Donde esta? Esta los Estados Unidos.
That’s pretty much it – what’s left in my memory of high school Spanish. Well, that, the numbers from one to thirty or so, and enough random phrases to probably just get me into trouble.
So, how do you teach a foreign language when you don’t speak it yourself? You know, if for no other reason than the fact that most colleges and universities are going to expect your student to have 2 years of the same foreign language on his transcript. (But, really, there are many benefits to learning a foreign language.)
Have no fear. There are some painless options.
A foreign language can be one of those fantastic subjects to learn together because languages are easier to learn when you have someone to practice with. If your whole family is learning, you’ve got built-in study partners.
When Brianna took a Spanish class locally, her instructor used a fantastic resource, the Living Language series. (I bought the Japanese set when Brianna wanted to learn Japanese, too, but she wasn’t as motivated without a group of kids to learn with her.)
There are many foreign language programs for homeschooling families and non-homeschooling families alike. Some of the most popular include:
- Rosetta Stone
- The Learnables (We tried this one and really did not like it, but lots of people do.)
- Power Glide
- La Clase Divertida
When the kids were younger, we used Latina Christiana to try our hand at Latin for awhile. We didn’t get very far, but you might be interested in knowing that having a 7-year-old say the blessing in Latin impresses the socks off of grandparents – so much so that even though they were initially opposed to homeschooling, they want to show said child off to other relatives. Just sayin’.
If you’ve got more than one high school student or if your family is committed to learning together, hiring a private tutor may be feasible. This could also be a good time to pool the resources of a few homeschool families and create your own personal class for your tutor to instruct.
Check within your local homeschool community, the bulletin board at your library, or at area colleges to locate a tutor.
Take an online course
Unfortunately, the teacher of the local Spanish class was ultimately not a good fit for us. She had apparently never worked with any dyslexic kids and expected straight A students. From the way she talked, I really thought Brianna was failing the class. Then, we got her final report card and she had a B! (For the record, I was quite pleased with the B.)
So, for Brianna’s second year of Spanish, we used the CurrClick Live classes and were very impressed. The instructor, Sre. Schere, was so gracious and kind. Brianna wasn’t always crazy about the class (just because it was 2.5 hours of school on Friday), but she really loved Sre. Schere.
One of the really cool things about being a foreign language student today is that the Internet and Skype provide an option to learn a language from native speakers. There are a couple of options for this – one that I am totally blanking on the name and will update if I ever remember and iTalki. I haven’t used either of them, but they’re worth looking into.
Skype also opens the doors to more options with tutors. There was a lady in our homeschool group who taught Japanese. When she moved to Florida, she was still able to continue classes with students here via Skype.
Check with area co-ops. Because so many kids need it, it’s not uncommon to find foreign language classes offered.
YouTube and videos
I wish I’d realized that many colleges will now accept American Sign Language as a foreign language. (Not all will, so be sure to check.) That was something Brianna really wanted to learn – enough that she’s learned a great deal on her own via YouTube. She’s learned enough that she can serve the deaf customers who come into the movie theater where she works, which I think is really cool.
I went to school for a semester or two to be a sign language interpreter before the temptation of a full-time income led me into the workforce sooner than I really should have gone. So, I have always had an interest in learning sign language, too. That’s why I’m seriously considering our family learning together using the Learn and Master Sign Language course.
To find courses on YouTube, just search the name of the language you wish to learn and the word “lessons.” Check your local library or online for DVD lessons.
Also, many libraries offer online lessons, so check that option, as well.
As you can see, there are lots of options for teaching foreign language in your homeschool – even if the best you can do now is count to 10 in one of the many languages out there. For the inquiring minds, my plan for Josh and Megan is either to do a CurrClick Live class or use the Learn and Master course (or something similar) to learn American Sign Language. Of course, that live La Clase Divertida class looks pretty fun, too!
Have you taught a foreign language in your homeschool? What did you use?
This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.