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Homeschool Foreign Language Requirements and Curriculum

The usual requirement for high school foreign or world language is two, three, or four years of a single language. Most high schools require language acquisition for graduation, and many colleges require foreign language for admission.

Foreign language requirements vary from college to college. Check with the college website and see what their policy is. Go to a college fair and ask questions of each college, to get their opinion. You'll be surprised at the variety of answers.

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Foreign Language Requirements 

Most colleges will either accept homeschool foreign language regardless of curriculum, or they will not accept it no matter what you use. In other words, if a college accepts one curriculum, they usually accept all. Almost all colleges accept modern languages (French, Spanish, German) including languages from any continent (Arabic, Farsi). Most will accept the ancient languages as well, including Latin, Greek, and Biblical Hebrew. A few will also accept ASL (American Sign Language). Occasionally a college will accept computer coding language (Java) or fictional languages (Elvish) but that's extremely rare.

Some colleges want proof of achievement. They may not accept homeschool credit in foreign language at face value, but will accept tests. They may accept your high school credits if they are accompanied by an AP® exam, or CLEP® Test in a foreign language.

Some colleges value "holistic assessment" of applicants and can be flexible on their foreign language requirements. Those colleges may request foreign language tests, but will be flexible if you can present thorough course descriptions, letters of recommendation, or other proof of skills.

Occasionally you will find a college that is difficult. A non-homeschool-friendly college will have additional hurdles for homeschool students. They may insist on studying a foreign language curriculum with a certified teacher. In that instance, you may decide not to pursue that college, because they were unreasonable to deal with. On the other hand, you might also decide that the college remains your first choice, and so you are willing to meet their foreign language requirements. In that instance, you might have your child take foreign language classes at the local high school or community college to meet the admission requirements.

Teaching Homeschool Foreign Language 

It's better to teach homeschool foreign language curriculum than avoid it. Even if you find out that your child must take the foreign language again in the community college, it will only end up improving their community college GPA. Don't let the fear of one college or one rumor change your homeschool or the way you educate your child.

While a credit is earned from working 120-180 total hours of language study, success requires a minimum of 15 minutes every day. Whichever curriculum you choose, make sure it's one subject you work on daily in your homeschool. The key to learning foreign language is consistent daily practice. I was told by a language expert that almost any language program will work if you are conscientious about working on the language for a minimum of 15 minutes per day.

Foreign Language Curriculum

I am often asked about which homeschool foreign language curriculum to use. There are many to choose from out there! Choosing probably boils down to learning style and the ways your child learns the best.

Latin is often the easiest language for a parent to teach. Since it's not a modern language, it's mostly written, not spoken. Learning Latin tends to emphasize grammar. Latin is the basis for most modern European languages, making it easier to learn a second language.

Rosetta Stone is the most common choice available in multiple languages for home use. There are two versions of Rosetta Stone: regular and homeschool. I suggest you use the homeschool version that includes worksheets to print out and outlines to make each level a full year curriculum. Even so, it feels light on the grammar portion of language learning. It's an immersion program with an emphasis on listening and speaking. It shows you photos of nouns, verbs, and phrases and helps you build your vocabulary like someone native to the language would. Rosetta Stone also has an oral component and tests your pronunciation.

You can find a curriculum that offers just one language. Look carefully at current ratings to be sure it's a good program. Some curriculum assumes that the teaching parent has an understanding of the language, or assumes that live or recorded classroom instruction will be included. Abeka and BJU offer that option.

For more information, read How to Teach Foreign Language to Your Homeschool Teen.

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