Monday, March 3, 2014

Language Lessons


We decided about a year ago that we would begin learning Latin American Spanish as a family. We bought the Rosetta Stone homeschool edition at a great price and Josh and I began. After a few weeks we realized that we had a problem. Since both of us had studied German in school, Josh studied it for 4 years and I studied for 5 with neither of us mastering it at all, we kept confusing Spanish and German words and phrases. As we were shown a picture of a horse and asked to say what it was we would answer das Pferd instead of el Caballo.

About a month ago we had a great offer on the Rosetta Stone homeschool edition for German and decided that we would purchase it. Our goal has always been to introduce the children to other languages as early as we could and give them an opportunity to learn to speak and understand several. There are 5 languages that we would like the children to be able to understand to some extent. German, Spanish, Latin, Hebrew and Greek.

German and Spanish are important to our family because both Josh and I are very much German and would like to visit Germany to see where our families come from. Josh’s Oma, having been born and raised in Germany, speaks German and we hope to be able to practice speaking with and writing letters to her.

Spanish is such a helpful language to know because it is everywhere and there are so many Spanish speaking people that we see everyday. It would also be helpful if God ever called one or more of our children to missions because there are so many Spanish speaking countries.

A knowledge of Latin will help them be better spellers, and also be able to grasp other languages more easily. Hebrew and Greek are also important so they will have the tools to be able to interpret and understand the Bible in it’s original language. (Josh already has begun teaching the kids the Greek Alphabet.)

James began his German lessons with Josh and me as soon as we received the program in the mail. He is doing very well – much better than either Josh or I ever anticipated! Last week I found an App for the Ipad (it is also available for Android) called DuoLingo that lets you learn and practice languages completely free! They also have a free website. You can find it at and they offer Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese. They also offer English for native speakers of other languages. Josh and I signed up. It’s a little too advanced for James right now because you must be able to correctly spell and write dictated sentences. We love the format. It makes learning German like a game, but not in a bad way. It is very fun AND very challenging. And in a year or so will be an excellent supplement to James’ German lessons.

I remember when I was in high school, another student in my class took a trip over the summer to Germany so she could practice her skills through immersion. She came back and told the class about her experience. She said that since she had come back to the United States she was now thinking and even dreaming in German, it was so natural to her! My German teacher was very please, of course, because before this particular student’s trip she was the worst student in the class!

Well, last night I was dreaming in German! And I have found myself occasionally thinking “auf Deutsch”! I’m sure my grammar is incorrect and I am probably not forming my sentences exactly right, but that is still a very exciting milestone to me.

So…if you have been wanting to learn one of those languages, or you have been thinking about incorporating a foreign language into your homeschool lessons, check out DuoLingo. It has been so helpful to us in just one week!! (No, I’m not being paid by DuoLingo or receiving any compensation. I just wanted to share how much we love this App!)

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