My 5th grader has started learning French this year. We have done a little in the past, but I put it on hold until 5th grade so we could focus on the other languages we are learning. I’ve found French to be difficult to pronounce so we started with Pronounce It Perfectly in French It was a great way to get started. Once we started to get the hang of French pronunciation we moved to a textbook. I searched and searched for a textbook that would be great for self-study. I needed one that was affordable, had lots of audio, and answers. After considering many popular homeschool choices, I went another direction.
Contacts by Vallette is an excellent choice for us. It is a textbook designed for beginner college students. I find this to be ideal because it gives you a lot of bang for the buck. Now I realize that college textbooks are typically very expensive. However, if you go with an older edition you will find them very affordable! Also, college textbooks for foreign language seem to explain things better than ones written for kids. I think that is because the ones written for kids are expected to be used with an instructor. College textbooks do as well, but they also assume that the student is putting in a lot of hours outside of class. Because of that they seem to have more explanations and audio exercises.
So we started Contacts a few months ago and it is going swimmingly. We are only on chapter 2, but we are learning at a slow and steady pace.
Here is what we are using. I purchased Contacts 7th edition with the lab manual/workbook and audio cds. The most recent edition is the 8th edition and it doesn’t offer audio cds. It offers an online component which is probably better, but I am looking at using this book for several kids over a long period of time and I didn’t want to be limited by a subscription time limit.
Here is what I purchased:
Workbook/Lab Manual (answers to exercises are included) Comtacts Cahier D’Activites: Langue Et Culture Francaises
These are available used so you can find them at great prices. My major cost was shipping here to Canada. I am really enjoying using this book with my son. It gives audio for the conversations in the textbook as well as audio for lab exercises. It should give us several years of French instruction, lots of listening practice, and some success with French.