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Homeschoolers united!

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 1:38 pm
by IronMike
Noticed a few homeschooling parents here. Thought this would be an excuse for a new thread where we can meet and talk about our kids, how we homeschool, any problems we've had (both with our kids and the local school district!), and how we ensure our kids are brought up multilingual!

(Dear admins: I couldn't find another place to put this thread. If I missed a more obvious location, please move this.)

Re: Homeschoolers united!

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 2:35 pm
by sillygoose1
I'm not a parent, but my sister is homeschooled. What could I do to get her excited about learning a language? She always tells me that she isn't smart enough to do so. Our father and his family speak Italian so she wants to learn that + maybe French or Spanish but she doesn't want to start.

I noticed that she watches movies dubbed in Italian on Netflix with English subtitles so I think the interest is definitely there. Also she's in her teens so just someone talking in Italian probably won't be enough at this point.

Re: Homeschoolers united!

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 2:48 pm
by IronMike
sillygoose1 wrote:I'm not a parent, but my sister is homeschooled. What could I do to get her excited about learning a language? She always tells me that she isn't smart enough to do so. Our father and his family speak Italian so she wants to learn that + maybe French or Spanish but she doesn't want to start.

I noticed that she watches movies dubbed in Italian on Netflix with English subtitles so I think the interest is definitely there. Also she's in her teens so just someone talking in Italian probably won't be enough at this point.


If your father is up for it, I'd ask him to ONLY speak to your sister in Italian. Actually, even though she is in her teens, someone talking in Italian very well could be enough.

After that, I'd get her to watch more and more Italian movies/shows. There will be time for her to learn reading/writing. Plenty of speakers out there who have learned their parents' language and solely have proficiency in speaking and listening.

If she needs instruction in reading Italian, search out "Italian for heritage speakers." Unsure what's out there, but I've used textbooks for Russian heritage speakers (which I'm not) and those books generally start out basic (alphabet for example) and advance quickly. When she can read the language, buy her some Italian books. Maybe a book series that she loves in English, you can find in Italian for her.

Your remarks remind me of a lost opportunity I had. From the age of 5 to 10, I spent every morning and afternoon/early evening with my grandparents, native speakers of Italian. They never spoke Italian in front of me (except for swearing, which I can do well in italiano), which I realize now was that lost opportunity. (My parents, I don't think, told them to not speak to me, I think they just assumed I'd rather talk to them in English.)

Re: Homeschoolers united!

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 3:16 pm
by sillygoose1
IronMike wrote:
sillygoose1 wrote:I'm not a parent, but my sister is homeschooled. What could I do to get her excited about learning a language? She always tells me that she isn't smart enough to do so. Our father and his family speak Italian so she wants to learn that + maybe French or Spanish but she doesn't want to start.

I noticed that she watches movies dubbed in Italian on Netflix with English subtitles so I think the interest is definitely there. Also she's in her teens so just someone talking in Italian probably won't be enough at this point.


If your father is up for it, I'd ask him to ONLY speak to your sister in Italian. Actually, even though she is in her teens, someone talking in Italian very well could be enough.

After that, I'd get her to watch more and more Italian movies/shows. There will be time for her to learn reading/writing. Plenty of speakers out there who have learned their parents' language and solely have proficiency in speaking and listening.

If she needs instruction in reading Italian, search out "Italian for heritage speakers." Unsure what's out there, but I've used textbooks for Russian heritage speakers (which I'm not) and those books generally start out basic (alphabet for example) and advance quickly. When she can read the language, buy her some Italian books. Maybe a book series that she loves in English, you can find in Italian for her.

Your remarks remind me of a lost opportunity I had. From the age of 5 to 10, I spent every morning and afternoon/early evening with my grandparents, native speakers of Italian. They never spoke Italian in front of me (except for swearing, which I can do well in italiano), which I realize now was that lost opportunity. (My parents, I don't think, told them to not speak to me, I think they just assumed I'd rather talk to them in English.)



I've asked him before. Hell, I asked him to speak to me only in his dialect so I could maybe pass it on one day since none of my cousins speak it. He just refuses to speak it with anyone besides his parents and Italians who don't speak English too well. I think he's also a bit self conscious because he came to the US before he even finished elementary school in Italy so I don't think he can read or write it too well. I remember we were in a bookstore looking to buy my sister a course and I asked him what he thought of one and he alluded to that.

Unfortunately she doesn't speak a word of it. If she had at least some exposure I'd ease her into reading some graded readers or downloading some of her favorite authors' books in Italian. I want to get her the base before I start getting into the fun stuff.

I offered to teach her with Assimil but after the first lesson she got discouraged despite me saying how it's normal. I get it because Assimil is meant for adult learners but still. Maybe she just needs more confidence in regards to it?

Re: Homeschoolers united!

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 3:20 pm
by IronMike
I have a daughter who was getting discouraged with Russian, so I introduced her to Esperanto. It was easier, so she got immediate positive feedback. Since then, her Russian is coming along nicely. Could try that.

Or you could work on your father. ;)

Good luck!

Re: Homeschoolers united!

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:01 am
by Ani
Ahh. I have/had Italian as a heritage language and it's such a struggle. Part of the problem is that the dialect does not match Assimil, so if she learns standard Italian (which is great) it may or may not inspire your father to speak Italian with her. That is also probably why your father doesn't connect with the books -- likely it isn't what he speaks.

It does come together really quickly though when you've been hearing it your whole life. Something like "first 1000 words in italian" on Memrise might do the trick. (I am not naming a specific course that I know of but there seems to be an equivalent in every language)


And hey I found the homeschool thread!! Yay.

Re: Homeschoolers united!

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:04 pm
by Tomás
sillygoose1 wrote:Unfortunately she doesn't speak a word of it. If she had at least some exposure I'd ease her into reading some graded readers or downloading some of her favorite authors' books in Italian. I want to get her the base before I start getting into the fun stuff.

I offered to teach her with Assimil but after the first lesson she got discouraged despite me saying how it's normal. I get it because Assimil is meant for adult learners but still. Maybe she just needs more confidence in regards to it?


For rank beginners I recommend Earworms:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRMBf3tnWpw

It's set to music and is a lot of fun. I wish I'd known about this when I was first starting.

Re: Homeschoolers united!

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:51 pm
by Ani
Do you think maybe we should be a team? Team "raising our kids to be language nerds" ... Team "infecting the next generation with virulent multilingualism"...

Re: Homeschoolers united!

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:00 pm
by PeterMollenburg
Ani wrote:Do you think maybe we should be a team? Team "raising our kids to be language nerds" ... Team "infecting the next generation with virulent multilingualism"...


Sounds like a nice idea. Anyone else interested? (I am)

Re: Homeschoolers united!

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:51 pm
by Systematiker
Can I stick around with "intent to homeschool"? We've got a 6mo and have different native languages, so we are doing OPOL; we share several other additional languages and are considering what we'll teach there, and we intend to homeschool in general (she currently works in a private school environment and I'm in higher ed, so we've got our share of theories).