French Friday, Weather

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The weather outside is frightful, so we might as well talk about it, right? Here are some expressions to get you started with small talk in French. Please find a PDF link below, to use in your homeschool.

French Friday, Le temps, weather vocabulary


French Weather

For more French Friday posts, please click here.



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French Friday, Thanksgiving Vocabulary

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In the United States, we just celebrated Thanksgiving – a harvest feast of giving thanks for all the bounty of the land and for the goodness of God toward us. You probably took a Thanksgiving break in your homeschool. We did.

Even though they do not celebrate Thanksgiving in France, imagine explaining to a Frenchman about this American holiday. You would need some specific terms, wouldn’t you? So let’s learn some Thanksgiving vocabulary in French. Click on the link below the picture to open a PDF with printable flash cards.

Thanksgiving vocabulary in French

French Thanksgiving

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving celebration!

For more posts in the French Friday series, please click here.

À bientôt!

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French Friday, Colors

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Are you ready for another French lesson in your homeschool? Let’s learn the colors in French.

Colors are an important part of vocabulary in any new language. One can use colors to express so much beyond their literal meaning. For instance, our moods. One can be green with envy, red with anger, yellow with sickness, and white with fear. The ultimate color collection, the rainbow, spells hope and a new beginning.

French Friday Colors Flash Cards

I made flash cards for learning the colors in French. Please click below for a PDF file you can save and print.

French Colors

For more French lessons from Homeschool Ways, please click here. Happy homeschooling!

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French Friday, Numbers 1-20

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Hope you had a good homeschooling week. My children have learned some new skills this week and I certainly have learned a few things myself. They say if you really want to learn something, teach it.

For today’s French lesson, I made flash cards with numbers 1-20.

Numbers 1 to 20 in French, French Friday

Click on the link below to open the PDF file or to save it to your computer.

French Numbers 1-20

Hope you find this useful! For more French Friday posts, please click here.

Please leave me a comment below. Happy homeschooling!

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French Friday, To Be and To Have

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Homeschoolers, pay attention! This is by far the most important French lesson you will ever have. Without the present tense for être and avoir, the most used and most irregular verbs in French, you will not go anywhere. Period.

Without these two verbs, you cannot express anything like “I’m hungry” or “I am twelve.” Moreover, you cannot even come close to “I have eaten” or “I have gone.” You see, être and avoir play the role of auxilliary verbs to express le passé composé (the most common French past tense).

Sorry, no shortcuts to greatness. This one must be memorized. Take five minutes in your homeschool schedule and go through these daily.

Avoir et Etre - French Friday


je suis [zhuh sew-ee]

tu es [tew eh]

il est / elle est [eel eh] / [ehl eh]

nous sommes [nooh sohm]

vous êtes [voohz-eht] – Notice how the s sounds like a z and it connects the two words. Most words ending in s in French will connect audibly as a z sound to the next word, if the latter begins with a vowel.

ils sont / elles sont [eel sohn] / [ehl sohn] In case you don’t know, n is a very nasal n sound.



j’ai [jeh]

tu as [tew ah]

il a / elle a [eel ah] / [ehl ah]

nous avons [nooz-avohn]

vous avez [vooz-aveh]

ils ont / elles ont [eelz-ohn] / [ehlz-ohn]

C’est tout. That’s it. Memorize these two verbs until you know them like the back of your hand. They will serve you well for the rest of your French lessons. The more you practice, the easier it will be to build on this foundation.

For other French Friday posts, click here. Happy homeschooling!

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French Friday, Top 10 French Words

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Hello again, on a French Friday morning. Or, should I say, Bon matin (Good morning)! Do you have ten minutes in your homeschooling schedule to squeeze in a bit of French? Oui? (Yes?) Très bien, alors! (Very well, then!)

Have you always wanted to learn French but never knew where to start? Wonder no more. Here are the Top 10 most frequently used French words, according to Gougenheim 2.00 – Fréquences orales et de production. Please find the pronunciation guide within [ ] and the English translation after the equal sign.

Top 10 French Words

1. le [luh], la [lah], l’ [l], les [lay] = the (definite article)

Can you believe French has four words where English only has one? That’s because French nouns are masculine (le), feminine (la), begin with a vowel (which makes le/la drop their own vowels and become l’), or need a plural article when they are in the plural form (les).

2. être [eh-tr] = to be (verb)

3. avoir [ah-vwahr] = to have (verb)

4. de [duh] = of, from (preposition)

5. un [uhn], une [yewn], des [day] = a, an, some (indefinite article) Masculine nouns in French require “un”, feminine nouns require “une” and plurals call for “des.”

6. je [zhuh] = I (subject pronoun)

7. il/ils [eel] = he, it / they (subject pronouns)

8. ce [suh] = this (indefinite demonstrative pronoun)

9. pas [pah] = not (negative adverb)

10. à [ah] = to, in (preposition)

Please let me know what kind of resources would best work for your French-learning needs in your homeschool. For more French Friday lessons, click here. À bientôt! (See you soon!)

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French Friday, Alouette

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Last Friday, I started a series of French lessons which I plan to turn into a permanent tab on my blog. Homeschooling would not be complete without at least one foreign language, right?

Today, let’s look at one of the most famous French songs ever: Alouette. Children use this song to learn the names of body parts in French.



Refrain: Alouette, gentille alouette,

Alouette, je te plumerai.

1. Je te plumerai la tête. x2

Et la tête! Et la tête!

Alouette! Alouette!



2. Je te plumerai le bec. x2

Et le bec!  x2

Et la tête!  x2

Alouette!  x2



Alouette - Lark - body parts in French

Body parts in French, on a lark (alouette)

3. Je te plumerai les yeux. x2

Et les yeux!  x2

Et le bec!  x2

Et la tête!  x2

Alouette!  x2



Repeat the above with: le cou, les ailes, les pattes, la queue,  le dos.

Literally, the song says, “Lark, lovely lark, I will pluck the feathers off your head, beak, eyes, neck, wings, feet, tail, back.”

To sing Alouette in English, use

Little skylark, lovely little skylark,

Little skylark, I’ll pluck your feathers off.

I’ll pluck the feathers off your head, x2

Off your head, x2

Little lark, x2

O-o-o-oh etc

Apparently, a lark woke the song writer up one morning and he was not an early bird (no pun intended) or a card-carrying member of PETA. He calls the lark “lovely” or “nice” (gentille) though, which intrigues me. The song may have originated in France, but it is also attributed to Québec, the French-speaking Canadian province.

To hear the pronunciation, here’s a youtube video with a kid-friendly arrangement. Hope this little French song enriches your homeschool day!

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French Friday, Calendar Flashcards

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For my Friday post, I decided to upload a couple of resources for learning French. These are for you to use in your homeschool or after school language learning efforts. For more French Friday resources, click here.

I made some flash cards for you to download and print. The PDF links are below. You can use them with either reading or non-reading students. The first page of each PDF file will give you instructions on how to incorporate them in your daily routine, but I am sure you can figure other ways to use them.

If you need further help with the pronunciation, – and who doesn’t? – click on the youtube videos. I chose some neat songs to help reinforce pronunciation and help with memorization. We retain information better if we learn it in a song.

I placed the videos right here for your convenience. Feel free to bookmark this post and come back to it as needed.

My plan is to create more of these lessons and upload them all in a special tab by themselves on my blog. Coming soon. Sign up for email updates so you don’t miss it.

Until then, enjoy the days of the week as well as the months of the year in French below.

Click on the PDF link under each picture and save and print your flash cards as needed. The pronunciation video follows.


Les jours de la semaine

 Days of the Week in French PDF link


The months of the year in French

 Months of the Year in French PDF link


This post is linked to

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What a fun activity to add to your calendar moments every morning. For five minutes a day, you and your homeschooling students can solidify French knowledge and stimulate neurons. Enjoy!

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How to Come Up with 4 Hours of Homeschooling Kindergarten

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{Today is the last day to enter to win 2 FREE Dollywood Tickets. See right menu for information.}

Some states ask homeschoolers to perform four hours of instruction in each of the 180 days of school they must report at the end of the school year. Tennessee, where I live, is one of those states.

State officials do not ask for specifics on what we did each day during those four hours. However, for my own sake, I keep tabs on what we do daily and how long each activity took. I use a simple notebook on each child, even though my daughter is in preschool and, as such, her instruction is not “official.”

Now, let’s define instruction. Any time knowledge is imparted, instruction happens. Children do not receive instruction only if they are seatead at a desk with their textbooks opened at a specific page as directed by an adult licensed as a teacher, who is standing in front of a blackboard or white board or SMART interactive board.

Children learn all the time. It’s what children do. They learn. They haven’t been around much, so most of what they see around them is new and exciting. Our task as parents is to surround them with positive, age-appropriate sources of information, according to their learning styles.

My daughter, a preschooler, joins us for most activities, so I use plural when I describe what we do. Here’s how I come up with four hours of instruction for my son, who is in homeschool kindergarten.


First Hour

30 minutes – Bible. This represents both our morning and evening devotional times, during which we read stories from age-appropriate Bible curriculum, learn hymns and praise songs, memorize passages of Scripture, pray, and do crafts or activities that will solidify and make real the knowledge of God. This time also covers those precious moments throughout the day when we talk about God because they ask about life and I direct their minds to the truths of the Bible.

30 minutes – Home Ec. Think making the bed, taking dirty clothes to the hamper, putting toys and school supplies up at the end of the day, dusting, wiping the table after meals, doing laundry, setting the table, stirring the oatmeal I cook for breakfast, pouring flour from the measuring cup into the mixing bowl for pancakes, pushing buttons on the blender filled with yummy ingredients under my supervision, learning to mow with daddy, emptying the dishwasher… I could go on and on. Home ec. skills are life skills which establish habits that will make them great spouses and parents and responsible adults with healthy self-images. Instruction happens throughout the day in small bits. I have approximated this to be half an hour daily.


Second Hour

1 hour – Romanian (mother tongue). I speak with them in Romanian 90% of the time I am with them. I also read to them in Romanian. It adds up to more than one hour a day, but I keep it simple for recording purposes.


Third Hour

30 minutes – Recess. Why not? If they count it as school time in public schools, we can, too.

30 minutes – Reading with mommy. I read picture books and various readers to them. We worked our way through “Before Five in a Row” and reading lists. Now we are working through “Books Children Love.” Sometimes I have my son read a page or a whole reader, depending on how motivated he feels that morning.

Fourth Hour

30 minutes – P.E. Every day, as long as it is over 46F and dry, my children spend time outside on their bikes or doing various ball activities with me or with each other. Today we played a bit of tennis, for instance. Catching, throwing, rolling, and bouncing a ball are important large motor skills. Some days they bike the Gatlinburg trail. Daddy and I run alongside them. It is four miles both ways and we do it in 70 minutes, including a five-minute break when we turn around at Sugarlands Visitor Center. Great cardio workout. When it’s warm, we go to the pool. Every other month, they take swim lessons.

30 minutes – The 3Rs, i.e. formal instruction in reading, writing and arithmetic. Ten minutes per subject is plenty for a five-year-old. A child’s attention span is their age in minutes plus one. So a three-year-old can focus for about four minutes and a five-year-old for about six minutes. I make sure I don’t push my son beyond his limits. We might take a break and talk about something (he always has a story to share) before we go on to the next concept. We will probably do fifteen minutes per subject in the second semester; by then, my son will be six.


Fifth Hour

30 minutes – Reading with daddy. This is a nightly routine which happens after supper and just before bedtime.

10 minutes – Music. I play classical music for them throughout the day, during meals, or in the car. If they are interested, I tell them it is Telemann or Handel or Mozart etc.

10 minutes – Arts & Crafts. They make cards for different events and people on a regular basis. They draw, cut and paste in their lapbooks. They decorate their bedroom according to their fancy with old ribbons and scotch tape. They paint. They draw with chalk in the driveway.

10 minutes – Science. Once a month, they take a class at Ripley’s Aquarium. Nature walks or simply being in the yard provide an opportunity for spotting insects and animals. We melt ice. We make popsicles. We grow butterflies out of caterpillars we mail ordered. We write in our nature journals. We learn to cook and can and garden.

10 minutes – Foreign Languages. I tell them things in French and Spanish every day. Simple things. “Thank you” or “here you are” or “please” or whatever simple phrase I may use in Romanian, I repeat it in French. Or Spanish. Or English. I find myself saying the same thing in three or four different ways. Sometimes I make them repeat it, but other times, if we are hard at play, I just say it and we move on. We also repeat the days of the week and the months of the year in several languages for our calendar activities.

As you can see, I easily come up with more than five hours of “instruction” per day. Which means that I can leave out certain activities based on what we have on our schedule as a family that particular day. Activities can carry over for recording purposes, too. It works out well. I told you homeschooling was a flexible endeavor.

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Homeschooling and Multilingualism

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Before I say anything about the languages that I speak and teach to my children, let me make it clear that if I don’t have love (i.e. the genuine article, a.k.a. agape in Greek), I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal and who wants to do that for a living? Not me. Not in my home. Not in our homeschooling process.

If that gong and cymbal comparison sounds familiar, it’s because it is. I got it from a gentleman who spoke several languages himself and wrote a dozen small books which have been translated into many, many languages. I am referring, of course, to the Apostle Paul.

Comparing a loveless polyglot to a resounding gong is found in 1 Corinthians 13:1, to be precise. In this chapter, Paul talks about other accomplishments which mean very little in the absence of agape, but he starts out with multilingualism – a detail that has always resonated with me. Pun intended.

Having said all that, I must mention that am fluent in Romanian, French, and English. I have a good knowledge of Swedish, Spanish, Italian, and Latin. And I have basic knowledge of German, Norwegian and Portuguese. Here’s how…

I was born in Romania and lived there until I was 19. I took French in school (two hours a week, grades 5-12). I took English in school (two hours a week, grades 6-12). I also took Latin in the eighth grade. Two foreign languages plus Latin were mandatory subjects in Romania back then – not sure what they do now – but they did not have to be for me.

I have always loved languages and found it easy to learn words and grammar rules. Words to me are like toys to a child. I always want new ones.

Homeschooling and multilingualism

I majored in French and English at the University of Bucharest (UB). While there, I took Latin and Ancient French (Ancien Français) classes. It was incredibly helpful to see the evolution of French words from Roman times to the Middle Ages versus today.

Most people do not know that Romanian is a Romance language right along French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. We use the Roman alphabet, even though we are surrounded by nations who use the Cyrillic. So yes, I had some home advantage to all this language learning.

I learned Italian by watching Italian movies and TV – if you saw Michele Placido in La Piovra, you would, too – and by listening to Eros Ramazzotti’s music. It occurs to me that I have been a Ramazzotti fan since 1986 – almost three decades. His lyrics are deep poetry.

I learned Spanish on the go, during my lunch breaks in college, preparing for a mission trip to Ecuador in 1995. While there, immersion did the trick.

Swedish and Norwegian come from my three years of living in Sweden – I loved my Scandinavian period, especially the last year, when I lived in Stockholm. You might know this, Swedish vs. Norwegian is like British English vs. American English.

I took German classes here and there, from the TV, from conversation guides, from German friends. Swedish, Norwegian, German and English, of course, fall in the Germanic language family and the similarities help solidify new vocabulary.

Recently, I was watching an interview in Portuguese with English subtitles and I was relying heavily on reading the translation. At one point, I heard the words in Portuguese and the subtitles were delayed. I understood what was said and when the translation popped on the screen, it confirmed it. I tuned my ears and focused more. It was not hard to get it. I was very surprised, but I guess I should not be. Once you have most of the languages in one language family, it’s only a matter of imagination and fine tuning the endings of the words and some grammar rules.

My children are bilingual (Romanian and English) because daddy has always addressed them in English (he is American) and I have always talked to them in Romanian. I am working on adding French and Spanish to their repertoire. I sprinkle Latin here and there throughout the day, when I point out Latin roots of English words and how similar certain words are in many languages (e.g., rapid – English, rapid – Romanian, rápido – Spanish, rapide – French).

If my children went to “regular” school for seven hours a day, I would have very little time to expose them to other languages. That’s one of the big reasons why I chose to homeschool. Time. Time to pursue what we want, after we get basic academic skills out of the way.

For instance, the other day, we had to take a car trip right after breakfast to run an errand. We did our calendar and foreign language activities in the car. We said the days of the week and the months of the year in English, Romanian and French. Then, we counted to 20 in all three languages. I have written briefly about car schooling before.

That’s just another reason why I like homeschooling: learning happens everywhere you go, while you run errands and live your life together as a family, even when you are away from a desk. I linked to

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