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To want ds to learn a second language

(90 Posts)
strugglingthroughlife Mon 18-Dec-17 08:45:54

We homeschool ds (6) well I say "we" What I mean is "I". Well, recently I've been thinking that it will be really beneficial for ds to learn a second language, after some searching around and some research I've been thinking Chinese mandarin may be one he could learn. I've looked further and found "lingobus" . Native Chinese speakers teaching students Chinese. Perfect.

I am also aware of the job prospects when he is grown for knowing another language, also for the advantageous effects on the brain.

But, dp has said it's a "waste of money" no other reason than "he should learn more English vocabulary" (we do a few new words a week) and that's it. We can afford for ds to study. I simply feel that it's because it's my suggestion and not dp.

So aibu to want ds to study a second language? It's only a 25 minute class a week or so, so not massive amounts!

I just don't know

JoJoSM2 Mon 18-Dec-17 08:55:42

It’s pretty standard to be learning a foreign language at that age (outside the UK). Yes, it’s great for the brain. For the first foreign language, though, I’d probably choose one that you’ll come in contact with a bit more, eg French or Spanish if that’s where you’re likely to travel on holiday or maybe get some TV channels in that language. In a few years, your son could start another language or 2.

Babybrainx2 Mon 18-Dec-17 08:58:51

Not at all! I can't think of a disadvantage to knowing a second language (apart from making it easier for your child to emigrate and live hundreds of miles away - totally selfish point though)
I teach at a school with a lot of EAL and hearing the children switching between home language and English is amazing.

I am in no way a tiger/helicopter/pushy parent, but we have already agreed that when ds(3) and dd (1.5) are in primary school, we will get them a language tutor. The only thing we can't decide on is the language.

strugglingthroughlife Mon 18-Dec-17 09:03:03

See so I don't see what dp problem is! He's usually very on the ball and anything to better ds is a given, but he literally said it's useless.

Crumbs1 Mon 18-Dec-17 09:05:44

Mine started with French at nursery and through an after school club where they cooked, sang and played in French. We holidayed in France and Belgium so they got to use it a little. I agree a modern European language would be better and taught through practice rather than formal teaching at a young age. Mandarin is quite sought after but when he’s so young he can’t really use it sufficiently to gain confidence in speaking.

strugglingthroughlife Mon 18-Dec-17 09:11:38

Ahh I'm so confused of what language now to choose for him, I really have to convince dp first though

laudanum Mon 18-Dec-17 09:12:31

I wish we would teach sign language by default in schools. There's tons of tutorials on YouTube too. You could start that off and something spoken too.

JoJoSM2 Mon 18-Dec-17 09:15:47

Do you speak another language? Might make it easier when teaching your little one.

Sludgecolours Mon 18-Dec-17 09:15:54

Yes, definitely do it! And I'd say the sooner, the better! I live in a country where most children learn two languages, and many others speak three or four! There is lots of scientific research out there which suggests that early language learning (which uses a different part of the brain to adults learning a language) has a beneficial effect on the development of brain synapses and on strategic thinking. In summary, children's brains are like sponges and can soak up languages much more easily than adults. (I think your dh's attitude is rather narrow if you don't mind me saying so!). Apart from everything else, once you have a good understanding of how grammar operates in one lang, it makes learning a second or third much easier too.

I doubt 25 mins once a week will have much effect, if any, though. I would recommend 10- 20 mins a day when you start, building up the times as you go along.

My daughter's school recommended introducing a second language once the first is well established in terms of speech and basic grammar btw.

JoJoSM2 Mon 18-Dec-17 09:16:18

I mean to start with the language that you already know.

glitterbiscuits Mon 18-Dec-17 09:17:20

I’d base my language choice on any languages you are familiar with. If you got an O level/ GCSE IN French or something this would be a good starting point.
Usborne books do some lovely language books and DVDs based on Apple Tree Farm. Along the lines of ‘First 100 words in French/ Russian’ etc

B0033 Mon 18-Dec-17 09:17:49

When did was home schooled, we joined an exchange programme called En Famille. It's based in France but there are representatives dotted around the UK. DD came home fluent in Spanish and is set for top marks in GCSEs. She is planning to take it for a-levels and is interested in translation jobs for the future. She also wants to learn Italian, which will be a lot easier for her now that her brain is already primed to learn new languages.

There is literally nothing useless I can think of about her experience. Even if she doesn't use her Spanish in a working capacity when she's an adult, she wants to travel and has (almost) an entire continent to explore without worrying about a language barrier.

strugglingthroughlife Mon 18-Dec-17 09:18:09

Ok so he'd have to do more than that a week! Thing is dp is never usually so narrow minded, which makes me think that it's because it's my suggestion rather than his so he's taken an instant denial to the idea, I'm teaching ds the flute and dp is all for that saying how wonderful that is. But with this he's saying it's "useless" and "a waste of money"

With regards to another language, I don't have one and I really wish I did

toastytea Mon 18-Dec-17 09:19:55

You've got nothing to lose - go for it!

You may find it easier to help if you did a European language. Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world so would be worthwhile!

That's not to say he couldn't have Mandarin Chinese lessons too? Perhaps later or in addition.

Your choice though! Any second language is great.

Camomila Mon 18-Dec-17 09:21:21

I think its really good that you want to teach your DS a second language but I think realistically (unless you can afford regular holidays to China) he's more likely to be able to 'properly' learn a European language where he'll have the opportunity for semi regularly go to that country and be properly immersed in it.

corythatwas Mon 18-Dec-17 09:23:45

I grew up in a family that did languages in a big way, in a country that did languages in a big way, and it's been a massive advantage in life- not to mention enriching and great fun.

But I would probably not go for Mandarin; if he is to get the longterm benefits, he needs to feel it is worth keeping it up beyond the first year or so, and for that he needs to see it being useful.

I'd go for something that is not too far away and not too difficult to learn. French or Spanish or Italian would do nicely. Ideally you should learn it with him. And if you possibly can, plan a visit to the country after he has been studying for a while and see if you can get him in touch with other children who speak it. Also, see if you can source books and children's films/telly in the language. Anything that makes him see that "yes, there are real people out there speaking it and there are fun things I can only access if I speak it".

Natsku Mon 18-Dec-17 09:24:30

Which language doesn't matter so much as just learning any second language will make it easier for him to learn others later but you definitely need more than one lesson a week, they need a lot of exposure to a language to learn it. Once you pick one, add in cartoons and music in the language to give daily exposure.

OuchLegoHurts Mon 18-Dec-17 09:25:50

I would definitely start with a European language, and preferably an easier one, like French or Spanish. I'm an English teacher and I love languages...I did French, German and Irish in school. He'll get such a buzz out of going on holiday to France or Spain and being able to speak the language a bit, and it'll help his language learning skills no end. I've heard that Mandarin is quite difficult, and personally, I have a bit of a problem with the idea of teaching language just for business opportunities at a young age, but that's just personal preference, I prefer language to be fun

theimportanceofbeinghappy Mon 18-Dec-17 09:26:41

Spanish is always a good option.

Spoken worldwide and (as someone who has a Spanish degree) it is very useful

Sludgecolours Mon 18-Dec-17 09:27:48

If you choose one Romance language, it will enable your child to pick up other romance languages very easily. How about Spanish (isn't it spoken by forty billion people in the states or something?). And initially an easier task than Chinese with a different alphabet/emphasis on tones of speech etc - I guess it depends on resources within your immediate area - but ideally your child should be mixing with other children speaking your chosen language.

lastqueenofscotland Mon 18-Dec-17 09:28:36

I would start with something more similar to English like French or German. I lived in China for a while and some people just cannot pick up tonal languages!
Also more people in the U.K. can speak holiday French/Spanish/German/Russian even than can mandarin so it may be more pleasing for him to be able to practice.

Bridechilla Mon 18-Dec-17 09:28:36

Start young, make it fun. My dad wanted this for me at around 6. I stubbornly rebelled as none of my friend were learning French, and very much regret it now.

PurplePillowCase Mon 18-Dec-17 09:28:39

look in your neighbourhood. ask other home schoolers if there are good teachers or immersion groups already. then go with that and the language offered.

thelastredwinegum Mon 18-Dec-17 09:28:52

Isn't it a lot easier to pick up if you start learning at a younger age?

I only learned a second language when I started senior school and wished I'd learned earlier.

corythatwas Mon 18-Dec-17 09:29:22

Three problems I can see with Mandarin:

*possibly not enough speakers to practise with/trips to country will get very expensive

*he will not be able to use writing to back up his aural learning for a very long time: it takes many years and lots of hard work even for Chinese children to learn enough signs to read a basic text; if he opts for Spanish, he can just read it off the page

*it is tonal and unless he has a teacher to work with him on that, he is unlikely to be able to make himself understood when speaking either

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