Friday, August 24, 2012

Chapter 4: Foreign Languages

This little section gives a basic layout of Miss Mason's approach to language instruction, emphasizing the "living" nature of language. It is in that living state that the student is best able to truly absorb the language and achieve a degree of fluency, and learning at a young age is encouraged, so that the differences in accents don't seem too difficult to the child.

For the youngest students, ages 6-9, the work is primarily in listening, speaking, and narrating, basically learning the language orally, rather than with books and writing. At about age 9, the student should be able to read easy books in the foreign language. Gradually, grammar is addressed, and students begin to write what they hear read to them orally, in addition to translation work.

Miss Mason did want Latin taught in her schools, but did not think it suited to the small child, and it was not taught until age 9.

In our family and extended family, we have several languages which are spoken fluently, and it has been quite the task to decide which to use in our home education! My father-in-law is Swiss, and speaks Swiss German (a dialect, not a written language), German, and French. My mother-in-law speaks all of those languages, in addition to Spanish. My husband is completely fluent in both dialects of German. I took several years of Latin and also French, so, since I'm the one doing the teaching, we will learn French and Latin. In Kinder, we are simply learning vocabulary for basic things, and some simple phrases. My in-laws are able to help with this a bit, and in fact Cate just had a Skype French lesson with Grammie:) Gotta love modern technology! We might add Latin sooner than age 9, but it will be sort of new for me as well, since I learned Classical pronunciation, and I want the children to learn Ecclesiastical.

I hope that these little guys will love languages, and speak at least one fluently. They have lots of cousins and aunties and uncles in Switzerland who would love it if they added some Swiss German too:)

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