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Is it “all Greek” to you?

Is it “all Greek” to you?

Lakhwinder Singh

Learning a foreign language, or at least studying one for 2-3 years, has been a staple requirement for admission to most colleges, well, almost forever! But even beyond that, there are good reasons to teach language in your homeschool, and it really isn’t as hard to do as you might think. Are you unsure about how to get started teaching foreign languages in your homeschool?  Or maybe even what language to teach?

 

Why teach a foreign language?

Language studies are so much more than sitting down with a textbook and memorizing verb conjugations. Creative language studies can help us become open to other cultures and other ways of thinking or doing things.  They can include history and literature studies…trying new foods…styles…geography…sports…whatever and wherever your students’ interests lie may often direct and influence the direction you take!  But don’t downplay the discipline that’s involved in learning a foreign language.  The concentration and focus required to learn those conjugations can be applied to other areas of their lives and studies, as well.

How do I go about teaching a foreign language in our homeschool?

Well, there are certainly pros and cons to language teaching at home – one of the greatest challenges is that most of us don’t even speak another language (I’m speaking to Americans, here; many Europeans speak at least 1 other language besides their ‘mother tongue’).  So, we ask, how can we teach them?  Thankfully, there are many curricula available for language learning at home.

Here are some considerations before you open your checkbook or sign into PayPal…

1) Is your child college-bound?  If you already have an inkling of where your student is headed for college, check with their admissions office and see how many years of study are required in high-school.  If your child is NOT college-bound, you still might want to consider language study, but it might be utilizing a less-formal method.

2) Has your child already shown an interest or ability in a foreign language?  Students who are interested get engaged quickly!  Work with them to find the way they best learn and don’t waste a second to get started…  If they have not shown any interest, you might want to consider teaching Latin.  Latin is not spoken anymore, so there is no ‘stress’ to learning correct pronunciation.  And, there are many advantages to learning Latin. Among them:

  • Latin provides an excellent grounding for education
  • Latin helps with English grammar
  • Latin helps maximize your student’s SAT scores
  • Latin develops a more-generalized accuracy
  • Latin is the language of the sciences and medicine
  • As Western Literature is “saturated” with Latin, understanding Latin leads to a greater understanding of Literature

source: http://bit.ly/WaX28X and http://bit.ly/WaW9gH

3) Finding your curriculum. Talk to other homeschoolers or those you know from your support group to see what they have used and might recommend, and why.  Google some of the names you hear about, see if they offer sample lessons or have product reviews available, just be aware that all the reviews you read on their sites will be positive.  Get to a curriculum fair and talk to the representatives there about their products.

4) Give it some time. Language learning may be difficult, and you might need to “tweak” your approach or even try a different curriculum.  But don’t rush into it – give it a few months before you decide to throw out the baby with the bathwater.  Learning a foreign language takes time, and it can take a lifetime to become fluent.  Sometimes the best you can ask for is that your child completes the requirements to get into college.  But with a good attitude (yours AND theirs), learning a foreign language can add a richness and depth to both your child’s studies and his life…

 

Pat Fenner has been homeschooling her brood of 5 for almost 20 years. With a passion for encouraging moms in their parenting and homeschooling efforts, she shares experience-inspired wisdom with her friend Candy over at PatAndCandy.com. Sign up at their site for free printables and other “members only” materials to help you be the best you can be for your family!  Stay connected with them over at FacebookTwitter and Pinterest, too!

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