Monday, June 13, 2005

Foreign Languages - Support Group Day

We’ve been studying foreign language for 7 years now. We started in kindergarten and we’ve always studied French. I’ve had a number of years of French instruction and felt more comfortable teaching that than starting something new. Just like with learning to read, I have filled our environment with available French materials.
We have French music cd’s, computer games, posters, card games, books, word puzzles, etc. The more ways you can introduce a topic, the better it will be retained.
For our French base curriculum, we use Rosetta Stone. It usually only takes my daughter 5 minutes to do a lesson, and I make sure she does them daily. I think the single biggest factor in her retention and success in foreign language study is that we do it daily. For a change of pace, we’ve used Powerglide French Jr. Adventure and a little bit of the Power Glide Ultimate Adventure. On cd rom, we really like French For the Real World from Knowledge Adventure. This is a really hard to find cd rom, but it’s really well done. They do a Spanish version also. I believe it was developed by Kaplan. (This is a middle school to high school level game, it’s immersion.)
We’ve been toying around with Latin for the last couple of years and are going to try and seriously do it this summer. We completed the Powerglide Latin Junior and really enjoyed it. Once again, we didn’t make it very far in the Ultimate Adventure. We’ve learned some prayers in Latin and are working on learning some more. I really, really want to do Latin grammar. The big slow-down is that I need to learn it also. With four kids, one potty training and one still nursing, it’s hard to complete a thought, let alone learn a new language. I’m hoping that learning the Latin and French grammar will help with the English grammar. A mom can dream…
I think learning a foreign language is an important thing for a number of reasons. I think it helps us to understand how difficult it is for people who speak English as a second language. I think it helps us to appreciate the diligence of those who speak multiple languages. I find a real sense of accomplishment when I can understand another language, whether it is spoken or written. I want my children to have it out of the way to learn other things when they are away at college. I was one year short of my foreign language requirement after high school and had to take it in college. College courses are expensive and I’d rather spend my tuition dollars on something I can’t teach my children.
If anyone knows of a really great Latin or French software game for the computer, please let me know. Tomorrow, we will be posting a resource list of books. Wednesday, we will post our software, games and music list. Everyone have a good week!

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