Chances are, unless your parents, grandparents or other relatives close by taught you one, you probably didn’t start learning a second language until you were in school. Nowadays, knowing that the best time to teach a child a language is when they’re young, that trend is starting to change and, aside from being extremely relevant in the global economy, learning a second language at home is easier than ever.
In fact, gone are the days where you have to even leave home to start learning. Online language classes are no longer the learning method of tomorrow. Looking for lessons that give you and your children more real-world language experience? Try going to www.lingualift.com and try their learning style on for size. Maybe your objectives are more specific and you really want to create that classroom without ever getting out of your pyjamas, in which case lessons with www.listenandlearn.org is a great option. Or, for those of you who simply want foreign language exposure, turn the once-tedious task of study into something fun to keep everyone’s attention. Check out these 4 ways to incorporate second language fun into your home.
Fun in everyday things
Okay, so eating your breakfast or getting ready for school might not sound all that interesting, but if we make it into a kind of memory game then you might be surprised, both by you’re your kids will remember and how much more eager they are to do their normal routine!
Remember way back when you started learning French and you made those flash cards? Go dig them out of your storage box and repurpose them. Grab some tape and go nuts! Stick them onto everyday things around the kitchen, for example, and turn your breakfast into le petit déjeuner. Look at just some of the many vocabulary words you’ve got sitting right in your fridge:
- Le jus de fruits (“juice”)
- Le lait (“milk”)
- L’eau (“water”)
- Le yaourt avec des fruits (“yoghurt with fruit”)
- Le céréal (“cereal”)
- Le toast avec de la confiture (“toast with jam”)
Throw in some s’il vous/te plaît, merci, and passez/e-moi (“please”, “thank you”, and “pass me”) and you have yourself the beginnings of a delightful over-breakfast conversation. You can even consider making a few TinyCards yourself and printing some off when hosting themed meals to learn a smorgasbord of other languages from around the world.
Make it competitive
If you want your children to learn a language together or even encourage them to learn with their friends, what better way to do it than to turn it into a competition? Who doesn’t love a good tournament of Jacques à dit (“Simon says”) to see who really knows what they’re talking about. They can build up some basic vocabulary and then have a race around to be the first to touch la table à manger, la télévision et les escaliers (“the dining table, the television, and the stairs”), tiring them out for bedtime as a bonus!
Taking a little time to just be together with the family is always a great thing to do. How about dedicating a little of that time to work on a little language practice? It doesn’t have to be anything big, or lengthy. Even just a few minutes spent asking about days, school, and plans for the weekend will build up both vocabulary and confidence. Try out these phrases for size:
Q: Comment était ta journée? (“How was your day?”)
A: Anything from bon, mauvais, incroyable ou terrible (“good, bad, amazing, or terrible”).
Q: Qu’est-ce que tu vas faire ce week-end? (”What are you going to do this weekend?”)
A: Weekend plans can start with Allons au (“let’s go to the”) or Nous avons besoin d’acheter (“We need to buy”), followed by the words for all the things you want to see and do as a family.
See? Everybody wins.
Okay, so maybe it is impossible to convince your kids to keep away from their tablets and phones. If that’s the case for you, included as some of the positive effects of technology, you can still turn this into a language learning advantage. If they want to play games on their devices, go to sites like www.mindsnacks.com and choose games that are educational that will let them learn a vocabulary as they go.
Tailored to you
Whether you pick up vocabulary from a website online, buy a simple phrase book, or choose to take lessons yourself so you can be confident when helping your children learn, there is a way to learn a language that is suitable to you. It doesn’t have to feel like hard work, and it doesn’t have to be impossible. Get creative and let learning a language be fun for all of you!