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    #1336 11/29/06 09:48 AM
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    Ania Offline OP
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    Are your kids learning foreing languages? Do you think it is important? How do you go about it, since elementary/middle schools rarely offer foreing language programs?
    Ania

    Ania #1339 11/29/06 12:08 PM
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    DS 10 has been taking an afternoon conversational French class, about 1 hour per week for the last 3 years. This year his school offeres Latin, 45 minutes every other day in the 6th grade. We believe that 2d languages are very important, much more than they have been treated in the public schools. I'm always thinking about the summer camp programs at Interlocken. Search out your local homeschoolers, they probably have an enrichment 2nd language class already, then may be willing to meet in the afternoons, like ours did. Do you have any local clubs of people who enjoy other cultures? Our local Alliance Frances sponcered the enrichment class.

    Trin


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    Grinity #1365 12/02/06 09:30 PM
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    A very kind mom (who is Guatemalan) comes into my son's class once a week to teach Spanish on a volunteer basis. She has been great--holiday projects, worksheets, videos, songs. I wish it were more than once a week, but at least it has inspired my son to be interested in learning Spanish. Now it's up to me to supplement. There are several online (even free) lessons that I'm hoping to work on with him. It's so important to introduce them young, and I've missed the boat with my 2 middle school sons. They have Spanish now and do not enjoy it (saying it mildly).

    cym #1381 12/05/06 10:46 AM
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    Ania Offline OP
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    I live in a fairly small community about 30 miles north of SLC (olympic resorts are 20 minutes away on the other hand :-), ethnic diversity is non existent here, apart for the Spanish community. My kids already have Spanish lessons every day of the week at school - school has a lot of native speakers and sometimes other instructions, like science for example, are given in Spanish. My kids are already fluent in another foreign language so learning Spanish came easily (don't they say that first foreign language is the most difficult to learn?)I have been supplementing with some conversational classes with a local high school student last year but not recently. Will have to look back into it. I do not speak Spanish so I can't easily check their progress or make them become more vocal. What online lessons are you talking about Cym? I will have to check out Interlocken, as suggested by Trinity.
    This week my two kids and I are starting a Chinese-Mandarin class. It took quite a while for this to become a reality so I am extremely excited about it. The teacher is a native speaker but at the same time certified high school teacher in the USA. Will let you know how it is going after a few weeks. Anyone out there learning Mandarin. Can you suggest any resources? Any books that would introduce my kids to the culture?
    Learning languages is so important. I have a friend who lived with her parents in Austria for a few years (learned German), moved to Australia (English) and studied Spanish and French for her B.A. and Masters. She knows five languages and makes a wonderful career out of it, travelling all around the globe.
    Ania

    Ania #1385 12/05/06 12:07 PM
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    Cym -
    I hear you about the older boys "hating" learning Spanish. I also hated learning Spanish in High School. Part of the problem was my own perfectionism. I expected "drill and memorization" to be fun, easy, and intellectually challenging - why not? I had coasted on my "quickness and big picture thinking" all through school up until that point.

    Fast forward 25 years. My "dayjob" is in a setting were the majority of people are "more or less bilingual" and plenty are "stone cold" only Spanish Speaking. All my high school learning has floated back into use. I learned an awful lot back there. For the first two years, I re-learned a new word every day! Now most of my fluency is job related, and my syntax is English with Spanish words, but I sure can make friends and get work done in Spanish and pantomine. And if you had asked be back in high school I would have bet you 100$ that it would never happen. I litterally thought that there was something wrong with me. ((besides my spelling LOL))

    So, Cym, let your kids know that skill learning is like the Bamboo Tree, dull but worth it, and fine to be "slow" at. It also helps if they get to interact with Native Speakers who like them.

    Best Wishes,
    Trinity


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    Ania #1386 12/05/06 12:21 PM
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    Starting this year, our district eliminated language at the elementary level in order to give more time to technology classes. I'm angry about it! They used to teach Spanish starting in 1st grade. Granted, it was only a token 45 minutes once a week, but it was better than nothing. At the middle school level, all 6th graders have 4 weeks of Spanish. In 7th and 8th grade, it's an elective. In high school it's required.

    I think learning foreign language is very important, and the earlier the better. It makes no sense not to teach it in elementary, since research clearly shows the benefits of early exposure to foreign language.

    I would like to find a way to have my kids study a language at home, especially my youngest two (1st and 3rd grades) since they won't have it at school until their 4-week Spanish class in 6th grade (assuming the district doesn't eliminate that, too). But, we're already trying to do so many after-schooling projects that I haven't come up with a plan yet for language.

    My main dilemma is what language to have them study? My college minor was French, and I also took a year of Russian. So it makes sense, if I were to teach them myself, to choose French since I know that the best. But then I think, maybe I should have them learn Spanish because oldest DD(12) already knows it and could help teach it and because that is what they will (presumably) have to take in middle school and high school? But I don't know Spanish myself, so I'd have to learn it too, when I'd really rather brush up on my French or Russian....

    So, I go back and forth and can't decide and therefore have done nothing! (Although they do know a few phrases in French and Russian.)

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    LOL - I wonder if you could teach them Latin and then Italian/French/Spanish/Portugese all at the same time! Seriously, at the age level you have, why not do it all at once?

    I think the key is to look for local native speakers who your kids will be able to interact with. My DH's best friend is French, and we get to see his family every year or so, which was how French was chosen.

    Best Wishes
    Trin


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    Grinity #1397 12/05/06 04:50 PM
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    Originally Posted by Trinity
    LOL - I wonder if you could teach them Latin and then Italian/French/Spanish/Portugese all at the same time! Seriously, at the age level you have, why not do it all at once?

    Why not? Because I'm looking around for my Wonder Woman cape but, darn it, I can't find it.

    Seriously, I am overwhelmed at the thought of teaching them one language, along with all the other stuff we do and/or want to do! That's why not!

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    sorry GG -
    I'm not actually suggesting that you "teach them to equal fluency" in all languages, rather that you expose them to several words and phrases in all languages, and show them how the puzzle pieces fit together.

    I had hoped that the LOL "preface" would reflect on my estimate of my own idea, NOT LOLing at you. OOppps.

    I've never met anyone who actually did taught languages as suggested, so perhaps there a reason for that ;-).

    It sounds like you are very frustrated with the gulf between your picture of what your cildren need educationally, and what they are getting. It's admirable that you are trying to fill that gap.

    Love and More Love,
    Trin


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    Grinity #1403 12/06/06 07:41 PM
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    Oh Trinity, no apologies necessary! I knew the LOL was not at me and didn't take offense in any way--quite the opposite, actually, as I was VERY amused trying to imagine myself teaching my kids four or more languages all at once. I did think you meant "fluency" -- hence the reference to looking for my WonderWoman cape. :-)

    I am sorry if my reply sounded snippy or offended or anything like that--I did not mean it to be, not at all. Guess I should have thrown a couple of LOLs or smiley faces or winks in there, as "tone" doesn't always come across accurately in this format.

    For the most part I am not "very frustrated" with the gulf between what the kids need and are getting educationally. Certainly there are days where I think we should/could be doing more, but overall I am pretty pleased right now with how all three kids are doing. Some days I feel frustrated because I have a lot of big ideas of what I'd like to do, but there's never enough time for all of it. (This is true for most areas of my life, not just the kids and education!)

    Love right back to you,
    GG

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