What’s the Big Deal About Foreign Language?
September 20, 2017
Hey Mama,

Have you ever considered teaching a foreign language? I know what you’re thinking. Who? Me? I’m OK with English, but no, just forget anything else. That would be impossible! But doesn’t our God specialize in the impossible? Imagine for a moment building stronger relationships with your kids because you took a little extra time to chat--that’s all learning a foreign language is. It’s chatting in another language--deliberately thinking about what we’re saying and building a relationship. 
If you’re still not sure about teaching (or learning) a foreign language, take a look at these articles from  The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

And remember, Mama . . . 

Rest in the Lord. Your week is full. It feels like it's going too fast and that not much is really getting done. But things do get done. The biggest thing: the relationship building. Every single day with these kids is an opportunity to pour that much more love into them. That much more dialogue. That much more input into their lives. That's you, Mama, speaking LIFE into these precious ones. You're serving them, and they see it. They will remember it later. 

We only have our children for a short while. You think this last week went fast; it only goes faster the older we get! Tapestry . . . remember tapestry. You wove threads last week. 

Not every thread was perfect and shiny and outstanding. But each thread was real. Real life. It's what you give, and it's what your children count on, and when they are older, they will remember a Mama who wasn't perfect, but she was surely real. And they will recognize they can attain to that, too. Real Mamas raise real kids who turn into real adults. Nothing phony. No airs. No pretenses. Just straight sincerity.

His hand remains--as always--on your head. And your children know you more today than they knew you last week. And you, them.  That's real.  Real progress. Epic success. 

❤️ ,


For free resources for getting a teaching job, becoming an effective teacher and making teaching fun visit: www.TheBusyEducator.com
Marjan Glavac
I flew into Vienna with a sense of anxiety. I do not speak German. The words I knew weren’t enough to rent a car—or order a meal.

As I walked through the airport and passed all the signs in German, my anxiety grew. The personnel at the car rental agency spoke fluent English. I felt embarrassed that I didn’t know German.

I started to drive through the beautiful Austrian countryside. I realized that the average 10-year-old could read the highway signs better than I could. I could only guess at what the highway signs said.

Luckily, I didn’t need to interact with a gas station attendant. Payment at the pump with a credit card took care of that. When hunger pains hit, all I could do is point to the food I wanted. I made a drinking motion with my hand and concentrated on the numbers the cashier rang up.

It would be a total of 3 hours before my language anxiety disappeared.

That’s when I crossed the border into the tiny country of Slovenia. I had no fear of asking for a highway vignette (toll pass) or ordering whatever food I wanted. I could read the highway signs.

Slovenian is my mother tongue. I was born in Canada of Slovenian immigrants who taught me the language when I was growing up.

I’ve had the same anxious language experiences traveling through Italy to France. Once in France, it felt like home. I grew up learning French in the Canadian school system. Since the fifth grade, I took French. I continued taking French courses at the university (Canada is an officially bilingual country: English and French. Schools teach French in elementary as part of the curriculum.).

Spending three summers immersed in French in Quebec and living and speaking French with home-stay families made me feel very comfortable with the language. Traveling all through Quebec and France doesn’t feel foreign. It feels like home.

There are many reasons to learn a language. However, you must have a purpose to learning a language. Over 50 years ago, my grandfather encouraged me to learn Spanish. At the time, there I had no reason to learn it. Now, I’m learning Spanish. I want to learn about Spanish culture, food, and history. And I want to embrace the warmth and sunshine of Latin America during our cold bitter Canadian winters!   
While it seems English is widely spoken everywhere these days, it’s amazing what opportunities and experiences you can have when you speak a foreign language. In today’s interconnected digital world, having a second or third language under your belt is a real advantage. Let’s explore the benefits of speaking another language.

Improve your English. Learning a foreign language focuses your thinking on grammar and sentence structure. You become more aware of how language is created and develop better communication and listening skills. Kids who study foreign languages tend to choose words more carefully in their own native language. As a result, their vocabulary expands and becomes more sophisticated.

Travel better. Everything changes when you speak the local language. Touts, scammers, and shop owners often take advantage of tourists. Speaking the local language gives the impression you’ve been there a while and know how things work. You’ll start the haggling game off on a better footing and end up saving money. And best of all, it gives your children greater insight into the local culture—making travel a much more rewarding experience.

Increased job opportunities. Working in international trade is exciting. The world is shrinking and many companies now do business in non-English speaking countries. To do this effectively, they’ll need staff who speak more than one language. The ability to speak another language, and having a global mindset, will set you apart from other candidates.

How about missions? It can be hard to share our faith in a foreign country with little or no words. Learning a foreign language gives young people the opportunity to break down cultural barriers, share the gospel, and make lasting friendships while they’re away.

There are so many ways to learn a foreign language. And like everything in life, perseverance and consistency eventually pay off. You’ll be surprised at the amazing opportunities you create simply by speaking another language.

Want to learn a foreign language in a fun, creative way? Our mission is to help you teach your children about the Bible, no matter what language you speak. Print a story from our languages page (12 languages to choose from!), and then download the FREE Bible Pathway Adventures’ storybook app and follow along to the narrated stories in English. Perfect for homeschoolers and fun for parents, too. Download and explore our FREE Bible storybook app on: iTunes or Android .
Biblical Greek - Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! or classical Latin - Latin’s Not So Tough! Fun activities engaging even for very young students.

Danika Cooley
I started taking Spanish in Kindergarten. We played games, sang songs, and learned some vocabulary. I enjoyed my language classes, and foreign languages were demystified for me. They were just a puzzle to be mastered.

By the time I graduated from college, this demystification of foreign languages benefited me greatly. I took classes in two foreign languages and regularly read and wrote in those languages. Once I cracked the code of the Romance languages, I found I could easily learn a new language when I needed it. I've done research in German several times, and though I never learned the language, I can usually parse out the vocabulary sufficiently for my purposes. Knowing additional languages came in handy when I applied for jobs as well.

What's the big deal about foreign language?

There are a number of reasons that knowing a foreign language is beneficial to children. Some studies have shown that bilingualism in children improves cognitive abilities—kids just learn to think differently as they hear two languages.

Knowing another language opens the door to careers and jobs not available to those who only speak English.

Learning a classical language like Latin or Koine Greek allows students to expand their understanding of English vocabulary and grammar.

Studying a language in childhood demystifies language learning, making learning additional languages easier and quicker.
Soli Deo Gloria

There's one overriding reason I think teaching a language in your homeschool is a completely worthwhile pursuit—to bring glory to God.

The Lord has called each of his children to go forth and make disciples of, or teach, all nations ( Matt. 28:19-20 )

—and the nations around us frequently speak languages other than English. Additionally, our children live in a time when God is bringing the nations to us. Our hometown had children who spoke ninety eight different languages.

I think the most exciting thing about homeschooling is that we have the opportunity to disciple our children for Christ. In doing so, we can prepare them to serve the Lord. Language learning in your homeschool can take place not for the traditional reasons, but to the glory of God and for His Kingdom. Who knows how the Lord will use your child's life? Perhaps He has gifted one of your children in languages. That gift is just waiting to be developed for the gospel!

Danika Cooley is an author and homeschool mother of four. Her passion is equipping parents to teach Scripture and Christian history to their families. You can learn more about Danika's popular Bible Road Trip™ curriculum and teen historical novel  When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther at Thinking Kids.

You'll find hundreds of subscriber gifts there, too!
On a business trip to Panama, Hal found himself sitting next to a U.S. Army interpreter from Puerto Rico. “English is such a beautiful language!” the soldier said. “You have so many words to choose from that mean the same thing!”

That’s because our native tongue has absorbed so many words from other languages—the Saxon words of the early Britons mixed with the Latin of Caesar’s army and the French of the Norman conquest, not to mention the American experience of immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. 

Learning a foreign language will help you improve your own . When Hal took Latin in high school, he learned a lot more about how English worked, too. The grammar he learned in Latin helped him when he studied German in college, while building his English vocabulary at the same time.

The world really is getting smaller.  Your children are more likely to meet, study, and work with people from around the globe than you were! Many colleges feature a “study abroad” semester, and the cost of travel has made foreign experiences more affordable than they used to be. The number of foreign visitors and immigrants have made foreign languages part of our everyday life, too—even in small towns and rural communities.
It’s not hard to pick up the basics. You may not plan for your child to become a fluent scholar in a language. That’s okay—it’s still useful to get a smattering of another tongue, enough to shop and ask directions, anyway. Early exposure to foreign language can lay a foundation for later study with better pronunciation, we’re told.

It can help with your Bible study! Really! When you’ve had to translate conversational thoughts from one language to another, you begin to understand the challenge of Bible translation—and appreciate the value of comparing different versions of the Bible. It can help you get a better, fuller grasp of God’s Word when you start to see how idioms and culture give deeper meaning to the original languages.

It’s not as hard as you think. When we first started homeschooling, you had a choice of cassette tapes or well, there wasn’t anything else. Now, though, our children use apps, podcasts, online teachers, and all kinds of easy, fun ways to learn another language. It’s way easier than it used to be; whether you are studying Spanish or Mandarin Chinese, this is something you can do!

Yours in the battle.
Hal and Melanie

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Learning a foreign language opens a world of opportunities, from communicating with others to gaining a richer understanding of one’s birth language, as well as teaching us about ourselves and others in a way nothing else can. In addition, learning a foreign language opens doors to travel and employment that are not always possible without it.
Fortunately, SchoolhouseTeachers.com members have access to Spanish, French, Latin, and Latvian as well as an introduction to ASL and Biblical Greek. Every course is included in membership. Plus, there are no per-child fees or additional fees for textbooks.
If you’re not already a member of SchoolhouseTeachers.com , we would love to have you join us. If you join during our Harvest special now through October 31, 2017, you will not only lock in your membership at a reduced monthly rate but also receive a digital bushel of goodies valued at almost $700! If you or someone you know is interested in designing lessons for our site, please contact Director Bonnie Rose Hudson at bhudson@theoldschoolhouse.com .
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner  
For the month of September

If you are looking for a new tradition for your kids during the Thanksgiving season, let me encourage you to look into the Turkey on the Table Kit. This is an adorable stuffed turkey decoration with the mission and purpose to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness in children and families.

The Turkey on the Table Kit comes with the turkey, a storybook, a pen, and the decorated paper feathers that family members can write something on that they are thankful for each day and stick the feather into the turkey for display. Our family put this out as a centerpiece on our table and encouraged the kids each morning at breakfast to think of something that they were thankful for and write it down. At first, the answers were things like Legos and ice cream, but as our discussions grew in depth over the days and weeks, their answers became less superficial as they were noticing the bigger and richer things to be thankful for such as living in a country that is free to worship God, having full bellies, having running water, etc. The creators of Turkey on the Table give a portion of the proceeds to help feed the hungry in our country, which is an added bonus.

It is encouraged to keep the feathers year after year as a reminder of all the things that we have to be thankful for. There are refill packs of feathers available on the website. The retail price of the Turkey on the Table is $39.99, and the refill pack of 13 feathers is $8.99. Considering the fact that this will be a sweet Thanksgiving tradition for years to come, I think that is a good price. ( Read the review here. )

YOU can WIN this set for your homeschool!

TO ENTER : Email Kathleen with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, “ Turkey on the Table ” for a chance to win it for your family!
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