Monday, July 6, 2009

Why German

One might ask why Maple Hill Academy starts with German for our first foreign language, instead of French, which is our other national language, or some other language, like Spanish, or even Japanese.

I did debate for a while which language I would like my children to know. I found this to be a bit of a personal choice for our family.

The main options we looked at was:

French: A very good choice as it is our other national language. There are a lot of resources available (including in our neighbourhood library). Many of our movies have a French soundtrack and we have a couple of French TV channels. There is a french community where we live. And with it being an official language, knowing it can be very important in some careers. Both Mike and I know a bit of it. However, I grew to hate French in school and neither of us are fluent. I didn't enjoy the thought of doing French - although we will in later years.

ASL: I considered American Sign Language, as I took a number of courses years ago. In fact, I used ASL baby signs with my children, and they have taken some ASL based sign classes for pre-schoolers. They do enjoy it, and they do know a lot of words. It is helpful at unexpected moments. However, ASL can be an inconvenient language at times. And as it has no written component, it is somewhat limited for education. I do plan to informally keep them using ASL however, as there are times when it CAN be very convenient (when silence is important), and it is enjoyable.

Spanish: We also considered Spanish as an option, as there are quite a few Spanish speaking people in our church that we could use as a resource. With the number of Spanish speaking people in the United States, it could be very beneficial to know it. Some of our movies have Spanish soundtracks. However, no one in the family currently speaks Spanish, so it would be a big learning curve.

German: The main consideration for German is that Mike lived in Germany for several years, and is fairly fluent. (Although admittedly not with child topics). There is a German community here. Mike has an attachment to the language. So although I do not know German, it still seems like the best choice.

We are using the Powerglide course for Children for German mainly because I was given it. I have a hard time arguing with free! Delta has done a couple of the lessons as a trial, and seems to have remembered a bit. This course will not be all encompasing, but it is a good start.
Update - Powerglide did not work well for us, and it took a lot of looking to find something that is working for us. We are now using "First Steps auf Deutch" and it is a much better fit, with short (15min) lessons. Find the link in the (new) Year 1 schedule.

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