Helping with Language Learning
The new school and homeschooling year has started, and with it in some instances the introduction of a foreign language into the curriculum. How can you help your child with foreign language learning?
“Oh No!” I can hear some parents cry. This can be daunting for some families, but it doesn’t need to be.
Let us be honest; we know introducing a new language can sometimes be frustrating and challenging, but the rewards and the joy of learning together can be exceedingly motivating. And that is not just me stating that as we are a bilingual family.
So let’s get a plan together and break it all down by answering a few questions.
So which language is going to be or has been introduced? This may be easy to answer for some families. Your child is in school and that particular country’s curriculum has stated which foreign language will be introduced. Or you are homeschooling and there are language specifications again for the area that you are living in, or you are allowed a free-hand So you need to look at which language you are going to choose.
Whichever language you choose or has been decided for you, before jumping in on this language learning adventure, you have to have a personal reason behind it, as this helps with motivation.
Questions you need to ask yourself
So now you have agreed upon the foreign language of choice or it has been selected for you, it’s time to take a look at these five questions and see if you can answer them all prior to getting a plan together in order to support your child.
1)Why do you want to help language learning or introduce it into your home?
Regardless of you have chosen the language yourself or it has been chosen for you you need to be clear about WHY you wish to help or integrate this learning journey into your home.
There needs to be reasoning for why you wish to venture on this language journey. If the answer to this first question is not straightforward, please take the time to answer this in detail. This first question really does need some solid answers. If you are not clear on why you are going on this language journey the rest will fail. You need to be behind the WHY 100% otherwise you will lose motivation and this will be passed down to your child/children.
2) What do you wish to achieve?
Do you have a specific goal that you want your child or family to reach regarding language level, or do you have a particular vision that you want to realise? Do you wish to learn the language together with our child, do you wish to support them if they are currently struggling. Having a specific goal to reach can not only be motivational but it can also help you with regards to the next question we will be asking and that is HOW.
3) How are you going to help with language learning?
Are you going to be using a specific language learning method, or will you set specific times of the day/week where the new language will be used/learnt? The systems or processes that can be used are endless., but also do not need to be set in stone. Each family’s circumstances are different, and it could be that your ‘ how’ changes throughout your journey as it has with our language learning journey with Emily. Whatever your how, make sure that you are all brought into this idea so that conflicts do not start early.
Our personal how is outdoors, whether that be nature walks, riding, pony and dog adventures, that is our foreign language learning time.
4) What resources are you going to use?
Let’s be honest, the internet is so full of free resources and pronunciation videos that if the language is entirely new to the family, there should still be plenty of resources to help you. Don’t be shy, get stuck in, as soon as you try speaking just go with the flow. Everything does not need to be perfect. It is a journey with numerous crossroads and probably stop signs for breaks along the way.
5) When are you going to start with your new language learning journey ?
Why not NOW!! If all the answers are clear for questions 1-3, why not start straight away. The resources that you can find can be planned along the way, but a quick start is a treasure hunt within the home or outdoors with pictures on a piece of paper and the words written in both languages. When the item is found, say the word in both languages, and the children should repeat them.
I am very keen that children or adults alike should learn a language through living it, not through reading and writing. This, of course, comes later, but it’s great if children can grow their vocabulary in a new language and also speak in some simple sentences, rather than them trying to read and write the language without the relevant words in place in order to do this. I have found that numerous children find it frustrating to wade through the grammar first without having the vocabulary to work it out.
So what is stopping you? Let’s start this language learning journey!
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Have fun, that’s the most important thing