The International Baccalaureate ab initio course requires you to be able to speak, write and understand material around the themes of
1. Thème: environments urbains et ruraux
2. Thème: individu et societé
3. Thème: loisirs et travail
So how about taking it one small step at a time? I’ll post some questions which you can answer very briefly as though you were Tweeting or texting/SMS’ing. One a day, every week day. You can do this privately or add your reply to the comments.
Lots of free stuff on this audio site. Listen to the two presenters discuss the latest news in slow french. Vocabulary can be accessed through mouse-over. The site includes grammar and idioms as well as a beginner course in the form of a play which mixes the two languages, mostly English at the beginning and mostly French by the end!
Knowing the 2000 most commonly used words allows you to understand 80% of ordinary written material (ie not technical or academic). Find out how many words you know at the Mes Mots website. Make sure that you know at least the most common 600 which are listed here. You can find more word lists at Wikipedia. The lists probably differ because they are compiled in different ways but there should be a great deal of overlap. Learning vocabulary in this targeted way is a good idea for rapid progress.