Marvelous Monday – Foreign Language

      Foreign languages.  Not.  My.  Forte.  Definitely.  I had two years of high school Spanish, and my husband studied American Sign Language for two years at the college level.  Neither of us have retained much.  I suppose it’s a real case of “use it or lose it”.  I will confess right up front, when it comes to foreign languages, it’s pretty much all Greek to me.

     In fact, when Kendra sent the initial list of “Marvelous Monday” topics to me, it included this entry –  “Foreign Languages (including Latin and Ecclesiastical Greek)”.  I read that and cracked up.  Then I read it to Dani, and we both laughed.  Like I said, foreign language is just not my thing.

     When my children were itty-bitty, we did teach them some sign language to help them develop their communication skills.  I enjoy using these signs with my grandbabies even now.  Little ones learn signing incredibly fast, and they retain what they’ve learned well after their verbal communication skills take over. 

     When the girls were younger, we had a fun little Spanish curriculum that we used for about a year.  I don’t remember the name of it.  It was fun, but we really didn’t learn much.  We came away from that knowing how to say, “Yum, pancakes!” in Spanish.

     A couple of years ago I purchased El Espanol Facil.  This program is highly recommended by many homeschooling moms that I respect.  However, it required far too much of my time during a season of my life when there was time only for the basics, so we set it aside.  Truly, this was just a case of bad timing on my part.  I will hold onto this program as part of my Heritage Library.  Perhaps one of my own children will use it in their own family.  I think this would be a terrific program to use with two or more young children at the same time.

     Dani has dabbled a bit in Latin since high school; but, again, the language study has been abandoned.   Henle Latin is a fine Ecclesiastical Latin program for students about 14 years or so, and up. 
     Do you see a pattern developing here?  Truthfully, we’ve not had a lot of motivation to learn a foreign language.  My daughters were not college bound, so there was no academic necessity for a foreign language.  However, we are ripe for a change to that scenario!

     Aaron is hoping to follow his dad into law enforcement.  Having at least a conversational knowledge of Spanish would be a huge benefit to him.  We live in California, and we deal regularly with folks who speak only Spanish.  I’ve done my research.  I’ve considered the needs and learning styles of my family.  I am saving my pennies for Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) .  I’ll be purchasing it this summer to begin in the fall.  It will be a required subject for Aaron, and optional for William for the time being (but I’m guessing he’ll want to join in).  Who knows?  The rest of us might decide to jump in and learn Spanish, too.

     Be sure to head over to Kendra’s blog.  I’m absolutely certain that you’ll find much more encouragement and many more foreign language resources at her Marvelous Monday – Foreign Languages post!

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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11 comments to Marvelous Monday – Foreign Language

  • I grew up in Southern California and can definitely vouch for the benefits of having at least a bit of conversational Spanish!  I’ve never done the Rosetta Stone approach, but I have friends who have learned foreign languages that way and greatly enjoyed it.  I wonder if, after a bit of time doing the Rosetta Stone, you might be able to find a native Spanish speaker in your area willing to meet occasionally to chat in Spanish (and in exchange, the native Spanish speaker will have a chance to brush up on his/her English).  There are similar “language exchanges” where I live.  For awhile, I had a standing coffee meeting every week with a German student looking to improve her English and I found my German language skills improved very quickly!

  • Foreign language has been my main concern with homeschooling my little one.  French is Canada’s second official language.  Ella’s only 3, so I don’t know what her future holds.  If she wants a government job, French is nearly required.  Being that we live minutes from Quebec, it would be handy too.  DH and I don’t speak French at all.  I was thinking of waiting till she is much older than getting Rosetta Stone.  Can’t wait to hear what you think of the program.

  • @Paula Fletcher – I believe that there is a French version of El Espanol Facil, called The Easy French.  There is even a junior version of the program for younger students.  

  • Hi Cheryl,

    I am with you. I can’t speak any other language either. Living so close to the border Spanish is the second language here too. Thank you for all your sweet notes and comments.



  • Haha!! I love the picture from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding!” — Ah! Kimono, is from the greek word -Himono, which means winter, and what do you wear in winter? A RrrrrrRhobe! So what see, Kimono, winter, robe, there you go!”….

    Rosetta stone is fantastic, we have it, the kids started it, and then for some reason or other, didn’t finish, but it was very fun, for them, because of the pictures. — I need to pull it out, it would be useful for me right now.
    Christina is learning spanish right now, at Evergreen, so if your Aaron doesn’t learn it from you, then he can take it in college, as a pre-req. 😉

  • MrDarcy’s favorite college course this year was…Greek!

    Lizzie took Spanish and German and came away remembering very little of either.

    I never took a foreign language and have a hard enough time with English (!) but know a spattering of Spanish (taco, burrito, count to 10 etc… ;o)), I can count to 10 in Japanese and German and know a few key phrases such as “Where is the bathroom” kinda stuff, I know a decent spattering of Serbian having grown up in that culture (early years)..I can understand more than I can speak. Come October I’ll be in the midst of many Serbs while celebrating my father’s 80th birthday so I may be able to pick up a bit more than I now know. I hope.

    They (whoever *they* are) say to begin teaching foreign language at an early age. Hm. Guess I missed that little detail.


    jAne at

  • Since you mention ASL – American Sign Language as a foreign language I thought you might be interested in what I found out.  I have had the opportunity to learn ASL from some deaf friends, and I love this “language” (and yes, it is a separate language from English). 

    So when my oldest son started his high school education (at home, of course) I contacted HSLDA for some advice about how best to use ASL in our curriculum plans.  They told me that most colleges will not accept ASL as a foreign language credit.  You can use it for your elective credits, but will still need to take an additional foreign language for the languages credits. 

    Of course, if your child doesn’t plan to go to college, then none of this matters.  But I was a bit surprised by this and thought others might be as well.  I would hate for some to get caught without the credits they need for secondary education.


    Melanie in KS

  • @Melanie in KS – Thanks for the clarification, Melanie.  You’re right, we wouldn’t want anyone counting on ASL to be counted as a foreign language for college entrance.  Interestingly enough, my husband used his ASL (when he was still proficient) at work to help other officers communicate with the deaf inmates that were in custody.  The sheriff”s department pays a premium to officers who know a second language (Spanish, Russian, Hmong, etc.), but they don’t pay the premium for officers who know ASL.  They call on them to translate for the deaf, but they don’t want to pay the premium for that knowledge.

  • FYI — I think the Rosetta Stone Spanish program is very good – but only if you stick to it faithfully. I tried to use it for several months, and what I did do, is in my head! However, for the months spent using it (and then giving up), I learned all the same stuff in about two weeks of my Spanish 1 class in college. Made me feel really dumb.:( I guess it depends on what you’re going for. If you want to learn a lot of vocab without context/conjugation then Rosetta stone will be good. What I learned was like skimmed milk, and in class I learned how to go into the “fatty” stuff and actually use it. Hope that makes sense.

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