Kids who already know a foreign language are much better prepared for college. But not everyone is lucky enough to have an German uncle to teach them to speak German, or Russian immigrants a couple of doors down who love the idea of sharing their language and culture with neighborhood kids. How about the rest of us who want our young children to learn a foreign language, and in particular, the homeschooling families who don’t have public school resources to take advantage of?
There are several options for parents seeking to teach their middle schoolers a foreign language, but they do require some research first to find the best fit for your family. In addition, to an actual curriculum, foreign language games are also a great way to help your child learn a new language too. Some children begin foreign language classes in elementary school, when the brain is most receptive to new languages, so if you’re starting in middle school, keep this in mind.
The best way to develop fluency is for the child to speak and hear the language daily, but that isn’t always possible. If relatives of yours speak Spanish, then obviously this is an easier choice to teach your child over French, which the child would never have a chance to practice. The more your child can interact with a native or fluent speaker, the better.
Along those same lines, speaking the language with another person is much preferable over speaking it into a computer. Many of the available computer programs are excellent, but reciting vocabulary words to yourself or the computer just doesn’t give the same quality of feedback as if you were speaking them to another person.
If you or someone in your family isn’t a fluent speaker of the language you want to teach, and you can’t find a native speaker to tutor your kids either, then foreign language curricula are your only real alternative, and while not ideal, they do get the job done. Check your local library also for language resources to help along the way, and above all, stick with it!