Teaching a home schooled child a foreign language can help to introduce him or her to the exciting world community around them while also boosting his or her writing, speaking and listening communication skills. This article looks at some teaching ideas, tips and ways to teach a foreign language effectively even if the parent/teacher is not a fluent speaker.
The Importance of a Varied Approach to Teaching a Home Schooled Child a Foreign Language
Teaching a foreign language is a multifaceted task and should include many methods and features, because learning a foreign language properly involves listening and speaking skills as well as reading and writing skills, and these each have to be tackled in different ways.
Reading and writing foreign language skills can perhaps most easily be taught using resources such as language learning courses online, CD Roms and book based language programmes. But parents should back up these opportunities with listening and speaking opportunities, be that a foreign holiday where the child is encouraged to speak the local language, integrating a foreign lodger into your home, or just listening to foreign radio stations or TV programmes.
In addition, some online sites offer people the opportunity to engage in free conversation with strangers who want to learn English, and these can offer further opportunities for improving spoken ability in a foreign language for home schooled children.
Tips to Start Teaching a Home Schooled Child a Foreign Language
Borrow foreign language picture books from the local library, as well as books on CD in the desired language to help your child to get used to its sounds.
Watch kids TV and films together in the foreign language, with subtitles for older kids if desired. This can be especially beneficial if it is a favourite film that a child knows well – he or she will not struggle to understand the plot, but will still (or instead) take a great interest in the language of communication and might begin picking up some more unusual words in this way.
For older children, consider setting up a foreign exchange with a student from another country to live in your home for a week, month, or even longer, and then swapping with that child’s family for your child to be hosted by them. Be careful when setting up such schemes, look for accredited companies or ask someone you know and trust in that country – but if safe and well organised, these can offer enjoyable introductions to a new culture as well as faster ways for a child to boost his or her language ability.
Older kids should be encouraged to watch their favourite sports matches with foreign commentary – these will often be screened on the Internet, for example Spanish football matches. Just being immersed in a foreign language can be a beneficial way to boost understanding.
Use some of the myriad of free resources on the Internet, which can offer foreign songs to listen to, websites to learn with, writing to read, etc.