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Why Foreign Language?

February 8, 2013

How important is a foreign language?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not one of those people who naturally picks up foreign languages.  I did learn some Latin along with my kids, but I had to study really hard to stay ahead of them, and eventually I realized that they were passing me up no matter how hard I tried!  I don’t feel too bad, though, because there are a lot of adults who don’t know a foreign language.  But what about high school kids who want to go to college?  Don’t they need a foreign language to get in?  Well, it turns out that a lot of students are admitted to college without knowing a foreign language.  In fact, some colleges don’t have any language requirement at all, although there are others who insist on foreign language study before they grant a degree.

I think that foreign language study can serve several important purposes.

First, it’s a wonderful way to learn about English grammar.  If you study a foreign language in your homeschool, it will increase your child’s knowledge of the English language.  It will also help them understand the differences between languages – for example, some languages use articles (the, a, an) and others don’t.

Second, learning a foreign language is great for critical thinking.  There are some colleges that use foreign language competency to see how well your child studies and learns.  They figure that if your child has the study skills necessary for a foreign language, they’ll probably do well in college.  In other words, they just like to see kids work hard.

Third, not all countries speak English.  In fact, one of the biggest complaints you hear about Americans is that they think everyone DOES speak English.  One of the reasons for this “rude American” stereotype is the people who insist on speaking only English when they go to a non-English speaking country.  If you want to interact with people in another country, whether as a guest or a missionary, speaking the language is considered the polite thing to do.  Even if you just attempt to speak their language, it can make all the difference.

There are a lot of foreign languages to choose from!  American Sign Language is accepted at some universities, and it’s a great language for kinesthetic learners.  Latin is accepted almost everywhere, and can be a great fit for a logical, mathematical, or non-linguistic child.  There are many ways to fit this subject into your homeschool coursework, and make it a part of your child’s high school experience. Try to make it fun!

If you need any extra help, you will really appreciate my Gold Care Club, full of templates and tools to help you homeschool high school.

5 Comments »

  1. Ellen Joslin says:

    One fun way my girls learned a foreign language was to tie it to their planned college major which is Nursing. We found a course entitled “Spanish for Healthcare Workers” put out by the University of Arizona. This course really kept their interest. Although language wasn’t required for their major, it gave them a new “tool” to use in their intended career.

    June 14th, 2014 at 7:19 pm

  2. Assistant to The HomeScholar says:

    That’s brilliant Ellen!

    I think I will have my future Midwife check that course out!

    Robin
    Assistant to The HomeScholar

    June 20th, 2014 at 9:51 am

  3. Erin Eaves says:

    I didn’t realize that some colleges didn’t insist on a foreign language and just assumed it was necessary. However, having lived overseas (Sicily) for three years, I can attest to the relevance of learning another language. It shows dedication, perseverance, and a consideration for other people. The graciousness shown to me as we attempted to speak Italian was incredible. In our own home, I insist that all three of my children learn Latin and I get validation whenever I find Latin sporadically in their other subjects, which I do quite often.

    August 30th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

  4. Assistant to The HomeScholar says:

    Dear Erin,
    What a terrific way to learn! Total “immersion”!
    Robin
    Assistant to The HomeScholar

    September 2nd, 2014 at 6:04 pm

  5. Leslie says:

    We have had good success with Living Languages. It is available in several languages. Several were available in our library system so I could check it out first to see if it was a good fit, but the price for the complete set is very reasonable on Amazon. One of our children is on her third language with them after CLEP exams for two others. She also used the REA guides. University of Texas also has very helpful listening material available in online videos. Believe it or not, the Complete Idiots Guides to Spanish – both levels- are interesting and helpful. Greek can be learned to a reasonable level with the Hey Andrew series. Learning other languages has given our children a deeper respect for foreign missionaries and people visiting our country from other places.

    November 8th, 2014 at 9:27 am

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