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6 Creative Ways to Easily Homeschool Foreign Languages

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Try Sara’s fun, simple tips to homeschool foreign languages without a curriculum. The tips are perfect for kids of all ages, including high school students.

Written by Sara Jordan Panning of Heart and Soul Homeschooling

In high school, my oldest wanted to learn Japanese. I ordered a Japanese language learning set, but she just dabbled around with it. Now, she’s married and living in a rural area without a lot of job opportunities.

Except with this one large company. They’re always looking for applicants fluent in – can you guess? Japanese. If we had dug in and made learning Japanese a priority, she could have a cushy office job right now.  {sigh}

So, heads-up, y’all. Use Sara’s easy and creative tips for including foreign language lessons in your homeschool. ~Kris

Homeschool Foreign Languages

Teaching your kids a foreign language has benefits beyond just earning credits on their high school transcript. In a global marketplace, fluency in a second language can provide a competitive edge. Not only that, learning a second language can improve a student’s English grammar and mechanics skills and increase vocabulary.

But how can you squeeze foreign language studies into an already packed homeschool day?  Read on for six creative ways to easily homeschool foreign languages, even when your schedule is full.

1. Consider Language Immersion

Language immersion occurs when a fluent speaker uses a second language exclusively with his student, both in teaching and in regular conversation. Children learn their native language through language immersion, and the technique proves just as useful when learning a second language.

This option works best when one parent in the home speaks the second language fluently. In many bilingual families, the parents agree that one will talk to the child exclusively in English, while the other parent speaks only the second language. This practice allows the child to learn both languages simultaneously.

2. Use Language Learning Programs, Games, and Apps

You can introduce your child to another language through media such as language programs, CDs, and games. Some fantastic options include:

You can also try one of several language learning apps that you can download to your smartphone or tablet. These apps make learning a second language fun and interactive.

Duolingo is one of my favorite foreign language apps. You can download it for free on iTunes, Android, and Windows. I love it because it’s free (woohoo!), fun (bonus!), and offers a fantastic selection of languages to choose from. Duolingo currently offers:

  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
Homeschool Foreign Languages

3. Watch a Movie

The next time you have a family movie night, opt for a foreign film with English subtitles. Even if your child can’t read the subtitles, he can still follow along with the action of the movie by watching and listening.

Another simple way to introduce your child to another language is to change the audio track on their favorite movies to the language that he is learning. Since he already knows what is going on in the movie (He could probably quote it word-for-word, right?), your child can pick up on the language as he watches and listens to the dialogue in a second language.

You can do the same thing with the subtitles on most DVDs.

4. Check Out Books

Most public libraries and bookstores offer reading material in a variety of languages. Many libraries also have children’s books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with English text on one page and the foreign translation on the facing page. Ask your librarian for recommendations.

5. Hire a Tutor

You can also consider hiring a tutor to teach your child a second language. Connect with local schools and colleges, fellow homeschoolers, and community boards to see if you can find an effective and affordable tutor in your area. Check out online resources, such as Tutor.com if you can’t find any local options.

6. Travel

If possible, travel to other parts of the world, so that your child will literally be immersed in the other language (and culture) on a daily basis. I know this isn’t an option for every family, but if it is I would definitely consider taking advantage of it!

How do you teach a second language in your homeschool?

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Sara Jordan is a homeschooling mom of three creative girls. They believe in literature-rich learning with living books. Relaxed, delight-directed learning is their approach so they follow interests and explore ideas to encourage a lifelong love of learning. Their emphasis is on nurturing creativity, curiosity, character, and connection. Sara is an author/speaker/consultant who loves to inspire other homeschool moms on her blog, Heart and Soul Homeschooling, and with the resources she creates in the Heart and Soul Homeschooling shop. You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

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