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Not only did we wait until high school... I really rolled the dice and waited until the SENIOR YEAR of high school, and had DSs each do 2 semesters of dual enrollment, which equalled 2 credits of high school foreign language. So, bare minimum of foreign language at the last possible moment.

 

That really was a "do or die" choice ;), and I don't recommend it as a general policy. Fortunately, it worked out great for us.

Edited by Lori D.
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Not only did we wait until high school... I really rolled the dice and waited until the SENIOR YEAR of high school, and had DSs each do 2 semesters of dual enrollment, which equalled 2 credits of high school foreign language. So, bare minimum of foreign language at the last possible moment.

 

That really was a "do or die" choice ;), and I don't recommend it as a general policy. Fortunately, it worked out great for us.

Would you recommend it for elementary?

 

What would you do if you did it again?

 

 

Pam

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What would you do if you did it again?

 

Nope, with my particular 2 students, I would not do it differently.

 

We did try several times in early elementary grades to incorporate Spanish, but DS#2 had mild LDs in language arts (esp. writing, spelling, and a bit with reading), as well as in math. All of our focus had to be on getting core subjects up to speed -- my thinking was, "let's clear that hurdle of just learning how to read and write well in ENGLISH before we worry about a second language!" And we did a good job of getting deep/wide exposure to the "second tier"** subjects of History, Geography, and Science. We managed to also get good exposure on the third tier** subjects of Critical Thinking/Logic, but just a little exposure to Art/Music. Foreign Language fell off the radar, as we just had no more room in the schedule to make it fit.

 

** = that's just how *I* prioritized subjects, as we just could not give the same amount of time and energy to every subject

 

Also, it would have been a very big up-hill battle, as neither DS had the LEAST interest in learning a foreign language. Why it worked so well for us to wait until late high school was that they had matured into understanding we had certain credits that *had* to be completed, and by outsourcing to dual enrollment at the community college, they took it seriously, had excellent instruction, and really got something out of it.

 

The one thing I am very glad that we DID do was very informally study Latin/Greek roots in grades 3-7 (we happened to use English from the Roots up vol. 1 and 2), and then as part of an individualized spelling/vocabulary study for several years of high school (Megawords, ABCs and All Their Tricks). Root word study really helped DSs with vocabulary and reading, but also helped DS#1 a bit with learning Spanish vocabulary words when he did Spanish later on. 

 

DS#1 took Spanish and went on to do another 2 semesters after high school graduation, so he had 4 semesters of college Spanish towards his college degree. DS#2 took 2 semesters of ASL as dual enrollment, and went on to not only continue with ASL at the community college, but completed 2 of the 3 years towards an Associate's degree in interpretation for the Deaf. At the point, he realized that was not what he wanted to do as a career after all, and moved on to other things.

 

My point here is that waiting does not necessarily cause problems. Both of our DSs excelled in their late-in-high school dual enrollment foreign language (both earned As in both semesters), and for awhile, one DS actually was considering and working towards making a career out of his foreign language.

 

It really does depend on the student, though. :)

 

 

Would you recommend it for elementary?

 

I've read that studies show that -- other than being raised with 2 languages used fluently at home from the time the child is born -- ages 11-14 is THE prime time for learning a foreign language, as you get the most and longest retention.

 

So perhaps try and nail down foundational skills during the elementary years (solid reading, writing, math), in order to free up a little more time during 7th and 8th grades to start a foreign language. Then you can continue it into high school, and knock out all the required credits for foreign language early on -- or, if your student is really enjoying the language, you've given the student a good start into pursuing a high interest area. :)

 

I've also heard SWB say that starting Latin with elementary ages doesn't necessarily give kids any "jump" on those who don't start Latin until late middle school or high school.

 

 

BEST of luck in determining what works best for YOUR family with foreign language! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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We are not going to do any foreign language until high school unless a child begs for it. If that happens it will be duolingo. For me to do a modern foreign language well, it would suck up a huge amount of time and money. For our kids, in our location and situation, the benefits would be few and more easily had via other avenues. I'm not saying it doesn't have value, but there is an opportunity cost to consider. That time and money is better spent on a lot of other things. Waiting until high school allows us to utilize the local public school for free classes.

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It looks like that will be the case for one of my boys. He's not a strong reader and doesn't have a great memory or a facility for language or vocabulary in general. He's not terrible - they're just not strengths for him. When you add in that he struggles with anxiety... it just has not seemed worth it. I *might* insist that he do Duolingo this year for 8th grade but nothing else, just to give him a small head start in introducing the sounds and vocabulary a tiny bit. But otherwise... meh. It can wait. We might even wait until sophomore year and let him ease into "high school work" for a year first. And I'm going to insist that he do a language I can support, so that means French or Chinese.

 

His brother has been doing Spanish.

 

 

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We were highly motivated to do Spanish younger and I am pretty sure I bought everything and they were all just awful.

 

Ultimately us listening to Spanish kid music solidly from infancy on up did more than any of those would have. We started a full curriculum that we love in 7th. DD remembers SO MUCH from the dozen years of Spanish music! That's now my best recommendation!

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I'm waiting until 9th grade for my DS (who will be in 8th grade this fall). He struggles with anxiety and just came back to homeschooling last year after three years in b & m schools that left him with other deficits that are taking time to remedy. In his 6th grade year at one of the b & m schools he had a little Spanish that proved daunting so I had a taste of what foreign language study may be like for him. In high school I am hoping he will benefit from increased maturity and less need to focus so heavily on things like, say, writing and literature, and will have the time and energy to be able to comfortably tackle a foreign language. I am also considering Latin as it does not have a heavy focus on pronunciation (accent,etc.)

 

Now my oldest DD is a rising 4th grader and has been begging me for a foreign language (French from her ballet studies). I am seriously considering starting her in 5th grade but only if other subjects continue to be primary. She is a totally different type of student than her brother and I think she probably could handle a foreign language in late elementary school along with her other workload.

 

Yeah, I sometimes feel like an "oddball" when I read these forums or talk to other homeschooling families because I am not doing a foreign language with my kids starting in primary grades < sigh>. We have a lot of classical homeschoolers where I live and many of them have their children studying Latin beginning in about 2nd grade.

Edited by chiefcookandbottlewasher
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I don;t plan on doing one at all. I have always thought it odd to require it anyway but not to require higher maths. Texas recently dropped the requirement for Alg 2 from high school graduation requirements but kept the foriegn language one. This makes ZERO sense to me. But I digress- 2 of mine have asked to learn French. I do not think it worth the time because, truthfully, unless you speak a language often, you are not going to retain it. (Says the Mom who at one time could speak/understand 4 languages.)

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We talk about this a bit, but worth mentioning again:  Starting a language is easy.  Continuing to make substantial progress in a language is hard.  Drifting around without significant improvement is de-motivating.  

 

I think it's way better to do 4 solid years of a FL than do 8 years of muddling around at A1 level.  

 

We're only doing a foreign language because we are required to, otherwise I'd put it off.  

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We might even wait until sophomore year and let him ease into "high school work" for a year first. And I'm going to insist that he do a language I can support, so that means French or Chinese.

 

His brother has been doing Spanish.

 

We actually waited until Sophomore year for my oldest to allow him to ease into high school work. (It allowed me to ease into teaching high school as well!). It was a good decision for him. In our case, I allowed my son to choose a language I couldn't support (Japanese). I thought I'd learn it alongside him. Ha! I did the first several lessons with him and realized I wasn't going to have the time and patience to keep up. But even that turned out to be a good thing--I asked questions and had him teach me things he learned. He got to be the "expert" for a change and really enjoyed that.

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I don;t plan on doing one at all. I have always thought it odd to require it anyway but not to require higher maths. Texas recently dropped the requirement for Alg 2 from high school graduation requirements but kept the foriegn language one. This makes ZERO sense to me. But I digress- 2 of mine have asked to learn French. I do not think it worth the time because, truthfully, unless you speak a language often, you are not going to retain it. (Says the Mom who at one time could speak/understand 4 languages.)

 

I agree.  We started out with Latin which we used for a couple of years, then I thought why?  I'd rather focus on ENGLISH language.  Plus it was too hard to squeeze in time-wise and I only have the one.

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We started out with Spanish for DD when she was five, I think. The first several years went well enough and then we hit a donut hole of sorts. There is no (or was no, I don't know if anything new has popped up) engaging, quality, easy-to-use Spanish curriculum for elementary students who are ready to move beyond basic vocab, but are no where close to being about to use curriculum designed for middle schoolers and up. We finally ended up with Getting Started with Spanish two years ago (DD would have been eight, I think), which DD did well enough with, but the design is boring and doesn't provide *easy* audio support. (If they would hook up with an awesome graphic designer and plan some good worksheets to go with their program, they would probably make a lot more money.) We were pretty overwhelmed with school last year and ended up not finishing it. I don't have Spanish scheduled for this year either. I hope to pick it up again in the next couple of years. It's just too hard to fit in right now.

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I don;t plan on doing one at all. I have always thought it odd to require it anyway but not to require higher maths. Texas recently dropped the requirement for Alg 2 from high school graduation requirements but kept the foriegn language one. This makes ZERO sense to me. 

 

 

Most people have just about zero use for Alg 2. But either way, they've been exposed to math - they have some clue about how to approach learning more math if they have a need. I think spending some time learning a foreign language is a good idea, for the same reason - so that, if the person ever has a future need, they'll have a clue about how to approach it. 

 

ETA: I don't particularly care at what age one first introduces a foreign language though. 

Edited by luuknam
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