I’m guessing that grammar is not your child’s favourite subject. It’s not a big draw in our house either. However, it’s one of those things that really does need to be learned if the goal is true bilingualism. On the plus side, spending time on French grammar has actually saved us a bit of time on English grammar as there are some concepts that transfer (i.e. nouns, verbs, etc.). And while it’s not the most exciting thing in the world, learning French grammar does help with French conversation as well.
One helpful option for learning French grammar is the Mon Babillard series. These books start at the grade 3 level with Mon Babillard Ateliers de Grammaire 2e cycle du primaire cahier A. Note that the numbering of the books is a bit confusing if you live outside of Quebec: 4th grade is 2e cycle cahier B, 5th grade is 3e cycle cahier A, and 6th grade is 3e cycle cahier B. Each book has 40 lessons that each cover one grammar subject.
How we use this resource in our homeschool
We use this as a review. I have my kids alternate between Grammaire de Base and Mon Babillard in this order:
- Grammaire de Base 3e
- Grammaire de Base 4e
- Mon babillard – Ateliers de grammaire 2e cycle cahier B
- Grammaire de Base 5e
- Mon babillard – Ateliers de grammaire 3e cycle cahier A
- Grammaire de Base 6e
- Mon babillard – Ateliers de grammaire 3e cycle cahier B
I like Grammaire de Base overall and it seems like a complete program on its own, but just to be sure, I wanted my kids to revisit the concepts once more in a slightly different format.
My kids (ages 11 and 9) do French grammar about 4x per week. When they are working in a Mon Babillard book, they do one lesson each time, so it takes about 10 weeks to get through the whole book. Occasionally, there is a new topic presented that they didn’t see in Grammaire de Base. When that happens, they sometimes need a bit more time to absorb the idea, so we slow down and practice until they get it.
What I like about Mon Babillard
Mon Babillard has good coverage of the topics in a logical order. The books are colour, which makes them as interesting as grammar books can really be. My oldest can work through the lessons mostly independently and she pulls me in when she has questions. These books are reasonably priced at $14.95 each at Librarie du Centre.
Drawbacks of Mon Babillard
If you want to use it as a stand-alone curriculum, it may be a bit light. Not in the concepts, but in the amount of practice offered. Each lesson moves fast – it introduces the concept, gives a page or two of practice questions, and then boom on to the next subject. For review, this works really well, but if it’s the first time seeing a topic, it may be a bit too quick.
The other drawback is my usual complaint of the price of the corrigé (solutions). On the publisher’s website, the list price is $49.95 per level. This isn’t as bad as some of the others I’ve seen, but it’s still a little steep. In the process of writing this post, I managed to find the solutions for $39.95 per book. So, because it’s November and I’m tired and the thought of being able to mindlessly mark something instead of having to figure it out each time is very appealing, I ordered the solutions for the grade 5 level, which my oldest is starting very soon, and the grade 6 level, which will be used later.
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