I answered a homeschool
question from Ani on my language log, but thought I'd include it here. Maybe we can all write about our experiences homeschooling our kids language-wise and perhaps those who haven't started homeschooling yet could ask questions of those of us here who have.
For the record, we started homeschooling back in 2000 when our first hit 5 yrs old. We homeschooled all four exclusively except for two occasions (detailed below). And when I say we, I really mean the wife. All I do is make sure we are legal with whatever state we're living in.
Since the wife has been the primary teacher for our kids, I'll tell you about what she/we did language-wise. Back around 2005-ish, we got German Rosetta Stone and the kids and mom went through that. Like, through all of it, to include the writing part. My wife has had experience with German before so it was quick and easy for her, and the kids took to it pretty easily. What really pushed them beyond RS was when we found out that their favorite online game (at the time), Runescape, had a "German" world, where everything in it was in German. My wife let the kids play Runescape for one hour per school day as long as they were in the German world.
This worked well as she and the kids ended up going to Germany and Switzerland to visit relatives about 12 months later (while I got to "enjoy" Iraq). The kids used their German there and got exposed to the language, which was great as they were 11, 10, 7 and 3 at the time. When I got back from Iraq, they had been back from Europe for a couple of months. I was enjoying some time off at home, relaxing on the couch, overhearing a conversation btwn my boys (the 11- and 10-yr olds) on the difference between axe and hatchet auf Deutsch! I was floored.
Fast forward to 2009-ish and we are on our way to Russia. Again Russian Rosetta Stone, but also Pimsleur, which mom and the kids preferred. Did a few months of that prior to arriving in Moscow, which helped the kids out a bit. We decided to not homeschool
them there, instead enrolling them in the international school. Not enough Russian instruction for my taste (2-3 times per week, that is it). Our youngest at the time (6 to 9-yrs old) soaked up the most, to the point she could watch Russian cartoons and understand them. Our second oldest wasn't too bad at it when he'd go out with his friends to coffee shops. Our oldest did Spanish his last year, which ended up being the right move.
When we moved back to the states in 2012, homeschooling started up again. Oldest continue Spanish on his own and got a job at a local MacDonalds where all of the employees (except him) and most of the customers were L1 Spanish speakers. He'd speak Spanish daily for more than half of his work day. He continued working there the year after high school before we moved again, this time to Kyrgyzstan.
Kids entered private international school (again) here in Bishkek. More Russian, 5x per week, which was nice. Plus the kids are picking up some Kyrgyz words from their Kyrgyz friends. The girls' (the 2 youngest) Russian is getting better (probably A2+). The second oldest graduated here and did well in Russian and now has complete conversations with his Kyrgyz and Russian-speaking friends entirely in Russian. Granted, not advanced topics, but topics you'd imagine a bunch of 17-19-year old boys would have.
So, that is our experience with homeschooling/schooling and languages. The Esperanto teaching will begin when we arrive our next assignment, which is Moscow again. My now 16-year old daughter wants to learn it and Mom said that'll be my job.