(Post two of The Adventure of Learning series).
Written by guest contributor Aaron Myers of The Everyday Language Learner.
As my kids rolled onto the floor in front of the laptop for another episode of one of their favorite cartoons, the Anne of Green Gables animated TV series, I considered the opportunities we have as homeschool parents.
We can take our time. We work to focus on our kids’ strengths, helping them fall in love with the gifts and abilities they’ve been given and develop them to their full potential.
Writing is a chance to express ideas, share thoughts, and tell stories. It is real communication with others, like their cousins with whom they’ve been creating a running mystery, each letter containing a new clue or a secret code. Reading is no longer homework, but something you do for fun, for hours at a time and in your favorite chair, on the floor, or even in your bed.
That’s the goal anyway.
Homeschooling is not always easy. At the end of some days my wife is exhausted from the work of getting the kids to buy in, to do their share and pull their weight. On some days the rewards feel far less than adequate to keep at it. But for us there is another reason for homeschooling and it goes back to what the kids are watching - Anne of Green Gables, the animated television series - dubbed in Turkish.
I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t think that learning another language was a good idea. I suspect that you too - if you don’t already - would like to know another language. And you would love for your kids to know it as well.
Whether you are an individual wanting to learn for yourself or a homeschool mom or dad wanting to add a foreign language to the curriculum, I have a message for you:
Now is the time to begin the language learning journey.
But It’s Hard
As adults we tend not to repeat experiences that were difficult or painful in our past. The unfortunate reality for most of us however is that the foreign language classrooms of our youth were both difficult and painful.
Why would we do that again? I wouldn’t.
But thankfully, we don’t need to. Schools too often treat languages like a frog on the dissecting table. But the place to learn about frogs, at least in the beginning, is out at the pond, in its natural surroundings.
Language is the same. We should experience language before we have it explained to us. We should get exposure before we analyze it. And in the case of learning another language, play should most definitely come before work - for us and especially for our kids.
But I’m Busy
You're a mom. A homemaker. A dad. A homeschooler. A writer. A photographer. A cross country skier. You’re making a living. You’re raising kids. You’re doing your level best to create a life that brings freedom and joy and growth to you and your family.
And the thought of adding “learn another language” to the list seems overwhelming and out of the question.
I want to encourage you - don’t add it to the list. Rather, think about incorporating the language into your life, into your existing activities. Think fun. Think play. Think purpose.
What does that look like you ask?
Here are some ideas to help you wrap your mind around it. Renee and her crew are on the journey to learn French so I’ll tailor the ideas to the Tougas family:
- Games in French - Renee wrote about her family’s love of the role playing game Pathfinder. Why not play it in French?
- Cooking in French - This recipe look like a great snack Renee and the kids could cook up.
- Books in French - What about finding a family favorite story that has been translated into French? Audiobooks are great if no one in the family can read French fluently.
- French Music - Finding music in French may take some searching but will be well worth it.
- Use Technology - Princess Learn French and apps like it are great tools to make learning languages fun and enjoyable.
- Tutorials in French- I recently watched Renee’s video about making soap. What about making organic toothpaste? Renee could learn how by watching a tutorial in French.
Why should you learn another language?
And more importantly, why should you learn another language with your kids?
Learning another language with your kids offers a rare opportunity for you and your children. When you learn with your children they will:
- see you as a learner - a real learner working, struggling even, to learn a new language.
- see you when the rubber meets the road; as a mentor, a model, and as a fellow learner.
- be able to collaborate and interact with you in ways that other topics just don’t allow - topics that by their standards you are the expert in.
- be empowered because you are choosing to be dis-empowered, to step down and learn beside them.
The opportunity to learn a new language and to include your kids on that journey is an amazing blessing. You will learn from them and them from you in ways that math and science just don’t allow.
A new dynamic is created, one in which you are no longer the teacher but rather a fellow learner. And in this we can be confident that we will be teaching the lessons of hard work, discipline, problem solving and lifelong learning to our kids because we are with them on the journey.
That is why you should learn another language with your kids.
But I Don’t Know How
There is perhaps no more pressing question for learning a new language than the question of ‘how’.
How do we learn it? And for homeschool moms, how do we teach it?
It's not as hard as you think. I'm going to show you some ideas in a video.
At The Everyday Language Learner my passion is to empower learners from all over the world to know both why and how to learn other languages. I write regular articles to that end but have also created a number of great resources to empower learners on the journey.
Click here to see all the Everyday Language Guides.
I want to give FIMBY readers a special discount. Use the coupon code FIMBY to get 20% off of any guide.
Also, The Ten Week Journey, offered through my blog, is a free email course I developed to help walk ordinary people into the extraordinary life of the independent language learner.
Renee here again. I invited Aaron to write this post because if you want to learn another language as a personal or homeschool goal, I'd like to help you reach that goal. And Aaron is the guy to go to for help.
Aaron is a language coach, writer, and the author of numerous language guides. There's a lot of stuff on his site (which might overwhelm you a bit, it did me) so I'm personally recommending his Fly First Class package because it includes so much for such a great price, and remember you get a FIMBY discount!
My own language learning journey was really helped along by reading The Everyday Language Learner Guide to Getting Started (which is included in the Fly First Class.)
Aaron's teaching helps you learn another language in a real life, interest-driven context. His guides are written for the adult learner but what he teaches can be applied in a homeschool setting. In fact, the homeschool setting is perfect for the Everyday Language Learner.
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