Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Grade in Our Home: Italian

I'm Italian, and I took Italian classes in college and graduate school, so I love that we're doing Italian together at home--being a less common language to learn, it's not offered at most schools in this area, so it's nice to be able to offer it for my own children.  That said, because it's a less common language, there are far fewer resources out there than there are for Spanish, French, or the other more popular options, and I had some other criteria when looking for a curriculum:
:: I wanted a course that was not DVD-based, as I don't prefer that method of learning for my littles at this age, but
:: in Charlotte Mason fashion, I wanted a program that was entirely aural/oral for these early years--no writing or reading component.
And I'm certainly not proficient enough in my knowledge of Italian to teach the children on my own!  So I was pleased to find this combination of resources that are working really well for us so far this year:

The Pimsleur learning program consists of audio CDs and relies on a listen-and-repeat method to teach conversational skills.  It is geared toward adults--no bells and whistles, no songs or gimmicks, just simple phrases and practice.  Some might call them boring. ;)  But my children don't mind at all--they have a lot of fun going through our lessons together.  As I said, the lessons are conversational, not teaching difficult grammatical concepts, so they're definitely doable for a child.  Our library has all four levels of the Complete Course, so we are using 1A this year, which has fifteen 30-minute lessons.  We cover just one lesson every two weeks, giving us plenty of time for review before moving on.  We used to listen to the lessons at home in 10-minute segments, but lately I have been playing the current lesson on our long car rides and it has worked perfectly.

Teach Me Everyday Italian
This is the "kiddie" element of our Italian program. :)  Part of the way Charlotte Mason suggested teaching children to speak a foreign language was through simple songs and games, and this CD-book combination fits into that category.  Each track usually has a classic children's song in both English and Italian, as well as a bit of related conversation.  We're working through Volume 1 right now and will probably move on to Volume 2 later this year; we usually cover one track a week.  I play the new track plus all the former songs during meals or play time, and the children pick up the words.  My toddler especially enjoys singing along!  I use the book to read the lyrics a bit more slowly to my first-graders so that they can hear the words more clearly, and I read the translation for them as well.

Calendar Work
We started this in Kindergarten last year and continue this year to say the day, month, date, weather, season, and so on in both English and Italian every morning.  A very simple way to keep those bits of the language in constant use.

I would love to hear about other resources for teaching Italian to young ones!

1 comment:

  1. This is so awesome! I have been searching for a way to teach my children Italian using the Charlotte Mason method. What a lifesaver you are! Thank you for sharing your ideas.