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  1. #1
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    Default Picking a Foreign Language program

    I think learning a second language can be a very good skill, and I also think that most public schools start kids too late, honestly. I took German for 2 years when I was in high school, and I remember some of it, but I wish I could remember more.

    So I want to start my daughter on learning a second language now, while she's somewhat younger, she's 11. I'm just not sure how to find a quality foreign language program. Does anyone have any recommendations? I'm not necessarily looking for an online class, but more of a text book or computer program that would allow her and I to learn together at our own pace.

  2. T4L In Forum Oct19
  3. #2

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    Actually online classes aren't a bad way to do it. It would require homework and (your) keeping on top of her assignments but in many ways it can be efficient and good for the student (online classes can be pretty fun). What language are you thinking? My kid did just Rosetta Stone for 2 years plus talking with a local native speaker (Irish), but lots more learning happened with her online class in Latin, which has accountability and team quizzes etc based in the program. It really depends on the language you're considering, but there are a lot of online setups geared toward elementary students. Of course if you want to do it too...there should be no problem learning alongside her if it's book/computer based or if she takes an online class and you're listening in too.
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

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    We talked more about it today, and we settled on French.

  5. #4

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    Just plain-Jane computer based classes, look into Duolingo (free) or Rosetta Stone or PowerSpeak. If you are part of a parent partnership, you might be able to get Rosetta Stone and/or PowerSpeak through your program. I believe there are levels based on ages in all three.

    Live, Online classes:
    Caveat emptor on any homeschool-geared website for foreign languages, especially MODERN spoken (not Latin for example) languages: it's possible they are NOT SECULAR and would have your kid listen to, for example, teh Christian radio station in Germany as an assigned portion of the student's German coursework.
    I assume you're on a secular site so you don't want Jesus in your French lessons.
    Middlebury Interactive (has elementary, middle school and high school French)

    Deborah Bell (not sure if they're Christian or not so beware) this link is to an introductory class for 7th graders on up


    I am sure there are more. Plus, not knowing where you live, there might be French outreach communities like Allianz Francais that offer in-person classes etc.
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

  6. #5

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    Can I piggyback on this thread to ask if anyone has any resources for live, online classes for Japanese instruction? We have had tremendous success with the Lukeion Project for Latin instruction, and now my daughter wants to study Japanese and I am not having any success finding programs of equal quality.

    To the OP, the most important part about being successful with language acquisition is consistency. The reason that most students never reach fluency is primarily because they are not consistent enough with the language to fully absorb it. I think the vast majority of homeschoolers have started and stopped study with programs like Duolingo because they don't make it routine. This is the reason that more success seems to be had with online classes (live with an instructor) because the accountability keeps the student tethered. That said, if you are very disciplined with your routine, you may have success with go-at-your-own-pace programs.

    Once you get learning off the ground, some additional techniques to buoy your success can include:

    - Get movies (that your child already knows and is extremely familiar with) in the new language. Her knowledge of the material will allow her to absorb some new vocabulary without frustrating her by obscuring the plot. Additionally, hearing the language spoken fluently will promote better pronunciation and better appreciation for the pacing and rhythm of the language.

    - Get her together with other students who are learning the same language. Organize word games, scavenger hunts, and lots of sillyness that allow them to be in motion while using the vocabulary. Science shows a link between kinesthetic action and memory formation.

    - Piggybacking on that, if you do flashcards or vocab quizzes, have her practice her words while skipping rope or jumping on the trampoline or being pushed on a tire swim or balancing on a log. The retention improvements are notable.

    - Buy some children's picture books in the language of choice. The simple sentence structure and ability to glean context from pictures is ideal. Some libraries host therapy dog reading sessions where students can read to a nonjudgmental listener because dogs do not correct pronunciation. This would be a great application for those programs.

    - If she is a devout fan to any book, but it in the new language. Her familiarity with the book in English will make decoding it in the new language easier and less frustrating. It will also serve as a motivator to practice her French!

    - There is likely a language enthusiast hobby group for French. Attend meetings. Let her be around other people speaking the language. Bring a board game to play in the new language. Anything that she already has the foundation for (like the rules of a game she already knows) will help her integrate new vocabulary because she will have predictive skills for what her opponent is likely to say.

    Most of all, be consistent. Stick with it in a predictable manner, and don't give up. Learning a language isn't hard - it's just time intensive. If it isn't going well, it needs more devotion. Good luck to you both!
    Last edited by ScavengerSteve; 04-13-2018 at 02:46 PM.

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Picking a Foreign Language program