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Go Back   BHM Forum > Homesteading > Education/Homeschool

Education/Homeschool Homeschooling, adult education, teaching self-reliance, and anything else education-related.

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  #1  
Old 08-15-2010, 06:10 AM
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Steve_L Male Steve_L is offline
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Default Foreign Language for Homeschool

My goal is to retire, start a homestead, and homeschool my now three year old daughter.

I want to teach her a foreign language. It pretty much means I have to learn the language too!

But which language?
* Japanese: Most of the foreign stuff I want to read (technical papers) is in Japanese. Japanese has the disadvantage of being far more difficult to learn than any Western European language. Good for me, but how is this good for the little girl?

* German: There are a few old physics books that don't have an English translation that I'd like to read. Not much in the last 50 years worth reading. Again, Good for me, but how is this good for the little girl?

* French: I know a little French, at one time I was able to read French newspapers and magazines and watch French language movies. But all the older generation of my folks have died off; they were all francophones. I don't know of anyone who speaks French that would be worth the bother of learning the language to converse. So, other than I can pick it up again quickly, why?

* Latin: A dead language, but being one of the root languages of English, it helps to improve one's SAT scores for college entrance. :-D

* Spanish: Important because of the changing demographics of the country where a flood of illegal aliens ... er, undocumented workers... who don't speak English are taking up residence, which creates a demand for people to speak "Western Hemisphere" Spanish to interact and provide services to this group. Think "Job opportunities". Practical, but smacks of contributing to the open border problem by making it easier for aliens who entered illegally to function and stay in this country.

Any thoughts? What language would be best? Don't say Chinese. There isn't any such language. China speaks about 7 different versions of "Chinese".
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2010, 11:26 AM
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Laura Laura is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_L View Post
My goal is to retire, start a homestead, and homeschool my now three year old daughter.

I want to teach her a foreign language. It pretty much means I have to learn the language too!

Rosetta Stone is the stuff!! They have a great program.

But which language?
* Japanese: Most of the foreign stuff I want to read (technical papers) is in Japanese. Japanese has the disadvantage of being far more difficult to learn than any Western European language. Good for me, but how is this good for the little girl?

* German: There are a few old physics books that don't have an English translation that I'd like to read. Not much in the last 50 years worth reading. Again, Good for me, but how is this good for the little girl?

* French: I know a little French, at one time I was able to read French newspapers and magazines and watch French language movies. But all the older generation of my folks have died off; they were all francophones. I don't know of anyone who speaks French that would be worth the bother of learning the language to converse. So, other than I can pick it up again quickly, why?

* Latin: A dead language, but being one of the root languages of English, it helps to improve one's SAT scores for college entrance. :-D

* Spanish: Important because of the changing demographics of the country where a flood of illegal aliens ... er, undocumented workers... who don't speak English are taking up residence, which creates a demand for people to speak "Western Hemisphere" Spanish to interact and provide services to this group. Think "Job opportunities". Practical, but smacks of contributing to the open border problem by making it easier for aliens who entered illegally to function and stay in this country.

Any thoughts? What language would be best? Don't say Chinese. There isn't any such language. China speaks about 7 different versions of "Chinese".
If *I* taught my children a different language? It would be with the Rosetta Stone program and it would be Spanish and Arabic.
Why?
Like it or not the illegals are taking over, and I can either learn to communicate or get left behind. In the southern US states if you don't speak spanish, you are a rare bird!
Like it or not, Arabic is going to come in handy. I would rather know what they are saying than not. And it will come down to that.

For me personally?
I would love to learn Hebrew and Greek.
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  #3  
Old 08-15-2010, 01:02 PM
bookwormom bookwormom is offline
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You phrase that a little odd. How is a foreign language good for a little girl? She is not going to be a little girl forever. a small child will l earn any language a lot easier and faster than at any other time in life. If you want to teach her a foreign language, start now. you can teach her two if you can keep up with it.

I would go with Spanish. Constantly I hear it, (okay, whenever I am out) and do not understand a word. Frustrating. It just might come in handy.
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:36 AM
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Spanish is a good choice but my homeschooled daughter chose French. I wasn't really worried about what language she chose as long as she chose one she could continue in high school/college to satisfy requirements.
We used Rosetta Stone so she learned independently...no need for me to learn it too since German and Latin were what I studied. We love Rosetta Stone...it's an amazing program.
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2010, 12:58 PM
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I've tried an old Rosetta stone demo disk and liked it. However, I've heard bad things about the license requirements, how it is "one user", and how you have trouble transferring it to another computer or reloading it after a hard disk crash. So, I don't want to buy that.
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2010, 07:28 PM
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We bought the newest version and had no trouble loading it on two computers. I'm not terribly worried about reselling it...the learning my daughter is getting is well worth the cost.
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  #7  
Old 08-16-2010, 08:36 PM
Paddy Male Paddy is offline
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Thumbs up hmmm.

Steve,

This is a question that I have wrestled with too in the context of homeschooling. The language choices to make available to children can depend on their aptitude for language acquisition, the age at which they begin to learn, their personal interests, their religious choices and background, or idiosyncratic reasons no more objective than 'it sounds prettier than others'.

I think it is good that you consider it vitally important to learn the language yourself, but it is not necessary as there are other options. Community homeschool groups often share responsibility for teaching different subjects since adults naturally specialise in specific subjects. You could be part of one of those groups and gain language education for your daughter while contributing to the group using your own skills and talents. Or, if you wanted to pay for tutoring services, you could go that route too.

Back to criteria for choosing: the most important one will be what the child prefers, and hopefully enjoys. Language learning can be a burden if it is not done well. Adults as well as children have to see the value in the results before putting forth effort; this is true even with first language acquisition.

Another good criteria is: how many people currently use the language, and is that number growing?

Here are some links that provide statistics on languages by numbers of users:
http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ative_speakers
http://www.photius.com/rankings/languages2.html

Purely for the sake of talking to large quantities of people, a popular Chinese dialect (Beijing?), Castillian Spanish with exposure to American Spanish vocabulary, Arabic, Hindi, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, or German are good choices. These are all also good choices in the business world.

One final criteria to consider: how much reading material in the language is available, and is it interesting? Do newspapers and magazines as well as literature and academic works get regularly published in the language?

This one is less objective, but it is still something to consider. Arabic, German, Spanish, Russian, Classical Latin and French are all 'literary languages' in history or are so at this time in addition to English.
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  #8  
Old 08-19-2010, 02:39 PM
High_Desert High_Desert is offline
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Steve,

We have struggled with this also. Our daughters are 3 & 5. In the end we chose Latin as it's the basis for the romantic languages as we understand it.

Best Regards,
HD
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2010, 02:21 AM
keydl keydl is offline
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I think that most of China speaks 2-3 variations, their local and the trade ( can't remember which is which ) not entirely separate as they share the written.

The languages spoken in the sandbox are in demand and will be for a while, again most people can work in more than one language.

About the time your youngster makes complete sentences is the best time to start, that way they can think in either or all.

When my daughter was learning the transition from words to sentences I had a couple of crews that preferred Tex-Mex and a neighbor that thought in German that took a shine to her, so she had 3 ways to explain the error of your ways by the time she was 6, when she got to college a foreign language was required so it was Castillion Spanish for less effort, the last year German was on the offered list and the credits saved a year of school so she tested for 2 semesters of German. The son did not have any exposure to other languages and really worked hard to get the credits.

So your daughter will have an easier time than you learning even 2 languages and your big point is which you want to learn. After you get the trade words and customs another way is to go where the language used and teach English. A friend is in western China teaching English for that reason. Saving money too.
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  #10  
Old 11-20-2010, 03:48 AM
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I wouldn't presume to suggest a "best" language. They all have their merits and you've enumerated them well. In my experience, learning to read languages, there's not a lot of difference in difficulty level. Speaking them, however is a whole different matter, at least for me, from a matter of training myself to actually pronounce the sounds properly. German came relatively easily, as did Spanish. Russian and Norwegian, not so much. Icelandic, forget it! BTW, German is the only thing I'm even close to being functionally fluent in. The others, except Russian (still working with) and Spanish (never developed a serious interest), were just brief experiments gone bad.

As for software, Rosetta Stone is great. Also, online livemocha.com is very similar in function, offers a bunch of languages and is free. I also used some of the Pimsleur CDs and really liked them. The BBC (I think) has some fairly extensive free Eurpoean language lessons that are good and are free. Berlitz also has some worthwhile stuff.

I found that I could sit down with any of these resources and learn a few words. However, to really get them to start to sink in, I had to immerse myself in the language from as many sources as possible. Listening to Internet radio stations, news broadcasts, any source I could find to pick up on the cadences, inflections, all the nuances involved in a language. That was the best I could come up with, not being able to spend time in an area where people were speaking the language.

Re: your comments on Spanish, a few years ago I got pulled over driving through New Mexico. There were two state troopers in the car, who I believe were Hispanic. They spoke perfect English to me, but when they were talking about me to each other, it was in Spanish. Nothing came of it, but for about 20 minutes I seriously wished I could understand Spanish. It might be handy to be able to understand the Spanish that's coming into the country, but you don't necessarily have to let anybody know that you understand it.

Whatever language or languages you choose to pursue, I'd recommend the bombardment approach I mentioned and I wish you the best!
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  #11  
Old 11-20-2010, 05:21 AM
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I learned pig latin from the 3 stooges.
Never looked very good on my resume.
Fun to confuse poeple with, tho.
If you dont mind acting juvenile. I dont. ;-)
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  #12  
Old 11-21-2010, 05:09 AM
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Steve,
One thing to remember with Spanish is to make sure the program is conversational latin America and not formal Spanish. I have known a few people who had years of formal Spanish in HS and college but had to teach themselves Spanish to communicate with the new citizens of this country(LOL). I had to take 2 years of it in HS brain dumped it IMO if you live here you speak English if you want my money or my business ask me in English. I have heard that if you learn one of the "romantic" languages early in life it is easy to learn the others since the rules of the languages all are about the same unlike English which is supposedly the hardest to learn because the rules make no sense.
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  #13  
Old 11-21-2010, 08:55 AM
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I also say, at the absolute minimum, American conversational Spanish.
I recall reading that the last official count by the Mexican government had something like 100-million Mexicans living in the U.S. Of course, this doesn't count Latinos from other countries and it seems to belie our own government's official word (choking back laughter). After living in several sections of the country, I believe the Mexicans. I believe we must get ready for an approach to language and culture similar to what the Canadians have evolved, except with Spanish instead of French. As you probably know, it's already a defacto situation in vast regions of this country.

Best wishes and prayer here for you and your kids.
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  #14  
Old 11-22-2010, 09:43 AM
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I had a professor who claimed that Spanish in the US was a "slave language", used to keep a minority oppressed by keeping them from learning English.

Maybe.

I think what might be best for the little girl is ... Latin, because knowing Latin helps to improve the verbal score on the SAT.

I can't think of anyone in any other language with which she might want to speak.

Oh well. I got Rosetta Stone for Latin American Spanish because I may have to go to South America.. It's alright, but not worth the money. There are other programs out there that pretty much do the same thing for a LOT less money.
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:48 PM
grumble Male grumble is offline
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I vote Spanish.

A foreign language is a perishable thing, especially the verb conjugations. I think it is a bit silly to have a kid learn a language just for the college admission requirements. It should be used, and the more often, the better.

If you lived near Quebec, or in Louisiana, maybe French would be the way to go, it would prove useful and could be practiced. For the rest of the US, there are radio and TV stations that broadcast in Spanish, not to mention LOTS of people who speak it as a first language. Like basic math, a language is something that should help a person forever.
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Old 11-28-2010, 02:34 AM
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I'm leaning towards Latin, as it helps with SAT verbal scores.
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  #17  
Old 11-28-2010, 08:46 AM
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Check out the livemocha web page for an introduction to Latin or about any other language you may want to expose the young one to. Perhaps due to an almost bilingual childhood exposure to Spanish and it's Romance roots, I've not seen much practical benefit coming from my collegiate brushes with Latin-- maybe even less practical yield than from Koine which has seen minimal use. I've derived more functional use of other languages from the free livemocha sites than from any other sources. Again, good luck.

oeb
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Old 03-02-2011, 03:10 AM
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We opted to teach ours German. We had a good computer program. We learned a considerable amount with the kids. The kids informed us that the dialect we knew was not "good German". Of course we knew it wasn't, but seeing as we are from a German background, that's what we wanted our kids to learn.

If it weren't for that, I would surely choose Spanish. It's not going away. Who would have ever thought that here in the United States of America we would have to be given a choice of if we want English or Spanish when calling a company such as a credit card?

Press Uno for Spanish and 2 for English??? Afraid we'll soon see it as a requirement to get employed to be able to converse with the hispanics on the job in their language instead of them having to learn English.
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:54 AM
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Spanish is a very easy language. She should be learning it now if you can help her.

About latin/greek. There's an educational card game called Rummy Roots that is AWESOME for kids. It will greatly help them in life with the English language and vocabulary. Start playing it with her around age 7/8. I can't say enough about the game. It's even better than curriculum and texts like " English From the Roots Up". My kids loved their Latin/Greek curriculum and games. I would highly suggest it to every homeschooler.

http://www.rainbowresource.com/produ...402078-1365088

http://www.amazon.com/English-Roots-.../dp/0964321033
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:01 PM
Paddy Male Paddy is offline
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_L View Post
I'm leaning towards Latin, as it helps with SAT verbal scores.
No need.

http://www.amazon.com/Greek-Latin-Ro.../dp/0742547809

That will do it for kids for the purpose of understanding that layer in our vocabulary, and in helping them with formal testing like the SAT.

I studied classical Latin starting in middle school, amongst other languages, and Tamara Green's book did far more for our class in SAT testing.
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