You can teach your kids a foreign language, even if you cannot speak it!
If you want your children to learn a foreign language, there are great resources available that are FREE or next to nothing in cost.
I must include this aside: If you only speak English, have never taken a foreign language class yourself, and listening to foreign speakers is just, well, Greek to you, don't fret. Put you parenting panties on and show no fear. You can provide a solid foreign language foundation for your children, and you may learn something too! Here's where to start:
Free Foreign Language Resources
1. The RadioThe best instruction I received during my Spanish Class days was to listen to the Spanish speaking radio. Don't try to understand it, just have it playing in the background. Why? Our brains are awesome, that's why. After continuous exposure, what normally sounds like nails on a chalkboard will turn into a natural sound. Trust me on this.
What's that? You want your child to learn a language other than Spanish so you have no radio stations to play? Ah, yea of little faith but with internet connection check out numbers two and three.
2. TuneIn Radio Application for Smart Phones and TabletsI love, love, love this app! There are two options with it, keep the free version or pay a small app fee and upgrade. TuneIn Radio streams radio stations from around the world! It is searchable by language. We listen to the Italian stations just about everyday, everywhere.
3. YouTubeI'm a stickler about watching TV during the day. One exception: YouTube videos in Italian. Search the language you want your children to learn and see what pulls up. Be sure to narrow your search parameters so you're not pulling up smut. "Cartoni Italiano" "Disney Italiano" "Italian Lessons" are my main go-to searches. I also use YouTube during the homeschool year for Italian culture lessons.
4. Websites & Website resourcesGoogle is my bestie when it comes to finding free foreign language resources. There are oodles of sites that offer free lessons, free printables, free anything for the language you desire. I stumbled upon a gem just the other day, Chillola Foreign Language for Kids. Type in "Free 'Insert Foreign Language Here' Lessons for kids" and start clicking. Bookmark the sites and use them regularly. Printable word cards and worksheets are great, they can go with you anywhere and be used at any time. Taping word cards on their corresponding objects throughout the house provides passive immersion for your young readers and you! Quick tip: Always say the foreign equivalent to an object when referring to it.
Also, if you know your country of choice internet handle (i.e. .it for Italy) you can pull up popular children programs in that language. Warning, some of the sites allow access to only those in the country, just keep looking and you'll find one that will accept you with open arms.
If you are willing to shell out a bit of dinero, then the world of foreign language learning at home is infinite.
Resources that Cost, but won't break the bank
1. International Television SubscriptionDish Network offers international programming packages at quite reasonable pricing and from many countries. In our home RAI & MediaSet Italia are watched regularly. Some international stations lack children programs which is okay. Learning the culture and language through native programming is a necessity for complete immersion. Be forewarned: many foreign cultures are lax on modesty compared to the US. It is part of their culture so I suggest lightening your censorship when viewing. The less of a deal you make of it, the less your child will and the easier a new culture will be understood. Trust me, Italian programs utilize women's assets big-time. Women don't hide their beauty but use it to their advantage. Side-note about Italian culture: Age is revered. The older women are beautified seemingly more than the younger ones. Its a refreshing change.
2. DVDs, CDs, Workbooks, TextbooksAmazon & Ebay are foreign language meccas. I especially love the option to order from Italy direct on Ebay. Start a library of foreign language learning tools. The number one tool to have is an English/Whicheverlanguage Dictionary. It helps with pronunciation and inquisitive children asking "how do you say...".
3. National ConsulatesIf you are suffering from summer cabin fever and want to get the kiddies out, check out your language choice national consulate. Most offer language classes throughout the year and at reasonable prices. Going to the consulate for a few lessons also provides culture exposure.
There are many more options out there to facilitate you exposing your children to foreign language. Be creative and consistent. You'll be amazed at the comprehension ability of your children and surprised at what you yourself will learn. When the summer is over and you want to take the learning to the next level, look into foreign language immersion schools in your area. In Illinois and Washington D.C. Language Stars is a great school.
If you have any questions about language learning at home, feel free to ask, I do it everyday with my daughter!
*Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post, just an educational one from Me, Myself, and I.*