Methods for Teaching a Foreign Language to Your Child

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teaching a foreign language

Learning a foreign language is one of those things that many homeschoolers feel that they should be adding to their curriculum, but it can be difficult when you aren’t familiar enough with a foreign language to speak or teach it.  Even for non-homeschooling families, they may just want to give their child instruction in a second language before it typically starts much later in their schooling career.  The good news is that there are many teaching options, even if you aren’t fluent in another language.

You can read more extensively about the materials that we use to work on teaching French in our homeschool here.

Methods for Teaching a Foreign Language to Your Child

Books, Movies, or Videos in a Second Language

Many picture books that your child may already be familiar might be available in the language that you’re studying with just a simple search on a site like Amazon.  A wonderful classic like Goodnight Moon that uses a lot of repetition with a little bit of new vocabulary on each page would be a perfect way to start!

Movies and videos in your second language can also be both entertaining and educational.  You can mix it up between videos that your child may already be familiar with as well as new videos and movies that might be specifically for language learning.

Songs and Games

Songs and games often offer a chance for repetition and easier memorization, especially for young children.  You can either use traditional songs and games that your child is already familiar with or learn brand new songs and games that are more typical of the culture that you are studying.  Of course, you may have an occasional surprise, such as when my children started to learn the real meaning of the song Alouette, which they already were familiar with.  Upon talking about the actual lyrics, one of my kids had to chime in, “Why would they sing a song like that?”

Word Labels of Items and Places in Your Home

This is a traditional thing to do with children just learning how to read, which is why you often see lots of labels in a preschool or kindergarten classroom.  No matter what the age of your child is, they can still benefit from constantly seeing their second language around the house.  Not only will they learn the names of common items, but they will also begin to feel more comfortable seeing the language as well as any special characters that are unique to the language.

A Tutor or Class

As nice as it is to do much of the second language learning at home, it’s hard to beat having a fluent or native speaker work with your child.  As they get more familiar with the basics of the language, it can be a great asset to their language learning to have that tutor or class as an extra push toward fluency.

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