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foreign Language programs

Posted by on May. 26, 2012 at 1:48 PM
  • 8 Replies
I am wanting to teach my children a foreign language (mainly Spanish) and I am looking for cheap but good program/curriculum for it. Does anyone have any ideas?
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by on May. 26, 2012 at 1:48 PM
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JKronrod
by Bronze Member on May. 26, 2012 at 2:21 PM

If you want to teach your children Spanish (or any other language) the best (in fact, in my opinion the only way) to do it is to have them interact on a regular basis with a native speaker.  It needs to be immersion (no English, ever).  There are two ways of doing this cheaply (well, as cheaply as it gets). 

First, if you are near a college, call the job center and put up an ad that reads something like "Native Spanish speaker wanted to tutor/play with young children in Spanish only, X hours/week."  You'll get calls from people who aren't native speakers.  Reject them.  You want your children to hear only a natural accent.  You should pay no more than you would for a sitter (although, around here, that can be pricey).  Make sure that you have some books in the language (for Spanish, you may be able to find these at the library).   Have your tutor read and play with the children and insist that they never hear English fall from his/her lips.  It works.  All of our children are reasonably fluent in Spanish (and Japanese for that matter).  Our oldest, who is in college, was placed into the "native speakers" section for Spanish because he was too advanced for even the fourth semester class for native English speakers. 

The second possibility is the Internet.  These days there are live classes available via Skype and other live video applications.  The prices vary, but I've found good tutors for $10 hour (you do have to look though, and not all will work with younger children).  Try edufire.com.  There are some others as well. 

Then you can supplement with movies that are in Spanish (often regular DVDs will have a Spanish dubbed sound track).  Online Spanish games, etc.  But the key is personal interaction with someone who actually speaks the language.

Good luck!

christi34
by on May. 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM
Thank you. My youngest will be 9 next week (June 3) and my other son is 11. So my kids aren't that little. I don't know if there are that many people around our college whose native tongue is Spanish. But I guess I can try some of the different restaurants that hire people that speak the language.
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littleacorn
by on May. 26, 2012 at 2:58 PM
Here's a bump because I'm looking for ideas (other than the native speaker, looking to supplement when a native isn't available) for teaching a 13 year old Japanese.
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KickButtMama
by Shannon on May. 26, 2012 at 3:02 PM
1 mom liked this

 I had gotten a Hooked on Spanish program for my kids for like $20 - it was fun but they went through the whole program fairly quickly..lol...can't have everything I guess...

ripemango
by Member on May. 26, 2012 at 5:56 PM

I have just begun researching this and I have quite a few places you may want to try:

  • Links 4 Language - supposedly only links to free resources.  73 different languages
  • Livemocha - online community for language learners, with free lessons and a global community to help you learn a new language which means your kid will skype w a spanish kid for free.  30 different languages.
  • BBC Languages - several languages. my favorite foreign language site I've found for my preschooler
  • Languages 4 Free - 7 different languages.  
  • Linguas.net - This is an interactive multimedia language course for improving listening and speaking skills. Fourteen lessons including animations, interactive exercises, listen and repeat and games.
  • Mango is online language-learning that teaches actual conversation skills for 12 different languages.

I really like BBC, livemocha, and Mango. I have yet to fully look into Mango. It looks like some of it is for pay but some isn't. I don't know what is and isn't included with the paid membership. Note that my interest is for that of a preschooler on up. Some of the other sites I listed are bookmarked for later use in elementary and middle school years.


I don't know where the sunbeams end and the starlights begin; it's all a mystery.

JKronrod
by Bronze Member on May. 26, 2012 at 6:23 PM


Quoting littleacorn:

Here's a bump because I'm looking for ideas (other than the native speaker, looking to supplement when a native isn't available) for teaching a 13 year old Japanese.

My kids speak both Spanish and Japanese.  Try Japanese Online Institute (http://www.japonin.com/).  If your child is mature enough you can do the group classes which are significantly cheaper than the individual classes.  The cut-off is usually 14, but I suspect if he's close to 14, no one is going to object.  The person that I usually deal with is Moses -- who's very nice and extremely helpful.  They have a deal where you can do three trial lessons  (one hour each) for about $9.   Their program is "modular" which means that you can jump in anywhere and don't really need to have a particular prior class to get something out of another class.  My son and daughter have used them for years with great success.  Our son has taken and passes the second level of the JLPT (level N4, if that means anything) and will be doing N3 this year. 

JKronrod
by Bronze Member on May. 26, 2012 at 6:24 PM


Quoting ripemango:

I have just begun researching this and I have quite a few places you may want to try:

  • Links 4 Language - supposedly only links to free resources.  73 different languages
  • Livemocha - online community for language learners, with free lessons and a global community to help you learn a new language which means your kid will skype w a spanish kid for free.  30 different languages.
  • BBC Languages - several languages. my favorite foreign language site I've found for my preschooler
  • Languages 4 Free - 7 different languages.  
  • Linguas.net - This is an interactive multimedia language course for improving listening and speaking skills. Fourteen lessons including animations, interactive exercises, listen and repeat and games.
  • Mango is online language-learning that teaches actual conversation skills for 12 different languages.

I really like BBC, livemocha, and Mango. I have yet to fully look into Mango. It looks like some of it is for pay but some isn't. I don't know what is and isn't included with the paid membership. Note that my interest is for that of a preschooler on up. Some of the other sites I listed are bookmarked for later use in elementary and middle school years.

I also like many of the BBC language programs.  For younger children "Muzzy" is very good (although expensive).

JKronrod
by Bronze Member on May. 26, 2012 at 6:30 PM


Quoting christi34:

Thank you. My youngest will be 9 next week (June 3) and my other son is 11. So my kids aren't that little. I don't know if there are that many people around our college whose native tongue is Spanish. But I guess I can try some of the different restaurants that hire people that speak the language.

You should try to make sure that the people that you hire are educated, if possible (it's one of the reasons we use the local colleges).  If they are 9 and 11, though, I would really look into Edufire.  You do have to do some homework and trials to find a good tutor, but if you do, it's wonderful.  For example, our 13-year-old is currently reading and discussing Don Quixote with one of his teachers (Spanish, with a master's degree, but currently living in Germany).  She charges about $13/hour. 

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