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.

Language Specific Resources

Links to complete curricula by language
Hymns in your target language

Other 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, Russian and others (more are added every few months).

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.

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. HiNative is a free app where language learners can ask for translations or submit questions and native speakers will answer.

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.

Blog Posts

A Charlotte Mason Approach to Learning Languages: Moving Beyond the Textbook {part 3}

  This post is part of a series. Part One: Listen, Listen, Listen Part Two: What To Read Part Three {this post} Part Four (coming soon)   Alongside the material railway needed to enable our bodies to communicate, it is absolutely necessary to construct a “mental railway” for the intercourse of minds. This mental railway […]

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A Charlotte Mason Approach to Learning Languages: Moving Beyond the Textbook {part 2}

This post is part of a series. Part One: Listen, Listen, Listen Part Two: What To Read {this post} Part Three: A Web of Language Part Four: (coming soon)   Not only to satisfy the necessities of travelers in far countries has the study of language ever been desirable, but to penetrate the spirit and […]

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A Charlotte Mason Approach to Learning Languages: Moving Beyond the Textbook {part 1}

Education is the Science of Relations’; that is, a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to […]

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Feeding Mother

“The life of the mind,” Miss Mason said, “is sustained upon ideas.” Ideas are more than just facts, in the same way that homemade lasagna is more than mac-n-cheese from a box. We work to find our children books that are so full of these ideas that they can be called living books -the best […]

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