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5 Keys to Foreign Language Study

5 Keys to Foreign Language Study

Are you getting ready to study foreign language? Be sure you include these 5 things to increase your success!

Foreign language studies should include these 5 things:

  1. ​Listening
  2. Speaking
  3. Reading
  4. Writing
  5. Culture
How do you get those things? Through listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Beyond that, though, there are many options. You can listen to radio or TV shows, play DVDs in your language, or watch online. You can speak with special software and microphones checking pronunciation, or use books on tape to imitate as you follow along in children's books. You can read children's books, textbooks, or facebook in your language. You can write by imitating good writing though copy work, or creating short "cat in the hat" stories using repeated simple words. You can study culture by visiting countries that speak your language, or studying the culture and geography, or cooking recipes and doing crafts of various cultures.

I wish I could offer you the perfect curriculum for foreign language. I think it's the weakest area in homeschool curriculum development. Rosetta Stone is ubiquitous, but not a very good fit for many people. Many DVDs are very classroom oriented, and difficult to teach or expensive to delegate. Bookstores are filled with non-curriculum options, but they tend to be lower quality, and make it difficult to decide when you have covered an entire level of Spanish, for example. Free online programs are available, but with mixed results.

Can you share what you have experienced as a successful foreign language curriculum?
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Comments 7

Lee Binz on Saturday, 22 July 2017 21:19

Good tip Anita! We did Latin too, using Latin Road to English Grammar, and I found it extremely easy to teach with. One of my boys actually continued his Latin studies in college and did very well there after using Latin Road 1-3. Thanks for the Memoria tip!
Blessings,
Lee

Good tip Anita! We did Latin too, using Latin Road to English Grammar, and I found it extremely easy to teach with. One of my boys actually continued his Latin studies in college and did very well there after using Latin Road 1-3. Thanks for the Memoria tip! Blessings, Lee
Anita Irons on Saturday, 22 July 2017 19:54

My oldest wanted to study Latin in high school. I cannot help her much with that, so researched curriculum and settled on Memoria Press First Form Latin. She is now in her second year and doing really well. The program includes workbook, quizzes and tests, a DVD with lessons, a CD for pronunciation, a teachers guide with answer keys and flash cards.

My oldest wanted to study Latin in high school. I cannot help her much with that, so researched curriculum and settled on Memoria Press First Form Latin. She is now in her second year and doing really well. The program includes workbook, quizzes and tests, a DVD with lessons, a CD for pronunciation, a teachers guide with answer keys and flash cards.
Lee Binz on Friday, 21 July 2017 14:53

Excellent tips, Jill! I love the idea of TV only in a foreign language unless it's a designated English time!
Blessings,
Lee

Excellent tips, Jill! I love the idea of TV only in a foreign language unless it's a designated English time! Blessings, Lee
Guest - Jill on Friday, 21 July 2017 14:44

We've focused our home school on foreign language learning. The hard truth is that it's virtually impossible to get to a high level of skill, particularly oral/aural skill, without interacting with a native speaker. Fortunately, the internet has made that much easier -- although in some cases it's not cheap and the quality of the teachers can vary significantly. There are a number of websites that list online teachers (or you can do a search). We've been very happy with our son's French teacher at Verbing, a site that has teachers at varying prices for many languages. I can also recommend http://www.esaudio.net for Spanish. The owner is from Argentina and has worked well with our children. For Japanese, we've used http://www.japonin.com, Japanese Online Institute. The private lessons -- which you have to use for children under 13 -- are expensive, but the group lessons are quite reasonable. We like Rosetta Stone only for supplemental work. With all of the teachers you do have to ensure that they provide written materials. When our children were younger we placed ads at the local college and were able to get native Japanese and Spanish-speaking college students to come and play/read with the children using only the target language. The suggestion to supplement with movies and other immersion is also a good one. For many years, the rule in our house was that TV could only be in Spanish or Japanese except for designated "English" times. And, of course, eventually, you need to provide literature. It can be done. Our middle son, now 18, is good enough that in the fall he'll be reading Spanish at Oriel College (Oxford).

We've focused our home school on foreign language learning. The hard truth is that it's virtually impossible to get to a high level of skill, particularly oral/aural skill, without interacting with a native speaker. Fortunately, the internet has made that much easier -- although in some cases it's not cheap and the quality of the teachers can vary significantly. There are a number of websites that list online teachers (or you can do a search). We've been very happy with our son's French teacher at Verbing, a site that has teachers at varying prices for many languages. I can also recommend www.esaudio.net for Spanish. The owner is from Argentina and has worked well with our children. For Japanese, we've used www.japonin.com, Japanese Online Institute. The private lessons -- which you have to use for children under 13 -- are expensive, but the group lessons are quite reasonable. We like Rosetta Stone only for supplemental work. With all of the teachers you do have to ensure that they provide written materials. When our children were younger we placed ads at the local college and were able to get native Japanese and Spanish-speaking college students to come and play/read with the children using only the target language. The suggestion to supplement with movies and other immersion is also a good one. For many years, the rule in our house was that TV could only be in Spanish or Japanese except for designated "English" times. And, of course, eventually, you need to provide literature. It can be done. Our middle son, now 18, is good enough that in the fall he'll be reading Spanish at Oriel College (Oxford).
Lee Binz on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 02:23

Thanks Lin! I'm so thankful for your positive review!
Blessings,
Lee

Thanks Lin! I'm so thankful for your positive review! Blessings, Lee
Guest - Lin on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 00:11

After trying (and failing) with 3 different Spanish curriculum (including Rosetta Stone), we are finally have GREAT SUCCESS with BJUP's distance learning Spanish. You can use the curriculum either with DVD's or online. Either way, there are daily video lessons with a fantastic teacher who engages, models, explains and inspires. The curriculum clearly sets forth what is expected each day from the student AND the facilitator (ex. check and record grade for activity___ on page___.). It is very easy to use, even though I speak no Spanish. It includes all 5 things Lee mentions, from listening to culture. I cannot say enough good things about this curriculum, AND it is affordable!

After trying (and failing) with 3 different Spanish curriculum (including Rosetta Stone), we are finally have GREAT SUCCESS with BJUP's distance learning Spanish. You can use the curriculum either with DVD's or online. Either way, there are daily video lessons with a fantastic teacher who engages, models, explains and inspires. The curriculum clearly sets forth what is expected each day from the student AND the facilitator (ex. check and record grade for activity___ on page___.). It is very easy to use, even though I speak no Spanish. It includes all 5 things Lee mentions, from listening to culture. I cannot say enough good things about this curriculum, AND it is affordable!
Guest - Lori on Monday, 03 July 2017 00:27

I completely agree with you Lee! My son has studied Henle 1 Latin for the past 2 years, and what an intense curriculum it is! Unfortunately, my son despises the subject. In the state of Florida we can not receive a foreign language credit unless the course is taught by a certified instructor. So,I enrolled my son in the Florida Virtual online Latin 1 course. My son just started the course 1 week ago, but so far he really likes the format and all the visuals.

Anyone else struggling with foreign language course decisions? If your child knows what career he/she wants to go into, then look at a few colleges and what foreign language requirements they have. For some degrees there is zero requirements. Most require 2 years, and some require 3 years!

Call the alternative education office in your county and ask how to receive a 2 week virtual school trial. Another option is ... Sign Language. Ive heard from other seasoned homeschool Moms that Sign Language can count as a foreign language. That sounds fun!

Blessings, Lori

I completely agree with you Lee! My son has studied Henle 1 Latin for the past 2 years, and what an intense curriculum it is! Unfortunately, my son despises the subject. In the state of Florida we can not receive a foreign language credit unless the course is taught by a certified instructor. So,I enrolled my son in the Florida Virtual online Latin 1 course. My son just started the course 1 week ago, but so far he really likes the format and all the visuals. Anyone else struggling with foreign language course decisions? If your child knows what career he/she wants to go into, then look at a few colleges and what foreign language requirements they have. For some degrees there is zero requirements. Most require 2 years, and some require 3 years! Call the alternative education office in your county and ask how to receive a 2 week virtual school trial. Another option is ... Sign Language. Ive heard from other seasoned homeschool Moms that Sign Language can count as a foreign language. That sounds fun! Blessings, Lori
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