the reasons I homeschool.

I have been speaking to them in Romanian since birth. I introduced them to French about a year ago, when I started speaking to them during our normal routine.

My husband and I made the decision to limit our children’s screen time to 30 minutes per day and, instead, read to them extensively. We read to them mostly in English, but I also read to them in Romanian and French books. Lately, I have been more intentional about reading to them at least one book per day in Romanian and French.

Petra Lingua online language learning for children

What I realize more and more though is that my kids need more immersion into the sounds of French and Romanian. So here are some ways that I have allowed media into my children’s life. I call it “screen time with a purpose.”

 

1. Free books online

The Internet – the ultimate modern technology – has put me in touch with multilingual bloggers who inspire me and share their own findings. I also research the Internet to find book titles and ideas and methods. I even found a free bilingual book on Little Bilingues.

When my kids’ vocabulary picks up, we will read more advanced books in French. I found some free ones on Children’s Books Forever.

 

2. Google searches

A simple Google search for French books helped me find Schoenhofs, the bookstore which boasts the largest selection of foreign language books in North America. It is located in Cambridge, MA, on the campus of Harvard University. For orders over $50, shipping is free. Some of their titles begin cost under $5. So affordable.

 

3. Amazon Prime

Amazon remains a great source of books as well, especially because we have a Prime membership. While Amazon cannot rival Schoenhofs in selection or prices, Amazon carries certain bilingual books which Schoenhofs does not.

 

4. Youtube.com

Youtube helps with French nursery rhymes (comptines) and cartoons like Caillou, Léo et Popi and Trotro. These are wholesome cartoons in French which use simple vocabulary and short sentences. The dialogues help my children hear French spoken in a conversation and retain it.

Very important note: I sit with them and translate expressions and repeat the French terms. Not for everything, but for the most important words and phrases. I do it in Romanian. That way, they practice two minority languages at one time.

The other day, my son was imitating Mousseline, Caillou’s sister, who was saying, “Moi, moi, moi!” while holding her empty bowl up. Then he looked at me and said, “Mousseline is so cute. What does ‘moi’ mean, mama?”

Bonus: they don’t even realize they are having a French lesson while watching.

Even though it helps them learn French, I still limit their cartoon time to 30 minutes a day. That way, if they watch some English cartoons as well, they spend a total of one hour daily in front of a screen. I counterbalance that with three hours spent outside every day.

 

5. Petra Lingua

Last but not least, I have found Petra Lingua to be a fun way to allow modern technology to teach my children French. Try their free sample lesson and you will see how much your children enjoy the experience. I will have a more thorough review of this site in July, so make sure you sign up for updates from Homeschool Ways on social media or via email.

So far though, this site has boosted my children’s confidence with French. My daughter told me the other day, “I understand THIS French, mama” as we were going through the fruit and vegetable lesson for the third time.

Repetition is the mother of learning, and children know it instinctively. They ask to repeat the same lesson several times and they love that I oblige. In the process, they have just memorized 20 French words.

 

6. Skype

We Skype with my family who live in Spain, Sweden and Romania. Even though my children still answer my relatives in English and I have to translate, now and then they will answer in Romanian – miracle of miracles! If we keep this up, I think we will see even more progress.

 

7. Radio France Internationale

Listening to RFI has become a daily routine in our home. Even if it is just Le Journal En Français Facile, which takes 10 minutes, I make it a point to turn it on when the kids are playing nearby. They don’t get any of it at this point, but, over time, they will start hearing more and more familiar words.

I remember learning Swedish while living in Sweden (from TV, radio, conversations at work and at language school) and not understanding anything. After a few weeks, I could catch a phrase here, a word there. In the meantime, I learned the rhythm and the melody of the Swedish language. Four months later, I could carry on a conversation with the natives.

So, based on that experience, I immerse them into the sounds of French. Hopefully, a few months from now, I will be able to report some major victories on another multilingual blog carnival. Until then, I say au revoir!

 

This post is included in a Raising Multilingual Children blog carnival hosted by Rita of Multilingual Parenting.