Foreign Language: Topics for Beginning Language Learners
Are you teaching your kids a foreign language in your homeschool? I put together a free checklist of topics and units you might want to cover… no matter which language your student is learning.
As I was polishing up the Curriculum Resource Guide for middle school ages (Grades 6-8), I got to the section on foreign languages. I thought it might be useful if I put together a checklist of units and topics you might want to cover as your child starts learning a new language.
Assuming that your child doesn’t know the language yet, it includes a list of topics such as
- First Words
- Greetings and Questions
- Family Words
- Objects: Things around the room
- Parts of the Body
- and more… It’s free to download down below.
My kids started learning a foreign language in elementary school. But definitely by the time your kids are in middle school, you will want to think about adding a foreign language to your homeschool program. Research shows that it is considerably easier for children to pick up a language. In Europe, most students start learning a foreign language in primary school. Most students have started (learning their first foreign language) by the age of 10. When I taught in a gymnaszium (grades 7-12 school) in Hungary, most of my students could speak one language fluently by 10th grade and were well on their way to becoming fluent in their second foreign language as well.
Most of us think of the languages that were offered when we were school: typically Spanish, French and German. These days there are lots of other options as well: Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Latin, Italian, and more. Another great option is ASL (American Sign Language). Many people don’t realize that learning ASL will fulfill the requirements of a foreign language as well.
There are many options now to at least help students get started:
- Learn songs in the foreign language. (youtube has a lot of options!)
- Play games like bingo to help with vocabulary building
- Role play (Hello, my name is Joe Smith.)
- Online Programs and Apps can like DuoLingo, Memrise, busuu, 24/7 Tutor
- Online Courses: There are lots of different options from courses with video lessons like homeschoolspanishcurriculum.com
- Programs such as Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur. (My sister used Rosetta Stone with her kids for German. I have a friend who had her daughter use Rosetta Stone for Spanish.) These programs did not work for our family when we started.
- Watch TV programs and movies in the foreign language. (This year, my kids have watched about 15 or 20 movies in German!) This helps students learn the rhythm and cadence of the language.
What if you don’t have the skill and background to teach a foreign language?
- use an online program
- look for a homeschool class in your area (and ask around in your local homeschool community).
- see if you can trade expertise with another homeschooling parent who can help your kids learn a foreign language
- hire a tutor in person or find an online tutor
Foreign Language Checklist: Topics for Beginning Language Learners Here are some of the resources we have for learning a foreign language here on our blog. Hope you find something helpful! ~Liesl
If your kids are starting to learn German here are some good posts to start with on our blog:
Free German Worksheets for Beginners
German Curriculum Units for Kids: This post is a good overview of how our family has studied German and has links to some of the German packets we have for sale.
If your kids are starting to learn Spanish, we have a number of free worksheet packets here:
See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts. Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well.
Happy Homeschooling! ~Liesl