Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Foreign Language for Young Ones

Copyright Michael Brown-Fotolia.com
I have oft heard that if you want your children to be fluent in a foreign language, start early.  That's not so easy when you homeschool and the teacher doesn't speak any foreign language with any amount of fluency.  But, we do try.

While we use a curriculum for our Spanish lessons, its nice to get away from those sometimes and do something fun to help reinforce what we've been learning.  I did find a couple of websites that are helpful for this. 

At Chillola, kids can explore the languages of Spanish, French, German, and Italian.  Its a no-pressure way of introducing a foreign language.  The site is interactive where you can see a picture and then hear how the word is pronounced in the foreign language.  Worksheets are also available to print off and use if you like.

With foreign languages, its good to hear how a native speaker would pronounce words.  For Spanish, I found this site from UT Austin that you can hear native speakers from several different countries and how they pronounce their words.  Very helpful.  For more Spanish (this is the language we're learning so I lean heavily toward Spanish sites) this site has tons of Spanish links and information.  Then, SpanishDict is a free online Spanish/ English dictionary.

For Spanish as well as other languages, there are a few sites out there that have various online games to use as reinforcement.  Vocabulary.co.il is one.   Professor Garfield has a few story books you can have read to you in a foreign language.  See if you or your children can understand / guess what is being said.  And Digital Dialects has a handful of foreign language games in a wide variety of languages including Hebrew, Africans, and Estonian (along with the basic languages we hear and learn about).  Finally, the BBC tends to put out some nice educational content.  This BBC site has some links to various online lessons and games used to learn languages.

-A

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