Bilingualism and Homeschooling: What Every Homeschool Parent Should KnowBrooks
The United States falls distinctly behind the rest of the world in bilingualism. Many countries require students to begin learning a foreign language in schools by eight years old. The United States puts this requirement on hold until high school, giving them only four years of study instead of at least ten.
Homeschooling has a unique advantage in this regard because language education can take on more diverse forms than it would in a traditional classroom. Spanish is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, as well as in the United States for bilingual speakers. Developing a diverse Spanish program for your homeschooled child has the potential to be limitlessly beneficial. Here’s how you can begin.
A difficult educational hurdle to continuously jump in implementing children’s homeschool Spanish curriculum in your program is the dedication of parents and children both. If you’re not totally invested in teaching and learning a foreign language with your child, don’t jump into it. It’ll be frustrating. Speak with curriculum developers, other families who are teaching/learning languages, etc. See what works for them and what might work for you and your children. Whatever you do, learning a new language is a difficult task and teaching is more difficult, especially when many parents who homeschool are not native/fluent speakers of the language.
You know your child’s learning style best, don’t merely buy into the first set of Spanish curriculum lessons you see. Do your research with your child and come to a consensus on what the preferred course is. There’s an array of elementary Spanish curriculum for preschool students and above. Explore a few of them with your child and use their input (as well as your own preferred learning/teaching methods) as a litmus test for your decision.
The most unique learning opportunity homeschooled students have is no classroom “seat time” requirement. Experiential learning in the sense of cultural immersion programs is the best way to learn a language. Going to, living in, and interacting with a culture, especially one so close to the United States will teach more than any curriculum. Of course, designing a program that engages in cultural experience, there must be a curricular supplement for formal practice and academic credit. Still, the two combined form a strong learning bond for students learning a new language.
Learning a new language is difficult and doing so in a homeschool environment can make it even more challenging, but you have the tools and atmosphere to rise above the challenge and craft a place of perpetual learning. Don’t fear difficulty, stare it in the face and step toward it. When you’re prepared, you and your child will learn together.