Teaching Foreign Language the Charlotte Mason Way

Foreign language can be a tricky subject in the Charlotte Mason home school. Especially if the mother teacher is not a native speaker of that language! Today we are discussing how to teach foreign language the Charlotte Mason way.

The latest on Youtube:

How did Charlotte Mason Teach Foreign Language?

Mason recommends that students learn 5-6 new French words a day and that they use them frequently. She writes in her book Home Education, “…children should learn French orally, by listening to and repeating French words and phrases; that they should begin so early that the difference of the accent does not strike them, but they repeat the French word all the same as if it were English, and use it freely…” (p. 80) she then writes about how important it is to employ the use of French vocabulary words during time out-of-doors. My kids and I have taken this to heart, because it isn’t uncommon for us all to be walking along the hiking trail, singing our French folk songs together. It’s something I’ll remember that we do together for many years. 

Foreign Language Lessons in Our Home

When my oldest (now 6) was younger we loved and used The Cultured Kid but since beginning formal lessons we’ve switched to this wonderful book by Cherrydale Press. The Cherrydale Press program allows the child to learn common phrases, orally, a bit at a time. Along the way, they learn common verbs and vocabulary. 

Each “series” lasts about 2 weeks.

So here is the process we go through in that time:

01. We practice and memorize the English phrases. 

Here’s an example: 

I take the book.

I open the book.

I close the book.

So we say the phrases as we ACT THEM OUT, which is crucial to this method of learning French and retaining it! It’s helped me tremendously as a non-native speaker.

02. We then learn the French verbs from those phrases in French:

je prends, j’ouvre, and je ferme. We memorize how to say them and act them out!

03. We learn the whole thing in French as we act it out. 

Je prends le livre.

j’ouvre le livre.

je ferme le livre.

After my daughter can say/act them without error, on her own, we move on to the next series!

Other Ways We Study Foreign Language in Our Home

I keep a French notebook where I record the phrases or words we learn. We review this periodically to keep those phrases fresh in our minds. I record in it, however, since my children are in Form1 (grades 1-3) and we don’t want them to see the words in print.

In addition to the Cherrydale Press program, we have two French folk songs, one French vocabulary song per term (we sing daily) and a story we listen to in French, thanks to The CMEC foreign language supplement and their support! If you’re interested in checking that out, their registration is currently open for next school year.

If you’re looking to start teaching your child a foreign language I recommend checking out the Cherrydale Press website. You can also peruse a program called the ULAT. Lastly, I’ve heard good things about See it and Say it “Flip Flop Spanish” but those are not tried and true in our home, so I can’t fully recommend them at this point.


Closing Thoughts

Hopefully this post and video on how to teach foreign language the Charlotte Mason way was helpful to you and your family! As always, if you have any questions, please ask below and I’ll do my best to answer. Happy Teaching!

Thank you so much for reading!

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