I began studying foreign languages at age twelve for the fun of it.
Nobody asked me to sit down for days making flashcards and labels for everything in my room, but I did it anyway.
While I never achieved fluency in any particular language (still a goal of mine), I studied seven of them over five or six years.
This was a time when free, accurate apps were being frequently developed, making it quick to get through lessons each day.
I’ve researched dozens of foreign language resources over this time, and it would bring me joy to share what I’ve learned with you.
High schoolers are required to have at least one year studying the foreign language of their choice.
As with any skill, becoming bilingual requires hundreds of hours of intense focus and dedication.
Here are five ways that you can help your child succeed.
Find the right course.
It may be tempting to choose the more well-known language learning courses (Rosetta Stone, anyone?), but we must keep in mind that every student learns and remembers differently. Most courses provide a free month trial. Take advantage of that! Check out Busuu, DuoLingo, and Babbel.
Turn to the Media.
This is a great option for audible and visual learners. It isn’t difficult to find popular movies in a foreign language at the library or online. Have your student turn on English subtitles. They’ll be thrilled at the opportunity to watch TV as schoolwork!
Renting bilingual books is another fun idea. Start at a board/early reader level. Your student may feel silly reading them, but it’s an effective way of learning without too much pressure to translate.
Immerse in the Culture.
While a trip to France isn’t always (or sometimes ever) feasible, give your student a taste of life there by putting together a day to eat French food, watch French clips and songs on Youtube, and study famous French landmarks. My family did this one year while studying Austria. I’ve been amazed at how even all these years later, I still remember simple little facts.
Contact a Native Speaker.
While you may not know one personally, reach out and ask your friends if they know anyone fluent in the language of choice. Most people would be thrilled to lend an hour or so of their time to help a budding bilingual.
Don’t Let Them Get Discouraged.
It’s so, so easy to give up. Two months in, your student may become complacent and only half-heartedly do their work for the remainder of the course. There will be times when they ask, is it really worth all this trouble? Remind them of the many perks that come with being bilingual: advantages during job interviews, more career opportunities, and possibly provide a path in future mission work.
What language resources have you come across that you loved? Hated?
What were the pros and cons of each?
Do you have any helpful tips to share with homeschooling parents struggling to keep their child dedicated to becoming bilingual?
Leave your answers in the comments below.
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