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Foreign Language Studies in Homeschool: Learning a Second Language Such as Spanish, French or German

Foreign language study can be an important part of any home school curriculum.Whether you want to focus on the practical aspects of learning a foreign language by introducing Spanish, French, German, and even English as a Second Language, or you want to learn Latin or Greek in order to better understand the ancient origins of modern day language, you are in luck. There are hundreds and thousands of teaching tools and tips available for anyone in a home school situation who wants to teach or learn Spanish, French, German, Latin, Greek, or even English as a Second Language from the elementary school student to the high school grades. Some of the teaching tools include Audio Tapes, DVDs and online courses. But, it is also important in the study of any foreign language to have some interactive experiences with an experienced or native speaker of the foreign language.

Your choice of a foreign language study program will depend largely on what your goals are for learning the language in the first place. Some people may choose to learn a foreign language such as French, Greek, or German because they want to travel to that country at a future date-this may require a minimal amount of language knowledge. On the other hand, some people may want to become fluent in a foreign language such as Spanish because it will be helpful to them in furthering their career goals-many jobs almost require applicants to be bilingual. Still other foreign language learners want the intellectual challenge of learning a second language such as Latin. Young children who learn a second language either through a course or total immersion have better overall language acquisition skills and better understanding of their native tongue.

As stated previously, there are many tools that are available to teach a foreign language like Greek or French in a home school setting. Some are free or very inexpensive, while others are quite expensive-but also very highly rated and comprehensive in scope. The types of materials that you use should be influenced not only by your budget, but also by your ultimate goals for foreign language study. If you would like to buy one of the more expensive foreign language programs or curricula, you may want to consider teaming up with another home school family or group and sharing not only the materials but possibly even the instruction time as well. You could organize a group or club of Spanish, German, French or other foreign language speakers and get together for practice and cultural activities.

It is important in foreign language study that you do not rely on audio tapes, DVDs and online courses for all of your interactive instruction.  This will not allow for live feedback or discussion. If you do not speak the foreign language that you are teaching, you might want to consider enlisting the help of a friend, family member or even a tutor to assist you, so that you can get those skills that you cannot get on audio tapes, DVDs or online courses. This may be incentive to study one of the more common languages such as Spanish, French or German-you will be more likely to find someone who speaks it.

That said, some of the online courses, audio tapes and DVDs are very highly rated and can be extremely helpful in teaching foreign language skills, such as rote practice, pronunciation, and grammar. Regional differences in accents and grammar may be problems that you encounter if you use a tutor.  Also those programs such as online courses, audio tapes and DVDs usually have workbooks, texts and other activities to supplement the media based instruction.

Spanish, French, Italian and German and some of the other "modern" foreign language courses are quite prevalent on the internet and in textbook and curriculum packages. This is because they are some of the most commonly sought after. There are also a number of home school associations and other groups which provide free or low cost Spanish, French, Italian and German lessons online with printable materials such as worksheets to use.

Greek and Latin and some of the ancient languages are harder to find curriculum for, but they are available. Many of the Greek courses have a religious component with the goal being to help students understand the Bible. Latin courses may concentrate on word origin. The study of Greek or Latin can be a valuable tool for those who want to go into careers which require them to have command of languages and also writing and speech.

One of the products that you may not be aware of in the world of foreign language instruction for home school is English as a Second Language. If you are home schooling, or would like to, and you want to learn English as a Second Language as part of your curriculum, there are materials which are available for home use. This may be a more effective choice for some families and individuals than the English as a Second Language programs offered at schools or through communities. Or, it may be useful to get the English as a Second Language curriculum to supplement those programs.

Any home school foreign language program can easily be combined with other curriculum areas such as cultural studies, geography, and even science. Rather than teaching a language as an isolated skill, teach it in a meaningful and connected way.

Foreign language acquisition will always be useful whether you use it in travel or career, or in everyday life.
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