Thursday, March 3, 2011

Foreign Language

When I first started homeschooling I had many grand plans for the diversity of topics we would cover. Three years in, I know that I will probably NEVER make it through the stack of 'cool' things I have picked up in such a short time.

One of the things I had really hoped to offer the boys, was a chance to learn a foreign language from a young age. I took Spanish from 6th-12th grade and consider myself a novice, at best. I can understand a few phrases when eavesdropping at the grocery store. I can count and list colors and ask where to find a bathroom. I really wouldn't say I am qualified to teach these kids much in this department. My husband is a bit better off than me in his knowledge of German. So, I have quickly realized, if I want them to learn a language, I will need to outsource.

I considered buying Rosetta Stone. I like the concept behind it. I think the idea of learning in a more casual way really makes sense. But I do NOT like the price.

Enter plan B.

I was reading the notice board at our public library and spotted a flyer for Spanish classes taught by my own retired middle school Spanish teacher! The bad news, was that the classes were for adults only. I decided to contact her and see if she did any classes for kids. I sent a message out to the local homeschoolers group to see if there would be interest if I managed to get her to put a class together. There was a decent response from families with children ranging from ages 5-12. When I called Senora T., she was thrilled with the idea. Then she told me about her teaching method...and I was thrilled!

She uses a method known as TPRS, Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. I really like the concepts behind this method. Please remember that I have only read a little bit at this point, so I am by no means, an expert. Think about how your children learned their primary language...did you hand them a text book? Nope. You talked to them...saying things like, "You are such a cutie! Mommy is going to change your diaper and get you ready for bed. And then you will sleep for 9 hours and make her VERY happy!" (IN MY DREAMS!)

This method uses oral storytelling and gestures to introduce a new language. The students interact with the storyteller using key phrases they have been taught in the lesson. From what I can gather, after you have spent some time hearing the language, you start working towards reading the language. This makes perfect sense to me. When I learned English, I learned by hearing, then speaking, then reading and then later still, writing. I know this method will not teach my children to conjugate any verbs. But there will be time for that stuff later. Right now, I want them to have the exposure to something new.

We have not established dates yet, but I am hoping to organize a 'sample' class if possible in April. Maybe these classes will give me a chance to brush up on my rather sparse knowledge.


1 comment:

Annie said...

I'm curious to see how the Spanish class goes. I love the logic behind the method. It makes senses, but I wonder how it will work with an auditory processing issue?

Good luck, though! And what a find if the class comes together!!