As I sit here feeling worn out to the bone, the only thing that I can think of is my bed! But it’s been a while since I last posted an entry and I like to try to post at least two a week (work and kids permitting of course!)
Yesterday the eldest boy and I took a day trip to Valencia, we always like to have this mum and son tradition at least once a month and spend time together, whether it’s going out for coffee or just a day walking around the city. It’s a nice ‘us’ time, gives me the chance to catch up on what’s been going on in school and how everything is in general.
On Friday he took his first test in ‘Ciencias de la Naturaleza’ which is written in Valenciano. After a few days of revising he was confident that he answered at least 9 out of 12 questions. Valenciano is not one of his ‘best’ subjects, actually I think he wishes that it doesn’t exists at all! But, hey, thats the way things are and like it or not it’s something that he has to learn and understand. Do I feel guilty? Yes! Am I bad for putting my boys through learning these new languages? Was this the right decision for their future? If I was to sit there and think about ALL the things that I feel guilty about I would lose my mind!
The older the child gets, certain windows close in terms of language acquisition, but so long as the child learns the language before puberty [age 12 or 13], the child should be able to speak with a native accent. -Caryn Antonini – Early Lingo
I remember scouring the internet for online language learning tools for kids before moving to Valencia. I found that making learning fun is a great way to start, my kids specially would rather sit in-front of their electronic devices rather than read a book. Even though it is STILL important to use the traditional way of learning in the form of book and cds, it is also a good idea to give them something interactive and fun. It’s certainly avoided a lot of strops and arguments.
Online Language Learning Tools for Children
For kids older than 10 years old
BBC Mi Vida Loca – Interactive learning aid short course using videos. The program includes 22 episodes which are themed according to the topics, such as shopping, directions, eating out etc.. My eldest particularly liked this because it’s laid out as a ‘mini story’ it’s a lot more interesting than sitting there repeating words.
Busuu – online community for learning languages. Though my son didn’t really take to this, I found it useful as you learn directly from native speakers by adding them as friends and communicating in the language they prefer to learn, so, I would talk to a Spanish speaking person who would like to speak English and we both help each other by correcting and asking questions. Quite a nice and friendly community too!
Live Mocha – world’s is another online language learning community which combines traditional learning methods with online practice and interaction with native language speakers from around the world.
Duolingo – is a fun and FREE language for all ages. It is a good starting point to use basic words in a form of a game that is played and learned on your browser and mobile devices (iPhone & Android). I still play this and I find it very useful about remembering phrases and commonly used words. You can use social media to play against your friends, which is a lot more interesting, specially if you’re competitive like me!
For kids older than 2 years old
Muzzy – is an award-winning BBC Language Course for Children. My 5-year-old particularly like this, even though the cartoon is out-dated, the program offers fun stories while learning.
Little Linguists – is a small company based in the UK selling a range of tools, audio, videos and books for children learning a new foreign language. They have an extensive lists of language options to choose from.
Little Pim – is an award-winning foreign language learning program for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. They offer learning sets for children such as flash cards, DVDS, books and even an app for your iPad, iPhone, Leap Pad and Android.
Learning a new language is fun for kids, you just need to find the method that they like best and are most comfortable with.