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Scheduling Multiple Foreign Languages

Over the years I’ve changed our schedule many times and we have tried different ways to approach learning multiple languages.  Because our progress in languages was quite slow for the first part of this school year, I changed things up about a month ago and have been very pleased with the progress we have made since then.

My 6th grader is studying 4 foreign languages and my other kids are studying 3.  We had been using a loop schedule for all of our subjects.  I moved our foreign language out of the loop schedule to first thing in the morning.  Now my 4th grader and 6th grader spend 90 minutes on foreign language before we start our loop schedule.  My Kindergartner spends maybe 30-40 minutes per day, but I fit her in when I’m not busy with one of the older two.  We also watch foreign language videos during breakfast and lunch.  I don’t count that time into the total.

Earlier this school year we were using a chronological list.  Once something was mastered they would move on to the next thing on the list.  Because I’m not a speaker of any of the languages we are studying, I tended to have them stick around on one exercise for awhile and make sure that they really learned it.  This past month I changed to using an assignment list.  It keeps them moving forward and they have made so much more progress in the last month covering about 3-4 times more material than before.

 
The assignment list must be completed by the end of the week.  If the child is done early, then the child can do more informal foreign language activities with the extra time.  This has been highly motivating for my 4th grader.  If they don’t finish I just adjust the next week’s assignments (assuming this was not because of goofing around).  I’m usually right there, so if there is any goofing off I remind them to get back on track.

Here is my Kindergartner’s schedule for the week:

Greek typically takes about 10 minutes.  Mandarin conversation practice takes about 15-20 minutes and the Pinyin Song is only 6 minutes.  The Arabic Abjad letters can take about 20 minutes which is the same amount of time that the Arabiah app and the My Little Pony Show take.  If I have time, we might take a little longer with the conversation practice or with the Arabiah app.

These are my new cheat sheets for the Mandarin conversation practice.  We get out some of her toys or not (if she prefers) and practice using Mandarin.  This next month we are learning to say how old someone is, nouns involving food, and several action verbs.  We will combine those things with Mandarin we already know.  I wrote out the pinyin from My First Chinese Words books and wrote in the tone marks with numbers.  If I’m not sure how to pronounce something, I ask my oldest son since he is doing quite well at pronouncing and reading Pinyin these days.

 Here is my 6th grader’s schedule:

Some things one this list will need to be done more than once like practicing writing Mandarin characters and other things will only take 10-15 minutes.  He typically hits 2-3 languages each day.  Many of the things he does on his own.
My 4th grader’s schedule:
My 4th grader is going at a slower pace than my 6th grader.  He loves doing vocabulary on Quizlet!  For most things I get him started and check his work.  Some things he does on his own and others I do with him.  
If you are doing more than one foreign language, I’d love to hear what you are doing to schedule them both.  Please leave me a comment to let me know.  I like reading new ideas 🙂

4 Comments:

  1. I know this is an older post, but I’m so curious! Does this confuse your kids? I would love for my kids to learn multiple foreign languages, but I’m a little afraid of them getting everything mixed up (not to mention me getting mixed up!) Is that a legitimate concern? Or is it just not an issue at all? Thanks!

    • Eclectic Homeschooling

      No, they didn’t get mixed up. Our languages were all quite different from each other so maybe that is why. We did end up cutting back to 2 languages in middle school because my kids were more STEM interested and we devoted more time to that instead.

  2. Hi! Wow, I am impressed with the languages you had chosen and the work your kids have put into learning so far!
    I’m having a hard time fitting in our languages, too.
    My daughter is 5 and we’re balancing 5 languages – English and Romanian at a native level, French advanced, Spanish intermediate and German beginner.
    We speak and use for school English and Romanian every day.
    However, it is hard (for me, mostly) to use and continue to learn the other 3 languages on a daily basis. What works for us is a weekly schedule for foreign languages: 2 days of French, 2 days of Spanish, 2 days of German. These are mostly correlated with the Spanish playgroup she goes to and the French class. So on the days with Spanish playgroup, we also read a few books in Spanish at home, listen to music and watch a few cartoons.
    If I try to mix the languages each day, I get tired 🙂
    Thank you for posting about your schedule and materials and all, you are a great inspiration!
    Adina @ http://ourenglishhomeschool.blogspot.ro/

    • Awesome Adina! I’ve given up keeping up with the languages. My oldest is ahead of me in skills, but I am still able to guide his studies and check to make sure he is learning. I am still learning, but at a slower rate than my kids. I’m heading to check out your blog now…

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