Foreign Language - Choosing & trying out different ones

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement
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Foreign Language - Choosing & trying out different ones

Unread post by tiffany » Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:29 am

More than one?
Winkie wrote:Our family would like to try 2-3 languages over the course of our school years (german, spanish, sign language). I want to know when to introduce each one. how long should they be learning one language before starting another? Especially when "they" say it's best to learn a second language before a certain age (12 is it?). And how do you continue with the first language when another is added, so that knowledge isn't lost?

Those are exactly the kinds of things I'd like to know. I'd like to know how proficient they need to be in one language before moving on. Do you continue to study the previous language while working on a new one?

It could be this would be a question for the Hazells. I don't think many American children have learned more than one foreign language. Let me know if you figure anything out.
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
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Julie in MN
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Re: More than one?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:27 am

Say, have you ever looked at Charlotte Mason's writings regarding languages?

I know that David Hazell said she started her students with French very young (she chose French because she lived next door to France!)Therefore, David said, it is logical for us to start with Spanish very young (if we would like to). I believe she started them conversationally, rather than with the grammar and all.

I know she later introduced another language or two. I believe the children kept up the earlier language primarily thru reading books in that language, and I suppose continued conversation.

I haven't researched multiple languages, but I would think CM would be a good place to start. I know someone has been entering all of her works online, I think Ambleside.

Adios :o)
Last edited by Julie in MN on Thu Oct 13, 2005 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs


Re: More than one?

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:29 am


I didn't start to study foreign language until I was 14 in public schools. (High School French) and then in college I switched to Italian for a year. Both are romance languages and were easy to learn from each other. So don't let what "they" say worry you.

Besides I think "they" would say preschoolers learn multiple languages easier, so you "should" start at age 2. But Gladys Aylward was much older when she began to study Chinese to prepare for missions work.

American Sign Language can be taught alongside of any language study. I was 12 when I was first introduced to sign language.

The great thing is that you have chosen German and one romance language. So they most likely will not confuse each other -- they are so different. I remember my high school french teacher would switch between Spanish and French in the middle of a sentence. Of course, I ended up doing that too with French and Italian.

You ask how do you continue with the first language when another is added so that knowledge isn't lost....

My mulitlingual friends tell me that verbal practice is essential. My freshman year college roommate spoke both German and English in her house. At dinner time they could not switch between languages. She was also studying French in college.

It, of course, will depend on the student and how well they learn language.

And like so many other subjects in homeschooling, you will have the best knowledge of when to add a new subject to any one of your students.

I hope others will jump in here and give you more practical guidelines. such as when student is at X level of receptive/expressive language ability, then it is ok to add a new language.


Chris from PA
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Re: More than one?

Unread post by Chris from PA » Sat Oct 22, 2005 9:32 am

I am a homeschool mom of 2, sons ages 6 and nearly 5, and we are doing MFW1 mixed with K (and love it!). I am also a Spanish Teacher and am now trying work with my own children. Here are some thoughts that I hope relate to what some of you have been asking....

There are many different thoughts on when foreign language should be taught. My own experience has been that 12-14 is a perfect age to start teaching spanish with a logical grammatical method.

I have also taught preschool using songs a puppet and pictures or real objects such as fruit.

A few years ago I tried to teach the more logical grammar method to elementary homeschooled kids and found it frustrating because my older students could learn in three weeks what took the younger kids a semester.

So, now I have my own kids who want to start Spanish since they have been with me all these years and now they want a turn. I have decided to try a natural approach with them.

I have introduced the sign language alphabet at the same time as the handwritten letters. Then we sign some of our dictation words for practice.

I hope that this was helpful. I would not let "keeping up with the language" keep you from starting, if you and your child want to. After all, I can only count in French because my Grandmother taught me in the car on the way to Canada when I was 7.

Blessings to all of you!

Chris from PA
mother of 2 boys, 6 and 5

Sue in MN
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Re: More than one?

Unread post by Sue in MN » Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:29 pm

My two youngest dc are learning Latin. Next quarter I will be adding in Greek. My older dd is learning Latin and Greek at the same time while in her third year with Spanish.

You learn Science and History at the same time. It isn't that hard to do two languages at the same time either. If you want to learn it then you will. Desire makes all the difference.

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Foreign Langauge - Choosing & trying out different ones

Unread post by 4Truth » Wed Dec 26, 2007 9:31 am

ChristyH wrote:Christmas was good to us and we were blessed with enough money to buy Rosetta Stone. We would like our children to eventually try some short term missions when they get a little older. My 10 year old daughter already says she would like to marry a missionary but you know she is ten.

We would like to go with both French and Spanish. Start one now and one later. We were hoping that someone with experience would offer an opinion on which would be best. My understanding is that in our hemisphere Spanish is the dominant language besides English but in the other hemisphere it is French. Although we are open to other suggestions.

Anyone have any thoughts on why they choose the language they choose?
Hi, Christy! This might not be the "right" answer, but it's how we've decided what to do when we're able to purchase RS:

My oldest has NO desire to learn Spanish, although she's learned a few terms by osmosis just from hearing it so much out there in the world. One means of exposure is from her piano teacher who knows Spanish quite well and is in fact going to be a missionary in Mexico, so Kayla's picking up bits and pieces here and there. But as far as studying it formally, she doesn't want to. She really desires to speak French. That's just part of her personality... not wanting to go with the status quo and choosing the more beautiful thing. (I think she first became attracted to the French language when we rowed Madeline while using FIAR when she was 5 years old.) Oh, and maybe learning French along with Mom's "re"-learning it because Mom had 4 years of French in junior high and high school is part of the reason, too. ;o)

Second dd, however, wants to learn Spanish. She was born in El Paso, TX, so maybe it was "born" into her? LOL. I have no idea. She hears it often, so she wants to be able to communicate with it.
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.

Michelle in WA
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Unread post by Michelle in WA » Wed Dec 26, 2007 3:25 pm

You might check out the book Bilingual Edge by Kendall King and Alison Mackey. It has lots of helpful info on choosing a foreign language for your child.

Some things to consider: do you know anyone who is a native speaker of the languages you are considering? Or someone who studied it in college that your child could interact with? What is your child interested in? Do you speak a foreign language?

Just some thoughts. Especially if you are ok with introducing more than one, pick something they are interested in first. Then they will learn the skills for learning languages and be more likely to enjoy it and want to learn a 3rd one.

Have fun choosing a new world to explore!
Michelle, momma to
A (01) completed 1st, ADV, heading into AHL (gulp)
T (02) completed K, 1st (doing something else for now)
C (05) (doing something else for now)
T (08) completed K, doing 1st

Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:52 pm

We are learning Spanish at home but our co-op is learning French so we have exposure to both. I agree with Donna about involving your kids in the decision. Especially because French is a *very* different-sounding language. It sounds romantic and cultured to some (my dd), and awkward and mouth-twisting to others (my ds).

Maybe you could watch a video with French & Spanish options on it, & just listen to the different languages being spoken. See which one intrigues the kids more.

I also agree with Michelle that access to language speakers really helps. We have a friend who is fluent in Spanish & she has tutored ds. A dad at our co-op is fluent in French & teaches that class. I have also hired a French school teacher during the summer months to do some conversation with my older dd.

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Unread post by lyntley » Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:45 am

The demo is also very helpful. The free CD version is more thorough than the online version. But maybe practice each on for a week or so would give a better idea of which language comes more naturally. I had wanted my DD to learn French because I already know Spanish but she wants to learn spanish I think it will definately help them learn what they have in their heart to learn. I will just have to get French for myself and help her to learn Spanish...
Lynnette: Wife and Mother by the will of God.
ECC 07/08 with 9,7, and 2
CTG 08/09 with 10,8, and 3


Unread post by cbollin » Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:07 am

lyntley wrote:The demo is also very helpful. The free CD version is more thorough than the online version.
They sure have updated that online demo from a few months ago Wow! Seems different to me anyway.

First you get the presentation and a small practice in Turkish and then you finally get to a screen that tells you more. You *think* you have selected a language to do the demo, but you haven't. It's just an online tutorial to show the features (and to teach you what to do with the RS buttons) and that tutorial is displayed in the language you selected. Then finally! at the end of that tutorial you get to actually do the demo and have access to the demo in all possible languages -- just like the free CD version of it.

But you have to go through all 3 parts to get to the full demo online. Agreeing with lyntley, it sounds easier to just get the CD. :o) UPDATE: As of June 2008, Rosetta Stone may no longer be offering demo CDs.

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Unread post by sewardmom » Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:05 pm

We started by letting the children play around with the demo CD to hear the different languages available. One dd wanted to learn Japanese more than any other language (still does,,, maybe someday).

We did the first year requiring them to do Spanish the first semester, then French the second semester.
This year they were allowed to pick either one for the entire year. Aside from dd still wanting to do Japanese it has worked well for us so far.

Oh - and we are using the homeschool version with student tracking....

I just recently found out that our library system offers Rosetta Stone free online. They offer quite a few languages but not Japanese (to my dd's dismay. You might check your library since KC is a decent size city yours might offer it as well. That way you could play around with more lessons than what is available on the demo CD. Might be another option for you.

One other thing - we recently bought a new computer. The previous one was really old and RS really dogged it down. Just an FYI.

Fun stuff,
Currently US1and US2 High School
Completed ECC, CTG, RTR, EX1850, AHL, WHL, US1
Nebraksa MFW fan since 2006

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing....

Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:18 am

sewardmom wrote: I just recently found out that our library system offers Rosetta Stone free online. They offer quite a few languages but not Japanese (to my dd's dismay).
Our co-op was trying to use Rosetta through the library to learn French. It was easy enough to play around with, but when we wanted to start serious learning, we had problems.

First of all, there are no manuals or workbooks with the library program available to even borrow for a while. Secondly, it is difficult to keep track of progress, report status to the teacher, or restart right back where you were.

And worst of all, Rosetta Stone pulled our library's license in the middle of this class. Apparently, Rosetta is coming out with a new edition & so they cancelled rights to the old editions for libraries very suddenly. According to our library, it may be some time before Rosetta sells them rights to their next edition.

<sigh> some things are too good to be true :o) Our co-op had to go to Plan B.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
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Unread post by ChristyH » Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:05 am

We decided to go with French becauase there will be a longer time to get used to speaking it. With Spanish being so common we figured that might be a bit easier to pick up. Besides I hate following the crowd and enjoy doing my own thing, perhaps that is why it took me so long to find MFW. ;0)

Julie in MN wrote:Christy,
I always enjoy hearing the "end of the story"! Have fun, bonjour!
Married Scott, 1992
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Connor, 10
Gavin, 10
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Unread post by tiffany » Fri May 16, 2008 5:08 pm

Posted: Tue May 13, 2008 10:19 am

Don't forget that a lot of children's DVDs have a Spanish track available from the main menu. Great opportunity to hear a lot of Spanish. Music is good too. We have a cd called UniVerse of Song. It was available in Spanish and French when we purchased ours. It was produced by Music for Little People.


We need to narrow it down

Unread post by TurnOurHearts » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:20 am

kellybell wrote:...Spanish, French, German, Latin, Gaelic, Russian Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Hebrew? What am I skipping? We need to narrow it down to one language and have all four kiddos take the same language. So, what language are you taking? AND WHY? We're still praying...
Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:14 pm

Hi Kelly :)
Oh, this is a subject near & dear to my heart...

I am a language person. If I could, I would study as many languages as possible! I took French in HS because I wanted to go to Paris one day (talk about your dumb reasoning...). Loved it & eventually did go to Belgium, France, Switzerland, etc., & got to use a bit of it! What a rush!!

Like you, I've been holding off purchasing RS, primarily because of the financial investment. While I realize French would be soooo much easier to work on together, I just can't make that make sense in real life ~ and I'm all about making it work in real life.

Here's a bit of my prayer process, in case that helps:

1 ~ who are the people in my community that our family could bless by knowing their language? Spanish would be the obvious choice in this area as well.

2 ~ I am praying for, but have not been shown a clear path for my children's life-callings. Since I haven't been shown that Max will be a missionary in Mozambique or Halle will be a pastor's wife in Moscow, the practical side of this mom kind of takes over. HOWEVER, all the while, I am praying for a sensitivity to the Spirit as He's leading my children. If His passion is stirred in them toward a specific culture, I want to be ready to help them down that path as fully as possible. He will provide the finances for the training if/when it's needed.

Here are my conclusions at this point:

I feel very strongly that we are "home" missionaries living in the US. I don't live in Mozambique & right now my husband feels no particular calling for foreign missions. I feel that it is a very practical, loving choice to not only ask my children to learn Spanish, but to learn it myself as well. If & when the Lord places a burden or desire for another people group, we will hop on it! But until that time, as a person called to love people in the place I currently live, the choice for me, today, is Spanish. Left solely up to me, I'd probably pick something else ~ German, Chinese, Russian, Japanese; But because I can love the Spanish-speaking community around me by learning their language, that answers one of the calls on my life in Christ and makes it pretty easy for me to choose.

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Just for fun: Those using RS, which language and why???

Unread post by dhudson » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:24 am

Toni@homezcool4us wrote:We chose Spanish. Why? Because we live in the midst of a large Spanish speaking population and it is thus the most practical language my children can learn. Your turn.
Connor is taking RS Spanish and Latin and the twins just Spanish.

Spanish because we live in a community with a large Hispanic population and we go on Family missions trip to Juarez. Latin because it's the base for so many other languages.
Last edited by dhudson on Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002


Unread post by cbollin » Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:49 am

My story is waaay tooooo long.

Oldest is taking Russian
Middle might take Chinese soon. ???
Youngest -- English (she barely speaks it at age 6)

It's a great story that is in progress.

Why Russian? simple answer: because God set it up. I decided to follow what He is doing.

The rest of the story???
For the first three years of my oldest daughter's life, each and every Sunday at church there was a man there who spoke to her in Russian. He was a graduate student at the university in the Russian languages department. It drove me nuts that Scott did this.

Eventually, years later, we did ECC. As part of the "foreign language time" on the grid, we began to play with Rosetta Stone demo. Oldest liked Russian. I guess all of those years of Scott talking to her was in her brain somewhere.

Every time we would study something in MFW that had to do with Russia, she loved it. Then in EX1850 she learned that Catherine the Great had to learn Russian and wanted to do the same. She pleads with me "mom, can you get Rosetta Stone in Russian when you go to the conference?"

My first reaction was "no. because that's what the Hazells learn. And I am not doing Russian because of that." (ok... everyone is laughing at me now.) famous last words, huh?

There was this connection between my dh's grandfather's ancestry and a specific people group in Russia that we sponsored to print Proverbs and the New Testament in their heart language. So Oldest was driven even more to want to learn Russian. See, mom --- God wants me to go to Russia someday. (okay)

In Jan. of this year a class opened up that my children could take Russian. So now we had to use the RS to reinforce the outside class.

At the Cincy homeschool convention, Oldest buys the Russian Children’s Bible that you can see on display at the MFW booth as part of the God's Word for the Nations information. She took it to the class. Our teacher looked at the Bible and said "I have this Bible for my children. Where did you get it in America?" We had the opportunity to share a bit before class.

My oldest and middle are the two who are signed up for the class. Youngest and I are just in the room and the teacher lets us listen in.

And just last night at youth group, Oldest learns that the local CPC lets teens volunteer. She was looking for a service project. And that there is a CPC in Moscow. So -- now she's telling me that she thinks maybe God wants her to work with a place such as a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Russia and maybe help families who are struggling with saving a child with special needs.

So that's why Russian. Thanks for making it to the end of that novel.

Why Chinese for my 9 year old?
Simple: During 1850MOD when oldest was learning about China, and Mao, and all sorts of heavy topics, my middle child simply had a picture based information book about China. as a family we had been praying for many people groups with our 1850MOD study. My middle child comes with the book in her hand and says "China is a beautiful place with beautiful people. I'm going there some day." Later we ended the unit with Chinese take out. Middle child asks "how many muslims are there in China? I want to go there and tell them Jesus loves them."

Anyway.... I told that to a friend of mine who is a missionary overseeing many Bible printing projects. He emailed us a specific people group to pray for. This past weekend, while I was a missions workshop sponsored by a different missions group, I sat next to a lady who had worked among that people group. Wow, and she lives in Indy.

and an extra side note: another lady who attended this missions workshop was originally from Russia. She told me that learned to speak English from using Rosetta Stone. And the vast majority of those in attendance at this workshop are members of Chinese Christian church in Indy.

God is awesome!!!


Michelle in WA
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Unread post by Michelle in WA » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:32 am

What amazing stories Crystal!

We are doing French because I speak it and can help. I figure after they learn French the can pick what they want. They'll already have the skills needed to learn.
Michelle, momma to
A (01) completed 1st, ADV, heading into AHL (gulp)
T (02) completed K, 1st (doing something else for now)
C (05) (doing something else for now)
T (08) completed K, doing 1st

Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:10 pm

Threelittleangels wrote:I'm eagerly following this thread, because I can't decide between Latin and Spanish for my girls. Spanish is BIG where we live, but I like the idea of learning latin first. How do you choose?
Here are some more thoughts on the pros & cons of teaching Latin. I have heard David Hazell point out that classical scholars studied Latin for more practical reasons -- all their books were in Latin!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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Unread post by gressman9 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:04 pm

Oh my....pretty soon we will be saying....what version are we NOT using :) We started out with Russian because it was what we were interested in and we thought we might become missionaries to Russia. We hardly used it and we've moved on. I wanted my children to use Spanish....but my oldest begged for German. My next in line begged for we now own 3 Rosetta Stones. I plan to sell the Russian one....but its the old, old version so we might be stuck with it :) Who knows what the other 5 will want to learn. Hopefully Chinese or German!

BTW....We decided to let them choose because if they had a deep desire in their heart to learn a certain might be God preparing them for something in the future. IE: my dd already said that she wants to be able to converse with the local Chinese restaurant girl in Chinese about God! A good goal, I think.

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We chose German

Unread post by musicmommy » Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:41 am

We're doing German because I speak it. (Not fluently anymore) I also have my host family Germany that I lived with for 4 months while I was in high school and we're hoping to visit them in the next few years. We'll be adding French into the mix in a year or so.

We are also doing Lively Latin. Part of the reason we are doing Latin is that German, Spanish and French are all descendants from Latin. By having that as a basis, it is easier to learn the other languages. My Dad took several years of college Latin, (part of his pastoral training) and said it's amazing to him how he can see something in the other languages and at least have a basic idea of what it is saying because of his background in Latin.

We have a large population of Spanish speakers here so when/if the boys learn Spanish, I'd rather take advantage of that than have them learn from a program.


Rosetta Stone Chinese

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:06 am

Esther wrote:Hi! I've been happy with MFW and all of its suggested curriculum choices---very effective and efficient! Now it is time for us to consider a foreign language program.

Has anyone used Rosetta Stone Chinese? I would like to find a program for my family to enjoy learning Chinese together. To be honest, I find the price of the program very high!! But I am fortunate that relatives may offer this as a Christmas gift. My husband had a look at the RS site and thinks it is great.

Can anyone share experiences with the Chinese program---pros, cons or even other suggestions? (I had looked at the RS website and found the trial lesson based on a language with an alphabet quite good---but how would this work with a pictoral language like Chinese? I would like my children to learn the Chinese characters).
I signed up for the free trial.

On the Chinese Mandarin RS, you have the option on each screen to see either Simplified Chinese text, Traditional character, or Pinyin (which is equivalent Roman Script). right now, I'm running it where I see both characters and Pinyin.

It's great!!! All of the other same good stuff about RS is there too.


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Unread post by gressman9 » Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:48 pm

My daughter, age 14, started using Rosetta Stone Chinese in Sept. She LOVES it!! It is easy for her to use on her own. A younger child may need some help though. She is already speaking short phrases in Chinese and has attempted to speak some to the Chinese woman who runs our local Chinese restaurant. We even ended up ordering some tracts in Chinese so she could witness to the woman....only to discover that she had already attended an underground church in China! Sorry, off topic, but exciting. Anyways, it is definitely, beyond a doubt, worth the money!

God bless.

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Unread post by Lainie » Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:54 pm

Posted Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:19 pm by Lainie
I love the Hebrew for Christians website. I refer to them for specific things I want to know. I don't have any of the books.

For the learning part we use the Rosetta Stone Hebrew. Works for us! The Rosetta Stone website allows you to try a program on-line. They allow you to do a very lessons to get a feel for it. Just a FYI.

Almost forgot... there is another site that is geared towards kids that has free printable worksheets and flashcards.
Lainie (Oregon)
"Sanctify them in truth; Thy word is truth" John 17:17

Have completed 1st, entire 5 year cycle, and all high school! Whoo hoo!
Have graduated one with MFW, 1 dd- junior, and 1ds- freshmen

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Re: Hebrew

Unread post by JoyfulDancer » Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:56 pm

Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:19 am by JoyfulDancer
I am teaching all my dc Hebrew, with the goal of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah at age 13 (we are Jewish Believers). I buy my materials from Behrman House Publishers. I really like some of their newer materials, which come with a CD-Rom of games to reenforce each lesson. Of course, we are focusing on the prayers and Bible reading, etc, not so much speaking it.

I think Rosetta Stone would be the way to go for conversational Hebrew.

It is true, there are two aspects to learning Hebrew because the alphabet and vowel system are completely different, just as Russian, Chinese or Arabic would be. So you have to learn what each symbol sounds like as well as the vocabulary. Also, Biblical Hebrew is somewhat different from modern Hebrew.

I am always interested to hear of someone wanting to learn Hebrew "just because." I think that's great.

baileymom wrote:are you learning biblical or modern much of a difference is there?
Posted Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:29 pm by JoyfulDancer
Hm, it is really two different focuses. We are learning the Hebrew necessary for understanding the prayers and reading from the OT, so the materials I buy focus on that with a little bit of modern vocabulary thrown in. You can also get materials that mainly focus on modern vocabulary with just a little of the prayer stuff thrown in. I know there is a lot more to it than that, but my experience is mostly with the traditional Hebrew, so I can't really give any more info. One difference that comes to mind is that most of the prayers and scripture are chanted. There are actually markings in the Torah and the rest of it that tell how to sing each letter. Modern Hebrew, on the other hand, is just spoken, and usually so fast I have trouble catching any of it. I wish I could teach my dc both, but there is only so much you can ask your dc to do in one lifetime, you know!

Oh, we saw a great movie that was made in Israel a year or two ago called Ushpizin. It is in Hebrew with English subtitles. Great practice!
Used MFW since 2004, never anything else. Currently 1850-Mod.
8th grader started MFW in 1st
6th grader started in prek
3rd/4th grader started in prek
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