Top 10 Homeschool Foreign Language ResourcesMay 27, 2019
There are numerous foreign language resources available at the click of a Google search. However, their search rating definitely doesn’t determine their usefulness, quality, or effective methods. As homeschoolers, we’ve tried a number of foreign language tools and some are great, while others fall short. It can be disappointing to invest in a suggested resource only to discover it doesn’t meet a quality standard. Further, it can be a loss of money, which to many of us, feels like a waste.
To help, we’ve taken a look at our favorite resources throughout homeschooling and a good number of Google searches, and rounded up our top 10. Some of these language learning tools require a subscription or payment, while others are free. Some are textbook-based, while others are online, on your phone, or in-person. Some of them require a greater knowledge of English grammar, while others are fairly basic. You’ll find a great variety on our list, and we’re hoping it has something for everyone.
Our 10 Favorite Homeschooling Foreign Language Tools
Homeschooling can be expensive. The cost of curriculum, books, tools, supplements, and resources seem to multiply before my eyes every year. Nothing can break a good budget like back to school shopping for a homeschooler! We recognize that homeschoolers are often looking for the best deal for their money, so we’ve included a number of free or inexpensive foreign language resources here. These are especially convenient for easy languages to learn.
However, as with many things in life, sometimes high-quality material is worth paying a subscription or fee. Consequently, we’ve included a few ideas requiring a purchased program or course for high-quality language learning. It is our hope for you to find at least something helpful in this list for your homeschooling and language learning endeavors!
By now, most of us are familiar with Duolingo. What’s not to love? It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s convenient — just open the app on your phone! Duolingo combines lessons with games through an interactive and engaging interface. It has quickly become the #1 free learning language app.
Rosetta Stone is almost synonymous with language learning resources. Everyone has heard of it and many of us have likely used it for our own foreign language studies. Rosetta Stone uses the immersion method to help surround students with the language, similar to how students would feel if they traveled to another country. Rosetta Stone is not free, but it is well-known for its quality and success.
Open Culture offers free language lessons online. The lessons are self-paced and completely independent, while also offered in 48 different languages. Open Culture is basically an open sourced site for learning materials. Many of the lessons come in .mp3 format for audio learning.
Language Nut works with elementary and high schools, but they also have a subscription available for homeschoolers! This website offers tutors, games, and activities for learning a new language. They offer 22 languages for homeschoolers to choose from and they focus on vocabulary, grammar, listening, reading, and writing skills — all through an app.
We all know and love YouTube for cat videos or tutorials, but did you know there are multiple language learning channels available as well? YouTube truly is a powerhouse resource for homeschoolers on nearly every subject. To start, we like The Travel Linguist, Easy Languages, and Babbel (additionally, Babbel also has an app much like Duolingo!).
- Dual Enrollment Classes.
While this is probably one of the most traditional routes available for learning a new language, there’s a good reason for it. Certain people simply learn more effectively from a class setting rather than independent study or self-paced progress. The environment of sitting in class with a professor and other classmates can provide more inspiration and motivation for certain students than by using an app or an online program. With dual enrollment, high schoolers can also often save money on classes as most community colleges offer programs or incentives.
This website offers a number of language learning courses for about nineteen languages, with even more resources for focusing on grammar, vocabulary, and phrases. They have games, audio, and lessons.
If you use Time4Learning as your homeschooling curriculum, you also have access to Time4Languages for an additional fee. It’s available for K-12 students who are already using the Time4Learning program, and students can choose from English, Spanish, Chinese, Latin, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Hebrew.
LinguaLift offers Japanese, Russian, and Hebrew. For a subscription, they offer an online program with a comprehensive approach through their apps, worksheets, and tutors. They focus on real-life communication, learning correct pronunciation from native speakers, and an algorithm to help students retain what they learn.
Currently, Language Zen only offers Spanish. However, if your student is looking to study Spanish, this could be a great option. Language Zen adapts as students learn new phrases, vocabulary, concepts, and even helps students learn with music. Music is such a powerful tool for memory, which is what makes this program unique and effective.
Resources for Foreign Language Study
In addition to courses, apps, and videos for actually learning a language, there are a number of resources available online for supplementing your language studies. We’ve found a bunch of great tools, all with different purposes, to help you practice and apply your target language!
- Quizlet Flashcards. What can we say about Quizlet, except that it’s the most comprehensive website available for flashcards and study materials! You can find an enormous number of topics on Quizlet, with foreign language as one of them! Simply search for your desired language and sort through which ones appeal to you the most. This could be quite helpful for studying foreign vocabulary words!
- italki. With this website, not only can you converse with a native speaker, but they tutor you! What could be better than learning a language from an actual native speaker? It’s a brilliant idea and likely very effective for students.
- Readlang. This website is very helpful for not just learning how to speak the language, but how to read it! Readlang will translate any website or word into the target language for convenient and practical learning.
- Hello Talk. HelloTalk provides a platform for those learning a certain language to communicate with a native speaker. Though it’s not for direct lessons, such as with italki, it is simply for immersion into the language and learning how that language translates to conversational topics.
- Survival Phrases. This website focuses specifically on helping students learn the essential phrases from any of the 34 languages they offer. It’s not a complete study, but rather, a great tool for those who are traveling or in need of just the basics. It could be a great option for complementing a more thorough language study as well!
- Lyrics Training. This app looks like such a fun way to help with a language study! We all remember song lyrics more than anything else, and that’s exactly what this app utilizes. Learn more about your target language through music!
- Influent. Just as Duolingo uses games and interactive features to help students learn more about the language, so does Influent. The difference? Influent is all about learning solely through a game. Players have a chance to explore a 3D world and learn the terms of everyday objects within that world.
- For Dummies books. The “For Dummies” series is great for almost any subject, isn’t it? Just as you can pick up one of these books for learning a new math concept, the same applies to a foreign language. Bonus: local libraries commonly carry several For Dummies books!
- Mindsnacks. If you’re still looking for more language learning games, Mindsnacks is for you! You can choose from a number of languages and download the app to play on your phone!
- FluentU. FluentU uses real videos found across the web to help language learners. From music videos, lyrics, news, trailers, talks, and more, FluentU helps immerse students in the language with modern, real, and authentic videos found online. This is also a great way to show students how learning the language will help connect them more with the world!
- Breaking the Barrier. Homeschoolers will find a perfect partner in Breaking the Barrier, where they provide the tools to help you in your quest for true fluency. Whether you are looking for a beginner, intermediate or advanced program, Breaking the Barrier offers you just what you need.
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.