Foreign Language in Your Homeschool
The benefits of learning a foreign language
There are so many benefits to learning a second language, and research suggests that it is easier to learn a language in childhood than in adulthood. Here are just some of the many benefits of learning another language or two:
- Learning another language brings you great understanding of cultures around the world.
- When the time comes to apply to college, most colleges ask about foreign language study.
- Being able to speak multiple languages is a huge advantage in the job market.
- Just think of the travel opportunities!
- Learning a second language can be fun!
But, what if I don’t speak a second language?
Don’t worry! If I’ve learned anything during this past year of homeschooling it is this: you don’t have to know everything, you just have to learn alongside your child. You don’t need to be fluent, just flexible and willing!
How do you know which language to choose?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your child could sample a language for a little bit? If she could get her toes wet and see if she likes it, and whether she prefers one language over another? I’m happy to share that I’ve found an easy and fun way to sample some languages. Does it surprise you to learn I’m going to share some books?? Probably not!
My children adore the First Thousand Word series from Usborne. We have Spanish, German, French, and Latin… with the rest of the set on our wish list. These books pair high-use vocabulary words with the amazing illustrations that Usborne is known for, and you can use Usborne Quicklinks to listen to native speakers pronouce each word! This is an amazing way to introduce languages to young children without spending a fortune.
Additional resources we’ve used this year
- Minimus Latin Minimus combines story-telling, illustrations, and background information to make Latin appealing to young children. This set is geared for ages 7-10 and it is a wonderful introduction to Latin. I found this text to be both fun and easy to teach as someone with no Latin backround.
- Song School Latin (text with CD) We are obsessed with this book, folks. Song School Latin combines Latin instruction with music. All parents know how well kiddos learn songs and Song School Latin taps into this skill wonderfully. I’ll never forget the morning at preschool drop-off this fall when my youngest sang,
Here comes the magistra, Salve, salve! Teach the discipuli! Students, students! Away goes the magistra, Vale, vale! Good-bye discipuli! Good-bye students!
When the teacher asked what he was singing, I giggled and told her he was singing Latin!
- Duolingo (free!)
- This summer, we are over-the-moon excited to try out Rosetta Stone!
American Sign Language (ASL)
- I have dabbled in sign over the years as an educator and a parent. This summer, our family is going to try out an ASL curriculum – stay tuned for a post!
Tell me, folks, do you speak multiple languages? Are your children bilingual? Do you teach language at home? What resources did you use when you first started? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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