So the holidays are over and it is definitely time for a new blog post! So let's talk about Charlotte Mason and language learning.
When we started on our bilingual journey I was soaking up information left right and centre before and after the birth of our daughter, and when I came across Charlotte Mason, not for any bilingual learning reason but due to her homeschooling philosophies a whole new (but very simple) world was opened up to me. And the more I read the more completely realistic it all sounded.
Charlotte Mason influenced not just our families bilingual journey but also my book and also how I now work together with other families and children on their language learning journeys.
“…the child should never see…words in print until he/she has learned to say them with as much ease and readiness as if they were English (or native tongue language" (Home Education, p301).
This was one of many quotes that I will be listing in this blog that really got my mind thinking and also inspired me to not only write my book, but also to create 'The Outdoor Bilingual learner' courses, downloads and one on one sessions.
When helping families either with homeschooling children or children that attend a school I see them all struggle with the fact that there is a really strong focus on grammar, but not so much on the basics of learning vocabulary.
Now take a think back to how your children learnt their mother tongue. Were you describing nouns, present perfect, present continuous and so on, or were you saying simple words and short sentences, enjoying some read aloud time or listening to music? (Ding, ding I can hear your brain working :-) )
If we think about how we maintain and grow our mother tongue why do not more schools approach foreign language study this way?
“…it is incontestable that the ear, and not the eye, is the physical organ for apprehending a language… (Home Education, p 302)
The first thing a school normally does is hand out a grammar text book and here comes the first problem - everything is in the foreign langauge where do we start?
With the younger years (and also moving forward) language learning needs to be fun!!! Not a dry subject that you all dread and keep pushing back. Make it simple for you and your family.
When learning a language for the first time with your children it can be a little daunting especially if your knowledge of the language is pretty limited or you do not feel too confident speaking it.
Take a step back and just start learning fun vocabulary and simple sentences about a topic that your child enjoys and can relate to and then work from there. Charlotte Mason is quoted to have said that learning 3-5 new words a day is realistic, I have a slightly different view and that is take it at your pace with lots of repetition and if it is only 5 works a week be Ok with that - it is your journey!
“…[languages] should be acquired as English is, not as a grammar, but as a living speech (Home Education, p 300).”
So you are probably now thinking this all sounds great when starting a new langauge but how is this helping when we are a bilingual family - well if you think about how bilingual families introduce their second or minority language they do it through speech. Talking, reading and maybe screentime just in the minority language. There is no grammar, no asking them to read until much later and it works!!!! This is really learning it as a 'living' language. Just take a look at some of the bilingual options that we have OPOL (one person one language), ML@H (minority langauge at home) or the time and place method. They are all related to 'living' the language at this time, in other words speaking to your child using words in the langauge you wish your child to learn.
The final quote for this blog below just about sums up this whole language learning process for me.
“…the acquisition of a foreign tongue need not present insuperable difficulties to any of us." (Home Education, p 307)
I know it is easy for me to say, but please try to relax and enjoy your families language learning journey. As said earlier it needs to be fun for all of you with no pressure. Also make sure you are all on the same page in terms of expectations so that frustrations do not arise too early which can hinder or even stop your language learning journey.
If you wish to plan you language journey ensuring steps to success, take a look at some of my courses and books HERE or if you have any questions please feel free to just email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy your language learning journey.
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My name is Rachel and I am so pleased that you have found your way here.
I support families who are either raising their children bilingually or who wish to introduce english or german into their home or homeschooling routine using nature and the great outdoors.
I started 'The Outdoor Bilingual Learner' initally as I was writing my bilingual book, after finding that bilingual resources in english and german were extremely lacking (having looked for various resources being a bilingual home). Also in order to not only share my experience of raising a child bilingually but also to encourage more families to spend more time outdoors to learn langauges.
I wish to inspire families to overcome any reservations that they may have in introducing english or german into their homes and for them to gain confidence in their language journey.
Here is what I can do for you.
The 'Resource Library' is full of free bilingual resources which is updated regularly, to work through in your own time.
This is a one time Power-Hour or even an on-going support to ensure that your are clear on what your language jouney should look like and also to ensure that you meet your language goals for the future.
My book 'The Outdoor Bilingual Learner' is available as E-Book or paperback
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