Foreign Language Crazy?
I’ve been asked many times why I am doing so many foreign languages with my kids. I know it is unusual in the USA for children to learn so many languages, but in some parts of the world being multi-lingual is normal. Here in Canada it is quite normal to be bilingual.
I’ve also been asked why we are doing them all at once. The young brain can more easily adapt to new languages so we are starting young.
Our native language is English. We are learning Arabic, Mandarin, and French as spoken and written languages and we are learning Koine Greek as a written language. We are at the beginning of our foreign language journey and have many years of learning ahead of us. But why those languages? Many years ago I attended Priority One School of Evangelism and my husband and I made a commitment that we would be responsible – responsible for doing our part to bring the Gospel to the unreached. Don’t see the connection? I chose Arabic, Mandarin, and French because a great portion of the unreached speak those languages. With this responsibility at the forefront it was only natural to chose a path of learning that instills in my children the importance of the Great Commission. While I will not dictate or chose my child’s path in life, I will prepare them to be able to go into all the world if that is where God leads them. Knowing Arabic, Mandarin, and French will also give my children an advantage in any future jobs as well. French, although not as popular, will also be beneficial as Canadians. The Koine Greek we are learning is not a spoken language, but it will enable my children to be able to read the New Testament in Greek which is always helpful in any Bible study.
Foreign languages naturally fit into our focus in schooling. We aim to instill within our children a love for God, love for the world, the need for the Gospel, and an appreciation of diverse cultures. We are blessed to live in an area where Arabic, Mandarin, and French are spoken frequently. As they get closer to middle school age they will begin to take local classes from native speakers. I am only fluent in English so classes from native speakers will be crucial for fluency. Right now we are working on the building blocks to these languages and enjoying the adventure.