Foreign Language

 

Overview

Charlotte Mason’s students were taught a foreign language starting at age six. She thought children should learn a foreign language the same way they learned their mother tongue: first listening and speaking (for two whole years), then writing, and finally reading. She used a technique called the Gouin Series to get children listening and speaking. She said the Gouin Series was …the most important attempt that has yet been made to bring the study of languages within the sphere of practical education (Home Education, pg 302).” For more about Mason’s and Gouin’s techniques and how to use them, please see the articles “Foreign Languages with Charlotte Mason and Friends,” part one and two.

Resources

Click here for language-specific resources

Mason’s Living Languages is particularly helpful for exploring how Charlotte Mason approached language learning. This site also includes lists of resources for French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Russian.

Cherrydale Press has language learning materials using the Gouin series for Spanish, German, and French.

The International Children’s Digital Library has a remarkably diverse collection of children’s books in 59 languages. The ultimate aim of this library is to house digital copies of the best classic and contemporary children’s literature throughout the world.

Parents and older students may find Gabriel Wyner’s Fluent Forever book and website helpful. Wyner’s method emphasizes learning correct pronunciation, using pictures instead of translations while learning vocabulary, and reviewing with spaced repetition systems (such as Anki). His website also includes a helpful forum and page of language learning resources.

Forvo.com is a database of sound files of pronunciations by native speakers.

Lang-8.com is a free online community where language learners can submit writing in the target language, and native speakers will correct it. The WordReference language forum is another place you can ask questions about language usage, and native speakers will answer. I would advise caution here, as there is mature content on these forums.

For those interested in hiring a tutor, italki.com is a fabulous option, and is often very affordable. Most tutors schedule lessons through Skype, and you should be able to find one comfortable with teaching children. You can also find free conversation partners here.

TALL Drill – An iPad app for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (via your online LDS account). This is used by missionaries and includes flashcards with audio pronunciations. Both church and everyday vocabulary are represented. Available in 54 languages.

Don’t forget that store.lds.org has scriptures, hymn books, Liahona subscriptions, and other Church materials available in several languages.