The following is a post from contributing writer Angie.
If you have decided to add foreign language study to your homeschooling, you might be wondering about extra activities you can add in to help work on that foreign language. Or, you might be unsure about where to even start with foreign language instruction, especially if you’re choosing a language that doesn’t have a lot of materials readily available.
In past years, we’ve tried a lot of different types of curriculum for foreign language (and three different languages before finally settling on the one I have wanted to do all along). This year, we’re trying more of an eclectic approach to foreign language instruction by adding in activities from many different sources. These are methods that would be wonderful no matter what second language you want to work on with your children.
So, whether your choice of language is something with materials readily available in the homeschool market or virtually non-existent, these ideas will supplement your materials or work in lieu of materials.
Foreign Language Activities for Homeschool
1. Second Language Learning Software – There are some big, expensive programs and some programs that are not nearly as pricey. Check out what programs might work best for your family’s needs and budget.
2. Read Children’s Books – Why not use reading time to tackle a classic children’s book that your kids may be familiar with, but in the language you are studying? Examples might include books like Bonsoir Lune (Goodnight Moon in French) or Un Pez, Dos Pez, Pez Rojo, Pez Azul (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish in Spanish).
3. Songs, Rhymes, and Games – A simple Google search can lead you to traditional songs, rhymes, and games in many languages. If you feel uncertain about pronunciations, you can find CDs or audio files (from places like iTunes) to purchase so the whole family can sing along.
4. Labeling Your Home – Just like you might have seen in classrooms for early readers, you can label items like clocks, doors, televisions, computers, and more. Make sure to include articles before words, if your language of choice has them (such as la porte for door, if studying French).
5. Workbooks – A great way to get extra practice in another language is to use workbooks, which can be purchased, or you could use self-made worksheets. This year, we are using several French workbooks (so I can pick and choose pages) that we purchased from Amazon, as well as French in 10 Minutes a Day (which is also available in a large variety of languages).
6. Movies and Videos – Children’s programs in a foreign language can be a great starting point. Another fun thing could be to watch a movie that you are familiar with that has closed captioning available in another language. (This, however, will likely only be helpful if you are studying something like Spanish or French.)
7. Attend Classes or Hire a Native Speaker – Scout out your area for classes in your chosen second language that might be appropriate for your child. If this isn’t available, you can hire a native speaker to come into your home to use the language around your children, even if it’s just in a very casual way.
8. Bible Verses and Prayers – The Bible can be found online in many different languages. This can be a fabulous way to work on verse memorization and a second language all at the same time! You can also work on learning prayers in the foreign language of your choice. (Though we’re working on French, we’ve worked on learning some prayers in Latin.)
9. Country History and Culture – While learning a language is great, it is an amazing way to supplement that information by learning about a country where the language is spoken. You can study their history, traditions, foods (and even make some), and much more. It’s a great way to combine geography and second language learning.
10. Visit a Place Where the Language is Spoken – We’re not going to be jetting off to Paris any time soon. However, it is reasonable to think that once our children worked more on French that we could visit an area of French speaking Canada. Even more accessible to us was Disney’s Epcot French pavilion where our kids made sure to use plenty of just a few words (bon jour, merci, and au revoire) while we visited .
Do you work on a second language with your children? If so, which language?
What are some ways that you’ve worked to supplement the language learning?