One of the key reasons I began this blog, Intentional Mama, back in 2013 was to share French resources with families and teachers here in the United States and anywhere else that French materials might be difficult to find. Today, learning French remains incredibly important to my family and me—we've been homeschooling in French, or mainly in French, for roughly five years now. Here is my current list of favorite educational French resources organized by school subject! (Nearly all of these resources are available here in the U.S.; others can be ordered online.) Profitez-bien!
For learning to read, abécédaires are a lovely way to begin recognizing letters and sounds. We like this one from Nathan with its scratchy large letters and sensory activities on each page. I've shared additional early reading resources in an older post here.
The best encouragement for learning to read, however, is reading aloud to your children. Whether I'm reading aloud or my children are reading to me, most of our fiction and non-fiction books come from Amazon.fr, used from Amazon.com, or are rented monthly from Les Petits Livres. I have also purchased French children's books from Marygold Books on eBay. Online U.S. booksellers of French books also include Lectures de France and French Books Online. In New York City, Albertine is the predominant French American bookstore. In Canada, Renaud-Bray, Archambault, and Gallimard are the main French bookstores. Bonne lecture!
Handwriting Without Tears has French workbooks for printing letters (early elementary) and for cursive practice. I used this series with my oldest child, but I now prefer my children to start out writing in cursive as children do in France (and in other countries) so I have since switched to this workbook:
Danièle Dumont's French writing workbook series is excellent for first grade and up because they use the same grid lines as French cahiers do. The sample font is small, however, so consider choosing Handwriting Without Tears if your child is easily frustrated while writing.
French language arts (for native or near-native French learners):
la méthode PICOT - recommended by my son's French teacher for early learners who already know how to read words, this comprehensive week-by-week plan focuses on manipulating the words in a French phrase. You can buy the printable PDF version for roughly $10.
Chemins faisant is a site created by a dear family friend who was a French school directeur; his site has a wealth of information and resources for French vocabulary, grammar, spelling, conjugation, and written expression. It also covers math. I plan to use this site more often as my children grow older.
La méthode Singapour - Singapore math workbooks are all available in French. You may also wish to get the textbook (le manuel) but we have found these unnecessary for elementary level math. Some of the French workbooks (les fichiers) can be found here on Amazon.com in the U.S.; others you may need to order from La Librairie des Ecoles, but their prices are reasonable, particularly if you are a teacher. Doing math in French has been fantastic language reinforcement for us, and is truly not any more difficult than in English, not at the elementary level anyhow. I like how the French Singapore Math workbooks incorporate metric measurements and the 24-hour clock.
La MHM (méthode heuristique de maths): If you are very fluent in French, you will find this method very comprehensive, but it also requires quite a bit of preparation in advance. My son's class used this at their public school. Click on Modules to choose the correct grade level, then télécharger PDF for the free printable version.
Chemins faisant offers information and practice in basic operations, geometry, and measurement. I'd say the content is geared towards ages 10 and older.
Curionautes, Wakou, and Wapiti are all nature-focused French magazines for children; my children have enjoyed all of them. Curionautes was just released two years ago and it has been a particular favorite for my ten-year-old daughter. The magazines are expensive, but worth the cost for the monthly reading and learning they foster. This post explains the best and cheapest way to subscribe. We also like Gallimard Jeunesse’ nature apps for iPad such as Dinosaure and la coccinelle. For books, Mes P'tits Docs is a fantastic series offering non-fiction science and history books for children. On YouTube or elsewhere, C’est pas sorcier is an older French science show that is entertaining and informative (and perhaps best for ages seven and up?).
History & Geography
Besides the wonderful Mes P'tits Docs series mentioned above, Milan Presse also publishes a history-focused non-fiction series for older children called Les Encyclopes. If you can't find them on Amazon, you may have to order them via Amazon in Canada.
La Librairie des Ecoles online sells French textbooks in many subjects, including elementary geography and history textbooks on their French website (and teachers from any country receive a significant discount if you upload an image of your teaching certification).
Usborne books publishes some wonderful literary resources in many languages; this year my children enjoyed the Usborne sticker book Les Mythes Grecs to accompany our readings of Greek myths. It's a high quality sticker book that I bought at the Louvre during a Paris visit, but I also see a copy available here on Amazon and it looks like you should be able to order any Usborne French books (on history or any other topic) through a representative in Canada via Usborne's French Canadian website.
Artifacts and archeology: the English book Historium (shown above) offers a fascinating look at cultural artifacts. I purchased a used copy in English to cut out the images and bury them in shallow sandboxes; we will use my intact French copy of the book to learn about our archeology finds.
Art seems like a more challenging category to me when it comes to locating resources in French, but perhaps that's because it can be approached in so many ways. I could suggest books on specific artists or French museums (Mon petit Orsay or Le Louvre), or point out children's books on art such as the Cahier de peinture pour apprendre les couleurs (which we've enjoyed using). La Librairie des Ecoles carries two manuals for art history (4th and 5th grade). There's a children's history of art from Mes Docs Art and there's even a French history of art in comic form.
Some of our favorite Francophone children's musicians who can be found on Apple Music are Henri Dès, Jean-François Alexandre, des P'tits Lascars, and Kids United (English name but they sing in French). I've posted about Zut and Whistlefritz before. On our France trips I discovered children's songs by Les Ogres de Barback and the 80s singer Marc Pinget. Charlotte Diamond was well-known in Québec in the 90s; she sings some entertaining songs in English and Spanish as well.
If you have a Favorite French educational resource that you'd like me to consider adding to this list, please comment below or leave a message on the Intentional Mama Facebook page. Merci!
The abécédaire alphabet animal poster featured on the main blog page was drawn by Helen Dardik and is available from Perlin Paon Paon.