Being bilingual can be a handy life skill. Most homeschooling parents do not feel qualified enough to teach a foreign language to their children – and this is understandable. Not everyone has the skills to teach a foreign language. Most high schools require about two years of foreign language study. Many colleges will ask for two to three years. Be prepared to invest time and money to meet these high school foreign language study requirements. If your child is enthusiastic about learning a foreign language, you may have an easier time because they will take the initiative to master the language. Your role is to help them succeed. We know that this can be tricky and challenging. Read on to learn tips, tricks, and hacks on homeschooling high school foreign language.
Benefits of homeschooling a foreign language
There are several benefits of homeschooling foreign language;
- Learning a foreign language improves career options – A multilingual person has a higher chance of being employed in different places than one who speaks only one language. You can travel to far-off places for work since you comprehend and communicate in their language.
- Sometimes it is a pre-requisite for graduation – Some states require that high school students take at least two years of foreign language and have a transcript to show they passed before graduation.
- It improves your language skills as a whole – Learning a new language requires you to understand the basics first. As you study the grammar of a foreign language, you will also improve your English grammar comprehension.
- It makes it easy to socialize and make new friends – When you travel and meet people in a foreign country, you are likely to make acquaintances fast if you understand and speak their language. Many people appreciate that foreigners take the time to learn their language and culture.
How to homeschool foreign language
Here are tips to help you homeschool high school foreign language smoothly;
Tailor the language to their interests
Do not dictate which foreign language your child will study. Sure, you can offer suggestions but the final decision lies with your child. Different foreign languages have differing degrees of difficulty. For instance, the learning curve for the Chinese language is steeper than for Spanish. There is a lot to consider before settling on a language.
Your child has an idea of what they want to learn. When they choose a foreign language to study without coercion from you they will be motivated and eager to get started. This will make your job easier. Your role is to support them in whatever they decide to do.
If they are not eager to learn a foreign language (even when it is a mandatory requirement) you have to use ingenious methods to help them get credit. This requires finding creative ways to help them learn. You can buy exciting books or subscribe to interesting programs that capture their attention. Kids with foreign language skills have better chances of joining good colleges than those who do not possess such skills.
Start exposing your kids to foreign languages early. Their skills and mastery will improve over time. We are not discouraging students who start learning a foreign language when they are older. They will have a tougher time than those who have been studying for several years. Starting early gives them an edge and makes it easier to comprehend and speak confidently.
Use online programs
It is hard to narrow down to one specific online foreign language study program because each program is unique. Online programs can come in handy when homeschooling on a budget. Examples of such programs include social media platforms (like YouTube) and peer-reviewed content platforms (like Reddit). Be attentive to the content your kids see and hear when learning a foreign language online.
Pair up with a language partner
Nothing works better than having a study (language partner) when learning a foreign language. A language partner will keep you on your toes and ensure you practice the language daily. The best way to grasp mastery of a new language is to speak it frequently. If possible, find a local who understands all the nuances of the language your child wants to learn. They will correct the child whenever they make a mistake and offer more information concerning the language and the culture – something you cannot get from a textbook.
Insist that they speak the foreign language at all times (or most times) when they are with your child. If there is no one to practice speaking the foreign language with, chances are that your child will not retain the language, no matter how much you spend on various language programs. Learning a new language is like learning a new skill. You have to practice the skill to prevent losing mastery.
Hire a tutor
Hiring a foreign language tutor may be expensive but it is the best option when you want your child to grasp mastery of the language faster. A tutor can also become a language partner. The tutor’s goal is to ensure your child learns the new language faster and is comfortable speaking effortlessly. The downside to hiring a tutor is that they can be expensive. You can also look for virtual schools online. These schools may be more affordable than hiring a private tutor because your child will be studying in a classroom setting remotely.
Join a homeschooling coop
Homeschooling coops help homeschoolers take advantage of the skills other homeschoolers possess within the group. There may be a parent who knows the foreign language your child wants to learn. Homeschooling coops save you money because you will be exchanging skills in return.
Use relevant resources
There are numerous resources and avenues to explore when learning a new language. Most of these resources are free or affordable. For instance, the kid can watch movies, read books, play games, and answer quizzes using flashcards. However, not all resources or programs will help you achieve your goal. You need to find the right resources. Check out the reviews from people who have utilized these resources to figure out whether these resources are viable.
Although almost every college and university in the world use English as an instructional language, others have unique language requirements for admission. If your child insists on studying in a particular college check the foreign language restrictions and get them started on learning the foreign language as soon as possible.
If your child is traveling abroad for studies or an exchange program, learning the language of the country where the college is located might be useful for their survival.
Invest time to learn the language
I’m sure you have come across numerous adverts that promise to help you master a foreign language by learning for only 15 minutes a day. This is not realistic. Once you have chosen the language, you need to invest time to learn everything about the language, the people, and the culture if you want to master the language. This means utilizing every possible time to speak, research, or do something to help you comprehend the new language faster.
Watch movies, TV shows, or programs in that language (preferably with English subtitles), read books and listen to music and audiobooks. Incorporate learning the new language into everything. There is a difference between understanding a language and being able to speak one clearly and confidently.
Travel to get real-life experience
This may be an extreme measure but if your family loves traveling schedule a trip to a country where the foreign language your child is learning is spoken widely. This will expose them to real-life experiences. They will learn the culture, listen to the natives’ talk, and put their skills to the test.
The tips we have highlighted here assume that you do not comprehend the foreign language your child wants to learn. If you understand the language you can easily impart what you know to them and most challenges mentioned here would not apply to you. When homeschooling a foreign language for high school as a beginner you will face numerous hurdles. Besides getting the credit needed for high school or college, learning a foreign language is an asset to your child. It is a life skill with many benefits including career progression and interacting with new people. You will invest time and money (hiring tutors, buying resources, etc.) to help your child learn a foreign language. Whether the child is learning the language as a requirement for high school credit or not, the tips discussed here will put you on the right path to homeschooling foreign language for high school correctly.