MAY
14
2013

Homeschool Foreign Language Curriculum Forum

Hi all! Today we’re talking about our favorite foreign language programs in the homeschool curriculum forum series!

foreignlang

For younger students my favorite program is PowerSpeak. It is an online program with fun games and activities that help foster general vocabulary and sentence structure. My only issue with this is price and the lack of levels available. Currently they only offer elementary level 1 and 2, then the next one up is Jr. High which I thought would be too difficult for my 4th grader.

Pros:

  • Fun and independent curriculum.
  • No experience necessary to begin.

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive, especially if you have multiple students.
  • Limited in levels available.
  • Only 5 languages available

powerspeakrosetta

My next choice is Rosetta Stone. We tried to use this initially when Strawberry Shortcake was in 2nd grade and it just didn’t go well. The curriculum moved way too fast for her, and it assumed a certain level of maturity to infer differences in verb tenses and sentence structure. However now that she’s a bit older we will re-visit this program and see how it goes!

Pros:

  • Thorough lessons
  • Visual and audio lessons
  • Available in 30 languages

Cons:

  • Can be costly unless you can find a used version.

So, now comes the fun part!

What are your favorite Foreign Language curriculum, resources, websites, etc? Leave a comment below discussing your choices for this year and why.

Feel free to ask questions or reply to each other too!

It’s my way of doing a forum without actually doing a forum haha!

And hopefully this will help us all as we start the process of researching curriculum, and trying to decide what will be the best fit for our homeschool.

Note: Please keep today’s conversations geared towards FOREIGN LANG., I will be posting one for each subject separately so we can keep our comments organized.

Click here if you missed my previous Homeschool Curriculum Forum posts!

Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post, I may however be affiliated with one or more products mentioned. The opinions expressed in this post were not influenced by the company. They are products I have used and felt like sharing, cuz’ it’s my blog and I can if I want to.

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Comments

  1. Have you tried Duolingo? You can’t beat the price…FREE… and my kiddos are loving it!

  2. We have been living in Germany for about eight months now and I really want my kids to learn the language so we are trying a LOT of different language options. Our favorite is Rosetta Stone (it is VERY expensive but because of that, we take it very seriously as an investment into our lives and future learning!) and we all take the lessons together. We also got a free app for the iPad called “Learn German” which the kids can play with anytime they want and is fun for them! Another program we use when we are driving is called Pimsleur Languages and comes in tons of different languages. It is also expensive so we just borrow the discs from the library instead. I love it because it teaches you more conversational stuff. It helps you memorize sentences you would use in everyday conversation and the repetition of words really helps make things stick!

    Other random things to help us daily are a flip calendar with new phrases in German each day, practice counting daily, and even searching out a tutor that can help us. If you live anywhere near a military base in the states, chances are you can find someone that speaks/teaches the language you are intending to learn!!

    Can’t wait to hear what others are doing!

    • Amy, I’m so glad that you mentioned Pimsleur! I was given a set, but hadn’t summoned the enthusiasm to test it out. Now that I know it’s a good one, I might just get started tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration! (BTW, we just got back from Germany. Loved it! Hope you’re enjoying it, too!)

  3. We used Olivata Oink which is a video plus work book approach for elementary age. Now I am trying Rosetta stone

  4. We just finished Prima Latina for Latin this year and we are moving to Latina Christiana I next year. It was really easy to teach and my son learned a ton. It is from Memoria Press. I highly recommend the program for elementary Latin.

    • I have heard good things about it. Would like to get it for my DD. We are doing french this year. She is 6 but have thoughts on adding a second foreign language in a couple years. I am leaning towards Latin. What is a good age to start the program?

      • I started it with my 6 year old. I think that is a good age. Not too easy and not too hard.

        • We loved Prima Latina! We used with my 3 girls when the youngest was 7. They learned so much and it is so easy to teach. I had no latin experience, I would highly recommend it. Also I would recommend purchasing the DVD’s as the teacher on there is amazing and makes the lessons even easier. We finished it and have now moved on to Christiana Latina 1 and are enjoying it as well.

  5. We are currently using Salsa Spanish, free from Georgia Public Television. My son loves it, but he says he wants to switch to French. Dd is also starting to pick up some Spanish, either from listening to Salsa while he’s watching it, or from Curious George games in Spanish (pbskids). I’ll probably schedule Salsa for her next year regardless of what ds and I are using.

    Does anyone know of a free online program for French that uses puppets, songs, etc.? I like the looks of Adventure French for Kids, but for $75 I want to be sure he’s learning more than just a few basic words and phrases.

    • We also love the Salsa videos! The Wyoming Dept of Education has lesson plans available online for the different episodes as well.

  6. Stephanie says:

    We use La Clase Divertida for beginning spanish elementary, and Song School Latin from Classical Academic Press for beginning Latin.

  7. We use a free online program through the library. It is called Mango Languages. My daughter seems to really like it, but we haven’t been consistent in foreign language this year.

  8. We use Risas y Sonrisas at spanishforkids.com.

  9. Kristi Winings says:

    We are researching currently. Our hope is to start Mandarin or Arabic this fall with our 4th grader. I worry about a program moving too quickly though. After a year of study we hope to team him up with a conversation partner from one of the local universities as well.

    • If anyone is I interested in Arabic, Critical Language Service (www.criticallanguageservice.com) provides great classes for students aged 6 to adult. The way it works is that you organize a group of between 2 to 10 students who can meet in one location twice a week. The teacher teaches the group via Skype. It’s just like a normal class except the teacher is on a screen. All teachers are native speakers who are experienced in teaching Arabic as a foreign language. The materials used vary according to the ages of the students in each class, so they are always age appropriate. Overall it’s a much more personalized and supportive experience than studying at a community college and more fun and effective than private lessons.

  10. For Spanish we LOVE La Case Divertida for the younger ages.

    I purchased Rosetta Stone too and even after completing a year, my girls really applied nothing. They sounded great repeating things back to the computer, but had no depth to what those things meant!

    La Clase Divertida gets mom involved, which is great because you can use the words you have learned in conversation through-out the week – I think that is where real comprehension comes in.

    Plus, in the 3rd year you learn the gospel En Espanol! SOLD!

  11. Stephanie says:

    I have also used Rosetta Stone and found the application of the language isn’t great. I think it can be difficult to pick up on the grammar rules and verb conjugations without any direct instruction. For us, the program Fluenz is a much better fit. The retention level is high and they offer instruction from a native speaker but also helpful tips from someone who learned the language as a second language. My only negative comment on it is I wish they had a program directed toward small children. As of right now, it is mostly for jr. high, high school, and adults.

  12. For Mandarin, we use a video skype tutor through Golden Key Cultural Center. That has worked really well. We have also used Better Chinese which is good for young kids, too. It has fun little books with CDs.

  13. We are a bilingual family and really wanted to add French to our languages, but I was having a really hard time finding something that works for my little ones (7, 5, 3 and 1) I personally like Duolingo (Free) but it was too technical and “boring” for my littles. I then ran across Languagenut.com. I contacted them and they gave me a free trial and we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! After just 2 weeks, my kids are already learning a TON of vocab. It is cute, fun, and thorough. There is no speech recognition, but that isn’t as important at this stage.

    For Homeschool families, they gave me the best deal. It cost $250 a year, but I can set up “classes” and my other homeschool moms can be in my “school” so that if we have 5 families participating, it is only $50 a year and each class has it’s own log in info. I am just the administrator. It is SOO GREAT for co-ops or just groups of moms. I am in the process right now of setting up my “classes” and I hope to get a few more moms to participate so we could get it even cheaper per family.

    As for me or older children, I would also recomment “Tell Me More” as it is more like Rosetta Stone (used that for Spanish at the beginning) but less expensive and they have some really great sales (like 40% off). I am not using that as well as duolingo for French.

    So…check out Language Nut (www.languagenut.com). You can learn Arabic, French, German, Haitian Creole, Indonesian, 2 types of Japanese, 2 types of Mandarin, Spanish, and Latin American Spanish. And the REALLY cool thing, is that you don’t have to just pick one language. It is all online so each child can choose a different language.

    Sorry…no one is paying me to write these things ;) but I know that they are a start up company and we are just loving our experience so much! haha!

    • Hmmm….whenever I try to look up the sample games or stories it says “Page Not Found”. Did you have any problems with this?

  14. Marie Josee says:

    For my family, I look for a good program for learning english (we are french person) so if you have suggestion, you are welcome :) Hope my english writing is not too bad ;) Have a nice day

  15. Thanks for this post! I just tried power speak with my 6 year old and she loved it! This came at the perfect time! Yesterday we sat at the computer and she tried 3 or 4 on line language programs and she didn’t like any of them but the Chinese language program better Chinese. I really was trying to change her mind from Chinese to Spanish. So this worked perfectly!! Thanks!

  16. We started with French this year. My DD is 6 and at the first grade level. We are using the Little Pim series (Part of the Pimsleur approach) and she is loving it. It is affordable and easy to learn. She has her DVD and workbooks to go along with. She also has a Little Pim app on her LeapPad that she plays french games on and has french songs. She is doing great and progressed very well. I think we made the right choice.

    • AJ, I’m so glad you mentioned Little Pim is part of the Pimsleur approach. We have checked out Little Pim from the library and enjoyed it, but when we were given a Pimsleur set, I didn’t make the connection, and had been dragging my heals on trying it. Now I think we’ll try it tomorrow! Thanks!!!

  17. We have used Rosetta Stone in the past but once it got past the pictures and they had to write sentences, they lost us. I need to pick it back up again though. I am fluent in the language that we got so I have an advantage.

    Daily practice is key. You can learn all kinds of vocabulary and grammar, but if you don’t practice it, you will lose all your hard work. I created an ebook on how to teach any foreign language and it helps create sentences with the words you know so that kids get good practice.

    Focused and continuous practice is key if you want to retain anything with foreign languages.

  18. We will be using the Spanish 1&2 curriculum & audio CDs from Landmark Freedom Baptist Church for the 9th grade. It is thurough in the language study/practice work, and easy for the student to discipher. They are King James 1611 Bible based & the most exciting part is that the entire 2nd semester focuses on being able to lead a person to the Lord in salvation! Wow! What a witnessing tool!
    So, if you are interested in training you child/children to be soulwinners or prepare them for future missions trips, I would highly recommend this language curriculum. And the books are very affordable & re-usable for those with multiple children :)

  19. Bekah Begg says:

    I’m going to have to follow this one. I am teaching my kids Italian but having a hard time finding resources with it. I’ve found a few books online & we use duolingo right now but wonder what else is out there.

  20. This is such a great idea to do a forum about each subject. I have found so many great resources that I have never heard of before!! Thank you!

    • Hi, funny enough we’re learning english from Italy!. My daughter is 5 and we’re finishing Hocus & Lotus format (dvd + books and songs). nice, although a bit kiddish, same dvd has got italian, german, spanish, french and english to learn

    • What have you been using for Italian. I would like to help my boys 11,8,4 and myself learn some before we move there.

  21. We will be using Song School Latin next year. It has a workbook, a listening CD with fun songs and also a DVD! It looks really cute, we’ve never used it before but I have watched the first few lessons on the DVD and I was learning a lot! :). My kiddos will be 3rd grade, kindergarten and a tot, so hopefully they will really enjoy it and learn a lot.

    • We LOVED Song School Latin and my son learned every word in that book. It is WONDERFUL! We have just started the Song School Greek book and it is much more difficult but we’re getting there!

  22. We have tried Muzzy, Mango, and several others including different kinds of workbooks, videos, etc. and this has been our hardest subject to do well! It is terrible because my husband and I are both bilingual and I actually work as a Bilingual Interpreter and this is literally our only subject that does not go well.
    My boys both had language issues when they were young, which is why we didn’t push Spanish at the time, but now I really regret it.

    • Same here! My husband and I are both bilingual (though English is our preferred language), and when our children had speech delays and stuttering issues, we decided not to teach a second language til later. Now I’m just not sure how to incorporate it effectively (they are 7 and 10 years old now). I am thinking about using flashcards with them this year. My idea is to learn a new word a day at lunchtime and review previous words. I think having mastered 100+ vocabulary words will serve them well when we finally start teaching it formally.

  23. We are starting french this next school year. I found a curriculum called The Easy French. It has several levels, including a junior level for k-3. We can’t wait to begin it.

  24. Our local YMCA has Spanish for homeschoolers and my 9-year old loves it! It’s very inexpensive too. There is free childcare and my little kids get some play time while mom goes to the gym. We are a military family and did have our daughter in Italian pre-K, where she started speaking and understanding within 2 months. My husband has taken on learning Spanish now and reads the Bible to the kids before bed in Spanish and English, sometimes some of the very well known fairytales as well.

  25. Wanted to chime in here.
    Erica, I actually used your Calendar Time, LOTW and K4 curriculums and adapted them by making the words German instead of English (like Days of the Week Song, Months of the Year, the color flashcards, the number worksheets). We did this over the course of two years and it really helped immerse my son in the language! He now, at 5, teaches his adult uncles a little German using the game Go Fish, an idea he came up with during our K4 year.
    Anyway, just wanted you to know that you helped our homeschool immensely!
    Thank you!

  26. We have 2 boys 8 and 11 who have been learning for the last 3 months with Skype classes from http://www.121spanish.com.
    They have most of the popular E books used in US schools for free as part of their classes, so I do not need to purchase them.
    Also their website has many videos and learning activities for free.

  27. Have you checked out http://lingohut.com/ ? This website helps me with pronunciation. It is free and super easy to use. They have lessons in a whole bunch of languages. I learned Dutch with my daughter. We call it our secret language.

    At my church we have several members that have limited English skills and this website really has help them.

  28. Summer Osborn says:

    I am a French teacher, so I have reviewed a lot of different things! I love petralingua.com. They have subscriptions for 3 months, 6 months, or a year at very reasonable prices. They offer Spanish, French, and a few more. I think it is great for kids maybe as young as 5, but you might have to sit with the child to help them figure out the directions to some of the activities. I also love Mango languages, which many libraries offer for free. It is online but some libraries have a way you can access it from their homepage for free if you sign in with your library card number and PIN. Many libraries also offer Pimsleur CDs which are AWESOME. Little Pim is a line of DVDs created by the daughter of the man who created the Pimsleur program. They are geared towards very, very young children and might be a tad boring for kids over the age of 4. Depends on the kid, I suppose. Professor Toto DVDs are great, but I would not buy them new. They are too pricey for what they are. I think they work best as a review after the child has been learning for a while because otherwise they go too fast. Duolingo is great, and free. Digitaldialects.com is a free site with vocabulary activities. Ecoutez, Parlez is a book with CD and a workbook published by kaleekapress in Canada. I like it for ages 6 & up (as long as the 6 yr old is a solid reader.) Hooked on French and Hooked on Spanish are great programs, if you can find them. HOF is no longer being produced, I think. If you find those, use them first with your youngest kids because they are the most basic (good) curriculum you’ll find. As supplements, “Hide and Speak” books are great vocabulary boosters. Languageguide.org is like an audio picture dictionary. BBC “primary languages” has free foreign language lessons and games. And I just found out that the makers of “Spot it!” have made Spanish and French versions specifically designed to help American kids learn Sp / Fr vocab! I think that’s awesome! More toy and game makers should do this! I think that’s all I’ve got for now but I hope that is helpful for some people!

  29. Pimsleur Spanish uses a variety of audio techniques to help you learn new vocabulary, create an understand phrases, and perhaps most importantly, understand real native Spanish speakers. The audio program that you received has been scientifically sequenced so that you are able to quickly learn Spanish and retain as much information as possible, even after listening to the CD lessons one time.

    The fact that you can learn a new language without reading, writing, or even using your computer means that you can focus on just what is important – speaking and understanding.

  30. Who has experience with a foreign language class for homeschoolers that is provided at someone’s house by a native speaker of that language (German), in a small group, say only 2 or 4 children of same/similar grades? What would you consider a reasonable tuition to pay for a 45 minute lesson once or twice a week? The teacher has Waldorf Education teaching experience so it’s an immersion method, based on cultural activities, songs, stories, poems, games, festivals, short conversations & role play.

  31. Hello. I am looking for a Spanish Christian curriculum, I’m from Mexico and I’m bilingual, so I’ll be able to teach them to speak it correctly, but I’ve never homeschooled, my son turned 5 in January and we know we will need a class for him or he will forget all about it and them lose interest, but I would love something like missions focused or something like that. Is there anything out there? Thanks!

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