Learning a Foreign Language

Learning a foreign language is something that a lot of homeschoolers embark upon.  In today’s global community, knowing a second, or even a third, language can give one a leg up in many different industries.  Even looking at the ever-widening diversity of the population here in the United States, being multi-lingual is becoming ever more important.

Traditionally, children do not start learning a foreign language until they are well into their public school career.  Unless children come from a multi-lingual home, they will most likely have their first serious encounter with a foreign language starting in Jr. High school.  However, most people understand that young children are sponges and are ready, willing and able to soak up information and use it effectively.  We must switch our mindset to have confidence in the ability of young children to learn and use a foreign language.  Herein lies one of the big advantages of homeschooling.  Since parents are primarily in charge of their child’s curriculum, they can choose when their child starts learning another language.  They can also determine the methods by which this is accomplished by gearing the curriculum to their child’s unique interests and learning style.

One software that has traditionally been popular among homeschoolers is Rosetta Stone.  This software takes a different approach to learning than most.  It teaches in a parts-to-whole style and it uses an interactive interface to teach vocabulary.  Even though it is a popular language learning software, it is out of the price range of many homeschoolers.  There is, however, a solution to this particular problem.

There is an up and coming website called LiveMocha that teaches a foreign language in a very similar style to Rosetta Stone.  It offers lessons in several foreign languages for free.  Each lesson is divided into four parts: learn, read, write and speak.  The writing and speaking portions have the added advantage of being reviewed and corrected by a community of language learners.  A writing or speaking lesson is submitted after completion for review by the community.  A community member who is a native speaker of that language then reviews and notes corrections and encouragement on the lessons, which the learner can then access and learn from.

If a parent is looking to start their child on a foreign language at a very young age, there are many materials available for them as well.  Flashcards and games are an excellent way to engage your child’s interest and help them learn essential foreign language vocabulary at the same time.  Eastern Wind Academy has a variety of flashcards in a wide variety of languages including Spanish, French, German, Latin, and Mandarin Chinese.  New sets are being added all the time to the current collections.

Teaching your child a foreign language is one of the most important things you can do to help ensure their future success in a global community and economy.  The world grows smaller with each passing year and we as parents should do what we can to equip with the ability to navigate and succeed in it.

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