I’ve always felt learning a foreign language is important.
My high school offerings were only Spanish and French. My parents encouraged me to take Spanish since they thought it would be more useful. I took three years in high school, but in college, I maxed out the foreign language programs and also took the maximum courses offered in French and German. I really wish I had become a linguist but I had little counseling and didn’t really know that was a possibility.
While I am not fluent, I can get by with small conversations in French, German, and Spanish. I can read it ok, so that’s good when we travel. I can break down and pronounce Italian. Portuguese is harder!
It’s totally true that if you learn one language, it’s easier to learn others.
I don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars on a language program.
Most colleges require 2 credits of the same foreign language. I want my kids to be more than prepared.
Labeling everything with sticky notes is a fun way to learn vocabulary. Reading menus and watching shows in other languages with subtitles can help us understand.
How We Learn Foreign Language in our Homeschool
Since we follow a classical education model, we focus on Latin in the beginning. It’s a great jumping off point for Spanish, French, Italian, and more!
We being with Prima Latina at about age 8.
Then we follow the books as far as we can:
Or you can just jump into First Form Latin I-IV (which is mostly Henle in workbooks) in high school. There is some argument among homeschoolers about whether to count each Form as 1 high school credit.
Cassell’s Standard Latin Dictionary is a must buy.
The kids love it. It’s easy. We watch the DVDs and complete the workbooks and sing songs and recite prayers. I know it’s working because when we travel, the kids totally read the Latin inscriptions! It’s a little harder to understand spoken Latin, like at a Catholic Mass.
Latin helps a lot in science and with vocabulary.
I’m so happy there’s a Greek program that begins with the Alphabet and continues with Elementary Greek I, II, and III.
Easy and I use the teacher’s guide for snags and to make sure since I’m unfamiliar with Greek. When we traveled to Greece, it was fun to pick apart the letters and words. While ancient Greek is a bit different, the sounds and alphabet haven’t changed!
My second child is obsessed with Greek and is so proud she knows the alphabet and how to sound out the words. It helps a lot with science and vocabulary.
I’m not super thrilled with First Start French. The lessons are not comprehensive enough for high school credit. The girls enjoy the workbooks. The CD isn’t the greatest, so I read the dialogue exercises aloud. The girls review with apps and love to practice speaking French anytime we go over the border!
We’ve heard great things about William Linney’s Getting Started with French and may look into that. He also offers Spanish and Latin.
My eldest took French in college through College Credit Plus.
Larousse Concise French-English/English-French Dictionary is a must-buy.
We live in Germany, so it’s important that we can communicate with our neighbors. I bought some kids workbooks and we worked through those for vocabulary.
My second child wants to learn Russian and is obsessed with astronauts so I bought her The Everything Learning Russian Book and she’s happily completing that.
Two of my kids are very interested in learning Irish. There is not much out there for lesson books. We are pleased with the revival of the Irish language.
Oxford Pocket Irish Dictionary is a good help. They research pronunciation when they read the Irish folk tales, mythology, and stories.
- Many colleges and universities offer language courses through their extension offices
- Many city or county rec centers offer language courses
- Used high school textbooks are great starting points and can be found on Abebooks. These are helpful for students to complete exercises.
- The kids use the Duolingo app for review.
- Great resources from Mason’s living languages.
- These are some free online college courses we’re looking into.
- Classical Academic Press offers Latin, Greek, French, Spanish curriculum.
- Compass Classroom offers courses in Latin and Spanish
- Muzzy BBC Languages offers free online courses.
- Easy Peasy Spanish and French (scroll down)
- Time4Languages offers many different language options
- Georgia Virtual School has courses in Latin, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, or German. I haven’t reviewed these, but they look like little lessons and quizzes, similar to Mango.
We love these apps for when we travel:
- Google Translate and Word Lens
- Country or Language specific apps come in handy with basic words and phrases but often have in-app purchases for more info.