Parents considering their options for the Languages key learning area (KLA) are often concerned that they will not be able to meet the requirements. Fortunately, there are a wide range of options, so even parents who have never studied another language can relax. Home ed language learning does not need to look like school for a number of reasons:
You can choose your language
You can use your home language, and if your home language is the language of instruction, English can be your additional language
You can study more than one language
You can change your language as often as you like
You can base your study of language on an interest (Latin classification, musical terms from other languages, Kpop, Arabic through the Qur’an)
You don’t have to select a spoken language – Auslan and coding are also options, as are ‘dead’ languages, such as Eyptian hieroglyphs, Latin or Biblical Hebrew
You can base your language study on culture
For those who wish to follow a traditional language learning approach these are common options:
Online programs – Duolingo is a popular, free, option which covers most common languages, and some that are less frequently studied (Danish, Navajo, Klingon) Some languages have specific resources like Ellinopoula for Greek, other programs teach multiple languages in a specific way such as FluentU which uses authentic video as the main tool. As a visual language, Auslan is particularly suited to online or face to face sessions.
VSL – Face to face classes in many languages run on Saturday mornings or weekday evenings – following the Australian curriculum.
Tutors – individual or group instruction with a native speaker. Sometimes in formal paid settings, but also learning from grandparents, neighbours or friends.
Textbook or audio program – resources designed for home educators are often more suitable than school textbooks (which assume a teacher is available to correct work).
Supplemental activities – provide variety with games, flashcards, penfriend.
If you prefer to learn coding, you can choose one or more languages and do a variety of activities:
Learn the language using an online resource
Participate in online competitions using code
Use coding to program a robot
Combine coding with other products, such as Arduino
Language is more than words. Approaching language via culture can be a standalone option, or combined with traditional language learning. You might choose one culture, say China, and:
Attend the Lunar New Year celebrations, and learn the story of the Chinese zodiac
Visit the Chinese museum
Cook some Chinese recipes
Learn simple greetings and practice them together
Learn about Chinese inventions
Practice calligraphy and make a lantern
Learn number and colour vocabulary, then play Uno in Chinese
Learn how Chinese characters are composed
Find a Chinese translation of your name online and practice writing it
Watch some documentaries about Chinese geography, history or culture
Read novels or picture books set in China
Or you might choose to study a number of countries, perhaps one a month, or a term. For each you could:
Learning greetings and numbers in their language
Cook a traditional recipe
Find the country and capital on a map
Studying the flag of each country
Learn about tourist attractions
Completing a short report
Read related books, or watch documentaries
Try a traditional craft
Of course both of these culture based approaches cover more than Language, and could form the basis for a multi KLA Activity. Remember that your plan only needs to list a few activities: you don’t need to list or pre-plan each activity at this stage. The HEN Geography and Cultures Pinterest board has suggestions for many cultures, and can form a starting point for research.