Lucy Howard writes a blog about the importance of learning a second language, and she has some great tips for learning a second language WITH your child.  Her tips are especially appropriate for homeschoolers, and they include–

Read before you begin:
Your child is under the assumption you know everything, so prepare yourself and have plenty of materials for when you sit down together. If they ask any questions you can’t answer, be honest and find out together or arrange to discuss it in the next session. You’re a team, not a teacher and student.

Involve the learning points in activities you know your child already enjoys:
This doesn’t mean have him/her watch Dora the Explorer for hours (although one episode won’t hurt), this means before you approach a topic or language feature think about how it may relate to a fun task. Maybe your child likes playing in the garden — you could draw a picture of a garden and label everything in the new language then explore the garden with your new knowledge, or maybe your child has a great imagination — he/she could introduce her/his toys to you and describe their personalities with one adjective in the new language.

Keep it casual:
If the lessons are too structured or are strikingly similar to classroom activities your child may start to resist participation, anticipating the next lesson and avoiding the selected time slot. So as an alternative have the session in a different location each time, avoid learning drills (repetition) and create incentives beyond candy and TV time (gold stars and points systems are a wonderful way to display progress).

Stick together:
Don’t assign work to your child then leave the room, you’re learning too. Your child will see that you’re just using search engines to answer any queries they have and it will undermine the integrity of the lesson as a whole. The parent must dedicate themselves to actually learning the content rather than memorizing it.

These tips are a good basis for informal teaching sessions with your child but of course you know your child’s requirements best, so if you feel these methods are not working then trust your intuition and make use of an alternative.

Interested in learning more?  Lucy writes for .

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