Foreign Language.. how did you pick?

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  • Misty

    We have been doing sign language for the last year and LOVE it.  My kids like to use it and it’s helped my daughter a lot.  I will continue to use it and teach it to all.

    Next year for my 2 sons (12 & 11). I would like to add a spoken foreign language.  So I ask a question: Which language did you pick, and why?  I am having a hard time picking. 

    Why I’m having a hard time is this.  Spanish is a very common and most people in our area know or learn it.  Latin (esp. as a Catholic) seems like a good choice for church purposes and for grammar purposes.  Greek is becoming more out there and then there’s French and Chinese (spelling sorry).  How do you choose?

    I would like to add I want something that has(in my ideal world): audio, visual, written..  Any web sites, etc you have that would be helpful to me also that would be great.  Oh, and don’t forget I don’t know any foreign language.Embarassed  Thanks for your help Misty


    We chose Spanish because I took it in high school, we have an adopted daughter who is hispanic (though we are adopting from Korea and I don’t plan to pursue Korean lang. unless our child wants to), books and material are very readily available at our library and local bookstores, we have many hispanic people in our area, it seems like the best choice for the future as far as jobs, and the culture of Spanish speaking countries intrigues us.   We have friends doing French and Latin so it really is a personal preference for each family, I don’t think you can really choose the “wrong” one!  A good free site for Spanish video lessons for kids is

    They also have video lessons for German and French.

    We chose German, because I am half German and speak it very well already, so it easy for me to pass on and we also use Tell Me More German for more practise.  One daughter would also like to do equestrian training in Germany or Austria with a friend of mine, so she will need the language.  Pick something that you think will be useful to your children in their future – Chinese is difficult without a native speaker so be warned on that point – but any other language might be a good fit.  Google some FL sites and see which appeal.  Linda


    Hi Misty!

    I had a hard time picking too…   Here was my thoughts from it…  but keep in mind, what is best for us will be different than for you…


    1st option considered…   French.  Pros: I’m in Canada, so it is our 2nd language – opens up job opportunities, etc here.  Lots of resources available – many of our DVD’s have French as a language, all our libraries have at least a few French books.  French is used in areas in our city.  And I know it a bit from school.  Grandson is going to a French Immersion school, so will know it too.  Cons: I grew to HATE it in school.  

    2nd option considered…  German.  Pros: Husband is semi-fluent from living there for 7 years.  There is a German population here so there may be some use of it.  Cons: my kids half-siblings, who have a German mom might be upset that my kids are learning it, and they didn’t.  Very few resources freely available (have to go to downtown library to get German books.  I don’t know it at all.  No German DVD’s etc, and would probably need an international DVD player if we buy any.

    3rd option considered…  ASL – I know some, and kids did learn some in a pre-school class.  Cons: different type of language, not many resources for the school-aged child.  (mostly for young kids or adults.)  

    4th option considered… Spanish – Pros: very many Spanish people in our church, so might be able to get some practice / help teaching.  many of our DVD’s have Spanish.  Very common in the States so could be useful.  Cons: I don’t know it, no real ties to it.

    Other options – I’ve been interested in Japanese… also Chinese is an option – however, the writing systems are different and complicated.  Not similar to the other languages mentioned.  Chinese in particular, exactly how a word is said makes it a differen word.  


    So, looking at all that a couple of years ago… I talked to my husband and we decided to start with German with the understanding that he would teach them.  That said, he didn’t teach them much other than counting to 10… and so I’ve done other things to teach/learn together.   I was getting frustrated that maybe we weren’t getting anywhere, but now we seem to be getting somewhere.

    My overall plan is we are starting with German.  When my son is in about Year 3 of the AO/other program that we are doing, we will add in either French or Spanish (probably French.)  At some point we will add in Latin, and that should be plenty for us unless one of the kids asks for something else too.

    I’ll post a couple of links and what we are doing soon….


    Ok, one of the links I was going to post is already here… lol…


    We also listen to New Testament Stories in the language, while looking at the story book…

    Here is the English Version…,4945,8187-1-4473-4,00.html  (just so you can see if you like how the stories are done…

    If you go to this site, which is where I selected the New Testament Stories…

    then up in the righthand corner, it says “Languages” – and it will bring up what is available in the language you choose (in the language you choose).   


    German New Testament Stories are here…,4945,8187-1-4473-15,00.html






    and they may have it in many many other languages.



    How we are now doing our language study…

    Monday – during drive to violin we are listening/doing pimsleur German (from the library.)  This is more adult based, and a bit long – but it is during a 30min drive, and the kids are doing it and learning from it.

    Tuesday/Thursday – listen to the New Testament Stories while looking at the PDF  (I put the MP3 on and open the PDF.

    Wednesday – doing the “Another Step Auf Deutsch” from the first link I gave

    Friday – reading Nicholas’ lost cat in German – a book/tape we bought from the library for almost nothing.

    Hope this helps some!



    I have loved hearing why you picked what you picked.  It has been most interesting.  Thanks for sharing.  Yes, personal preference, but WOW so many choices.  Thanks  Love to keep hearing your stories.

    Christine Kaiser

    We will start with German because I am German. As a third language in later years I am considering Japanese. My 2 youngest are doing martial arts and already learn basics like counting and some commands in Japanese. We have a decent size Japanese community here and I would want a native speaker to teach. In HS years I definitely want to do Latin. It helps not only with grammar but is an excellent foundation to learn other roman rooted languages.


    Hi Misty,

    We have chosen French, Spanish, Latin, Greek, German.

    French because we are in Canada and it is our second language here; also because I was in French Immersion in junior high school for three years so can speak it fairly well.

    Spanish because half of my husband’s work staff is from Mexico, so we have lots of native speakers to practice with (I was recently able to make a request for Mexican Fried Ice Cream for my birthday).

    Latin because it gives such a good base for grammar, and so many other languages.  Plus it sounds neat.

    Greek because it’s fun to read the New Testament in Greek.

    German because we have some relatives and many friends who are German.  Some speak no English at all, so it just seems the polite thing to do if we want to have any conversations  🙂

    I am interested to hear what you end up wanting to learn.


    Rachel White


      We chose Hebrew first using Berhman House, starting when the children around 5/6, because:

    1) We’re Messianic Jews; it’s a part of our daily and weekly liturgy. I want them both to be able to raise their children in a Messianic Hebraic household when they are married.

    2) It’s a part of their heritage and I want them to pursue reading the Scripture in it’s original language

    3) I want them to be able to communicate in Israel

      Next will be Classical Latin, around age 10/11 using Latin for Children, my dd will start with Song School Latin due to her strong auditory tendencies. I think they should learn Latin because:

    1) the reason above concerning english skills

    2) it strengthens their thinking skills, promotes logical thinking

    3)there is excellent classical literature that they can read, especially literature that out influenced our Founders I think it’s imporant for my children to know.

    4) Also mentioned; once they know Latin, they can easily pick up the other romance languages if they want/need to.

    Lastly, definitely my son and hopefully my dd, will begin Greek around age 14; because:

    1) To be able to read the New Covenant in Greek.

    2) To be able to read classical literature that contributed to Western civilization; literature that influenced the ideas for the foundation of our Country’s governing priciples as the Founders designed it (not necessarily as it has been working for about the past 100 yrs. or so). To be able to study what our Founders studied would be of great benefit to them, IMO.

    So there you go. Language comes very easily for my son, a little more effort for my dd, though she can do itI just have to consider that in how she’s taught.  I think it’s just as important for her as for him. I want her to have what Abigail Adams would’ve referred to as “Republican motherhood”- a phrased coined from the Amer. Rev. – which is an educated woman being a contributing citizen of her country in order that these republican ideals (as in a Republic, not the party) would pass down to the next generation.

    It’s very important that my children be able to read the Scripture as much for themselves and not be reliant on other people, too; that will make them more G-d dependant and self-sufficient; less able to be swayed by a charismatic figure and the move of “the masses”; as thinkers and leaders in the areas G-d has in store for them.

    I’ve thought about Mandarin, too, but will wait and see what direction the country moves in first before attempting such a difficult language.



    This is an old post but it intrigued me to read others’ replies.


    We have not decided for sure, but I believe we are leaning toward Mandarin Chinese for several reasons.


    1). Our 11YO son is fluent not only in speaking it but knows more than half of the written characters (and his penmenship is quite neat I might add!).


    2). It is spoken by more people than any other language in the world.


    3). B/c we have three children who were adopted from China (the others do not speak the language but definitely LOVE to hear it spoken by older brother), it just seems the most logical.


    Anyone else on here teaching their children Mandarin Chinese?


    I do not know how it will all work, but we already informally allow our oldest boys to work with one another on language learning: 12YO and 8YO DS help 11YO DS with English, then he shows them the Mandarin characther equivalent and speaks it for them as well.

    The tones trip me up for now, but our children learn it much more quickly.


    The other language we use very limited but hope to learn more is ASL as our yougest two are hearing impaired and also speech delayed.

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