Buenos Nachos

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I opted to add a Foreign Language curriculum to our studies this year.  Studying a foreign language is what the My Father’s World curriculum strongly suggests, but I’ve been dragging my grande zapatos.

I mean seriously, isn’t English enough?  Teaching a child the difference between there, their, and they’re ought to encompass an entire year.  At least it should.  But as evidenced on Facebook, I’m guessing that the school system spends approximately 7 seconds covering that material.

But I digress.

I have often heard that teaching a young dog a new trick, such as a foreign language, is far easier than an older dog.  Like say, a certain blonde high school student in the 1970’s who spent two years in Spanish but still can only count to 10 in Spanish.  And order a burrito.  Grande.

I was reading an article about how to implement a foreign language curriculum in the elementary level over at Mom’s Homeroom.  The article reiterates the idea that everything from math skills to standardized test scores are enhanced when a child learns a foreign language.  But they recommend starting as early as elementary school.

I could have used something like a Spanish class in my youth when we moved to a predominantly Hispanic school in San Antonio when I was starting Jr. High.  As it was, I did receive a bit of a bilingual education as I learned all the really good Spanish curse words during lunch every day.

This did not come in handy at all when I began Spanish I in high school, by the way.

If there is no foreign language program in your school and you wished there was, this article goes on to give some great tips on how to garner support for one.

As a homeschooling family, all I needed to do was order the workbooks at the local homeschool convention this year.  I decided on the family owned curriculum called La Clase Divertida, which is an early level Spanish Curriculum for kids aged Kindergarten through 6th grade.  There is a bright and colorful DVD which guides the kids through each lesson, with workbook pages to fill in, and crafts to make which correspond with the lesson.  My SIL, Trish, went through it last year with her kids and they loved it.  I was able to borrow the DVDs from her.

Because it’s bright and colorful and most of all FUN, I thought it might appeal to my two youngest students, who typically have the attention span of a gnat.

Emme, who has entered 7th grade, will be off on her own learning LATIN with her Classical Conversations Challenge A class this year.

I know that there are a lot of wonderful foreign language curriculum out there geared to the homeschooling family.  Have you all ever tackled teaching a foreign language, and is so, which one worked for you?

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July 31, 2012

6 Responses to Buenos Nachos

  • We used Rosetta Stone. It is FABULOUS!!! I couldn’t recommend any other foreign language studies.

    It starts teaching you just like you originally learned to speak English.

  • I have learned Spanish, Arabic and German.

    My one gripe about most language curricula is how they expect you to learn “intuitively”. It is a rare person that is able to do so. . .and it most certainly occurs when they are younger. (Generally, before they have a firm grasp on their native language rules.)

    I have used many language programs over the years, and each has its pros and cons. I think it helps, as with choosing any curricula, to have an idea of what you want your child to walk away with before you go looking. (For example, Pimsleur is fantastic for conversation. . .not for reading.)

  • So cool! BTW, I think Señor Gamache (La Clase Divertida) was Nathan’s Spanish teacher years ago. Nathan still remembers much of what he learned and can still have a conversation in Spanish if needed. So he must be a good teacher (:. Let me know how it works out for your kids

  • We have not “officially” begun a foreign language. (My bad), but my nephew does use Mango. http://www.mangolanguages.com/

    Our public library has a subscription, so it’s free to us. We just have to log in with our library cards. He’s doing German and I’ve “dabbled” with Spanish. I will be ordering an actual German language curriculum in a couple of years though. Living in Texas I tried to talk him into Spanish. I thought it would be more practical. But, he wants to go on our church’s annual mission trip to Germany his Junior year, so he wants to learn German. Couldn’t argue with that.

  • Ahhhh, foreign languages. When we lived overseas we learned, much to our embarrassment, that Americans are pretty much the only people who only know one, maybe two languages. Everyone else put us to shame knowing at least four or five. Fluently. And they learn young. We used Rosetta Stone to learn Farsi (the old version of RS), which I liked. Then we got a great deal on the new version of Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish and I can’t stand it. It is a battle zone to get the kids to do it too. Unless you enjoy frequent headaches and taking LOTS of motrin, I’d advise to stay away from the new Rosetta Stone with voice recognition. Someone gave me the Bob Jones textbooks for Spanish, and since I’m cheap, I’m going with that this year. I guess it is good to try and get foreign languages under our belt so it will look good on a transcript and stretch our brains, but to be honest I don’t think you really learn a language unless you actually live in that country and HAVE to use it exclusively. But hopefully our textbook knowledge of the language will give us a tiny head start!

  • When we were homeschooling we lived near Hillsdale College which is heavily endowed (a good thing, since they take no government money and students cannot accept federal loans) and quite a few of their scholarships are tied to community service. We knew they sent tutors into the public schools for after-school programs, and we wondered if we couldn’t work something out for our homeschool group. One year we had three Spanish majors teaching two levels of classes twice a week (one for elementary students and one for high schoolers). Since the students were teaching on a volunteer basis, as part of their community service requirement, we only had to pay for the materials. Win/win situation 🙂