Learning Another Language
© Beverley Paine, April 2006
Language is central to culture. Kill the language and you wipe out the culture. When we teach our children another language it's not just about learning to have a conversation or understand the language. Learning another language as a homeschooler widens a person's understanding about culture and building tolerance and respect for diversity.
It's easy to incorporate learning another language and culture into home education when we treat it as a series of 'unit studies'.
Pick a language - say Indonesian - and then learn about the people, the history, the culture. It's impossible not to learn a few words here and there of Indonesian. When you focus on learning the language in context though you create a rich learning experience and the information about culture, history, geography, etc will be retained more easily.
You can also make learning the language an integral part of your every day life. For example: Learn the names of cooking utensils, and then when cooking dinner at night, use those words instead of pot, pan, cup and plate!
Learning another language can be easy and fun, if you do it like this. I began doing this when my children were toddlers. We never ever got to the level of conversational Indonesian, but the kids can recognise the language when it's spoken on the radio or television and do understand a few words. More importantly they have developed that respect for diversity and other cultures...
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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