Homeschoolers united!

Ask specific questions about your target languages. Beginner questions welcome!
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Ani
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Re: Homeschoolers united!

Postby Ani » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:21 am

Pass the bean dip...

So anybody homeschooling with the objective of teaching their kids to be autodidacts, in general but in languages specifically, have suggestions on how to encourage sticking to one language instead of spinning and dabbling all over the place like a demented hummingbird?

I mean I see value in dabbling, doubly so at a young age, but it would be nice if I could figure out how to build character traits of consistency and resiliency.
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Re: Homeschoolers united!

Postby Axon » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:01 pm

Ani wrote:So anybody homeschooling with the objective of teaching their kids to be autodidacts, in general but in languages specifically, have suggestions on how to encourage sticking to one language instead of spinning and dabbling all over the place like a demented hummingbird?


I realize I'm doing the thing where people who don't have kids come in and talk about how to raise children, but I gradually became an autodidact of my own accord and thought I might share how.

There are two books that I read many, many times as a kid that contributed to this mindset. The first is The Swiss Family Robinson, where a family in a precarious position not only survives but thrives thanks to the bottomless knowledge of all. The second is Cheaper by the Dozen, and to some extent its sequel Belles on their Toes, which I only read after I was well into teaching myself things. In that book, the father of 12 children is an efficiency expert (in real life, he and his wife invented the field of industrial engineering) and takes it upon himself to greatly enhance the children's public school education by taking every opportunity to teach and to make learning fun. Both of these books had sections where people learn several languages, of course.

So I guess I learned by example: I knew that it was possible to learn many things if I put my mind to it, and so I gradually got more and more used to looking at how I was spending my time. If I couldn't justify it as contributing to my knowledge or personal development in some way, I felt guilty and started to learn more things. This sort of thinking started when I was about 17 - I graded papers for the Spanish class and often had nothing to do. Instead of playing on my phone, I taught myself Morse Code and how to write left-handed. By the way, I'd never call these "useless talents" as some people do, they're just skills I might not need very much. At the very least it opens me up to a new way of using my brain or body.

Avoiding wasting time on devices is a whole huge topic that I won't really get into, but I will say that if the devices are inconvenient then they'll get used less and less. When you have a very limited data plan and battery life, you're not going to spend a whole lot of time on your phone.

In college I met people that were very smart and that challenged my way of thinking, as well as encouraged me to learn more on my own. I met people that had skills I didn't have, and instead of thinking "I don't know that" I thought "I haven't learned that. Maybe I will someday." That's why I learned guitar and Python.

Sure, I liked it when people asked me for help learning something, but I also really liked the feeling of being amazed by how smart someone was. It was very cool to be one of the least smart people in the room. If you can foster that appreciation in your child as well as the sense of excitement at learning something new, they'll go far.
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Re: Homeschoolers united!

Postby Xenops » Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:01 pm

Very nice post Axon. :D It challenges me as well: I tend to waste time on things that don't further my goals.

As another childless person giving advice (though I've been homeschooled--do I get points for that?), giving a child encouraging words can go a long way. If you see that they are particularly good at something, say so. Give praise to them, and also talk about their achievements to others in front of them ("DH, did you see what Danny did today?").

You can also provide role models: give them an example of a person that is a success because he chose to focus on one thing and be very good at it. Tell them, "look at this scientist/polyglot. See where she is today? You can do the same".

It should also be noted that, as much as we love languages (we're LLorg, after all!), some people do not find language learning fun. If a kid really doesn't have an interest in language learning, you have to accept him as his individual self. Maybe he really likes astronomy: encourage him in that. Who knows, you might be raising the astronaut that will colonize Mars, or maybe he will be the space Einstein. Conversely, maybe she likes languages, but not French or Russian, maybe something off the radar like a Mayan language. Encourage her in that: maybe she'll be a famous Mayan languages scholar.

Just some thoughts. ;)
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Re: Homeschoolers united!

Postby IronMike » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:52 pm

Last I'll talk about HSLDA.

You can link all you like to one person who claims something of HSLDA, but you can link to 1000s of families who have been helped by HSLDA, yours truly included. Twice. From government intrusion. For free.

OK, back to all the good from homeschooling!

If I hadn't mentioned it already, our oldest scored a 94 on his ASVAB (yeah, homeschooling) and our second oldest walked into a junior-level Russian class as a freshman (yeah, again!).
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Re: Homeschoolers united!

Postby zatris » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:29 pm

Axon and Xenops, thank you for your posts. I'm not a homeschooler (yet), nor have kids, but both of you have written very inspiring words, that I will apply not only for the kids I might one day have, but for myself.
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Re: Homeschoolers united!

Postby Ani » Tue May 22, 2018 8:07 am

Hey my homeschooling friends!

There been a lot of language related schooling going on at my house so I thought I'd pop back over and share. I only have time to post re: one child today, but there are some things I'd like to discuss with the others as well.

My oldest was my most resistant to languages when I spoke a lot of French to my then 3 children, but he suddenly loves languages and wants to learn all of them. I'm having a hard time tempering his enthusiasm, although I think I've impressed upon him the he really can't add *all* the languages at once. I'm torn between limiting him and setting expectations vs. letting him explore freely. I'm going with middle ground at the moment.

He's back to study Greek after a little break. He lost his confidence for a bit but he's progressing really well again. He's learning modern but says he really wants to be studying ancient. Since his modern resources are so good, I asked him to stick with it and he can take Lukion Ancient Greek in a few years when he's ready. He seems good with that.
He also wants to learn Egyptian Hieroglyphics so when I told him about the GlyphStudy group he was really excited and we started that. My plan is to be sure he's done his Greek first for the day so we always have clear priorities. Not sure if he can really keep up, but he'll learn a bit and I'll learn how be does with increased workload of this fashion.

On top of all that, he really likes my Drops app on my phone and has been begging to use it. There isn't really a good language choice for him so I let him pick Esperanto and he's been playing for a few days. I don't know if that will turn into real interest or not. He really does Not need a new language but..

I don't know. I hope excessive dabbling isn't harmful. I mean I doubt it is, but I don't want him to feel like he studies a lot and can never learn to speak. He's also got this interest in Spanish which I've somewhat intentionally not fostered, but there is a very slight chance owing to potential circumstances (related to extended family, not another moving plan), that I might be more in favor of it in the coming year or two. I'm not going to encourage him to study it unless I do, and if I do, it will be with full commitment, so we'd be able to do it together.

That's just a lot of thoughts mixed with an update. I'd be happy to hear updates you guys might have or thoughts on my 10 year old if you feel like sharing. I'll come back tomorrow to chit chat about my three year old.
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Re: Homeschoolers united!

Postby Systematiker » Wed May 23, 2018 1:21 am

Not being at the stage of intentional language teaching, I’m not sure I have much to say on limits and dabbling for children.

We did make some changes for our family - OPOL wasn’t sustainable, and our son can articulate which things are in which language (and apologizes for confusing other people; “sorry. Is German. Him meant...”). But I’ve had to stop listening to podcasts around him, because he started picking up and using words and phrases in a couple of Romance languages, and we were concerned about too many languages at one time - which is just to say I can get why you’re worried about lots of dabbling. On the other hand, if I knew he’d have the chance to pick it Joan nd use it enough for it to stick, I wouldn’t be worried about it.

So yeah, not helpful, but you sound like you’re finding a balance, and that can’t be bad.
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Re: Homeschoolers united!

Postby Ani » Wed May 23, 2018 3:17 am

Systematiker wrote:Not being at the stage of intentional language teaching, I’m not sure I have much to say on limits and dabbling for children.

We did make some changes for our family - OPOL wasn’t sustainable, and our son can articulate which things are in which language (and apologizes for confusing other people; “sorry. Is German. Him meant...”). But I’ve had to stop listening to podcasts around him, because he started picking up and using words and phrases in a couple of Romance languages, and we were concerned about too many languages at one time - which is just to say I can get why you’re worried about lots of dabbling. On the other hand, if I knew he’d have the chance to pick it Joan nd use it enough for it to stick, I wouldn’t be worried about it.

So yeah, not helpful, but you sound like you’re finding a balance, and that can’t be bad.


"Sorry. Is German" ...Oh my gosh that's so cute.. My three year old will sometimes translate me but he doesn't show much concern for other people

I can't believe your son was picking up phrases just from over hearing podcasts. He must really have an ear. I really doubt any of my kids are capable of that. French is such a struggle in our house sometimes.
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Re: Homeschoolers united!

Postby Systematiker » Wed May 23, 2018 6:41 pm

Ani wrote:
Systematiker wrote:Not being at the stage of intentional language teaching, I’m not sure I have much to say on limits and dabbling for children.

We did make some changes for our family - OPOL wasn’t sustainable, and our son can articulate which things are in which language (and apologizes for confusing other people; “sorry. Is German. Him meant...”). But I’ve had to stop listening to podcasts around him, because he started picking up and using words and phrases in a couple of Romance languages, and we were concerned about too many languages at one time - which is just to say I can get why you’re worried about lots of dabbling. On the other hand, if I knew he’d have the chance to pick it Joan nd use it enough for it to stick, I wouldn’t be worried about it.

So yeah, not helpful, but you sound like you’re finding a balance, and that can’t be bad.


"Sorry. Is German" ...Oh my gosh that's so cute.. My three year old will sometimes translate me but he doesn't show much concern for other people

I can't believe your son was picking up phrases just from over hearing podcasts. He must really have an ear. I really doubt any of my kids are capable of that. French is such a struggle in our house sometimes.


I think it had a lot to do with early exposure - when he was really young, I worked a lot from home and hung out with me, so he got like 25 hours a week of podcasts on in the background while we played or I worked. And it’s not like he didn’t hear us use Spanish or French from time to time (with other people, or, I’m not above using Spanish with my wife when I don’t want him to understand something), I just say it’s podcast related because he started with it at a time when he hadn’t heard either of us in either of those languages for a week or so.
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Re: Homeschoolers united!

Postby IronMike » Wed May 23, 2018 8:03 pm

Not much to report here. HS is finishing up for our senior. She's pretty much done. She took her SAT a couple weeks ago and was upset that she lost 40 points from last year. (Her verbal went up, math went down.) I told her not to worry. She worries still.

Wife is compiling books and resources for the youngest, who'll be a homeschooled 10th grader next year in Boston. Should be fun with all the history up there. Poor girl wants to continue Russian, but we're all pretty much sick of it by now, and have been planning on studying Spanish once back in the states. We'll see what happens once we get up there.

Can't believe we're about to start HSing our last kid. Where'd the time go?
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