Finding good sources for French learning materials is not easy. When I first started teaching my children at home, I had trouble finding resources for French. Today I thought I’d share with you the top 5 places that I go when I’m shopping for French materials.
Envolée has several physical store locations in Québec, but I have never actually been. I’ve always just ordered things online from them. For most of their products, they offer both a printed version and a downloadable version. When I have the choice, I always choose downloadable because I can print just the pages I want, and even after factoring in the printing cost, it’s cheaper than ordering the paper version.
Their website is fantastic – you can easily search for what you need by subject or grade level and look at sample pages from every item, so you know exactly what you’re buying. When you choose the downloadable version, you get instant access as soon as you pay, which means that you can actually be using the product just minutes after going to the site to look. Yay!
Envolée carries material for all grade levels and subjects. Their materials are reproducible, which means that you only need to buy once and can use it for multiple children in your family.
Librarie du Centre
This is both an online store and a brick and mortar building in Ottawa. The first time I went into the physical building, I was completely overwhelmed because I had no idea what I was doing or what I was looking for. Thankfully, I had received a tip beforehand that all the curriculum was in the back left corner, so I made a beeline for there first and spent forever looking through the options there and then did a quick wander through the rest of the store where they have books, games, etc.
The online offerings are also quite vast. If you know what you’re looking for, you can use the search bar on their site. If you’re just browsing, I’d suggest going to the recherche scolaire section, where they break down the educational resources they have by subject.
Perks – fast free shipping on online orders over $50. Excellent service both online and in-store.
What I wish they would do – Let me see inside the book on their site. They rarely offer sample pages or previews and often don’t even have a picture of the book on their online listing. Sometimes I can go to the book publisher’s site and get the information I’m looking for but not always.
Teachers Pay Teachers
This is a good place to find worksheets and printable games. When I go to this site, I’m usually looking for something on a specific theme (like Halloween or spring or Earth Day for example), but they do have booklets on more generic things like writing, etc. You can search by subject, age group, etc. To find the French resources, choose World Language from the left sidebar, and then either en Français for immersion-type activities or French for French as a second language-type activities.
Homeschool conferences in Québec
I realize that this isn’t practical if you aren’t within driving distance, but in the past, I’ve made a weekend of it with my family in Montreal for either the ACPEQ (Association of Christian Parent Educators of Québec) or the AQED (Association Québecoise Éducation à Domicile) conferences. Both conferences are open to anyone – you don’t need to be a member of the association or hold any particular beliefs to go. My husband took the kids to the train museum while I was at the conference.
From a French resource point of view, the great thing about these conferences is the vendor hall. I can’t think of a better opportunity to look through materials from so many different companies at once.
Bonus tip – If you can’t make it to the conferences themselves, get the list of vendors from the conference web site and check out their sites from there. ACPEQ’s from last year is here.
The “usual” bookstores 🙂
You’ll notice that my first 4 pics don’t talk about literature specifically. We are so fortunate to live in an area where our library has a huge selection of French reading material. If that’s not the case for you, Amazon has a wide variety of French books.
As far as curriculum is concerned, if you know what you’re looking for, Amazon has a surprising selection of French titles. I’ve managed to find a few workbooks and other titles there that I’ve heard about in conversation with other people. It’s not great for browsing French curriculum because they don’t have a specific category for that, but their search function works well.
Chapters also has some (limited) French curriculum, but again if you know what you’re looking for, you may just find it there.
Renaud-Bray is another one that carries a lot of books and curriculum as well. I’ve never actually bought anything there, but I’ve heard good things about it and I’ve found myself browsing their site often in the last few months.
Those are my top picks – what would you add to my list?
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