Finding a Well-Rounded Language Learning Experience

November 8, 2018
Written by:
Guest Author

This is a sponsored post from Nihongo Master.

The decision to homeschool your children through high school can be a tough one when you consider everything that you have ahead of you. One thing that can easily be overlooked is the study of a foreign language. While, according to A2Z, no state in the country requires the study of a foreign language in order to graduate from homeschooling, some of them do require electives which should be tailored to your student’s interests and future plans. If you haven’t checked your state laws yet, you can check them on the A2Z Homeschooling website.

If, however, your child is planning on attending college they might find some doors closed to them without foreign language credits on their transcripts (many colleges require at least two years of a foreign language while others require as many as three or four years of studying the same language) so homeschoolers should plan ahead.

So, what’s a parent to do? There are hundreds of websites on the internet dedicating to helping teens and adults learn a foreign language, which one is the best? Well, if your student is interested in anime, manga, or Asian culture in general, Japanese might be the perfect fit for them and Nihongo Master has everything you need for a well-rounded language learning experience that would fit well within any curriculum.

The founder of Nihongo Master, Taylor D., created the website in 2011 after visiting Japan and figuring out that he wanted to create a language resource that was more streamlined towards a better learning experience. In the current era of the site, the lessons are curated by an expert Japanese speaker, Aki, who graduated from Ochanomizu University (the oldest women’s university in Japan) and possesses national licenses in the subjects of history, geography, social studies, and English.

When you first get past the login school on the site, there are a number of different features to get you started including a small box which will ask you to set your email reminders for up to three days a week. Side note: Make sure you do that right away as these will prove to be excellent motivators for your student. Also on the main screen is a reminder, front and center, of which lesson is currently waiting to be done next. Below that along the right side is a place to ask the community at large any questions you might have about their Japanese studies. Along the bottom menu, you can find information about the site along with a community blog which contains interesting articles about Japanese culture, entertainment, and tips for learning the language.

A couple of simple clicks along the top menu and students will be brought to the four lesson levels on Nihongo Master: introductory (which covers the basic alphabets [hiragana and katakana], basic grammar, and some listening comprehension), beginner (which covers more basic grammar, vocabulary, and some simple kanji), intermediate (which covers enough grammar and vocabulary to pass the second level [N4] of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test), and advanced (which covers conversational Japanese). The site also promises that newly advanced lessons get added on a regular basis meaning that even advanced students will never get bored. Additionally, it is worth noting that each level equates to one year of foreign language training which would make any college foreign language requirements a breeze!

All of the lessons in the introductory level are multiple choice questions which will test the students with matching alphabet characters and beginner vocabulary with the correct answer below. To supplement their learning, the website remembers which answers they have difficulties with and drills them on those trouble spots until it becomes second nature and can be marked as mastered. If your student learns better with other people, there is a social aspect to the site as well. Clicking on ‘community’ from the top menu bar will take students into an area where they can join specialized groups filled with other Japanese language learners that are geared towards their cultural or entertainment based interests.  

Nihongo Master is a solid winner when it comes to learning a foreign language. With a straightforward, user-friendly interface and a scaling learning system that makes sense, this website can help anyone learn to read and speak Japanese. As with every language learning website, however, your student will absolutely get out of this website what they put into it so try to keep the excitement alive even during those difficult kanji months.