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Foreign Language Credit for Bilingual Students

Foreign Language Credit for Bilingual Students
 In public schools, they give high school credit for being bilingual and you can do it, too. Embrace the unique and diverse strengths of your student. You can give credit for what they already know, and The Total Transcript Solution will he...
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Computer Coding as a Foreign Language

Computer Coding as a Foreign Language
Some states are thinking about allowing high school students to fulfill foreign language-learning requirements with a computer language instead of spoken languages. In other words, they can take Java, Python, and C++ instead of French, Spanish and Ge...
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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: ​Listening ​ Speaking ​ Reading ​ Writing ​ Culture ​ How do you get those things? T...
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Recent Comments
Lee Binz
Thanks Lin! I'm so thankful for your positive review! Blessings, Lee
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 02:23
Lee Binz
Excellent tips, Jill! I love the idea of TV only in a foreign language unless it's a designated English time! Blessings, Lee... Read More
Friday, 21 July 2017 14:53
Anita Irons
My oldest wanted to study Latin in high school. I cannot help her much with that, so researched curriculum and settled on Memoria ... Read More
Saturday, 22 July 2017 19:54
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Why Foreign Language? 3 Important Purposes

Why Foreign Language? 3 Important Purposes
How important is a foreign language? I don’t know about you, but I’m not one of those people who naturally picks up foreign languages. I did learn some Latin along with my kids, but I had to study hard to stay ahead of them, and eventually I realized that they were passing me up no matter how hard I tried! I don’t feel too bad, though, because there are many adults who don’t know a foreign language. 

What about high school kids who want to go to college; don’t they need a foreign language to get in? Well, it turns out that a lot of students are admitted to college without knowing a foreign language. In fact, some colleges don’t have any language requirements at all, although others insist on foreign language study before they grant a degree.

Why Foreign Language? 3 Important Purposes

Why foreign language if you can get away without it? I think that foreign language study can serve at least three important purposes.

1. It’s a wonderful way to learn about English grammar. If you study a foreign language in your homeschool, it will increase your child’s knowledge of the English language. It will also help your child understand the differences between languages. For example, some languages use articles (the, a, an) and others don’t.

2. Learning a foreign language is great for critical thinking skills. There are some colleges that use foreign language competency to see how well your child studies and learns. They figure that if your child has the study skills necessary to learn a foreign language, they’ll probably do well in college. In other words, they just like to see kids work hard.

3. Not all countries speak English. In fact, one of the biggest complaints you hear about Americans is that they think everyone DOES speak English. One of the reasons for this “rude American” stereotype is the people who insist on speaking only English when they go to a non-English speaking country. If you want to interact with people in another country, whether as a guest or a missionary, speaking the language is considered the polite thing to do. Even if you just attempt to speak their language, it can make all the difference.

There are a lot of foreign languages to choose from! American Sign Language is even accepted at some universities, and it’s a great language for kinesthetic learners. Latin is accepted almost everywhere, and can be a great fit for a logical, mathematical, or non-linguistic child. There are many ways to fit this subject into your homeschool coursework and make it a part of your child’s high school experience. Try to make it fun!

Please note: This post was originally published in February 2013 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehension.

If you need any extra help, you will really appreciate my Gold Care Club, full of templates and tools to help you homeschool high school.
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Capture Foreign Language Proficiency

Capture Foreign Language Proficiency
Those crazy homeschoolers, learning things like Spanish before high school!
Hey, it can happen, and it's not a bad thing at all!

If you find that your child has completed some foreign language before high school, it might be helpful to take a subject test.  Let me use Spanish, for an example. If your child has already learned Spanish, what can you do next?



There are two other kinds of subject tests that are more challenging. These are actually college level exams.

  1. The AP exam is sort of an honors level essay test. The AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam

  2. Or you could consider the Computer-based CLEP Exam for Spanish CLEP Spanish Language Test 

You can read more about foreign language here: Teaching Tips for Foreign Language

If you would like to talk about foreign language, or anything about homeschooling high school, consider joining the Gold Care Club. That way you will get a 20 minute consultation every week, by phone or by email, plus a monthly webinar where you can ask me questions as well. The Gold Care Club is $67 per month.  You can read about the Gold Care Club here:

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Homeschool Foreign Language Success

Homeschool Foreign Language Success
Homeschool Teaching Tips for Foreign Language 

It's important to start your foreign language study early in high school, because some states require 2-4 years for high school graduation, and some colleges require it for college admission.  When I was homeschooling, I felt stumped on how to teach it, though!  So I collected a bunch of fun ideas in this article that I think will really help you. What will you learn in this article? 25 Great Tips!

6 Reasons to Learn a Language
4 Keys to Choosing a Language
5  Important Skills to Teach Kids
10 Ways to Learn While Having Fun

Hard work and consistency are not popular in our culture. We often want things to be instant, easy, and fun! But there are some things in life that take hard work to achieve success. Learning a foreign language is a great example.  It takes time and effort. Unfortunately you can't just plop your kids in front of a TV and have them watch videos until-voila!-they speak French!  However, I know it's possible to teach a foreign language at home, even for homeschool parents who don't know a foreign language, because I did it myself!

When my kids were in high school, they learned both French and Latin, and it wasn't because I was so smart.  I never actually mastered either of those languages; they did. All I did was supervise, and make sure they did the work. Along the way, we figured out ways to make it fun and accessible. I'm pretty sure that if our family was successful, yours can be too!

My Child's Not a Genius!

Some people think that only smart children or gifted parents can learn a foreign language. But just because something takes hard work doesn't mean it's impossible for ordinary people.  Foreign language is like math, you just have to work at it a bit.  In fact, in some countries they don't think foreign languages are hard at all. Can you believe it? Most European countries teach several different languages during school.  In Germany, for example, children learn one language in elementary school, one in middle school, and then another in high school.  When you add that to their native language, that equals four different languages by the time they graduate from high school!  Of course, they get to cheat a little, because they can travel just a few hours to other countries to practice their language. We don't have that same luxury in the United States! But it clearly demonstrates that learning a foreign language is possible for just about anyone, even young children, and even average minds.

Big Secret to Success

A while ago I was at a homeschool convention, and decided to do a little research into different foreign language programs.  During a lull in the busyness, I spoke to a foreign language curriculum consultant who confessed a startling truth. She said that it didn't really matter which foreign language program you chose, so long as you practiced for a minimum of fifteen minutes a day.  Without that daily practice, she said, a student will not retain what they learn.  With daily practice, even a moderately successful program can work. Practicing once a week for an hour is not nearly as successful as fifteen minutes every day.  Every. Single. Day.

While I agree that curriculum isn't as important as the regular practice, I do believe that you'll find the most success with a curriculum that doesn't assume you already know the subject.   Think about it this way. Most programs are written for schools, and assume the teacher knows the language.  So unless you know the foreign language already, use a homeschool curriculum that assumes you know nothing.  It will teach what you need within the program. Of course, if you do know the language your child is learning, that's an added bonus.

Let me share what I've learned to help you with high school foreign language.  I've collected great tips, fabulous resources, and fun ideas to help!

Read the complete article online to get 25 teaching tips!

Read  Teaching Tips for Foreign Language

Learn how to homeschool with complete confidence using my DVD, Preparing to Homeschool High School.  
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Mandarin Language and Chinese Culture Studies

Mandarin Language and Chinese Culture Studies
The nice thing about homeschooling is that you can create almost any electives for your child under the sun!  You aren't limited to electives that a teacher is interested in, and you aren't limited to electives that you feel comfortable teaching.

The bad part about homeschooling, is that when you recognize you can teach any elective under the sun, you have to somehow find the materials for your child to use!  Donna was talking to me about her child's interests.

Do you have any recommendations for a Mandarin Language course? My daughter would also like to study the Chinese culture. Do you have any courses you could recommend? Amazon has so many to choose from. Any guidelines to look for? ~ Donna

Mandarin Chinese?  Sounds like so much fun!  That's a very in-demand language, by the way, particularly by military and missionary organizations.

For Mandarin, there aren't that many foreign language programs to choose from.  So I'd suggest looking at Rosetta Stone, Tell Me More, and PowerGlide foreign language courses, because I think they have that option.  It's OK to blend a variety of options, and count hours spent on the task.  A minimum of 15 minutes per day will provide enough momentum to learn the language.  About 45 minutes per day would be a good amount for a high school credit.  That 45 minutes per day (or 4-5 hours per week) would be a blend of culture and language activities.

For a culture section of your course, I have always thought this looks good: From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History.

These are all "Great Courses" college level courses, taught from varying worldviews, but I do think they are usually good college preparation, with discussion at home.  Teachers usually use a great vocabulary when they speak, and it's a good opportunity for live note-taking skills.

I talk about Great Courses and how to use them here: The Great Courses for High School Credit.
This describes the note-taking class: Great High School Writing Course!
For more ideas on foreign language, this article may help: How to Have Fun with Foreign Language

Remember that a Mandarin class might include the culture (DVD or visiting museums and cultural centers) plus the language (reading, writing, speaking, listening.... )  Because there is so much, and so many pieces of a foreign language course, remember you can't do it all.  Just do your best, be consistent, and strive for 15-60 minutes every single day, one way or another.

Whether you have questions about delight directed learning, honors courses, CLEP, or the ACT, I am here to help.  My Parent Training A la Carte courses will help you become fully prepared for your next step in homeschooling.

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Community College Language on the High School Transcript

Community College Language on the High School Transcript


Making a transcript isn't so hard....  Well....  Until it gets complicated, LOL!  Renee asked a question about how to put foreign language on the high school transcript when classes were taken at a community colleges.


I am watching your DVD's for high school.  Question about college classes.

My son took Elementary German 1 @ a college first semester

Now, 2nd semester, he is taking Elementary German 2

So - in high school credits - would those classes each receive a credit, or would it be 1 credit
adding these two together, because it took 1 year to complete both.  In other words:

Elem  German 1 - 1 credit

Elem  German 2 - 1 credit


Elem German 1 & 2 - 1 credit

Thanks for your help.


This is what I would suggest for Renee:

Elem  German 1 - 1 credit

Elem  German 2 - 1 credit

Use the exact grade the college gave him.  A 3.7 is still a 3.7.  Each whole college class is a whole high school. credit.

I would use the college class titles, and indicate the community college where he took the class.  So for example:
*HCC Ger 101: Elem  German 1 - 1 credit *HCC Ger 102: Elem  German 2 - 1 credit

At the bottom of the transcript, define the acronym for your college:
*HCC is Highline Community College

In community college, it's possible to get three high school credits of a foreign language during senior year if they take three quarters of foreign language in a community college.  That's one way to catch up on necessary classes when something big is missing.

I hope that helps!  If you are working on your transcript, you can get more information on the Total Transcript Solution.  Then if you still have questions, you'll be able to call me directly and we can discuss it!

Homeschool records that open doors! Learn how to create records of your homeschool that will attract the attention of your dream college.


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Ideas for Making Foreign Language Fun

Ideas for Making Foreign Language Fun

Learning a new language is work.  You can't just plop kids in front of a video screen and let them enjoy the ambiance of French.  They really need to work at it.  Success with foreign language requires being consistent every day.  The problem with foreign language is the same problem I have with Weight Watchers.  It only works when you actually DO the program!  So sad... but so true.

Just because it's work doesn't mean it can't be fun, though! Whatever you end up using for a foreign language curriculum, supplement with some fun activities.

Movies.  Did you know that almost all DVDs have alternate languages?  Most movies will have language options like French, Spanish, German, etc.  When you watch a children’s movie, the vocabulary will be simple, allowing children to enjoy language exposure while watching movies on TV. About once a week we would watch movies in a foreign language; Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, for example. Since these were movies my children almost had memorized, we could watch it in French, or turn on French subtitles, and really have fun. You don’t have to understand everything they say on the movie, just understand what’s happening and listen to the spoken words. My kids loved that! If you use Disney and Pixar films, you don’t even notice that the lips don’t match – and it’s a fun way to laugh and joke while getting your 15 minutes for the day.

Video games.   Set video games to another language. When John Nordlinger, senior research manager for Microsoft Research’s gaming efforts, wanted a refresher on his French, he started playing “Everquest” — the multiplayer online role-playing game — in that language.

Volunteer. Many social services have a high percentage of foreign speaking people.  You can locate a food bank, clothing bank, or other resource that serves people. Spanish is nice because there are always people and things to help with pronunciation.

Facebook. If your teen loves Facebook and is able to write a short sentence, have them try Facebook in another language.  What a wonderful opportunity to try working their foreign language skills in a fun way!  It sounds like it would be a great fit for a highly social child! To set Facebook in French, go to Settings, Account Settings, and then Languages.  Watch out they don’t set it for “Pirate” or “Pig Latin” however.  Those are languages that colleges don’t seem to value as much <smile!>

iPad.  You can watch foreign language channels on your iPad or iPod and practice your foreign language skills! Find the iPod app called “TVU.”  You can’t get your local channels, but you can get channels from across the country and the globe!  The app is much cheaper than cable, and you can get channels that broadcast in the language you want your children to learn. There are dozens of foreign language channels, including some in French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, and some lesser-known African and East Asian languages.

Livemocha.  Livemocha allows people around the world to help each other with language learning, and provides our community with opportunities to learn and practice new languages together.  It’s quite a time commitment, but many of my clients really enjoy it.

Travel. Traveling in other countries can help children learn different languages while experiencing the art and culture of other countries.  If these were done during high school, then you can give high school credit for the whole experience.  It was never in my budget, but what a wonderful opportunity for a supplement.

These can make foreign language studies more fun AND more successful!   I would love to hear YOUR ideas on making foreign language more fun!

When you are applying for colleges, you will need a great homeschool transcript.  The good news is you can “do-it-yourself” and save thousands.  Discover the Total Transcript Solution.

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Latin Road- A Good Curriculum Choice

Latin Road- A Good Curriculum Choice
I used Latin Road for 3 years. My boys were RATHER successful with it, not to mention my son still remembers all of his Latin even after three years without cracking a book! He was required to take a college placement test at the college he’s attending, so they could find out which course would be applicable for him. He passed all 3 levels of Latin, and began the university in Junior level! Yippee! He liked Latin Road so much that he has continued his Latin studies in college.

Latin Road applies quite a lot of memorization, rote learning, flash cards, and practice, practice, practice. It needed just as much time as a math program, not to mention we were required to undertake some Latin translating every single day, just as you complete math problems every single day. It seemed to be highly mom demanding, as you say. I used to dedicate approximately two hours on weekends getting my own lessons finished, ın order that I could understand the best way to teach it the next week.  Her lessons are clearly arranged, as well as I in no way had any sort of difficulties knowing what to undertake on a daily basis. It ended up being QUITE obvious, as well as each lesson was around the equal amount of time of time to accomplish, and each lesson was very clearly marked.

Again, almost like a math book, I think! It was developed for homeschoolers, so that’s part of why it was so straightforward to use. Each day we would do some flash cards, recite some memorized lesson or maybe read aloud, and also do some copy work or translating. It was a LARGE AMOUNT of work, and challenging, however my boys truly seemed to like it, and it certainly paid off in the end.

Hope that helps!

Read to what others are saying about The HomeScholar Gold Care Club!

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Early High School Credits or Extra Middle School Fun?

Early High School Credits or Extra Middle School Fun?

Should we count extensive European travel during middle school as early high school credit?

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Bilingual Homeschool

Bilingual Homeschool
If your children are bilingual, some colleges will accept that as a foreign language and some will not.  I think it's a good idea to provide some sort of outside documentation.  I like suggesting a CLEP exam, because they provide an official transcript.  However, CLEP only offers a handful of languages, so I'm not sure it will help you.  You can also try an AP exam, but they need to be fluent in writing as well as speaking.

Being bilingual is something unusual and different that you can emphasize in your transcript.  If they currently are speaking a second language, then you could give them "Conversational French" or "French Fluency" for each year they are high school age.  To  emphasize that uniqueness even more, you could encourage them to write an essay about WHY they are bilingual.  Have them write it this year, and then when they are applying to colleges you'll have something to work with already!   It would be an EXCELLENT true short story about themselves.

If possible, consider taking a second foreign language in high school.  Not because all colleges demand it, but because it will only  strengthen their portfolio.  My children did Latin in middle school/9th grade, then took French after that.  Although one child merely tolerated foreign languages, the other one LOVED it, and went on to study French and Latin for fun in college.

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Gifted Education and a Free Foreign Language Resource

Gifted Education and a Free Foreign Language Resource
I received a sweet note from a client, and she gave a wonderful review of a free homeschool resource for foreign language.  I thought it might encourage others, so I'm passing it along.

Hi Lee,

Thank you so much for focusing on high school, homeschool students! Your web site has been very valuable to me.  I am homeschooling a son who is profoundly gifted.  We are "refugees homeschoolers" - We always believed our son would be schooled in public education.  However, we had to flee the public school system when his needs weren't being met. I just wanted you to know first hand your site is helping my son and many people in our homeschool group - Denver CO Common Ground Homeschoolers.I can give you a 100% thumbs up for the LiveMocha program.  This is a free program to learn foreign language.  Koa loves, loves, loves this program. The site is designed for adults but people of any age can utilize it.  The system is ingenious.  Koa is learning Spanish so he does Spanish curriculum which includes practicing his Spanish writing and speaking skills.  Native Spanish speakers grade his work and give feedback.  In turn, Koa reviews and grades people's work who are trying to learn English.  Students receive LiveMocha points (arbitrary points of progress) for the language lessons and they receive teacher points for helping others.  Isn't that a great concept?  And all of this is free IF you help enough people - just a reasonable amount of teacher points nothing crazy. You could talk with Koa directly if you'd like more information but he loves it!!

Best and Blessings with your work.
Thanks again,
Marilyn in Denver, CO
My son's nonprofit is

For those of you with gifted homeschoolers, I do have an audio course available on CD called "Gifted Education at Home."   It's designed to help parents with children of ALL ages, not just high school.  I do talk about what it is like in public school, to encourage parents that the grass is NOT greener on the other side!  My children were in public school until 2nd and 4th grades, when we determined that the gifted education program was not going to help.  I share my stories about that, to eliminate the temptation of thinking that public school might be the only option for gifted or profoundly gifted children.  Here is the link to that course: Gifted Education at Home.

Do you like getting this sort of help for homeschooling high school? Gold Care Club members get extended answers to their most challenging high school issues.
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Foreign Language on Your iPad!

Foreign Language on Your iPad!
This just in!  You can watch foreign language channels on your iPad or iPod and practice your foreign language skills!

Find the iPod Touch app called "TVU."  You can't get your local channels, but you can get channels from across the country and the globe!  The app costs $4.99, so it's much cheaper than cable, and you can get channels that broadcast in the language you want your children to learn. There are dozens of foreign language channels, including some in French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, and some lesser-known African and East Asian languages.

Success with foreign language often boils down to frequency of practice. Many experts recommend a minimum of 15 minutes per day practicing foreign language skills through listening, speaking, reading, or writing.  How fun would it be to practice on Mom's iPad each day!  I wonder what it might say on your assignments sheet:  iPad French 15 minutes? TV Show in German Today? Arabic Disney Movie?  I remember how much my children giggled when I wrote "Finding Nemo in French" for their foreign language assignments!

Play TVU on the iPod Touch

Or on the iPad Tablet

You may be able to find it compatible with other mobile devices as well.
Have fun!

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Homeschool Foreign Language And Rosetta Stone

Homeschool Foreign Language And Rosetta Stone
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, I'm sure!
I have a slightly off-topic question regarding whether Rosetta Stone and/or Power Glide are accepted as Foreign Language high school credits in preparation for most state colleges. Anyone have any information on that? We started Rosetta Stone Spanish, but were derailed with rumors that it was not acceptable as credit.
Thanks ~ Barb

I have not heard that rumor about Rosetta Stone.  I do know that all colleges make up their own policy about every subject and what will transfer.

Most colleges will either accept homeschool foreign language or they will not.  The choice of Rosetta Stone or Power Glide or Tell Me More, or Bob Jones may not ultimately matter.  If a college accepts one, they usually accept all. These can also  be found from most homeschool resources, including Sonlight CurriculumRockSolid Discount Homeschool Books, and

On the other hand, if the college does not accept a homeschool credit in foreign language, there are alternatives.  Those colleges will often accept TESTS in foreign language, even though they don't value the homeschooling nature of the class.  So they may accept your high school credits if they are accompanied by a SAT Subject Test, AP exam, or CLEP Test in that foreign language.

Some colleges do not accept homeschool credits or testing for proof of a foreign language, and yet they will have a policy of "reviewing the whole student."  In those colleges, you may be able to find a way around their policies by explaining in concrete, whole-student ways.  Letters of recommendation, proof of translation skills, etc., may convince them that your child has the necessary skills.

Some colleges are real sticklers.  A non-homeschool-friendly college will have additional hurdles for homeschool students.  They may insist on studying a foreign language with a certified teacher.  In that instance, you may decide not to pursue that college.   You might also decide that the college is SO desireable that you are willing to have foreign language classes   in the public high school or community college, to meet the admission requirements.

It's better to teach foreign language 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.

Click here to read more about why teaching your homeschooling high schooler is highly overrated.
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Recent Comments
Lee Binz
Yes, it's true that there are some colleges that do not accept Rosetta Stone. It's important to check with each college. Blessing... Read More
Wednesday, 08 May 2019 22:55
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