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I think I've shared before how disappointing my son's experiences have been attempting to learn a foreign language. Over the last eight or so years, we've tried various languages (Greek, Latin, Spanish) with an assortment of programs and curricula (Latin for Children, Spanish for Children, the Learnables, SYRWTL Latin, Elementary Greek, FLVS Spanish and now Destinos).

 

Nothing has worked. Nothing has made a dent. He doesn't seem to have absorbed much of anything from any language.

 

I had just about decided to just keep forging ahead with Destinos, have him put in his two years and resign myself to the fact that he'll probably have to start over in college, when he brought up the subject this afternoon.

 

He, too, is frustrated and unhappy. He hates working on Spanish, because he feels like he's not getting anywhere. And, despite the fact that he realizes it would mean starting over at the beginning (and "losing" the year of Spanish he already finished), he would like to explore doing something else.

 

I'm supportive, with the understanding that this will absolutely, positively have to be "it" and that I have a very minimal budget to replace curricula for this year.

 

He would like to consider switching to a different language, since he's just plain sick of Spanish. But he isn't especially drawn to anything. He has a nagging suspicion that something completely different (he mentioned Arabic, for example) might be more interesting for him.

 

I told him I'd do some research regarding which languages are accepted at the colleges at which he is likely to apply (probably a Florida state university campus), but I'm not finding information on any of their websites regarding which languages they want. Every one of them just says "two years of the same foreign language."

 

Anyone know where I'd find that information?

 

And here's the real challenge: Can anyone help me find a foreign language program with the following characteristics?

 

1. Engaging, interesting, fun. He doesn't respond well to dry, traditional, parts-to-whole study.

2. Includes an audio component that directly relates to the written work. In other words, he wants to be able to listen to the audio while reading along in a book. He feels like he really needs to see and hear the words in context in order to understand.

3. Covers a language most colleges will accept for admissions purposes.

4. Is free or very cheap.

 

At this point, I almost think an attractive, engaging curriculum matters more than which language it teaches. He's burned out and feeling badly about this whole thing. I need something with which he can get a fresh start and be successful.

 

Thanks!

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fwiw, my son has been trying french with Tell me More and he's hating it. he says he's awful at it. i dont even know french, he chose it because my husband speaks french. i probably should try it, too, but i'm totally ovewhelmed with what I AM doing for him for school, plus the other kid and the cooking allergy-free meals and arggg. wish it could be fun and easy

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Do you have an iPad? If so you might look at the new Breaking the Barrier Spanish iPad App. I haven't used it, but I am using BTB French with dd and I think it is excellent. The iPad ap looks more interactive and we can't wait until they release it for French!

 

We do have an iPad in the house, but it belongs to my husband.

 

We spent some time looking around at options today, and I think we've decided to go a whole different direction. We're going to try Mango Language through our public library. And he's decided he'd like to switch to Italian, which will be a learning experience for both of us!

 

Thanks for the suggestion. It does look cool.

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Jenny, what do you think of the program you are using now and when you work with your son how does he seem to be doing to you? Have you talked with his teacher if there is one?

 

One of the things the Lukeion folks told the new students at their Latin orientation is that foreign language study is hard for everybody, even students who have cruised through hard material in other areas have to work hard to learn a language.

 

So before switching yet again, I'd take a good hard look at him. Is he a bright kid who is still finding even hard subjects like chemistry a breeze? If so the problem may not be the program but his expectations.

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Jenny, what do you think of the program you are using now and when you work with your son how does he seem to be doing to you? Have you talked with his teacher if there is one?

 

One of the things the Lukeion folks told the new students at their Latin orientation is that foreign language study is hard for everybody, even students who have cruised through hard material in other areas have to work hard to learn a language.

 

So before switching yet again, I'd take a good hard look at him. Is he a bright kid who is still finding even hard subjects like chemistry a breeze? If so the problem may not be the program but his expectations.

 

I don't love the program. I think it's the kind of thing that would work for a motivated student, but not one who is going through the motions because Mom says he has to learn a foreign language.

 

There is no outside teacher. We tried that last year and found that, because his grades were good enough, she was not aware that he was struggling. And, even once I discussed it with her, she was not helpful. It's pretty much the same experience we've had with a number of outside classes. He bluffs his way into good grades and isn't a problem. So, the teachers love him, and he doesn't learn much. It's the primary reason we swore off outside classes this year.

 

He is a very bright kid who finds most schoolwork easy to the point of boredom. In general, he works much harder when something is a challege. But Spanish is the only subject in which I really feel like he's just not getting it. As I said, though, I was resigned to just trudging on through and admitting that not every subject has to be wonderful. But then he brought it up yesterday and seems ready to make a fresh start.

 

Since I'm delighted to see even the least flicker of enthusiasm for this, I'm willing to give him a chance to explore a new option.

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Honestly, for us it took the class at the junior college. Unless you have someone that speaks it and has assignment to keep them accountable and can answer their questions, it just doesn't work well. If a mom/dad is a native speaker then it is doable. Otherwise, to me this is an area you just can't do at home.

 

That was pretty much our experience with French. We used all available resources, had a private tutor, I was learning alongside DD - but progress was at a snail's pace for 2.5 years. Since she started taking classes at the university, it is much better.

 

 

Nothing has worked. Nothing has made a dent. He doesn't seem to have absorbed much of anything from any language.

......He hates working on Spanish, because he feels like he's not getting anywhere.

Jenny: how long has he studied each of these languages? Beginning language learning is simply boring. It does not really become interesting until the student has progressed enough to read interesting texts, which is going to take several years. So I simply do not think your/his expectations are realistic. The real fun with a language begins when one can speak, understand, read, watch movies - which takes longer than most students study foreign languages in this country. Just taking a language during the high school years will usually not be sufficient to reach the state where one can easily converse with natives or watch films without subtitles. (I attended a special school for languages and learn them easily - but when I watched my first American film after 8 years of study, I barely understood anything, and following group conversations among Americans was a problem even after 10 years of classes.) It just takes a long persistent slog. Edited by regentrude
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http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD4BE5CA16DE94D07&feature=plcp

We've been playing around with this one for Latin -- I suspect you wouldn't even need to buy the book, although you can probably get a used copy cheap.

 

That's all very well and good for Latin -- but what I'd really like is this same approach with another language. Does anyone know of anything like this on youtube? Or someplace else? It looks great for reading practice.

 

Also, before you give up on Destinos, I'd give Pimsleur a try. We struggled with Destinos. It moves really quick. I think it assumes there is going to be classroom drill, but you don't get that on your own. Pimsleur, however, drills like crazy. And it's not at all hard or boring. Once my kids went through Pimsleur, Destinos suddenly started making sense to them.

 

Get Pimsleur from the library -- get it from interlibrary loan if your library doesn't have it. It's super expensive and you really don't need it for very long.

 

And probably any high school foreign language will be accepted by a college as fulfilling the 2 years they want in high school for admissions (Latin, ASL, you name it). What the more offbeat languages might not fill is the foreign language requirement that needs to be filled while AT the college. If he does a language in high school that the college doesn't accept, or doesn't offer (meaning he can't build on what he already knows), or has no placement test for, he might start at a slight disadvantage. In other words, he might have to take a class or two that some other kids will get out of. But maybe that's better than tearing out your hair now. He'll learn it better at college anyway (one hopes).

 

Anyway, a lot of kids who had 2 years of a language in high school end up having to repeat the exact same language in college, starting in the first semester. It's no big tragedy. It might just turn out being an easy class, and sometimes easy classes are good in college. It frees up time for other things.

 

And I suspect there are a lot of colleges that will look the other way on the language requirement for admissions IF the student is very strong in other areas. This might not be true at a big state school where they have boxes they need to check off, but will likely be the case at a lot of other schools. (Has to be a strong student otherwise, though -- or have interesting characteristics that interest the college.)

 

One last word of advice -- you aren't going for fluency. Or anything close to it. I'm rather appalled by how little gets learned in the high school language courses around here, but the kids all get admitted with 2-6 years of foreign language on their transcripts, even if they can't speak it and even can't read it. They were in the classroom for those years, and that's what the colleges are counting. How far did your son get in Destinos? My impression is that GOOD high school programs will get through that in the third year. So if he's done 2/3 of it, he's probably done what a good program would do in 2 years and he's good to go. If he's done less, he might well have done what would be considered 2 years in a not so great program.

 

For instance, I know that the local high school gets through the first book of Cambridge Latin over the first 2 years. That's it. They call it 2 years of a foreign language and the kids are ready to apply to college. However, there are lots of high school programs that get through the first book AND most of the second in the first year alone. So their 2nd year is the 3rd book. Vastly different amounts of material covered, but it's still 2 years and good enough for admissions with either track.

 

And the colleges do know this. That's why they have placement tests. And why so many kids don't necessarily place all that high.

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He is a very bright kid who finds most schoolwork easy to the point of boredom. In general, he works much harder when something is a challege. But Spanish is the only subject in which I really feel like he's just not getting it. As I said, though, I was resigned to just trudging on through and admitting that not every subject has to be wonderful. But then he brought it up yesterday and seems ready to make a fresh start.

 

Since I'm delighted to see even the least flicker of enthusiasm for this, I'm willing to give him a chance to explore a new option.

 

 

That was pretty much our experience with French. We used all available resources, had a private tutor, I was learning alongside DD - but progress was at a snail's pace for 2.5 years. Since she started taking classes at the university, it is much better.

 

 

Jenny: how long has he studied each of these languages? Beginning language learning is simply boring. It does not really become interesting until the student has progressed enough to read interesting texts, which is going to take several years. So I simply do not think your/his expectations are realistic. The real fun with a language begins when one can speak, understand, read, watch movies - which takes longer than most students study foreign languages in this country. Just taking a language during the high school years will usually not be sufficient to reach the state where one can easily converse with natives or watch films without subtitles. (I attended a special school for languages and learn them easily - but when I watched my first American film after 8 years of study, I barely understood anything, and following group conversations among Americans was a problem even after 10 years of classes.) It just takes a long persistent slog.

 

Yes! learning a new language is boring, a slog, and you don't make what seems like real progress for a long time.

 

I think I would be super cautious about continuing to change as that is part of the problem. Every time he changes he goes back to zero level.

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First, I agree with previous posters who say that real progress in a language takes more than a year or two.

 

Second, for us, a teacher with knowledge of the language is necessary. I wasted years trying to help them learn Spanish, which I do not know, because it's considered *the* language to learn around here (south Texas). Once they got past the first couple of weeks in any program, I couldn't help them at all. We cannot afford private tutoring. Finally, I decided that in our homeschool, we would study German, because that is the language I can guide and help them with. I'm not fluent, but I know enough to teach proper pronunciation and can understand the lessons in textbooks, and can correct exercises without a teacher's manual. This year alone, my boys have made more progress in German than my girls did in 4 years struggling with Spanish on their own.

 

We also plan to use the CC for language classes (either for further study in German or for another language of their choice) when they are old enough.

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Yes! learning a new language is boring, a slog, and you don't make what seems like real progress for a long time.

 

I think I would be super cautious about continuing to change as that is part of the problem. Every time he changes he goes back to zero level.

 

First, I agree with previous posters who say that real progress in a language takes more than a year or two.

 

Second, for us, a teacher with knowledge of the language is necessary. I wasted years trying to help them learn Spanish, which I do not know, because it's considered *the* language to learn around here (south Texas). Once they got past the first couple of weeks in any program, I couldn't help them at all. We cannot afford private tutoring. Finally, I decided that in our homeschool, we would study German, because that is the language I can guide and help them with.

 

 

For what it's worth, I took several years of Spanish in high school and college (considered minoring in it for a while). And I saw my daughter through her high school foreign language study, too. It's not like I'm a novice. We have something different going on here, I think.

 

And community college isn't an option yet, because he's too young.

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Well...I used to think learning a spoken foreign language was a. not likely to happen in my house, lol and b. a boring uphill battle. My dd is now telling me that this is not the right attitude. ;)

 

A friend gave her this guy's Language Hacker stuff and boy has she taken off.

 

While I haven't investigated his suggestions too deeply myself they are definitely helping her. In two weeks she made more progress using his methods for Spanish than her friend has who is taking an online Spanish course that started back in August. She can have a very basic conversation, and can read basic everyday communications. Her friend cannot.

 

My dd says that a BIG part of his outlook is that you can and must immerse yourself to some degree (usually speaking immediately is suggested) and that it's all in how you look at it. Plus he gives wonderful tips for breaking it down and setting goals. There are interesting forums on the site, too. Maybe one might get some help/ideas for free there.

 

I'm going to buy his materials for myself so we can all get on the bandwagon, lol. If we do then I will post a true review after we have all been using his ideas for a month or two.

 

hth,

Georgia

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I agree with others who've said that for almost any language there will be a long period at the beginning where it may feel like you're not going anywhere. For me, that period seemed to last about two years (I studied Latin in high school (4 yrs), and German, Farsi and Arabic in college). My instructors would try to encourage by giving different assignments like watching a movie or listening to a song or whatever it would be to try and both boost understanding but (I think) more to encourage. In most cases, after two years I tried to get into a position where I was really using the language -- exchange programs, or language clubs, whatever.

 

Are there any opportunities in your area for actually using the Spanish he's learning? Like a Spanish-speaking club or any outside activity where he would need to use Spanish? That would provide a challenge as well as perhaps inspiration to keep with it.

 

I have had a few friends who have taught themselves Arabic at home (pretty much what most of us do here for foreign language learning), and in every case the key was they put themselves out there in the Arabic-speaking community and forced themselves to use whatever they knew with native speakers. I'm sure it was painful/embarrassing in the beginning, but people are usually really encouraging and that in turn inspired more effort on the part of the language learner, kwim?

 

Just some thoughts...

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For what it's worth, I took several years of Spanish in high school and college (considered minoring in it for a while). And I saw my daughter through her high school foreign language study, too. It's not like I'm a novice. We have something different going on here, I think.

 

And community college isn't an option yet, because he's too young.

 

My three children have all been very different in regard to learning a foreign language. Something to consider is that if your son starts a language in community college when he's old enough (is it 16 there?) and takes it every semester, he may well catch up then as they often move more quickly than most high school language classes. Although she did German 1 while still at home, my eldest is getting all of her Spanish foreign language credits in her junior & senior years because it's on a semester system (this is the dd I expelled during her sophomore year, because we were able to get her into sophomore classes at the ps & we needed to do this in this case). If she were to do it at cc, she could get the level she needs even faster. My middle one was fine with vocab & syntax when we did it at home, but didn't get the grammar well until she did it at the public high school in their honours programme. You can't bluff your way through the written tests & quizzes there, and they count for a large part of the grade.

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Since it is possible to do DE in FL after 9th grade (regardless what the folks at your cc may tell you) he could start next summer with cc classes. You may have to argue w/them (I did when #1 was that age), but the state allows the $$ to be used so they should too.

 

#1 had had 1yr Latin & 1yr FLVS Spanish before she too cc Spanish. Dd#2 hadn't had any prior foreign language. Both did fine. I wish they'd had the option of a 2nd yr @ cc, but it wasn't offered.

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Jenny - I find that foreign languages are pretty useless unless you use them in some sort of real-ish context consistently, so what you have learned really sinks in and doesn't just fly out of your head again. For me, that means reading. I begin with children's books and comic books and a dictionary. For my children, it has meant putting themselves in a situation with native speakers and speaking. None of us have found movies very helpful (except youngest as a young child); they move too fast. Now, yes, when my French is much better, I can see how movies would help, but until you have a pretty good grasp of the language, they aren't. Is it the grammar that is the problem? Or is it that he isn't remembering the vocabulary? If it is the grammar, it might be that a quick review/introduction to tenses and endings in English might help. If it is remembering the vocabulary, then I highly recommend reading, reading, and more reading to go along with whatever program he is using. If you can convince him to go to the trouble to understand not only what is said but how it is said, then you will be all set. If... I know that is difficult to do with a teenager who is just going through the motions, but if you can do it, it will help enormously because he won't have to work so hard to remember the vocabulary or learn new words. Reading with a dictionary, if you can convince him to look up every word he doesn't know, will let him increase his vocab without boring memorization, and cement it without boring reviewing. The trick is to find something that he doesn't mind reading too much.

 

Good luck,

Nan

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Is it the grammar that is the problem? Or is it that he isn't remembering the vocabulary? If it is the grammar, it might be that a quick review/introduction to tenses and endings in English might help.

 

It's been everything. When I attempt to speak with him, to have the simplest conversation ("What time is it?"), he looks at me blankly. Although he knows parts of speech in English, he can't remember whether a particular word is a verb or a noun. And he ends up attempting to conjugate everything, although he looks at me blankly, again, when I try to get him to tell me what tense a verb should be in a given sentence.

 

Seriously, he's got all of that mastered in English. After a somewhat rocky start, it has turned out that he is a really good writer. And, given my background in the subject, grammar gets a good work-out here. He just doesn't seem to be able to translate (pardon the pun) any of that knowledge to Spanish. Nothing.

 

So, the new plan is that we will try learning Italian concurrently. Thus far, each of us has done exactly one lesson, but he did manage to answer "How are you?" correctly earlier today.

 

I agree about reading, but I'm finding a certain death of materials available in Italian here. Our library carries books in French, Spanish, Portugese, Vietnamese and Haitian Creole, but not Italian. I've put a bunch of children's books on my wish lists at PaperbackSwap and BookMooch, but it doesn't look like anything will be available for many months, at the earliest. I really can't afford to go on a buying spree at the moment, unfortunately.

 

I did find a series of short cartoons on YouTube, and I'll have him play with those at some point. And I plan to check at the Italy pavillion next time we do Epcot. But, at the moment, I've got to work with what I have on hand.

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Since it is possible to do DE in FL after 9th grade (regardless what the folks at your cc may tell you) he could start next summer with cc classes. You may have to argue w/them (I did when #1 was that age), but the state allows the $$ to be used so they should too.

 

The problem is his age. The local community college has a policy of not accepting students until the semester in which they turn 16.

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I'm also looking for online/free things in Italian for my daughter. This was the quick list I sent her this morning. I don't know if any of them are really of any use.

 

Anybody have others?

 

http://italian.about.com/od/childrensitalian/Childrens_Italian.htm

 

 

 

 

http://italian.about.com/library/children/blconversationindex.htm

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I'm also looking for online/free things in Italian for my daughter. This was the quick list I sent her this morning. I don't know if any of them are really of any use.

 

Anybody have others?

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/italian/

 

We are using Prego! for Italian, and they have a companion website which also contains the audio files that are on the CD:

http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0073535265/student_view0/

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It is virtually impossible to learn a language effectively at home with just a standard curriculum.

 

I would strongly suggest finding ways for him to read, watch movies, and most importantly, SPEAK Spanish regularly (several times per week).

 

You can speak with folks for free on LiveMocha.

 

I highly recommend the tutors at 121Spanish.

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It is virtually impossible to learn a language effectively at home with just a standard curriculum.

 

I would strongly suggest finding ways for him to read, watch movies, and most importantly, SPEAK Spanish regularly (several times per week).

 

You can speak with folks for free on LiveMocha.

 

I highly recommend the tutors at 121Spanish.

 

Well, we've decided to dump Spanish, because he had built up all kinds of negative emotional baggage about the language.

 

I'll disagree with you, anyway, though. I did fine learning Spanish in school, and did my daughter.

 

Tutors are not in our budget. And I've had issues with my computer each time I've tried LiveMocha. So, it is what it is. We have to forge ahead the best we can.

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I did fine learning Spanish in school, and did my daughter.

 

Can I pick your brain, Jenny? How did you do it?

For me, homeschooling a foreign language I am not fluent in is by far the hardest subject. Despite starting French in 6th grade with DD, I was not able to get her even close to fluency, nor was I able to achieve fluency (never mind actual proficiency) myself by learning alongside for several years (even though we had a native tutor): I can read fine, my composition skills are mediocre, and I can not follow a conversation among French people. With DD, we hit a wall, which we only have been able to overcome by having her take live classes with a fluent speaker for four hours per week (the eight hours of weekly homework this teacher requires certainly help).

 

How did you achieve foreign language success for your DD in a homeschooling environment?

I found it hard to get my kids proficient in German... which we speak on a daily basis.

I have been trying to teach myself French for years now; I can not progress past a certain level. Is it really just a discipline issue I have?

 

I am embarking on the next foreign language journey with DS, Italian. He is already in 8th grade, so we have a late start, and I am not very hopeful as to what we will be able to achieve... did I mention I know very little Italian? Only a bit from classical arias, LOL.

 

I find this the one area where I can not give my children an education comparable with my own public school education which resulted in proficiency in English (my second foreign language) and - once upon a time- Russian (my first foreign language, which I sadly neglected for many years).

Edited by regentrude
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Well, we've decided to dump Spanish, because he had built up all kinds of negative emotional baggage about the language.

 

I'll disagree with you, anyway, though. I did fine learning Spanish in school, and did my daughter.

 

Tutors are not in our budget. And I've had issues with my computer each time I've tried LiveMocha. So, it is what it is. We have to forge ahead the best we can.

 

I'm sorry about the unhappy experience with Spanish, and sorry if I have offended you. That was not my intent. You've had a lot of frustration in this area despite having tried hard to put in the time.

 

I thought your ds was trying to learn a language at home? That's different than learning in school. I, too, learned French in school, and did rather well with it. I got As every single semester over the course of 4 1/2 years and was considered a great student in that area. In college, there was more than one language professor who asked me to consider changing my major because the language came to me easily and intuitively.

 

Even with that successful of an academic experience, however, almost five years of French still left me unable to have a lengthy conversation in French (though I could read it pretty well and still can to a limited extent). My speaking was still somewhat artificial. I did much, much better with it one summer when I worked in a bookstore and a French-speaking man came regularly to buy a French newspaper. He was kind enough to practice with me. By the end of the summer, though, my French was still halting.

 

I have friends who had the same experience, and the language only jelled for them when they spent time living in France.

 

I contrast my experience to that of my daughter, who has been learning Spanish. We started her with a computer program and all the flash-card coaching I could give her. She scored perfectly with that stuff but froze when any attempt was made to speak the language with her. She had compartmentalized the language to computer-usage and rote memorization and could not apply the things she had memorized to actual conversation or stories to read.

 

We are blessed to have a budget for language tutors (and I do understand that not everyone can afford that, and I do not take that for granted). When we saw that my daughter was not learning to speak Spanish, we put dd into a small group class taught by a friend. We have been lucky to have tutors at $10 per hour for the first several years, and then in recent years, $15 per hour on 121Spanish. She now takes a weekly co-op class for grammar and vocabulary, and she meets twice a week with a tutor from 121Spanish for conversation. Her tutor does not speak any English, so dd speaks Spanish comfortably for the entire hour that they have together.

 

I also require dd to read children's books in Spanish and watch Spanish movies or TV shows.

 

The difference has been astounding. Dd's ability to learn the language, speaking it, reading it comfortably, and understanding it, skyrocketed. The lesson I took from this is that a person has to really use the language in order to learn the language, and also that it doesn't become fun or interesting until it is used actively, a LOT.

 

Even with as well as I did in my French classes, I still did not have the kind of proficiency with the language that my daughter does.

 

A class setting gives you more person-to-person practice with the language than does a home curriculum with no tutor or practice with someone who speaks the language. That is why learning a language in a school will be easier and more successful than a home program. The more immersion, the higher the comfort level with the language. It is certainly possible to learn enough of the language to pass a test, but learning to speak/read/understand the language will be much more challenging.

Edited by strider
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I have friends who had the same experience, and the language only jelled for them when they spent time living in France.

 

 

 

This is true for anyone; there are different levels of learning a language. However, full immersion with native speakers is what it takes to become truly fluent. But for many of us, we're looking for enough language to help our kids get into college. In my case it's with the hope that they study more of it in college &or travel to use it.

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Can I pick your brain, Jenny? How did you do it?

For me, homeschooling a foreign language I am not fluent in is by far the hardest subject. Despite starting French in 6th grade with DD, I was not able to get her even close to fluency, nor was I able to achieve fluency (never mind actual proficiency) myself by learning alongside for several years (even though we had a native tutor):

 

With my daughter, we picked curricula she liked and plugged away at it. She learned. I had enough Spanish from my high school and college days that I was able to chat with her and check her pronunciation. It was fine.

 

I thought your ds was trying to learn a language at home? That's different than learning in school.

 

Sorry, we call learning at home "school." So, my daughter learned her Spanish "in high school," which happened to take place in my living room. And my son is trying to learn a second language "in school," too.

 

This is true for anyone; there are different levels of learning a language. However, full immersion with native speakers is what it takes to become truly fluent. But for many of us, we're looking for enough language to help our kids get into college. In my case it's with the hope that they study more of it in college &or travel to use it.

 

Exactly. I had no illusions that either of my kids would achieve fluency in the couple of years they studied a foreign language at the high school level. My goal for both has been familiarity and basic competence, both in the name of preparing them for college admissions and because I believe it's part of a well-rounded education. I think learning another language helps us to understand and appreciate another culture in a different way, helps make us feel a little more like citizens of the world.

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I am not sure why more people don't like Rosetta stone. Cost? I took 3 years of spanish in high school and a year in college. I lived in Spain for close to 2 years. When I got to Spain I could barely tell people my name or ask for a bathroom. I got good grades in Spanish btw. I learned Spanish pretty quickly while immersed. The best way to approach a foreign language is through immersion. Teaching someone a foreign language by having them read textbooks and memorize grammar is weird when you think about it. We don't teach our kids english grammar and then start immersing them in it. kwim? A good approach is an immersive program for a couple of years and then a grammar approach.

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I am not sure why more people don't like Rosetta stone. Cost? I took 3 years of spanish in high school and a year in college. I lived in Spain for close to 2 years. When I got to Spain I could barely tell people my name or ask for a bathroom. I got good grades in Spanish btw. I learned Spanish pretty quickly while immersed. The best way to approach a foreign language is through immersion. Teaching someone a foreign language by having them read textbooks and memorize grammar is weird when you think about it. We don't teach our kids english grammar and then start immersing them in it. kwim? A good approach is an immersive program for a couple of years and then a grammar approach.

 

This is all true, but Rosetta Stone isn't immersion. My kids got some vocabulary out of it, but not much more. They've done better with Pimsleur and Destinos.

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I am not sure why more people don't like Rosetta stone.

 

It's not, I think, that people "don't like" the program as that it is not equivalent to a traditional high school course.

 

An example: My daughter used Rosetta Stone for German through our library. We bought the supporting workbooks and an additional grammar workbook, since I knew that the grammar in RS was considered weak. She did all of what RS claimed was equivalent to two years of high school study and rarely missed a question. Nonetheless, when she attempted to transition to a second-year high school course, she was completely lost. She simply hadn't learned what she should have in a first-year course, despite doing the equivalent of two years of RS.

 

I'm sure that RS is great for people who want to learn a language conversatonally, for purposes of travel or personal enrichment. And it's probably helpful as a supplement for practice speaking and listening. But, at least at the time we tried it, the program was not the same as a regular foreign language class.

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This is all true, but Rosetta Stone isn't immersion. My kids got some vocabulary out of it, but not much more.

 

:iagree: Immersion is being in a place where everyone around you is speaking the language over a long period of time, and being forced (by that situation) to speak it yourself to make yourself understood. It's not repeating some phrases at a computer.

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This is all true, but Rosetta Stone isn't immersion. My kids got some vocabulary out of it, but not much more. They've done better with Pimsleur and Destinos.
:iagree: Immersion is being in a place where everyone around you is speaking the language over a long period of time, and being forced (by that situation) to speak it yourself to make yourself understood. It's not repeating some phrases at a computer.

Correct--I don't remember being told that RS was supposed to be immersion. It's supposed to help you learn vocabulary & syntax without translating first, which is similar to how babies learn language, but without human interaction it can't possibly be the same.

 

It's not, I think, that people "don't like" the program as that it is not equivalent to a traditional high school course.

 

I'm sure that RS is great for people who want to learn a language conversatonally, for purposes of travel or personal enrichment. And it's probably helpful as a supplement for practice speaking and listening. But, at least at the time we tried it, the program was not the same as a regular foreign language class.

 

It's not, although the new series with the 5 levels does include more grammar than the German we own which was the old one with 2 levels & workbooks. They are trying to improve it, but we only have the first level of the new Spanish, so I can't speak for it how close the 5 levels are to a high school course by experience.

 

Dd did German 1 at home by doing a separate grammar course along with the old RS 2. There was a little grammar in one of the books, but not enough work with it to be enough. That said, she & my middle dd would have simple conversations in German sometimes based only on RS & a bit from me. Ds is doing Alles Klar for German 1 (he's in grade 7, so we're going to start working through it slowly) along with RS since I bought it the first year we were homeschooling (or was it the second? It's been so long, I'm not sure, but it was very early on.) Now while my eldest had an easy time with the vocabulary via RS, but she has always had an intuitive ability with language, ds has a harder time getting some of the less concrete verbs, etc, with just RS.

 

Utlimately the goal of any language student who wants to actually speak a language is to practice speaking with a native speaker. There's a great eg of how Nathaniel Bowditch, who taught himself several languages with books, finally learned to actually speak one of the contemporary ones (or more, it's been a few years since we read that book) in the biography Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.

Edited by Karin
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visual link is very auditory. Or, now state colleges accept sign language instead of foreign language..how about that? Oh, and we also tried FLVS, RS, Monarch, and Spanish for Children, and he retained very little. He really is liking visual link though.

Edited by ktgrok
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He, too, is frustrated and unhappy. He hates working on Spanish, because he feels like he's not getting anywhere. And, despite the fact that he realizes it would mean starting over at the beginning (and "losing" the year of Spanish he already finished), he would like to explore doing something else.

 

I think I would hit the library with him and a portable CD player/headphones. He could spend a couple of hours listening to anything on the shelf and see what grabs him.

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Rosettha stone is not immersion. True. However it is the closest program I have found to an immersive experience. It is certainly not a traditional language curriculum ( a huge point in its favor imo). What I suggest, if you have the time, is to do a more exposure, let's call it instead of immersive, based program for a few years and THEN do a traditional program. I have never met anyone who became fluent in another language by doing 2 years of highschool language curriculum. If this is the goal, it is just not going to happen. The whole point of a program like Rosetta stone is that you learn the language by picking it up with the visual cues. I have seen success with my dd12 with this program. In highschool she will have to study the grammar.

 

Another point is that high school language study will not replace college study unless you get a high score on an AP language test. Nor should it. I took psychology in high school. I still had to start at psych 1 in college. does that make any sense?

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Rosettha stone is not immersion. True. However it is the closest program I have found to an immersive experience. It is certainly not a traditional language curriculum ( a huge point in its favor imo). What I suggest, if you have the time, is to do a more exposure, let's call it instead of immersive, based program for a few years and THEN do a traditional program. I have never met anyone who became fluent in another language by doing 2 years of highschool language curriculum. If this is the goal, it is just not going to happen. The whole point of a program like Rosetta stone is that you learn the language by picking it up with the visual cues. I have seen success with my dd12 with this program. In highschool she will have to study the grammar.

 

Well, as I think I mentioned, my son has been doing Spanish with a variety of programs (including The Learnables, which is also exposure/immersion style) for several years. We are now at a point at which we don't have time for more of that kind of learning. He has this year and next year and will then be done with high school. He has to get in two years of consecutive foreign language study in that time.

 

I'm not aiming for fluency. I don't have a student motivated to get there. What I did find for myself and also with my daughter was that two years was enough to "hook" us, get us interested enough to want to continue in college. (At one point, I considered minoring in Spanish, actually.)

 

That does not seem to be the case with my son. But, I, personally, believe that foreign language study is part of a well-rounded education. And, from a college admissions standpoint, two years are necessary. So, we have to forge ahead with less lofty goals.

 

(Also, this particular kid tried Rosetta Stone a few years ago and hated it. My daughter liked it, but found it lacking in actual academic value. But my son didn't get the point. It's always fascinating to me how different two kids who share everything from genetics to interests and family experiences can still have such different academic styles and needs.)

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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Well, as I think I mentioned, my son has been doing Spanish with a variety of programs (including The Learnables, which is also exposure/immersion style) for several years. We are now at a point at which we don't have time for more of that kind of learning. He has this year and next year and will then be done with high school. He has to get in two years of consecutive foreign language study in that time.

 

I'm not aiming for fluency. I don't have a student motivated to get there. What I did find for myself and also with my daughter was that two years was enough to "hook" us, get us interested enough to want to continue in college. (At one point, I considered minoring in Spanish, actually.)

 

That does not seem to be the case with my son. But, I, personally, believe that foreign language study is part of a well-rounded education. And, from a college admissions standpoint, two years are necessary. So, we have to forge ahead with less lofty goals.

 

(Also, this particular kid tried Rosetta Stone a few years ago and hated it. My daughter liked it, but found it lacking in actual academic value. But my son didn't get the point. It's always fascinating to me how different two kids who share everything from genetics to interests and family experiences can still have such different academic styles and needs.)

 

 

In our round of college tours we learned that some colleges give language placement tests. If a dc doesn't do well enough, then they have to take a year of a foreign language at college. The question for you is, do you want to give credit of not for your ds for foreign language. One of the challenges for many of us homeschoolers is that our educational goals don't always match those of our dc, and sometimes no matter how hard we try or what we do, our dc don't do what we expect of them. My suggestion is to check the entry requirements for the colleges/universities/schools your ds is either interested in now or likely to go to, and in particular the requirements for homeschoolers. In addition, you can always call the schools & speak to someone in admissions to learn more.

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My suggestion is to check the entry requirements for the colleges/universities/schools your ds is either interested in now or likely to go to, and in particular the requirements for homeschoolers. In addition, you can always call the schools & speak to someone in admissions to learn more.

 

Oh, of course. This is my second time at the rodeo, and I know better than to take anything on faith when it comes to admissions. I keep a document with information from the websites of any colleges in which I think my son may be interested and update it at least once a year.

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I am not sure why more people don't like Rosetta stone. Cost? I took 3 years of spanish in high school and a year in college. I lived in Spain for close to 2 years. When I got to Spain I could barely tell people my name or ask for a bathroom. I got good grades in Spanish btw. I learned Spanish pretty quickly while immersed. The best way to approach a foreign language is through immersion. Teaching someone a foreign language by having them read textbooks and memorize grammar is weird when you think about it. We don't teach our kids english grammar and then start immersing them in it. kwim? A good approach is an immersive program for a couple of years and then a grammar approach.

 

Actually we used RS as an introduction to German at the end of primary school (dd) and beginning jr. hi (ds3). For that level I think it is great. For high school it is way too non-standard to try to compare to a typical high school language credit...

 

As for 'immersion' - it is immersion in the sense that you are given nothing other than environmental clues to figure out meaning. This is what kids are facing in immersion settings. But RS does give you more visual clues than some conversations with kids and teachers in a real life setting. Also, you don't have anyone looking you in the face waiting for an answer in RS - which, if you take the studies about children and eye contact into consideration, could be quite important...

 

IMHO,

Joan

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