|Frequently Asked Questions About
with Dr. Blair
Study of a foreign language has become an essential part homeschooling worldwide. With 20-30 minutes a day your child can begin enhancing their studies with the addition of a second language. In only two to three semesters your high school student can learn to speak a foreign language as proficiently as if they had fours years of conventional study.
Homeschool.com consulted with Dr. Robert Blair, legendary maverick linguist and the creator of Power Glide, on the ease and attributes of children learning a second language.
A: Yes, depending on what is meant by “learning a language.” While they cannot master a language without considerable face-to-face experience with native speakers of the language, homeschool children of various ages are succeeding remarkably well in learning to speak and understand, read and write, a foreign language. Under the gentle, caring support and guidance of a learning facilitator, and using something as simple as books-with-tapes, even children who are just learning to read can, for example, master a broad repertoire of performances in a new language: songs, poems, anecdotes, stories, and prayers. They can create their own stories and do lots of other impressive things, and all the while experience excitement and delight in their journey into the world of a second language.
A: They should first get good homeschool instructional materials that don’t require the parent to know anything about the new language, and that are appropriate to the age-level of the children. Whenever possible, they should learn right alongside their children. And what a unique, rich and wonderful experience that can be! Parents can provide their children with frequent opportunities to display what they have learned, and complement them on each achievement. They can help the children keep record of their accomplishments and give due reward for significant achievements. Perhaps, most helpful of all, parents can learn along with their children — this will definitely boost the children’s confidence!
A: A considerable amount of research has shown that learning a second language in childhood helps children who are learning to read and write their native language. Effective phonics training can come from learning to read and write a second language, particularly a language whose writing fits closely with its pronunciation.
A: Research in the United States and Canada in the 1970’s and 80’s has given positive indication that learning a second language gives children a distinct advantage in other school subject areas. In acquiring a second language, children certainly gain insight not only into the new language but also into their own language.
Anything that makes the learning environment fun and interesting will help involve your child’s natural learning abilities. For example, learning about the countries in which the language is spoken helps bring the language to life. One of the best ways to bring the foreign culture home is through cooking. By exploring foreign recipes, the cultural experience can be an authentic one without necessarily having to travel to the country. Through tasting the different spices and flavors of a country’s food, language learners can get a feel for the people and traditions of the country while experiencing excitement and delight in their journey into the world of a second language.
Can you imagine having toddlers learn grammar rules before they were allowed to start communicating? Children all over the world acquire their native language before they go to school. This process is called “natural language acquisition.” Natural language acquisition is the “how to” stage of speaking and communication, encouraged by actual usage and cultural reinforcements.
When the child is sent off to school, they are no longer taught “how” to speak. Instead, they are taught “why” they speak the way they do (grammar rules, sentence structure, vocabulary, and on and on).
First the “How” then the “Why”
Traditional schools often teach second languages opposite from the way we naturally acquired our first language. Instead of allowing a student to learn the “how” first, they plunge students into the “why” of the language. The student is then immediately faced with boring rote memorization and the agony of grammar rules and structure. For most young children, the traditional “why” methodology results in a disinterest that can span their entire foreign language experience!
Reverse the Process for Progress!
Through the genius of Dr. Robert Blair, foreign language instruction has taken a giant step… backwards! It moves language instruction back to the way a child learns languages best… and it works! The Power-Glide program is based on the concept of immersing into the “how” of learning. Power-Glide has helped over 30,000 homeschoolers acquire a new language of their own.
Homeschool.com is proud to introduce Dr. Robert Blair as your homeschooling advisor for Foreign Languages. You can visit the Homeschool.com Advisor section and send him your questions! Dr. Blair and his staff are happy to help you develop a language program for your child that will enrich their life and open their minds for a world-wide perspective.