Disclosure: Today’s post is a product review. I received a free sample of this product in exchange for my honest review. The post may also contain affiliate links.
Did you ever really want to do something in your homeschool, but didn’t know where (or how) to start?
Maybe it was handicrafts, but you’re not a Pinterest mom. Maybe you really wanted to do fun, hands-on science experiments, but the mess and the supply lists turned you off before you even got started. Or maybe the thing that’s got you stuck is, in fact, teaching foreign languages (and if that’s so, you’ve come to the right place--welcome!).
I mean, you studied Spanish in high school, but that was a decade ago, and now it’s hard to remember much beyond the present tense. Or you took French in college, but you're still self-conscious about your accent.
Let me just say this: I totally feel you. And in fact, until very recently, I was in your shoes.
You see, ever since my oldest was born, I’ve wanted to teach him Portuguese. I love Portuguese. I studied it in graduate school, spent two months speaking it while living in Brazil, and even ended up writing half of my dissertation on Afro-Brazilian poetry. But I learned to speak Portuguese late in life, so I speak it with a heavy accent, and my vocabulary has some weird gaps. Even with all of my training in language education, I didn’t feel confident enough to design a Portuguese curriculum by myself, and despite many searches, I never found one that I loved enough to shell out for.
End result? Total paralysis. Instead of just diving in, I froze. Even though I really, really wanted to introduce Portuguese to my kids—and I knew how helpful it would be to do so in these early years, when their brains are primed for absorbing new languages—I just couldn’t get over my own fear of doing it wrong.
But then, a few weeks ago, I got a message from Victor, the (Brazilian!) creator of Linguacious visual flashcards. He's been working on developing a new product to help families learn foreign languages at home—flashcards based on the very best principles of language learning. As he told me in his message, the ultimate goal of Linguacious is to ensure that every kid in the world can be both proud of his own language and learn other ones--and that's a mission that I can get behind!
So when Victor asked me if I'd like to give Linguacious cards a try, I said YES, of course!
It’s now been three weeks since we’ve been using these flashcards in our home, and I truly have only positive things to share about them. Linguacious flashcards are the perfect way to introduce foreign languages to your homeschool students, regardless of their age, and they’ve proven hugely enjoyable for our little ones.
Here are some more details for you:
Linguacious flashcards are available in French, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Hebrew, English/ESL, and Brazilian Portuguese. Each pack—which is the size of a pack of playing cards—is centered around a particular theme (like “Animals” or “Around the Home”), so they help you to introduce vocabulary thematically, which is the most efficient way to learn it.
But here’s what really makes the cards so great for homeschoolers: they are visual flashcards (more on that in a second) AND they seamlessly integrate with pronunciation software—meaning that YOU don’t have to speak the language that your kids are learning in order to use them in your home.
Pretty awesome sounding, right? Here’s a look:
We started using these at meals, playing the games that Linguacious suggests within each pack itself (instructions are included). These games are completely no-prep, which is important to me (and likely you too!) as a busy mom. Our older son, Xavier, caught on right away and soon, he was requesting that we play “our cards” as soon as we sat down to eat!
He also loved using the QR scanner to hear the words pronounced, and quickly picked up these new words in Portuguese. Within a few days, he was actually using his Portuguese at home; yesterday, I caught him walking around the kitchen labeling objects in Portuguese—like “uma tigela” for a bowl and “um prato” for a plate. Honestly, for such a simple and easy-to-use product, that’s an amazing result. Not only is he now enthusiastic about learning Portuguese, but he’s clearly retaining the vocabulary and making real-life connections with it as well!
Felix, our one-year-old, also enjoyed “playing” our Portuguese games, but his favorite experience of the Linguacious cards was with the Spanish animals pack. We’ve been working on animal names and sounds with him, so he enjoyed practicing those words (and roaring like a lion, bear, hippo--all of the roaring animals, really). As you can see, he also enjoyed sampling them:
To make sure that the cards weren't destroyed forever, I ended up purchasing these inexpensive baseball card protectors to use with them--they fit perfectly! Now, no cards are in danger of being eaten.
Here are some more things that I like about Linguacious cards, as a foreign language educator and homeschooling mom:
- They are well-produced and attractive--so much nicer than anything that I could have come up with on my own!
- No English translations! Language acquisition research shows that students retain new vocabulary better if they associate new words with an image, rather than a translation--which is EXACTLY what these cards do. I love that actual linguistic research went into the creation of these cards.
- The cards include the articles of nouns! This is so important, especially for languages with gendered nouns (which is every Romance language). It’s a pet peeve of mine when language learning materials (like certain picture dictionaries) overlook this, so I was really pleased to see that Linguacious includes them.
- The QR code is genius--now there's no question about how to pronounce a certain word. The pronunciation integrates seamlessly. Again, my pronunciation is heavily accented, so this has been really important to me—although I’ll likely always speak Portuguese with an accent, my sons can learn to pronounce it correctly at their age (and they are!).
- They are incredibly convenient. Not only can you play these games over dinner, but you can throw the pack in your purse for review at the park or in the car. I love that this helps keep language learning casual and makes it easy to integrate into your daily routine.
In sum, these cards get a huge thumbs-up from me—and if you’d like to try them for yourself, you’re in luck, because Linguacious is offering a 10% discount to all Language Learning At Home readers! Use the code LANGHOME at Amazon to claim your special discount on Linguacious flashcards.