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Homeschool Co-op for Foreign Language

If you are thinking about putting grades and credits on your transcript, you may wonder how to include co-op experiences, especially if the coop wasn't a perfect fit for your family.  I received a question from a mom who wanted to know what to do with a misfit foreign language class.
Hi Lee,
I just want reassurance that it doesn't matter how much is accomplished as long as you put in the hours, right?  My son took a Spanish class this year and despite waaay too many hours working at it, he is basically walking away with very little.  I had the opposite problem with my daughter.  She took French and was not challenged.  She learned 14 words a week.  Oh, brother!  She could have done so much more.  I did learn, however, that academics in a co-op are not for me.  I'm definitely a homeschooler.  We'll use it for drama and art in the future.
Thanks!
~Melanie

Dear Melanie,

{{{hugs!}}} I wish that wasn't how coops work!  When kids are working on their level, they should be awarded some success!

Yes, Spanish at his level, working an hour a day for a whole year, should really be a whole credit.  Now, at your coop, if they give you an accredited transcript, then his accredited grade will remain on his transcript.  I don't know how your coop is run, though.  If it's just a homeschool coop, with no accreditation, then I would absolutely count his high school credit based on the hours worked, and NOT based on certain test scores.  With your daughter the linguist, encouraging her to work at her own speed can allow her to move very, very rapidly!

I think you'll have much more success and feel like your children are learning more if they are able to go at their level.

When I see successful foreign language programs in coops, it's often a class that is just a time to get together and "play" with other kids while talking in that language.  The seat work is better done at home, in other words.  If they miss coop, then only use that for the play aspect of the foreign language, not the book aspect.  That way they can learn at their own pace.

I was just consulting with a Gold Care Member, a certified teacher.  She said, "When I was a teacher in high school, a credit means they sat in class for a year."  Sat in a class! Our goal for our children is NOT the amount of time sitting in a class - our goal is learning!  So if they are sitting in class for a year, YES give them the credit.  But make sure they while they are sitting there, they are learning at their level all the time.  Because you want them to learn, and not get frustrated because they are either so far behind, or bored because they are so far ahead.

Watch this clip on "I love Lucy" Then have a nice cup of coffee, and move on without beating yourself up about anything.  Your children did a year of foreign language.  Cool!  Lots of families don't get to that every year.  So you are successful too!

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Comments 2

Guest - Lee (website) on Thursday, 23 July 2009 19:38

Dear Mary,
Great story, and great advice! Thanks for sharing!
Blessings,
Lee

Dear Mary, Great story, and great advice! Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Lee
Guest - Mary on Thursday, 23 July 2009 08:09

Just a little insight on learning a foreign language. My daughter has taught herself to speak German on her own pace,and last year she had acomplished what she learned on her own well. Yes, she did run into some bumps in the road as far as enounciating the words correctly and gender confusion. We had a friend at church "Kitty" she would ask my daugther how she is doing in German an other questions, she commented that my daughter Kirstie was doing great as far as pronouncing the words. My daughter taught herself with the only program that I could afford....which is "German 10 minutes a day", and we just bought the Cd's and German Verb Tense book by McGraw Hill, to help learn the verb tense to use in writing and in speaking, also to build sentences and communicate with confidence. I hope that this year will be even better with added supplements to help her in the language, she finds interesting. Although my daughter is a struggling student I let her give me feedback on how she see fit to learn this language, and that was to let her learn it on her own. I do have too mention that I found a web site that was free, "teaching how to speak German", we found out that there are many different ways people speak the german language;slang being one of them. There fore my suggestion is too let your teenager tell you how they think that they could benefit from learning the foreign language.

Mary Dubinsky

Just a little insight on learning a foreign language. My daughter has taught herself to speak German on her own pace,and last year she had acomplished what she learned on her own well. Yes, she did run into some bumps in the road as far as enounciating the words correctly and gender confusion. We had a friend at church "Kitty" she would ask my daugther how she is doing in German an other questions, she commented that my daughter Kirstie was doing great as far as pronouncing the words. My daughter taught herself with the only program that I could afford....which is "German 10 minutes a day", and we just bought the Cd's and German Verb Tense book by McGraw Hill, to help learn the verb tense to use in writing and in speaking, also to build sentences and communicate with confidence. I hope that this year will be even better with added supplements to help her in the language, she finds interesting. Although my daughter is a struggling student I let her give me feedback on how she see fit to learn this language, and that was to let her learn it on her own. I do have too mention that I found a web site that was free, "teaching how to speak German", we found out that there are many different ways people speak the german language;slang being one of them. There fore my suggestion is too let your teenager tell you how they think that they could benefit from learning the foreign language. Mary Dubinsky
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