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The Homeschool Minute ~ Should I Teach a Foreign Language?

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Should I Teach a Foreign Language
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Gena Suarez

Hey Mama,
 

Should I Teach a Foreign Language?
 
With all the easy-to-use language curricula available, 
teaching a foreign language
 isn’t as difficult as it used to be. Your kids can learn any language they want or need from 
American Sign Language
 to Spanish to Chinese to Russian or some of the classical languages like 
Latin
! You don’t even have to know the language for your kids to succeed. 
 
Now if you’re in need of encouragement, remember …
God has this. He has it all, and he will complete what he has begun. Nothing escapes his eye, nothing can be taken away from you. He is sovereign, and he’s got this, Mama. Just let go and rest, because he has it.

 
~ gena

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Diana Waring

Dear Friends,

Here’s something to consider:

The world is bigger than us.

That should be obvious, but sometimes we live with cultural blinders. What I mean is that we go through our day, thinking thoughts in our own language within our own culture. And we don’t really pay attention to the reality that there are multitudes who think thoughts in another language in another culture.

I have some experience with this myself. When I traveled to Europe with my father in 1971, I remember standing at Piccadilly Circus in London and watching a young salesman handling several international customers at a time-each one in a different language. I was incredulous that anyone could speak that many languages, let alone use them in rapid-fire succession!

My second experience was when I traveled across the U.S. with a Youth With a Mission team to the Montreal Olympics and then to Boston. It was there that I met an Egyptian who spoke English with a perfect British accent. It was fun to chat along in English
about our shared experiences, but it was absolutely shocking to me when he would then turn to an Egyptian friend and answer a question in Arabic. I could barely grasp that they really understood each other–it seemed to me to be an incomprehensible language!

It was life-changing for me to come to grips with the fact that lots of folks speak and think and live in a language other than English.

What I gained through all of this is that learning someone else’s language is a gift and a responsibility. It opens doors and expands horizons. And it very efficiently helps to remove those cultural blinders.

Dear ones, there is a huge wide world out there to serve, and learning a foreign language is great preparation. And, perhaps more potently, it will better equip our children to be world changers!

Stay relational.
Diana

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Adam Andrews

Here’s a rule that cannot possibly be overstated: language proficiency is the single most important component of an education, period. If your students do not learn to use the
right words, they will become prisoners of the wrong ones. This applies to any subject, to
any activity, and to any relationship. Give your students the tools of language, and their education is complete. Fail in this, and it can never really begin.

Why is language so important? It’s because words signify ideas, and ideas have consequences. Using the wrong words amounts to saying what you don’t really mean, which leads to confusion, misunderstanding and ignorance–the opposites of education.

As important as this lesson is for our students, it is even more critical for us, their teachers. It turns out that many of us struggle daily with discouragement, dissatisfaction and defeat in our work as parents and teachers, and all because we think in the wrong language. Since we don’t use the right words, we have become prisoners of the wrong ones.

The Apostle Paul understood the power of language in Romans 4, as he tried to explain justification by faith:

“Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace, but as debt.” (Romans 4:4)

The Roman Christians of Paul’s day spoke the language of wages and debt. They used the boss/worker dynamic as their model for all relationships, even their relationship with God. They assumed that good behavior, morality and obedience to the Law were the
work they signed on for as Christians, and that God would eventually be obliged to pay them back in the form of justification.

Paul knew that this old language could never express the good news of the Gospel, and so he taught them a new one:

“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” (Romans 4:5)

Paul replaces work with believe, as if to argue that what you do is irrelevant; what matters is whom you trust. He replaces wages with gifts, suggesting that the favor of God cannot be earned; it can only ever be received. Finally, he replaces debts with credits. He argues that in the economy described by this new language, God is the the One who works. Instead of paying His workers, He applies His own work to their account.

Our work as homeschoolers can be pretty discouraging if we see it through the old language of wages and debt. After all, how many of us are doing our work perfectly–or even very well? If homeschooling does nothing else, it certainly brings to light all of our failures as teachers and parents, in and out of the classroom. Especially if we have something personal invested in the outcome of our work (and who doesn’t?), the possibility of failure is too horrible to contemplate. What if our performance is mediocre?
What will such shoddy work earn us in terms of reputation with God, relationship with our people, and identity in our own hearts?

Understanding the language of the Gospel can revolutionize your parenting and your teaching, just as it revolutionized the Western world. What if your reputation and identity were completely secure, regardless of the quality of your teaching? What if God were not waiting to see how you raised those kids before saying “well done, good and faithful servant”–what if He is saying that you today and every day, because of the work He has already credited to your account? What if your deep longing to be good enough has already been fulfilled in Jesus, who by His death has justified the ungodly–literally, made them good enough?

Faith, gifts, credits–these are not simply different words for work, wages and debt. Far from it. They are from a brand new language, signifying a brand new set of ideas. As Paul put it later in Romans, “The gift is not like the trespass.” (Romans 5:15). Learning Paul’s new language involves forsaking the ideas signified by our old one. It involves believing in Him who justifies the ungodly, and believing that His work in your behalf is
complete. For those of us called by His name, there is nothing left to earn by working.

Whether or not you teach a modern language in your homeschool this year, pray to learn this ancient one yourself. Ask God to help you speak it fluently, and you may find within your heart resources for your children that you never dreamed of before. Maybe someday they will grow to learn it, too.

Adam

adam@centerforlit.com 

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SchoolhouseTeachers.com  

Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members! 
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Teach a Foreign Language

Whether you are looking for a foreign language course or help with ESL, SchoolhouseTeachers.com has affordable classes for your family. Try one or try them all-it’s the same low price of $139/year per family, not per child!

  • ASL Adventure by Sandra Heflin is a 16-week course for middle-high school students that introduces them to American Sign Language, the third-most-used language in the United States. Through videos and printable worksheets, students have the opportunity to learn basic vocabulary and about the Deaf culture.
     
  • ESL Language Arts is a family course designed as an introduction to grammar for students who are second language learners. Each week will include a new lesson and an answer key. Lessons are broken down into the background of the principle being studied, guided practice, independent practice, and extension exercises.
     
  • ESL Vocabulary is a series of eight weekly lessons that share resources and tips with parents who are teaching ESL in their homes.
     
  • French is taught by Greg Shone, a certified teacher and co-author of French Essentials. Currently in its third year, French lessons are weekly units with text and audio instruction in the French language as well as review quizzes and an introduction to French culture and history.
     
  • Hands-on Hebrew for elementary through middle school is taught by Evonne Mandella, co-founder of Wholesome Learning Publications. She lends a contagious enthusiasm to her sixteen-week introduction to the Hebrew alphabet, basic vocabulary, and Scripture passages in Hebrew.
     
  • Latvian is a full-year course that introduces students to the Latvian language, culture, and history through weekly video lessons and printable worksheets. It begins with the Latvian alphabet and then moves into words and phrases which are built upon as the year progresses. It is designed for children 4th grade and older and includes periodic review and tests.
     
  • Spanish for elementary students is taught by Carol Henderson. She presents thirty-four weekly lessons including videos and printable worksheets that provide an introduction to the Spanish language. 



Not a Member?

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One membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com serves your entire family, regardless of how many children you are homeschooling or their ages. There are no per-child fees or additional fees for textbooks, and courses are not live, so you can start them at any time.

As always, if you or someone you know is interested in contributing to the site in exchange for a free membership, please contact Executive Editor Bonnie Rose Hudson at bhudson@theoldschoolhouse.com.




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