Maximize Summer Learning with Foreign Language StudiesMay 8, 2019
Summer is almost here, which means many of our homeschooling programs and curricula are drawing to a close. With summer break almost upon us, are the impending endless days of freedom for your kids beginning to cause anxiety for you? After all, without a routine or schedule, it doesn’t take long for boredom to begin wreaking havoc on our nerves.
To help, we think summer would be the perfect time to focus on a foreign language study! With all the activities and projects throughout the rest of the year, letting Spanish language class slip can be easier than I’d like to admit. (You know it’s true!) That’s where summer comes in, with its long days for two months. If that’s not ample opportunity for learning languages, I don’t know what is! Even if you’re a year-round homeschooler, your kids can still benefit from this list of ways to study a foreign language during the summer!
6 Methods for Learning a Foreign Language Over Summer
Or, at least get a head start on learning one! Perhaps you won’t be speaking your new language by the time school begins, but you’ll have a solid foundation. Those new skills and basic words will come in very helpful as you continue your language studies throughout the school year.
- Take an online summer course.
We’d recommend online courses for most students during the summer to allow for flexibility! Further, students will be able to learn at their own pace and still enjoy other summer activities. Most languages are available for online courses, and certain programs even offer free courses, such as Open Culture.
- Peruse the library’s foreign book section.
Your local library is bound to have a number of books, tapes, CDs, documentaries, and more! Some libraries even offer free online courses, which circles back to our first point. You may even be able to check out programs for foreign language learning!
- Teens: Take a summer college class.
Look into what your local community college offers for dual enrollment and summer foreign language classes! You may be able to earn credits for high school and college simultaneously while taking advantage of free time during the summer months.
- Start a Duolingo course.
If you work on it consistently every day, you may be able to complete a course before the summer is out! The great part about Duolingo is it’s free, but still a well-known program with innumerable reviews. Even if you don’t complete a course, considering it does depend on the language and how much time you can commit, you’ll still get ahead before school starts!
- Read a “For Dummies” book!
There’s a book in this series for everything, it seems! Summer would be the perfect time to pick up one of these books, whether from a bookstore or the library, and work through it. The English to Spanish versions are perfect, and are a great resource for quick, easy lessons.
- Consider Sign Language
Did you know that the American Sign Language was recognized as a foreign language in 2003? That’s right, the study of American Sign Language can fulfill your high school homeschool foreign language credit requirements.
Hacks for Foreign Language Mastery
Other than actual courses, books, and apps for learning a foreign language, there are quite a few life hacks out there for learning a language faster. Most of these rely on immersion, but it’s known to be effective. If you’re determined to learn a language over the summer, these are likely to help!
- Change the language on your devices. Your phone, computer, even your favorite social media network! The immersion may feel disorienting at first, but you’ll pick it up. Younger kids could even play foreign language learning games.
- Watch children’s shows. Look around on YouTube for a kid’s show you recognize, and watch it in the language you’re learning.
- Listen to foreign music. When you listen to music in the language you’re studying, you’ll begin to pick up on pronunciation, sounds, and more.
- Look for comics and comic books. These stories will have shorter sentence structures for easier comprehension as you start out. Similarly, you could look for familiar children’s stories!
- Listen to a favorite audiobook. Download one of your favorite books as an audiobook in the language you’re learning.
- Add a foreign language course to your homeschool program. Perhaps this isn’t a hack, but certain homeschooling programs offer foreign language courses in addition to the existing core classes.
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Courtney Newman is a homeschooled graduate with a love for writing. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Health Science at University of the People. Other than writing, her hobbies include reading, yoga, visiting the beach, and meditating. She lives with her husband and pets in coastal Virginia.