Tuesday 15 October 2013

Seeking to Learn a New Language

This weeks topic has me a little at a loss for words.  Personally I speak two languages (English and Afrikaans) and understand three more (Flemish easily, Dutch and German (if spoken slowly)). How I came to reading, writing and speaking a second language fluently was through immersion.  When I was five years old we moved across the country from beautiful Cape Town to Pretoria and our neighbours were Afrikaans families.  Through friendships I learned to speak and understand Afrikaans fluently.  Due to this I feel that immersion at a young age is the easiest and fastest way to learn a second language.

Having said all this however, it is not that easy when you live in a country that is English. I have searched for an online programm for young students in vain.  This is the ONE home school product sorely lacking world wide.  All the programs I have looked at need a student to be at a grade three to four level before commencing second language studies.

Personally I really really like Rosetta Stone products and this is the program we will be using to learn French as soon as Sir N is reading a little more fluently.   

Choosing a second Language
There were a number of factors I took into consideration when choosing French as our second (my third) language.  In Australia Chinese (Mandarin) is often the language of choice as we are really close the Asian market geographically.  I chose not to study this as you can not use it world wide.  The two languages that I looked at were French and Spanish. In the end we settled on French as it is spoken in more countries in the world than Spanish and if we do ever travel internationally it would serve us well. I chose not to teach my children Afrikaans as this language is only spoken in South Africa and can only be understood in Finland and some parts of Holland.

When looking at second language options be sure to ask yourself why that particular language and when your child will ever use it ?

Is Latin a second Language ?
That depends on how you view it.  In one sense it is and in another no because it is not actively spoken in any one country in the world today.  Having said this it is a root language to English and will help your student to understand and perform in the language arts arena far more easily with a basic knowledge of it.  In the science fields it is well and truly alive and will serve your student well to have a working knowledge of it for the high school years.

Can you recommend a French program for young students ?

This post is part of the Homeschool Help series brought to you by a group of home school Mom's from around the globe.  Do not forget to visit and read their inspirational insight.

This week

Crisis image courtesy of Free Digital Photo's -  Sheelamohan


  1. The Learnables is a very good language programme especially for younger children. It's a picture system of learning, so the child's reading level is not really relevant. You get a book with pictures divided on the page into squares and the accompanying CD's. We have the Spanish and French sets and they are a nice intro for our kids http://www.learnables.com/

  2. Re Latin, while it is not strictly a foreign language I would teach it that way and not introduce that and another foreign language at the same time as it gets quite confusing for the kidlets (and their Mama). We use Prima Latina (Grades 2-4) a Christian Latin Program, and I have got to say this is one of the best programs I have ever used and wished all our classes were this easy! Yesterday my kids made up a game in Latin and made their dad play with them. As he doesn't know Latin, there were lots of giggles emanating from the school room at his mistakes.


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