Formally teaching the other language(s) at home when they're not taught at school (or at least not at the required level) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
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So, I think the title covers it. I'm not talking about basic conversation, but rather the hard core reading and writing, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, spelling, printing/cursive, etc. they would get if they were being schooled in it.

What do you do and when?
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#2 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 01:01 AM
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We are not a multicultural family, but I saw this from new posts and thought I would share what our local Chinese Committee does.

We are in the midwest so don't have hugely culturally diverse area but there are probably about 20 Chinese families in the area. They have just started a series of Chinese Classes on the weekend. They found a curriculum from China and several parents volunteer as teachers. It's going very well so far. It is focused on the things you mention like writing, grammar, etc. We hope that given time it will also provide other for the kids to utilize the Chinese language with other than their parents.

Most of the parents are very pleased with the arrangement so far.

They organized the school by first just organizing get togethers and a yahoo group for local Chinese.

The local Chinese group also works to share their heritage and culture with their committee and by doing so also helps their kids understand it better as well.

The class has several students who drive from other surrounding towns to join.

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
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#3 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 11:35 AM
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We actually just started last month. My oldest is nearly 7.

I don't have a formal curriculum. My plan is to do what we did for learning the language they are growing up with. Getting familiar with the alphabet and phonics together (helps that the new alphabet is phonetic! ). Then gradual introduction into reading and writing together, and later on developing all of that into a more mature grasp of the language.

Right now we're just working the alphabet like they did as toddlers with English. See the letters, say them, sing them, see them again, point out a few most basic words so they can understand that the sounds can be put together.

After that will come vocabulary and writing, and after that will come punctuation rules and grammar.
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#4 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 11:55 AM
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We start consistently speaking ML1 at home and have recently started with ML2 that does not come as natural.

Meet-ups and playdates with several ML2 families, some age-appropriate and relevant books and materials were really nice in the beginning.
But most of all hiring a tutor was very helpful, so we did not fall back to use other languages.

Vegmum:Hedding::: treehugger::
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#5 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 11:55 AM
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We are homeschoolers, so we just integrate into our day. Our language (Afrikaans) is not available with Rosetta Stone, but they have a homeschool edition that a lot of our friends really enjoy.

I should add that our second lang is not my native lang (it's DH's), and I am the primary teacher. Also, the great thing about language is that, in my opinion, it is best learned naturally, by speaking and interacting. I have a Master's degree in Linguistics, and my experience supports all that I know about language acquisition.

Kids are just so smart and spongey when it comes to language! We find that occasional immersion is what helps the kids develop the most. Expose your children to good speakers of the language, and of course, books and that will be the best grammar teacher of all.

Good luck!

Jean, happy HS mom to Peter (5), Daniel (9) and Lucie (2) and also someone new... baby.gif
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#6 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I'm thinking of planning something for the summer, since we'll have more time. I'm torn, because although we know other families that speak L2 and L3, the kids all go to L1 schools and speak L1 with their friends and in the neighborhood and thus with each other. It was easier before dd attended school because when we would get together with these families (well, especially moms and kids), the moms would speak L2 and then the kids would, too. Now the kids all understand L2 but really don't speak it unless prompted in situations that require special politeness. Sigh. My dd does love her L2 books and listening to L2 CDs and understands L2 perfectly well. I was just considering setting up a little am summer homeschoolly thing. I figure once we're past a certain point, it will get easier, but I wasn't sure how to NOT make it artificial. We were hoping to travel to the land of L2. so she could learn with kids her age who don't speak L1, but it's not going to work this year. I'm also thinking about a lot of details that aren't so important yet, but maybe you all have some experience and could lend your insight. L1 and L2 use (basically) the same alphabet, but the way to print taught to children is different. Ideally I would like my children to write like their peers in each language. L3 is not as particular, so I'm not thinking about that now, but L1 and L2 can be quite picky about these things, so that if they did go to school in L2 in the future, they would be criticized for using L1 forms. I'm just wondering if anyone has taught writing in L2 differently from the beginning. That is what I am thinking of doing.

OK, just wandering thoughts here.
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#7 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 03:21 PM
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If you want to use a cirriculum I'll tell you which one I'm using (for myself, not ds LoL *blush*)
If it's Spanish I'm doing a third grade cirriculum from classical academic press (the well trained mind). *There's little chants to make remembering easier. *It was $100 compared to $500 for Rosetta stone. *It's main focus is grammer. *It's working for me.
I'm messing around with * I like the website. *There's a 30 day free trial for it. *It's to teach the right strokes for writing Chinese. *
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#8 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 05:55 PM
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my situation was a little different,
my children went to school in the new language/new country but had learned L1 from birth in L1 country.
my eldest could always remember and use both languages (the first 4 months at school were very hard & I dropped formal teaching of L1, only started reading and writing in L1 a good 6 months after she had learned that in L2)
my second would no longer speak L1 after he had learned L2 orally & formal teaching of reading and writing in L1 happened 2 years after he learned L2, so it was harder and took longer than with first child ... we were motivated by the return to L1 country and the prospect of schooling in L1. It was a strange summer because we covered the course book, so "technically" he could read in L1 ... but when we arrived in L1 country, he wouldn't speak L1 ... took him about 3 -4 months

& I braught with me in the new country or got people to send me or I ordered on the internet the type of summer courses that are easily available in bookshops and supermarket nowadays, so beside going to school in L2 , we were doing some homestudy in L1

when we moved back to L1 country, I baught 3 years' worth of the same type of summer courses for each child, and we are still using those course book in L2 every week or so, progressing little by little ....
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#9 of 11 Old 03-03-2010, 08:35 PM
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We just kida integrate it all the time. Whenever they are writing and stuff. It happens naturally in every day settings.

-pixie, my dear, and (A-88), N-98, Littlest-06/00-08/00, J-03 & Little Miss Cotton Ball Button-03 (SN), S-05, Hope-loss 09/09, Bean-loss 04/10, and littlePopcorn due feb. 8th -11.
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#10 of 11 Old 03-06-2010, 05:37 AM
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I'm a little unclear here. Are we talking about a language the child already speaks? Or is this to teach the language from scratch?

I never formally taught any of my kids English reading and writing. They were in a bilingual program, learning French and German and I figured that was enough. All three are fluent in English, don't have an accent and they automatically answer back in English. Every time.

Now we're thinking of shifting the oldest from the French-German to a French-English program. I'm not convinced that this is the best idea. He will be tested in May and then we'll decide if he succeeds.

So I took him to his Very First private English lesson last week. It was a British woman, not cheap but highly recommended and has helped many children pass this test to get into the English program in Middle School.

It was her first French-German bilingual program child. Let me first say that he only gets German at school, since he was 4 years old and half his education is in it. We don't use it at home although dh is fluent.

She was very impressed. His reading is at or above age level and his writing (the usual pitfall) is almost at level. What was really amusing was that he avoided a lot of the typical native-French speaking mistakes (adding extra vowels, putting "E" at the end of words) but made typical German errors (Oktober).

He loves to read in English so perhaps I should be thanking Calvin and Hobbs!

But I hope that's encouraging to those of you teaching your language at home. I'm pleasantly surprised. Now, he hasn't passed the test yet. We're not even sure if it's a good idea to switch but for now, I'm really amazed how much spilled over from the other two languages and how much he has just seemed to absorb.
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#11 of 11 Old 03-12-2010, 01:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
I'm a little unclear here. Are we talking about a language the child already speaks? Or is this to teach the language from scratch?
A language she understands perfectly, but has grown reluctant to use since everyone around her speaks the other language(s). She loves having books read to her in that language, and she loves to sing in it, and she relates very positively to the culture. She just isn't producing much since she began attending school in the culturally dominant langauge. She does speak it sometimes, and isn't quite fluent anymore when she does. She sounds like a younger child with her mistakes.
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