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Teaching Tips ▼

~~ Homeschool Teaching Tips ~~


ELECTIVES MAKE LEARNING FUN!

Is your family learning a new language, taking an art class, playing a musical instrument, or working on some other type of elective?

Share how you incorporate Electives into your homeschool or teaching tips on what works for you with our community, and get a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Our winner will be randomly drawn from posts that are entered during ELECTIVES Month.

We will do the drawing at the beginning of each month for posts in the prior month, and announce the winner in the Co-op newsletter. Your posts will remain on this page to provide ideas and inspiration to other homeschool teachers! (Need help?)


bethmg

Most of our electives fall into the VAPA category (visual and performing arts) and include choir, piano and voice lessons, ceramics, acting, and dance. My 12- and 14-year old really enjoy the "Shakespeare for Homeschoolers" class they take at a local theater. My son also loves tech and has taken some Youth Digital classes. And Mango Languages has been our go-to source for conversational Japanese. Our local library has some amazing workshops for teens, including 3D printing (taught by a JPL engineer) which has become a serious interest for my son.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

crissy

My 7th grade son who will be 13 in Dec enjoys exercising, art, music, learning about computer programming, astronomy, electricity, and wants to learn French. So this year I've blocked off approximately 3 hours of time in the afternoon following the main subjects for him to pursue those interests. The exceptions to this are French which will be covered twice a week before lunch by alternating it with critical thinking skills (also covered twice a week), art with Mark Kistler Virtual on Tuesday night (because currently we live overseas with and 8 hr EST time difference) and astronomy at night (when he wants). On Fridays he will have more time to pursue his interests since we won't be covering some of the core subjects (ie Language Arts) unless necessary.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

HisChild4Ever

To teach foreign language, we use it while out and about shopping. We also love teaching/learning nature class, especially when the weather is warmer. I use Holly Giles' curriculum called, "Blaze New Trails".

3 years ago · Like · Comment

JFocused247

We take group piano lessons, sing in the church youth choir, and use a free ap on the tablet for Spanish lessons. We use the library for studying famous artists and for drawing lessons. Our library also has a homeschool art show once a year which helps motivate us to create something unique and special to put on display.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

Robin87

I discovered last year that we just didn't get outside enough, and for my two boys who homeschool and their younger sisters it's very important. I have one nature boy who could collect rocks and look at leaves (but not hike) all day. So we've started a nature study, which many people do! We draw, learn about plants and animals, tracking, survival skills... But mostly we wander around!

3 years ago · Like · Comment

tltorrez

This is our first year home schooling but I let my 8th grader choose what he wanted to do for music (playing tracks on different instruments and learning to layer them in Audacity) and art (focus on Escher and learning to draw illusions). We also worked together to choose game-making software for his technology track.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

mommy5boysm

With 5 boys ages 2-13, I try to find ways to incorporate electives that we can all do together. We have been enjoying cooking lessons with Daddy, as well as woodworking. Another great resource has been a ukulele course created by my friend that all of my boys can enjoy. My older boys have started Rosetta Stone Homeschool French-having an online program is very helpful for this mom of many!

3 years ago · Like · Comment

LuvMyKiddos

I've started taking some of my son's potential career interests and done a toned down college 101 type class at home. These classes and texts often serve as an introduction to a topic and are a great way to introduce my son to the material he will study should he decided to pursue a particular route. We look forward to doing this with criminal justice this coming school year.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

melrose

We take c classes outside of our home from local museums etc.We also have a small co-op once a week where we do music, art, and science. My daughter's also participate in a local choir. Sometimes I feel like maybe we do too many electives!

4 years ago · Like · Comment

BNMom

We started a co-op with four other families that met once a week. We have done subjects such as Creative Writing (EIW), Government, Art (Meet the Masters), and most recently Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace. We usually pick two subjects and split it over the two hour time slot. We have done it a couple ways where we rotate teaching or the other way - just have one mom teach one subject and another mom the other subject with help from the other moms as needed. The second approach helps with consistency. We do field trips -related and nonrelated - to what we are studying to add spice to our co-op. We have periodic quizzes with small prizes (usually candy) and then at the end we do a "final" with top three scores earning gift certificates ($15, $10, $5 (or a larger prize in a similar denomination).
We've done this for 4 years now. Our families have shifted a bit but we find it helpful for them to have peer review of their work plus the moms appreciate the conversational interaction both for ourselves and our kids - bouncing ideas off of each other and challenging ideas.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Sarah

This will be our first year homeschooling, so we have no experience as of yet, but here is our plan: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, will be Home Ec. We will do a variety of things: Monday, the weekly baking; Tuesday and Thursday, working in the garden or even chores when helpful. Wednesday will be Music: basic rudiments of music, learning scales on the keyboard, and eventually beginner's book in piano. Friday will be Art and this is where I will struggle because I'm not an artist at all... But we will try to incorporate our art projects with whatever content we are currently studying.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Wells

We like to incorporate our children's interests into their electives. Our daughter loves dance and gymnastics, so we have pursued this with her. Our preschooler loves trains, so as a way to keep him learning we learn about trains together. ..the different types, how they work, how fast they can go, the importance of trains in history (basic). It has been a blast for him, but has been a lot of fun for all of us since we learn together. We also pursue any learning moment, so we explore mini-electives as they come up. If our children have questions or interests we like to turn those into learning moments. Rather than a quick answer we delve in and explore it, we may take a day or a month exploring what peaked their interest. It has been a wonderful way to show our children that all questions are worthwhile and education isn't just from a text it is all around us in our world.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

kimlewis13

We do interst led electives, such as computer programming for my oldest son, my little guy is only 5, so arts and crafts galore! and my middle daughter loves art, so we incorporate art projects with art history, etc. We all are learnign Spanish, and all play tennis, swim, etc.!

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Brandie

The kids plant gardens at home and go to sewing class with a neighbor out of her home. Art with daddy on the weekends and online art with Mark Kistler. As well as computer programing with great programs like Mod design through your site.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

S19K

Since my daughter is only 5, it can be a bit of a challenge to incorporate electives. I have to pay attention to what her interests are, then introduce concepts or ideas that may interest her. I often leave books, videos, etc., around so she can discover them on her own.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

pathojenn

We have tried many approaches to teaching electives through the years. I have 2 in middle school now and I let them choose their electives and then we invite their friends over each week for electives. It is empowering for them to share their passion for a subject with like-minded people and it keeps us all motivated to keep moving forward. Electives are the easiest subject to push off until another day. It is really hard to procrastinate if you have another family ringing the doorbell at 2pm and ready to participate in art, math club, etc. Being accountable to another family has helped us not get derailed.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

PattyC

My son is in High School and we let him pick Electives that are things he is interested in. He decided he wanted to learn Russian and for a full year I put him off, because I didn't think it would last. Then I told him to look up some you tube videos. He found some he liked and before I knew it, he had gone through all they had to offer. So now we are on more structured book. He also is into computers, so he is looking into different computer curriculum. We have also had him spending time each week with someone from our church who is giving him some great hands on experience working on computers. I love the flexibility homeschooling provides to really tailor their education to each child individually.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

dbesmart

We are part of 4-H which a wonderful program run through department of Agriculture. In our county there are several clubs. For us, we are part of sewing club, archery club, to name a few. It encourages kids to learn leadership skills along with life skills by offering different programs/events throughout the year from county to state events. Some of what my daughter participated in last year was a trip to the state capitol, she sang at the State fair and due to that sang National Anthem at UF baseball game, learned cpr, attended some great summer camps which involved traveling the county to learn about foods and how they grow for nutrition, life sciences with gardening/insects camps. The list is endless and the best part is we do these things together since 4h encourages family. We use Wii fit and go to library to find books for craft, science experiments to do and keep an eye on the events they hold for kids in the community. We have some special dietary needs and have made the kitchen a great place to bake/cook together and she has now taken on several recipes on her own. We plan on entering her in choir in the afterschool program the school offers and whatever else they offer that she can attend. Hope this helps other find fun thru learning with their kids :)

4 years ago · Like · Comment

readtogrow

How do we learn electives? Learn it with them! Learn a language together, learn to knit together, learn to cook
together. If it's a skill you already have, take it deeper and work on it while your kids are learning it at their level.
Modeling active learning, side by side, is powerful. And awesome...because who doesn't want to learn something new.
It works and it's fun!

4 years ago · Like · Comment

jb6pack

We have 6 wonderful blessings from God. Our music electives are Piano and Guitar, we teach using YouTube instructors.
HomeEc: I teach them how to cook family meals, and we are using YouTube to teach them how to sew. Gym: Karate Class.
Art: we use different tools, from YouTube, to http://www.learn-to-draw.com/
We are letting our children pick their foreign language this year, and we will also be learning.
YouTube is the way to go with How TO's.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Jen120983

My daughter is in preschool so electives are all about exposure at this point. She is a part of everything I do which includes sewing, crafts and home improvement projects. She loves helping so I try to allow her to be hands on in everything we do.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

wildzootv

Most of the time we do our electives during the summer time - we keep it fun, something they are interested in and also still inject a variety of different subjects to get a taste of new things.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

dawgwife

All I can say for adding electives through the elementary school years is CO-OP, CO-OP, CO-OP! I can't say enough about how getting involved in a co-op has benefited our family.
We also added 4-H activities this last year, which has a surprisingly large variety of activities from animals, cooking, clothing, shooting sports, and robotics!
Apps for design and programming have also help keep my kids interested in adding to their electives list.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Smith Home School

I let the children decide for a large part then I will introduce what I feel would be good for them for experiences.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

jenrayn

I am homeschooling both of my daughters and of course they have different interests. My oldest helps a veterinarian manage a herd of goats that are kept at our house and she goes on some house calls with the veterinarian as well. My youngest loves to build/make things and do different experiments. I subscribed her to Tinker Crate, which provides a monthly package with a project that requires some type of assembly, for example, she made a little diode lamp. They provide a "tinker zine" that explains the science and history behind the project and provides DIY projects related to what was sent for the month.
Both of my daughters love to draw. They draw daily using their imaginations, inspiration from characters in books they've read or pictures they've seen online, they watch video tutorials from online sources, and some weekends my husband who is an artist, will sit with them and have art time!
I have quite a few plans for the near future, but we can only do so much at a time!
I'm enjoying the ideas from the comments.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

TSR

When it comes to electives I let my kids choose what they want to learn above their normal classwork. My daughter has decided to learn piano, and beginning computer programing. I did get both kids involved in Kenpo, after much fussing about having to take the classes, they both really love taking the class and have been disappointed in that they are missing a couple of classes due to vacation. In reality I try to let them choose, sometimes they have to give a honest try at a elective that I might choose and if they then want to continue we do.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Wendy G.

Last year I signed my boys up with a local artist who was providing small classes for homeschool. They were able to experiment with painting, collage, clay and other materials that I did not have the expertise to provide for them at home. We also attended a coop on Fridays where they took a cooking and sewing class. I was not sure that my 8 and 9 year old boys would be crazy about sewing, but I have never had a machine at home. They loved the idea of using a machine for sewing and learned how to make some simple projects.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Patty M

Over the years, I find that electives have to stay simple and part of the routine. Often I save electives for the summer (when the kids were younger). I would let them choose an animal to study for the summer and create a display. In high school, the kids give me input on what extras they want to study, and we make it part of their school day. We have a large family, so any electives that involve an outside commitment are limited to 1 or 2. Another thing that has worked, is to team up with 1 other family to do the elective with. It allows accountability but also flexibility when illness or life events come up.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

MandiM

Any one have any familiarity with FluentU.com? It puts foreign language videos from YouTube from the foreign country (Germany in my case) with subtitles. The whole things can be paused and rewound if you are missing what the people are saying. I was thinking of combining it with a German text book (Deutsch Aktuell: Level 1).

4 years ago · Like · Comment

BK

As a linguist by trade I love when my kids pick up snippets of languages. My son chose to learn ASL a couple years ago and he did very well. This year we are starting Latin for the whole family. Eventually I hope to incorporate more languages while they are still young enough to pick it up super quick. I suggest starting with recognition, writing and pronunciation of the alphabet of the chosen language along with songs (days of the week, months, happy birthday, etc.). Second, writing, listening and repeating of commonly used phrases before starting the tougher stuff and learning rules.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

jdspunkin

We have started learning Latin with our CC community. It is a gateway for learning so many others and my girls LOVE it! Sing Song Latin is in our near future.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Ledesma4

This will be our first year to start learning Spanish as an elective. My son wants to be as fluent as his father, and I'm excited to learn right along with him!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Gingam

We don't do a foreign language just yet but we are learning sign language using Signing Time. My kids love it!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Lizmom

I enjoyed the many online resources to help my child learn Latin in layers. She took weekly lessons from her grandmother, then used youtube videos and especially this site for exercises that go along with her Wheelock's book. http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/latin/wheelock/

5 years ago · Like · Comment

c paint

Foreign language: I have been teaching Latin to my family for several years through Memoria Press' Prima Latina, Latina Christiana I and II, and the First Form series. I like the way my children can decode new vocabulary words in other content areas based on what they are learning in Latin. It has also been fun to look up specific Bible passages in the Latin Bibles available online. A couple years ago(when we were studying renaissance/reformation history) we looked up the Latin Vulgate of Romans 1 verse "the just shall live by faith" and translated it 4 or 5 ways. Then we paraphrased our translations into smoother English. Latin applies to most every subject, and even reading the inscriptions on many monuments and buildings. Latin also gives a wonderful reinforcement to English grammar. I love that our curriculum is written for a teacher who does not have Latin background. The workbook exercises are never busy work - the exercises really enhance understanding.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Kayakkaren

We used Bridge to the Latin Road for English. It incorporates learning a lot of Latin words along with the intensive grammar work. We had some interesting discussions on the literal translation of the Latin compared to the English definition.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

BrendaSue

Electives: I'm always on the hunt to provide learning of interest to the kids, so I try to talk with each of them often about their interests and how we can support their passions. Whether it's a photography or art class, we make time for it and try to hook into that interest whenever possible in as many other subjects as possible.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

MontanaGlories

Last school year we started Rosetta Stone homeschool for Spanish. We even decided to sign up Dad, but have yet to encourage him to start :) What I love about this program is that I am terrible with speaking and hearing Spanish but I don't have to worry about it, the program can hear my children, and myself, and correct our pronunciation! Everyday my 5 and 8 yr olds manage their own Spanish lesson, while I work with the other child on something needing individual attention. It is wonderful!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

shj

My kids all love Rosetta Stone homeschool. They were all talking to each other in Spanish within a couple of weeks. My husband and I speak Spanish because we went on Spanish speaking missions for the LDS Church, and we speak Spanish when we don't want the kids to know what we're talking about --- it's our "secret" language. The kids are motivated to learn Spanish so they know what we're talking about!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

shj

My kids all love Rosetta Stone homeschool. They were all talking to each other in Spanish within a couple of weeks. My husband and I speak Spanish because we went on Spanish speaking missions for the LDS Church, and we speak Spanish when we don't want the kids to know what we're talking about --- it's our "secret" language. The kids are motivated to learn Spanish so they know what we're talking about!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

shj

My kids all love Rosetta Stone homeschool. They were all talking to each other in Spanish within a couple of weeks. My husband and I speak Spanish because we went on Spanish speaking missions for the LDS Church, and we speak Spanish when we don't want the kids to know what we're talking about --- it's our "secret" language. The kids are motivated to learn Spanish so they know what we're talking about!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

sweetpea

We'll be using Khan Academy for art this year, a French software package I found at Sam's and a free ASL online program for Sign Language. Both really enjoyed Switched on Schoolhouse's Elementary French program last year and Signing Time on Netflix for ASL.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

KatieT

Hearing and using the language often is key. My brother wanted to be fluent in Spanish, so in addition to a traditional Spanish curriculum he talked in Spanish to anyone he ran into that spoke the language, watched Spanish tv, listened to Spanish radio, and read books in Spanish. He is now completely fluent in Spanish and teaches high school Spanish.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Kiirs

While on a volunteer mission for my church in Texas years ago, I spent a couple of hours per week teaching a free ESL class to a sweet group of Hispanic ladies. They had lived in Texas for some years, but could not speak English much and really wanted to learn. I didn't have any prior ESL experience but just tried to make class fun, and the ladies loved it and learned quickly. For building their vocabulary, I had them divide into two teams and play Pictionary...I'd give them a vocabulary word, and they'd have to draw it and the other team would guess. It was so fun and the ladies loved it and learned so much. I also taught them basic life skills for things they'd need the language for, such as how to properly fill out a check, and more.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Kirstenmomof5

The key to success in any foreign language is starting young and making it fun. We have been blessed to have a Spanish teacher (and homeschool mom) for the last 10 years. All of our children started when they were in elementary school. Most when they were 4 or 5 years old. She makes it fun with lots of hands-on activities, singing, games, and silly stories. She's amazing! Once a week during our school year is all it takes. By the time our 3 older ones got to the rigors of high school, they had a solid foundation and a big vocabulary. Spanish was always fun! Start young and make it fun.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Malena

We are a bilingual home and we teach Spanish at least 3 times a week. We want to make sure the kids are fully bilingual with excellent reading and writing skills and the only way to make sure this happens is to teach Spanish frequently. But it always has to be fun so we include in our learning songs, rhymes and readings that appeal to the kids but at the same time helps them with their learning.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

momof7c

Our co-op has two incredible language teachers - 1 for Mandarin Chinese, and 1 for Spanish. They are both native speakers. There are 3 things they both do that have our children learning. 1st - they both speak ONLY the language they are teaching to the kids during class (unless the kids just can't guess the meaning after several minutes). 2nd - they play lots of games, many of them games native to their country. and 3rd - they introduce native culture (through music, food, celebration of holidays, even exercise) on daily basis. The kids are learning so quickly!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

pianoandkidz

I have found that little children learn very quickly when I use the "diglot weave" method. That is...tell a familiar story such as "Little Red Riding Hood" and begin to substitute the foreign language word for the English words. Eg.: "The big, bad lobo went to the casa of the grandmother". With each telling more words can be substituted. The children love this method and are so excited when they recognize the words.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

CMC-Jan

We learned Spanish in Mexico City in 1977. The school used a method that I use to teach others now. My best tip......learn from someone with the correct accent...it is everything. To teach that we go around a circle (table) repeating a sentence, correctly, that the leader has said. Soon, the focus is on conversation and not stilted memorization and the language just flows. Follow with simple questions being answered, that everyone repeats. Follow up with seeing it written---uses all avenues to the mind. Hear it, say/repeat it, repeat it, answering a simple Q; then write it!!!

8 years ago · Like · Comment
CMC-Jan: we gave each a bowl with 10 pennies....whoever had 10, or the most, at the end of our class, got to shop for a prize....anything spoken w/o good accent/pronunciation had to pay a penalty penny:)
2 people like this. · 8 years ago · Like
CMC-Jan: We bought bilingual Bibles for our kids...hearing sermons preached in English or Spanish, it helped them to see both languages as they were hearing. Nathaniel Bowditch ("Carry On Mr. Bowditch") used a Bible and a dictionary to learn 8+ languages, while he was clerking in a store.!!!
8 years ago · Like

Homeschool Mom 9318

One of my children is now a junior in college. Here's what I learned. Don't decide for your children what foreign language they should study. This is a bad idea all around. They won't have 'ownership' in it. Take a little time to discuss options- perhaps your heritage (Italian, French, or Russian...) would hold more interest since they might see it as part of "who" they are. Also, assess why they are taking it in the first place? I had mine take the obligatory Spanish for two years in highschool. She remembers nothing, and didn't need it in college. Again, I should have allowed her to take the 'heritage' language first. She would have enjoyed it and probably remembered more of it. She may have had a desire to continue with it in college even though it wasn't required. That's my 2 cents worth, with 20 years of homeschooling under my belt.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

kammycats

Here is a fun way to keep the kids from getting too bored while learning a foreign language. Not everyone can afford to subscribe to a foreign language magazine or newspaper, but kids need to see "real"stuff, not just text books. Try going to Ebay and choose a foreign country to look at items. (Notice I did not say BUY- just LOOK!) Kids get a lot of fun looking at items that interest them, but reading the ads in, say, French, Spanish,etc. Imagine their faces when they read about their favorite Pokemon toys in Italian! Here's a hint, however. Be SURE to monitor them or you may be receiving boxes from all over the world (or make sure you hide your Paypal password-lol!) Bonne chance! Buena Suerte!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

linahatcher

Memory is the key to learning language after 5 before 5 it is natural to hear and replicate sounds. So if the kids hear all the sounds you want even in just a isolated sound the formative years of learning they will have all their building blocks for language learning. So I play with my kids mimic my sound. if I say the ( ll ) sound in spanish they mock me. or some kind of click from africa they try it too. once they have all the sounds i need for the language that are not in my native english then I go onto memory words... adding music is helpful too when just doing sounds... so if you are trying to teach chinese for example you can add in the tones too making sure they say them correctly by doing music because it is natural to do tones with music.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Jay3fer

Make it BILINGUAL! In any subject you're learning with your kids, include a few words of the other language. For example, when we were studying frog life cycles, I made a VERY simple "frog life cycle" poster (egg, tadpole, froglet, frog) in our second language! Your kids (and you) gain a lot of relevant vocabulary that way.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

mom with a vision

We are using Rosetta Stone Homeschool Edition in French. My 14 year old son is picking upthe language fast! We also put index cards all over thehouse on objects to better familiarize himself with everyday words. When his dad takes him outside the house he speaks only French to him, and points to things telling him the words in French. The biggest information that hashelped my son is to understand is being explained the fact that their are male and female parts of speech and that has madethings a lot easier. We are also listening to movies, music, and playing board games in Fench. Emmersion is the best way!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Kimberly in Canada

Sing songs in the language you're learning! Children love to sing and they retain words better when set to music.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Kimberly in Canada

Sing songs in the language you're learning! Children love to sing and they retain words better when set to music.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Stacey

One of the most memorable activities we've done with learning a foreign language is have the kids make little children's books in the chosen language. Creating simple sentences that tell a little story, then illustrating the little "book" is loads of fun. It makes the language instantly more practical in their eyes, and gets them learning without even feeling like it. We cut 8.5x11 paper in half and staple pages together for a nice size, but there are so many possibilities with this simple -- but meaningful and effective -- activity.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

covemom

Our family is in the process of learning Mandarin Chinese. Most of all, I think it is important to have a reason for wanting to learn the language! Talk about how many people around the world speak the language, are there communities of people near you who speak it? What countries could you visit once you learn the language? What careers are there that require speaking a foreign language? My tips are: 1. Start as early as possible exposing your children to a foreign language 2. Try to find someone who is a native speaker of the language you are trying to learn. Ask around, you'd be surprised how easy it is to find someone! If you can't find someone to meet with in person, maybe you can set up video calls. 3. Practice daily! 4. Try multiple methods and see what works best (books, video, audio) for each member of your family, or just use a combination. 5. Don't give up! "Slow and steady wins the race!" It's soooo rewarding when you can finally communicate with someone in the foreign language of your choice!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

My children have not yet decided on a language they still have a couple of years before they have to choose, so every Thursday night is cultural night. The children have to pick a country, research food, culture, geography, and fun facts. We pick a menu and cook a meal from that country. Our three children work together to put a presentation to present at dinner time. They also go to Digitaldialects.com and learn how to speak different phrases, food, colors etc...they also like to make flags to put on the table as part of the decor.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Andi

We do calendar time in Italian every morning. I ask what day is today? What is the date? what month, what year, what time is it, how is the weather? They respond in Italian. I use a puppet , whose name is Principessa Primavera ( Princess Spring). They rather talk to the puppet than to me.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Mama Fred

The best way to keep my family active i the language is to find which families, and missionaries, in our church speak the language. For instance, we will try to converse with spanish speaking members. We ask them to correct us and they are usually happy to do so : ) Also, we write cards and letters to our missionaries in Spanish. We ask them to have their members write to us in routine. It is a great way to keep the language active and part of our routine.

8 years ago · Like · Comment
Mama Fred: "routine" should be "return". Sorry about that.
8 years ago · Like

VickiinVA

I like to write notes to my kids in the language they're learning. The 1st we're learning (yes, me too) is German. We also look for trailers in German such as "How to Train Your Dragon". The kids get a real kick out of listening to real Germans speaking. We're also getting them involved in a Lego group and we go online to look for Germans working with Legos. Youtube is a great resource for finding kids speaking in their native tongues.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Happytraveler

so how do I delete a double post?

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Happytraveler

One of the ways that we have "fueled" interest in our children desiring to learn a second language, is by us "endeavoring" to learn a second language. They pick up on our enthusiasm in languages just in our "boldness" in asking perfect strangers how to say "hello" or "Good morning" etc in their mother tongue.

When they were very small Dora the Explorer was a good start. They learned how to say hello in Mandarin from Dora's around the world doll, and then they practiced one day on a Chinese gentleman, who really thought that they could speak Mandarin. We try to make the connection between language and culture, so they eat the food, learn some history and geography from the cultures where the highlighted language is from. When we can, we travel to these places or at least meet people from these Nations.

We are now pretty decent with Spanish, and our youngest is inspired to learn it. Interaction with our neighbors will cement that for our youngest.

Kids are some of the best teachers of other kids in foreign language learning, and they play together so its fun and natural.

I often ask Spanish speaking friends to practice English with me, not with my children. I encourage them to speak Spanish to my children.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Happytraveler

One of the ways that we have "fueled" interest in our children desiring to learn a second language, is by us "endeavoring" to learn a second language. They pick up on our enthusiasm in languages just in our "boldness" in asking perfect strangers how to say "hello" or "Good morning" etc in their mother tongue.

When they were very small Dora the Explorer was a good start. They learned how to say hello in Mandarin from Dora's around the world doll, and then they practiced one day on a Chinese gentleman, who really thought that they could speak Mandarin. We try to make the connection between language and culture, so they eat the food, learn some history and geography from the cultures where the highlighted language is from. When we can, we travel to these places or at least meet people from these Nations.

We are now pretty decent with Spanish, and our youngest is inspired to learn it. Interaction with our neighbors will cement that for our youngest.

Kids are some of the best teachers of other kids in foreign language learning, and they play together so its fun and natural.

I often ask Spanish speaking friends to practice English with me, not with my children. I encourage them to speak Spanish to my children.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

lisalikesloki

Learn to tell simple jokes in the language!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

nancymomoftwo

We have used a variety of Spanish textbooks throughout our homeschooling adventure. They have all had their strengths and weaknesses. What I find, however, to be THE most effective tool for my boys to learn the Spanish language is for us to speak it on a regular basis every day. For the most part, I speak to them in Spanish throughout the day and encourage them to do the same.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

LFiatoa

We use Byki (www.Byki.com) it's free, and easy! MANY many languages to choose from. Tons of user lessons. We're studying Hebrew. I Highly recommend using it, even for lower elementary grades. It uses the 'flash card' technique. There are so many user uploaded lessons that you can find one for any age, any grade. :)

8 years ago · Like · Comment
LFiatoa: OOPs don't now why this posted twice....
8 years ago · Like

LFiatoa

We use Byki (www.Byki.com) it's free, and easy! MANY many languages to choose from. Tons of user lessons. We're studying Hebrew. I Highly recommend using it, even for lower elementary grades. It uses the 'flash card' technique. There are so many user uploaded lessons that you can find one for any age, any grade. :)

8 years ago · Like · Comment

aCacademy

You are never REALLY fluent in a foreign language unless you have emerged yourself in the culture. Most of us cannot just up and travel to the foreign county of the language we are studying so in that case this is what we do. We in the case of learning Spanish have a day where we pretend we are in a Latin speaking country and we can only speak Spanish for that whole day (or how ever long we can handle it). I try to cook a meal from the country we have 'traveled' to. We listen to their native music and even dance around. We even take a siesta (nap) midday. It's fun and it encourages the kids as well as myself to use our imaginations while learning and appreciating culture and language. This year LATIN! And you may say, "But that is a dead language." We are going to bring it back to life this year in our home! Ridere, Vivere, Amare!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

tesslmb

Make it a game. We're learning colors by playing Candyland. They pick the card and say the color before they can move. We play Uno or Skipbo to learn numbers, saying the number as we lay down a card - Uno is dual benefit because you can also say colors.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

tesslmb

Make it a game. We're learning colors by playing Candyland. They pick the card and say the color before they can move. We play Uno or Skipbo to learn numbers, saying the number as we lay down a card - Uno is dual benefit because you can also say colors.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

RachelH

I taught using charades and spanish bingo and the words really stuck in their minds more while playing games than with just flashcards. I divided my kids into teams and then had them charade to their team a word that was on their card (I had given the cards with words to them a few days before to get familiar with them). Or you could have your child charade back and forth with you- my kids loved this too because mommy was getting involved in a funny way.
We also started Rosetta Stone so I plan to use the words from there for the games.
We also used Currclick and found Spanish words for boys and the other items from that same person helped too.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

UbahDeb

When my girls were first learning, we used sticky notes with the names of things all over the house. If they saw the the word, they remembered it.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

homeschoolmom99

My husband, my 11 year old son and I are all learning French by using Tell Me More. We love it and it works well for all of us to learn it at the same time so that we can speak to each other. We want to be able to speak fluently when we go to visit Paris sometime next year.

8 years ago · Like · Comment
UbahDeb: When we were in Paris in '07, we had a blast! We found a missionary from our denomination and worshiped with their congregation on Sunday. The Parisians were wonderfully helpful and patient when we were speaking their language.
2 people like this. · 8 years ago · Like

Jay3fer

I love the fact that Rosetta Stone lets my 6-year-old learn a new language without ever hearing a word of English. The program lets her learn in context, the same way newborns acquire language. Sometimes, my jaw drops, wondering "How did she get that right?" with words she's never heard before. The program costs a bit more than some, but you can use the same program for every member of your family. We're moving in two years and this way, we're ALL learning at our own pace!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Serackfamily

My girls are also learning sign language through our neighbour who is deaf. My girls are friends with the neighbour's daughter (who can hear) so she helps teach and translate.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

We have tried Rosetta Stone and Tell Me More and I just want to say that I love Tell Me More! You can't beat it for the price or the results!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Serackfamily

Nothing beats learning a foreign language than to host foreign exchange students! My girls have learned Japanese and Chinese because of our exchange students. My oldest also takes a Spanish class thru a program called Foreign Language for Youth, which sets up various public schools to "host" and they do a before school or after school program, twice a week for 40 min, and they have a teacher who not only speaks the foreign language but is from a foreign country and teaches the children about their country and customs as well as the language. My daughter can't wait to go to Costa Rica as a foreign exchange student herself!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

faithmyeyes

This might not be the most practical of methods, but I believe it to be the BEST. There are "Language Schools" all over the world that exist to train missionaries to live in another culture. Every aspect of the schooling trains your student not only to become completely fluent in the language, but also become extremely well versed in the culture. You don't just learn how to speak someone else's language, but you learn why you would even want to. The schools are SHORT TERM, but they are intense. Once you start, you're not allowed to communicate in your native tongue, but in your target language instead. In most cases, satisfaction is guaranteed, but the school itself is pricey. It's definitely not for everyone, but it's worth praying about!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

chrislife

We're using a method called "extensive reading" to learn French. It is so difficult to find good, thorough textbooks that are also appropriate to the homeschool setting and affordable... but we can easily find children's books from Canada! We read them together, parsing the sentences literally and then translating them together into standard English. The idea is to keep the materials easy for the level she's at, so that she can read without excessive difficulty, and gain reading fluency. It's a lot more similar to the natural way of learning a first language than the "traditional" method of learning grammar before vocabulary, and memorizing charts and lists.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

momof4ngls

We have been teaching ASL to our children. We sign while we talk, which helps to reinforce the skills. We also taught them to sign the signs they would need the most as toddlers, before they could communicate verbally.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

faithmyeyes

Go to your local Mexican restaurant and let your children volunteer to help clean up after lunch crowd in exchange for the Language help. If they HAVE to speak the language to communicate, they will!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Brett

Be the first to post a Foreign Language Teaching Tip, and get 100 SmartPoints!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

"We\'ve really enjoyed the Discovery Education video service. My daughter\'s 12, and there are hundreds of videos targeted at that age range. Her favorites so far are the math videos (go figure!), but we\'ve watched a lot of science and history videos as well."
Rhee Eliker, Co-op Member

"This is a wonderful tool for my family. It is easy to use and fast to search for things, they are very well grouped."
Mary T., Co-op Member

"My kids love learning on the Rosetta Stone platform. It s always one of the first things they want to do in school and are proud of their progress.



We had trouble getting set up with multiple accounts at home, but the help staff at Rosetta was outstanding and helped correct the accounts in a single call."
Dawn, Co-op Member

"We have tried various flashcard type drills, timed drills on paper, and even several computer programs but none have gotten my kids excited to practice math like IXL has done. I have four students, grades 10, 7, 5, and K, who are using IXL and loving it. They like the challenge of getting to the next prize while I like the reports that show not only the exact problems given to my students but also their answer to the problem. This gives much better insight as to their difficulty with a particular skill. The 10th grade student is actually in High School Geometry but the 8th grade geometry has provided some practice for basic skills. We are eagerly awaiting the release of the high-school levels for her to get full benefit from the product. Even so, it was worth the fee for her to practice the basics."
Michele D., Co-op Member

"I LOVE this math program!! My son has issues with long term memory. Finding a math program that gave him and me the flexibility to learn and review and keep up with what he needed to learn was a challenge. IXL has it all in one spot. We can review as often and as long as we want. The virtual rewards he receives as he reaches 100% competency in each area gives him incentive to keep going until he conquers the skill being reviewed."
Suzannah L. Monser, Co-op Member

"We are all enjoying Mango-Languages... The sessions are short, fun and useful. I would highly recommend this for beginners of all ages!"
Tracie B, Co-op Member

"I love learning with Mango. The program teaches words and phrases that you would use in conversations. I find it very helpful to be able to click on a word and see and hear the pronunciation at the same time. I like that can study multiple languages at a time. My children prefer mango over duolingo as they do not have to type responses in the mango learning lessons. So far we have only used mango on mobile devices. Quizzes and tracking are available when accessed through a desktop, which we will be ready to use in a few weeks. I would highly recommend mango for learning conversational skills in a foreign language and plan on using it for years to come."
Emily R., Co-op Member

"I have enjoyed using the program. It has good paced written lessons and easily understood videos that go with each lesson. It has been fun to do."
MJ, Co-op Member

"There are a few things i think can use improving and would not use this program again.

1)The screen is too small, it needs to be larger, its hard to see what their doing with their hands sometimes.

2) they dont speak at all so you have to read the word and look at the hand action at the same time, it would be better to pronounce the word so the student can listen and repeat the word while learning the sign."
Carly fleming, Co-op Member

"Both my 11 year old daughter and I are enjoying the Visual Latin course. We have completed a Latin course already so we are entering the course with over a year's Latin experience.



We find the instructor very entertaining. He speaks directly to the students and doesn't is very human. His humor adds to his teaching. His love for learning languages is infectious.



The pace the program moves at is very nice. The variety of lecture, sentence practice, and Latin readings is nice. The short (less than 10 minutes) videos are the perfect length to explain the lesson without being too long and our eyes glazing over.



The lessons are very focused and not repetitive to the point of boredom. There is just enough reinforcement to grasp the topic.



Where was this guy when I was offered Latin in high school. If this was an option for me I would have JUMPED on it. The instructor makes a potentially dry subject fun and entertaining.



My daughter already enjoyed learning about Latin and this just re-enforces her desire to learn. This program is very complementary with our previous knowledge. We are both pleasantly surprised when get to demonstrate that we have retained our previous teaching. It is always her first choice of what we do during the school-day.



That said, I don't think there is an issue entering this course with no prerequisite knowledge. The instructor starts out assuming you have never seen any Latin before.



Not being a deeply religious family, I would have preferred the readings come from a source other than the Bible, but I am not put off by it.



I would highly recommend Visual Latin to any family who is considering Latin instruction whether they be religious or not."
Sue A., Co-op Member

"My 13 y/o daughter and 12 y/o son are learning tons and ENJOYING learning Latin. Just enough info without going overboard and no jingles which my son really appreciates. My husband was impressed when after 4 weeks my daughter spouts out in Latin during a conversation together. I would recommend to anyone who likes a no nonsense approach to learning Latin that is engaging. Children are able to complete lessons on their own and require very little support on my end."
Abihake, Co-op Member

"Whistlefritz has been such an exciting addition to our homeschool day! My boys always look forward to Fritzy time! It's upbeat, the songs are catchy, and it actually works. We use both the Spanish and French DVDs. Happy customers!"
Robin Ludwig, Co-op Member

"My 8 year old has been taking the German course for 2 months now. She absolutely loves it. She has never been really exposed to German before but wanted to learn it because her grandfather is German. She never complains when it is time for German. Originally I only had her scheduled for German 2 times a week, but she enjoys it so much we pretty much do it every school day. She does a couple of lessons per day and it is really amazing how much she has learned so far. She is truly engaged in the lessons. I think the layout is great for young kids. I have tried other programs for foreign languages with my older kids when they were younger, but they gave up on them easily because they were complicated and just not engaged. Many times the other kids will stop what they are doing to watch the German lesson. Truly a great program!"
M. Tomczyk, Co-op Member

"I have been using Middlebury French for a couple of months for my 8 year old daughter. I find that the course is very engaging and she has picked up a lot of French. I have tried many different programs for French but this seems to work the best. We don't have the option to go to a French class where we live, so this give the best possible alternative. I just know that she loves doing the course and she understands French now. And my 3 year old daughter loves doing the French course too."
Noshin, Co-op Member

"My children and I love the songs and look forward to foreign language homeschool. Both my 3 year old and 6 year old have learned so much French that they're even correcting me sometimes. I have told many friends about the Sara Jordan products, even those who are not home educating. We also purchased the Spanish and Mandarin sets."
R. Langdon, Co-op Member

"My children (7 and 10) and I all love the songs so far! some of them are quite catchy and the kids have requested to listen to them quite often. I love that you can print out the lyrics to clarify what is being said in french. The worksheets that come with it are pretty useful as well. Overall I am really happy I bought them!"
L. Colunga, Co-op Member

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