We all know that foreign language learning is an important part of a well-rounded education. There are many benefits to taking a foreign language. Not only does learning a foreign language provide a student with knowledge of another culture and a basic understanding of linguistics, but research has shown that it increases critical thinking skills.
How Students Learn Foreign Languages
You’ll find there are different methods of teaching foreign languages to students. Below is a list of some common methods, although it is certainly not comprehensive. Some of the common methods include:
- The Grammar Translation Method: as the name suggests, this approach focuses on the grammar and vocabulary of the foreign language. It is most often used in modern public schools or Classical Homeschools to teach students the classical languages. This method is acquired through textbook study, drilling and memorization.
- The Direct Method or Natural Method: this method of second language acquisition is centered on the belief that a second language should be learned in the same manner as a first language. Proponents of this method suggest that babies do not rely on a language when they are learning their first language and, therefore, translation and reliance on one’s primary language is not necessary and possibly detrimental to learning a second language. Homeschool parents who speak two languages may choose to have their children speak in different languages with each parent.
- Language Immersion: this concept is often talked about in relation to teaching limited English proficient students their second language, English. According to language immersion, a student learns a language best when he or she is put into a situation where the student has no choice but to use it. There is no falling back on the primary language or other means of communication. A homeschooling family wishing to become fluent in another language may choose to move to a community or country where that language is exclusively spoken.
- Bilingual Education: Some school districts take a class that is approximately half native English speakers and half native speakers of another language, such as Spanish, and teach them in both languages.
How to Teach Foreign Languages at Home
If you’re looking to supplement your homeschool with a foreign language, there are three ways you can choose to go about it:
- Natural Conversation: A parent, grandparent, relative or close family friend who is in contact with your child on a regular basis can take up the responsibility of teaching that language. You can make time in your schedule for regular visits so that there will be ample time for speaking, listening, reading and writing.
- Join a Co-op or take a local class: Gather with local homeschool families and form a co-op so that another parent can teach your child in a small group setting. Or, if that is not an option, try your local public school or community college. Depending on the state, homeschooled children may be able to enroll in a local school and take courses a la carte.
- Get online: There are a plethora of resources online! Whether we’re talking about smartphone apps, YouTube videos, or ordering a full curriculum from a homeschool curriculum provider, your child can learn any language they want!
Don’t Forget to Get Your Free Resource to Help!
Jasmine has put together a printable just for you to help make teaching a foreign language a cinch. Inside you will find 10 online sources that you will love!!
Top 10 Online Foreign Language Resources to Make Teaching at Home a Cinch
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Rev. Jasmine Flores, M.S. Ed. has been an educator for 17 years – both at home and in the classroom. She’s a wife, mom of 3, pastor, teacher, educational consultant and homeschooler. She seeks to empower moms to educate their own children, take control of their Health, & become Mompreneurs! Obsessed with books, pens and the idea of a moment to herself, Jasmine blogs at LearningWithMom.org and is always on the lookout for the perfect Planner.