Homeschooling through high school is a rewarding and challenging experience. As the parent, you are moving into the role of facilitator helping your child to learn independently and by using outside resources like tutors, community college classes and online resources. Unless you speak more than one language, helping your child fulfill the foreign language requirement (if your state has one) and figuring out the best way to do that can be a bit overwhelming. Below are five tips to help your teen build a strong foundation in the language of his choice.
- Start early. If you lean to a classical style of homeschooling, you are already aware of the many benefits of teaching your child Latin and/or Greek. Over 50% of the words in the English language have Latin roots. Studying Latin from about third grade on will improve your child’s vocabulary and help him fully understand English grammar as well. As an added bonus, studying Latin before high school sets your child up to learn one of the romance languages (languages based on latin) – English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian fairly quickly. If your child wishes to learn another language having studied one already and understanding the basic components of language will give him a leg up.
- Immersion. If your child has an opportunity through your church or another community group, starting his language studies with a full immersion experience can make learning the rest a piece of cake. Mission trips, community efforts with immigrant populations and study abroad programs can all help your child get a quick start on a language. In a situation where you are surrounded by native speakers you are forced to learn to communicate. In any of these instances you may find someone to help you with the next option.
- Tutoring. If you know someone who is fluent in a language that interests your child, talk to them about weekly or bi-weekly tutoring sessions. Many people are happy to meet with your child once or twice a week at home or at the library or a local coffee shop. If budget is an issue, see if you can barter for lessons. Perhaps you can offer a professional service or product in exhange for tutoring. Talk about it and see if you can’t come to an arrangement.
- Online options. I you are not comfortable teaching a language to your child, look into online classes or online tutors who use a combination of Skype lessons and a text book. If your teen is not particularly motivated to learn a language, this might not be the best choice as it will involve him studying on his own and keeping Skype and other tutoring appointments.
- Virtual School. Many states offer free virtual school to their residents. If you start a language in ninth and follow through in tenth grade, you have given your teen the skills he needs to move onto dual enrollment language classes at a local college for his junior and senior year.
You can homeschool high school without being a master at all subjects – you just know where to look for help. Look into your options now while you’re still planning for high school and you’ll come up with the plan best suited to your child and your family.