If we begin the home school journey when our children are 5 or 6 years old and educate them until they graduate from high school, we have at least 13 years. In the same amount of time, many students become proficient in a musical instrument or a sport or dance.
Our children perfect their reading and writing skills as well as go through a fairly strategic mathematic regimen in preparation for life and higher education. But rarely do we seriously consider foreign language study until our children are in high school and they face requirements for college acceptance and scholarships. I acknowledge there are many younger home school students studying Latin in the elementary years. But I have found, although Latin is a wonderful way to learn grammar and vocabulary, it does not guarantee fluency in another romantic language.
Studies strongly encourage the introduction of foreign language study in the early years of education, even before formal education begins, in order for students to become fluent with a natural accent.
I introduced my children to foreign languages in their elementary years, giving them a taste of Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Latin, and even Japanese. But we didn’t focus on any one language consistently enough to develop more than an appreciation for them and the cultures from which they originated.
As I look back on all those years – I’ve homeschooled for over 15 – I realize if I had given the study of a foreign language the same priority I had math and writing, not only my three children, but I too, might be fluent in at least two languages by now.
Foreign language fluency provides our children with a greater understanding of our own English language, it opens the door to travel and occupations which might otherwise be closed to them, it gives them a broader perspective of the world and an appreciation for other people groups and cultures. Exposure to foreign language often includes a greater understanding of geography and history as well. And I might add, speaking a foreign language is a lot of fun!
So as you teach your children at home, seeking to give them the best education and preparation possible for their future lives, I encourage you to add a foreign language to the mix.