Can I homeschool if I was raised in a different country? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 07-19-2008, 02:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is still young, but I am already thinking about homeschooling. I know I might be jumping ahead of the horse, but I like to plan ahead and frankly the idea of homeschooling just fascinates me.

Anyway, my question is - I moved to US just 2 years ago and English is not my native language. I didn't do school here, and as much as I feel that my English is good enough for reading and talking, it is defenitely lacking the extended vocabulary, so to speak. I don't know much about phonetics, spelling and other things language related. And even though I am fairly intelligent, I would not be able to read Shakespeare in English, again because my English is not that "advanced".

On top of this I don't know a thing about American history (while I know some stuff about my native country from what I learned at school, don't remember much though...)

So can I even contemplate homeschooling? How would I ever be able to teach my child langauge related things?

Thank you
Sophie

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#2 of 27 Old 07-19-2008, 04:09 AM
 
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Sophie, if you can read and write in your native language, and understand the four basic operations of mathematics (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) then you can home school. As far as things like American history go, if you are willing to learn alongside your child, then there's no need to worry. We are looking into the literature-based program offered by Sonlight, but there are many, many curriculum programs for all subject areas, and a little research would show you which ones will work well for your family.

Being a native speaker of a second (non-English) language is an incredible advantage for your little one, and you will probably be able to raise a truly bi-lingual child. How exciting!
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#3 of 27 Old 07-19-2008, 05:39 AM
 
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Of course you can Your child will get a lot out of learning both your native language and english both, and honestly the best way for your child to learn english is reading/being read to.. which I'm sure you already do. Since you little one is still young, they'll get most of what they need language wise from everyday books.. but you can always do phonics as well when you get to that point. As you go along, you'll probably find that it bolsters your own confidence with this .. confusing.. language we speak

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#4 of 27 Old 07-19-2008, 10:01 AM
 
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Raising a bilingual child is a huge challenge, not because it will be hard to learn English. It wll be hard to retain the native language. Believe me, I was so proud when dd spoke our native langauge fluently ... till age 3. By age 4, despite our best efforts, English just took over. I still speak to dd as much as possible in our language just to make sure she doesn't forget it.

imho, one need make no specal effort for the kids to learn English if one is surrounded by English (if you are in an area with a LOT of people speaking your native language it may be different). As PP said, ifyou can learn along with her then it will be an richly rewarding journey for both of you and no doubt higher in quality than most other learning avenues.

no longer  or  or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
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#5 of 27 Old 07-20-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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I know of a family that are non-native English speakers, and they are doing a great job homeschooling their kids. You already write better than many native English speakers - go for it!
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#6 of 27 Old 07-21-2008, 09:15 AM
 
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We're doing bilingual homeschooling (just preschool-type stuff right now) and it is a huge advantage for the children. Do it! Just make sure not to focus solely on the English language; make sure that you include books and songs, etc., from your native language, as well. We even sometimes do math with my DS in German since math is something that comes up in everyday conversation and will be useful to know in both languages.
We've also decided that when we start homeschooling in earnest (classical-style) we're going to teach the German language on the same level as English: reading novels, studying grammar and spelling, writing essays and letters, the whole works. This would be something nearly impossible to do if you send them to school because they come home everynight, overloaded with homework and activities.

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On top of this I don't know a thing about American history
You've got to be kidding! Do you know how many Americans I know who can't even tell you what the Declaration of Independence is or who wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner?!!
My advice: go to your local library, loan a (not too thick) book on American history, read it through, from cover to cover and... viola! You are an expert in comparison to most Americans. My DH did this and now he constantly corrects me when I tell my kids something wrong. It got so embarrassing that I've since read the book myself.

And remember, with homeschooling you don't have to know everything in advance. You can learn along with your children!
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#7 of 27 Old 07-21-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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The learning way of life is definitely what we're looking for. I'm also from another country and got about a month's worth (total, in 12 years) of American history. As a mother, I feel more than qualified to be my ds and dd's teacher. I feel as a person who speaks and writes a few languages it's actually a benefit. In an increasingly global world, it's important to be able to speak more than English and learn about different cultures.

Hooray for homeschoolers!
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#8 of 27 Old 07-22-2008, 01:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas for your encouragements!

However I still feel some sort of uneasiness with this language thing. I guess I should read more on bilingual homeschooling. Do you know of any resources for that?

(By the way, we have not 2 but 4 languages in our household! But thats a long story...)

Sophie

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#9 of 27 Old 07-22-2008, 11:22 AM
 
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Quote:
we have not 2 but 4 languages in our household!
We only have 3 languages (plus some mediocre Spanish) so I can't help you there.
We've decided to concentrate on English and German, since they're the main ones and the most useful. Bavarians all understand German but not all Germans understand Bavarian. But we're definitely going to be adding Spanish and Latin later.

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However I still feel some sort of uneasiness with this language thing.
You are kidding, right? At least in writing, your English is excellent.

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Do you know of any resources for that?
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any resources on this even though I believe it's actually quite common. I've been looking myself and hope someone else can recommend something.
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#10 of 27 Old 07-22-2008, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by VanessaS View Post
You are kidding, right? At least in writing, your English is excellent.

Nope, I am not kidding. English is my major concern. I feel this nagging insecurity to handle it. Maybe it is not such a big deal, I understand. I need to do more research...

I hope someone will post some resource on bilingual homeshooling.

Thanks

Sophie

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#11 of 27 Old 07-22-2008, 06:09 PM
 
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Sophie,

Can I ask you in all seriousness why you feel English has to be your "homeschooling" language? If you're not comfortable with it, why not pick one of your other languages to teach in? Or use them all?

The beauty of homeschooling is that you can do it any way you want.

Even if you decided to teach Language Arts in English, you could get a good curriculum to help you with that, and then teach everything else in a language you are most comfortable with.

Unless your state requires testing for homeschoolers, I just don't see why it would be necessary to teach exclusively in English.

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#12 of 27 Old 07-22-2008, 10:05 PM
 
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You can do it. You don't have to know everything to begin to homeschool your child.

If English/US History is a huge concern for you then you could:
1. take a course or get a tutor for yourself before your child gets to the level you are concerned about. You probably aren't going to be starting your dc with Shakespeare or the Us. Civil War.

2. use a curriculum where it is all laid out for you if you think you will miss something

3. view it as an opportunity to learn along with your child
I've learned many things with dd that I didn't know before homeschooling. I'm actually hoping to improve my own math skills while dd learns math.

4. Get someone else to help teach your child in the subject you feel weak in- friend, family member, neighbor, college student, professional tutor

http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/explore/esl.htm
http://esl.about.com/
http://www.starfall.com/

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#13 of 27 Old 07-24-2008, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sophie,

Can I ask you in all seriousness why you feel English has to be your "homeschooling" language? If you're not comfortable with it, why not pick one of your other languages to teach in? Or use them all?
I don't know My own insecurities I guess... I was never good in language school subjects (like grammar, composition, etc), was more of an exact sciences person. Some people go through school developing a fear of math. I ended up developing a fear of grammar and writing . So I thought that me being not-so-good at it and also having it as a foreign language on top, would make teaching language related things at home problematic.

But so far, the responses I got here are very reassuring So may be it is not such a big issue after all.

Sophie

Sophie, wife to DH, AP mama to DD1 (12/07) and DD2 (04/10)
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#14 of 27 Old 07-24-2008, 02:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sophi4ka View Post
I don't know My own insecurities I guess... I was never good in language school subjects (like grammar, composition, etc), was more of an exact sciences person. Some people go through school developing a fear of math. I ended up developing a fear of grammar and writing . So I thought that me being not-so-good at it and also having it as a foreign language on top, would make teaching language related things at home problematic.

But so far, the responses I got here are very reassuring So may be it is not such a big issue after all.

Sophie
Ah, I see. Well, one of the things that we hear so often around here, is that if you developed a fear of any subject, it's most likely b/c it wasn't taught to you in a great way. Homeschooling is a great opportunity to re-learn that subject and teach it to yourself (and your kids) in a way that is more fun and intuitive.

Don't be afraid--be excited! I bet all that grammar stuff will be the most fun for you to tackle.

Funny enough, I'm most excited about History and Science this year--both my worst subjects throughout school. But I've spent some time looking around at curriculums and suggestions, and I just can't wait to get to them this year!

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#15 of 27 Old 07-24-2008, 03:00 AM
 
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hi sophie. i lurke over here because i plan to homeschool and have planned since before i ever got pregnant. i think i found mdc through searching for homeschooling info but i'm not really sure i don't remember. anyhow sophie i think your english in writing is better than mine and english is the only language i know. i think you can totaly homeschool even if english is a weakness and if you find it really is an issue there is always the option of a tutor or some other way for your daughter to learn english. if you homeschool it doesn't necesarily mean that YOU will teach her everything. homeschooled kids learn lots of things outside the home and they learn things from classes they take and from other people in their lives both grownups and other children.

mama to two amazing children son 10/27/07 and daughter 07/07/11

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#16 of 27 Old 07-27-2008, 11:36 PM
 
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Yes you can, I plan on doing it,too.

If vocabulary is a big concern to you, your children are still young enough for you to start increasing your vocabulary, easy enough with software.

You could also incorporate vocabulary building for your children into their curriculum
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#17 of 27 Old 07-27-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sophi4ka View Post
Thanks mamas for your encouragements!

However I still feel some sort of uneasiness with this language thing. I guess I should read more on bilingual homeschooling. Do you know of any resources for that?

(By the way, we have not 2 but 4 languages in our household! But thats a long story...)

Sophie
If you find anything worth reading let me know! We're doing 3 languages ( one being english).

Actually the desire to raise my children speaking both my and my husband's language is one of my main reasons to homeschool. There simply isn't any time if school starting with Kindergarten is full day.
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#18 of 27 Old 07-27-2008, 11:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LauraN View Post
Sophie,

Can I ask you in all seriousness why you feel English has to be your "homeschooling" language? If you're not comfortable with it, why not pick one of your other languages to teach in? Or use them all?

The beauty of homeschooling is that you can do it any way you want.
Some states require testing in english and even instruction in english
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#19 of 27 Old 07-28-2008, 02:55 PM
 
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Sophie,
My problem is kind of similar to yours--but opposite! My native language is English but I raised my kids speaking another language and plan to homeschool mostly in that language.

Although I am fluent in the second language (which I learned because my mom homeschooled me and I had the time to pursue that interest), it takes a lot of footwork from me in terms of learning the vocabulary I need to teach my three-year-old about metamorphosis and rocks and steam engines. I try to have a few people I can call ("is this the right way to say it?) when I'm doubting myself.

And if there is ever a concept that is just too difficult, we can switch languages, which--I hope!--will come easily and naturally. I figure that using more languages will just make my children's learning experience that much richer and give them other ways to express themselves.
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#20 of 27 Old 07-29-2008, 01:41 PM
 
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Hi!

We have a similar issue, but it has not kept us from homeschooling. We live in Israel, but my native language is English. My Hebrew is far from good. In fact, my kids speak much better than I do!

We do all our homeschool in English. But for Hebrew, we do the following:
1. We hired a private tutor, who works with both my boys twice a week. She teaches them speaking, reading, and writing in Hebrew.
2. Not any more, but in the beginning, I used to send them to a babysitter for an entire day, once a week. We hired only native Israelis, who spoke only Hebrew. They learned TONS of Hebrew this way.
3. I let them watch TV, but only the local ones. Which means the kid shows they watch are in Hebrew. I don't have to worry about them learning the tricky science Hebrew works, b/c they watch Magic School Bus in Hebrew, National Geographic specials in Hebrew, etc.
4. All their "after-school" activities are in Hebrew. Karate, swimming, etc.

From doing all this, they can speak, read, and write in both languages. And as I said, they are much better at Hebrew than I am!

I don't see why you couldn't do something similar. (And by the way, I could never write on Hebrew message board the way you did here in English! Your English is much better than you give credit for.)

Rachel & Eli , with DS1 (7/99) and DS2 (11/01) twins DD1 & DS3 (01/10)
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#21 of 27 Old 07-29-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sophi4ka View Post
I ended up developing a fear of grammar
Hey, I am a former English teacher turned homeschooler, and *I* have a fear of grammar!

Truly, though (as several pps have said), your written English is excellent.
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#22 of 27 Old 08-01-2008, 12:26 AM
 
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Hi to everybody,
Sophie you are not alone, I'm not a native English speaker and my husband isn't either. I'm seriously considering hs-ing and since it's important for me that our ds (now almost 3 y.o.) knows how to speak well, read and write in our native language as well, I'm very concerned how to handle teaching both languages at the same time.
So many wonderful ideas I got from this topic, thank you all.

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My I ask you how old your kids were when they started to learn Hebrew?
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#23 of 27 Old 08-01-2008, 10:38 AM
 
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Raising bilingual children is a challenge. My friends and I of ESL face a similar situation. If both parents' primary language is not English, their children tend to speak what parents speak most, naturally. A few of my friends decided to send their children to pre-school to increase their English speaking skills, with a fear that their children won’t be able to keep up in school. The small children seem to acquire and master the second language quickly, but their stress level and problems are often unrecognized. Some children will result in violence, not wanting to go to school, tasks unchallenged due to lack of understanding English. However, the age has nothing to do with facing a stress based on your language barrier. The question of being able to HS your children is a less of an issue, but why and how you homeschool, and how you can nurture your children of bilingual (or bi-culturally) is a huge question. I began my decision making with recognition of what we can do as homeschooler and what we will loose, if the children had attended school. What they may miss out for being homeschooler is mostly compensated. You just have to be creative and open minded. And, that is also a beauty of being able to homeschool.
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#24 of 27 Old 08-01-2008, 10:53 AM
 
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Hi! When we moved here, they were 4 and 6. My older son was 6 when he started to learn, but my younger son was 5 when he started learning Hebrew. The first year we were here, he didn't learn any Hebrew. (No TV, and no babysitting.)

Rachel & Eli , with DS1 (7/99) and DS2 (11/01) twins DD1 & DS3 (01/10)
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#25 of 27 Old 08-01-2008, 02:02 PM
 
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The small children seem to acquire and master the second language quickly, but their stress level and problems are often unrecognized.

Stress level is my biggest concern, I must say I feel compelled sometimes to put ds in pre school for the sake of his English, but then I remember that it would be incredibly stressful even if it was not in English, and I don't want to force him in a situation where not only he's in a strange environment, but not understood (and for him being understood is a huge thing)

GoodUserNamesTaken
Tahnk you very much for your answer, I feel much more optimistic now.
I loved your suggestions above.
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#26 of 27 Old 08-02-2008, 02:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Cause some people mentioned Hebrew here, and being the OP, I feel a need to provide some more info about myself.

I was born in Russia and my parents immigrated to Israel when I was almost 13. I went to school immediately and picked up Hebrew very fast. Now, my Hebrew is almost as good as my native Russian. When I was 28 (2 years ago)I immigrated to US and married a Romanian guy. His native language is Romanian (which I don't share), so we speak English between ourselves.
Thats how we are a 4 languages household. Isn't it crazy? :

Anyway, cause I left Russia when I was 12 my Russian didn't develop much since then. My Hebrew, even though is excellent, lacks the archaic extended vocabulary. And also it shows that I preferred reading books only in Russian. And English, well... is still not the native language for me, even though, now most of the reading and talking for me is in English.

So far, I speak Russian to DD and DH speaks to her in Romanian. And of course she hears us speaking English between ourselves. Hebrew is kind of lost, but I am not concerned. If she wants, she can learn it later. (Its a super easy language )

Because of my language background I could never excel in language related things, cause I lived in Israel and Hebrew was still not a native language for me, so I was not 100% fluent. But then, also the Russian started to deteriorate, so here you go... Now that I live in the US, and speak English with my ESL husband, I feel like I know 3 languages - all three not perfectly.

Thats why I am concerned with languages. As far as teaching my DD goes, I feel like I am not competent enough in any of those numerous languages in our house.

Thats about me

Sorry for such a long post

Sophie, wife to DH, AP mama to DD1 (12/07) and DD2 (04/10)
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#27 of 27 Old 08-02-2008, 08:47 AM
 
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Hi Sophi4ka,

I also speak 3 languages, and none of them perfect. I speak my mothertounge least well (I didn't grow up in that country), my second language is only used at home with my 5 year old, so I've lost a lot of vocabulary etc. And my English is best out of the three, or at least it's the most effortless, but not having grown up here, I have a lot of gaps. Things that weren't taught to us at school, but would have been picked up were I a native speaker.

Now with homeschooling - my language skills haven't stopped dd building up an amazing every day vocabulary, including words I have only ever read in books (yes, to her ). I don't think that my limitations matter so much, because her learning is hers, it's what she's capable of, that is important.
Also, before I attempt to teach her my second language, I am planning to brush up on my grammar and vocabulary. There's nothing stopping us to learn, right?
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