Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seventh Grade Foreign Language

Yes, most seventh graders are not thinking about learning a foreign language. They often look at that subject as something reserved for high school. Too bad...

This summer, I met a young lady from Latvia. She was selling educational software, to help pay for her college education. She was very friendly, and just sat down on my front porch one afternoon and began to tell me all about her life. She was from a country where it is illegal to homeschool. Her country has suffered persecution from the Russians throughout history. She works very hard to put herself through college. However, this young lady knew 5 languages. At age 19 she spoke Russian, Latvian, English, Spanish,and another language that I cannot remember. We discussed why Europeans seem to be well versed in multiple languages while Americans are lucky if they know two.

While we spoke about this, it dawned on me. Yes, the European community has many countries that are small (like our states) and within the European community people travel freely from country to country. Because these varying countries are so close - it makes sense to know more languages. In America, we have a broad expanse of land that knows English. From our southern border - all the way to the North Pole - English is spoken. The only other language widely spoken on our continent is Spanish. Yes, there are substantial numbers of people who speak French, German, Chinese, many people who within their ethnic community within the U.S. still speak their native languages. But overall - English is the majority language of a very broad expanse of territory. Does that give us excuse? I think not! Learning languages not only expands the mind, but it also gives us a better understanding of how other people think - and an appreciation of our own language.

Don't wait until your child reaches high school, let them start learning a foreign language now. There are so many great programs out there, even fun foreign language games to make it that much easier for your child to learn. So, what are you waiting for?

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