If you’re one of the many homeschool families that uses a morning basket, you might suspect that morning time would be a great time to study a foreign language together….and you’d be right!
For today’s post, I wanted to share a few ideas for how you can include foreign languages in your morning basket, beyond simple flashcards and read-alouds. If you’re already planning for next year, you can use these ideas to help you gather the resources you need—or simply pick from this list to inspire you to finish this school year strong. Enjoy!
10 Ways to Add Foreign Language to Your Morning Basket
Use visual flashcards to learn new vocabulary words (more effectively!) each day. Here’s a review of the foreign language flashcards that we use to learn Portuguese and some multi-sensory games that you can play with them. Learning new vocabulary doesn’t have to be drill and kill!
Learn some traditional folk songs from the country where your target language is spoken. I love using our Amazon Music subscription for this, as it is such an easy, no-prep way to bring new, diverse music into our homeschool.
Do memory work in your target language. Depending on your family’s homeschool goals, this could include poetry memorization, Scripture verses, popular sayings, famous quotes or proverbs, and/or geographical terms—especially country and city names—for places that speak the language you’re studying.
Listen to a chapter of a foreign language audiobook. This activity is especially valuable with you have the chance to discuss what you’ve heard afterwards—and if you don’t speak the target language, don’t be afraid to have that conversation in English! You can keep your kids engaged—and help them hone their listening skills—by asking them to write down new words that they would like to look up, to narrate (in English or the target language) what they’ve heard, or even ask them to write their own comprehension questions based on the text they hear. Here are some of our family’s favorite Spanish-language audiobooks for kids, in case you’re studying Spanish.
Study art from a different country. You don’t have to commit to a formal curriculum for this—alas, as of writing this post, I haven’t found one that is truly global in scope (but please let me know in the comments if YOU have!). Instead, make liberal use of Wikipedia and Google Images (search terms like “Mexican folk art” or “famous Japanese painters”) and use that as the basis for your picture study.
Memorize a poem in your target language. A quick Internet search should give you plenty of options—and don’t forget that folk songs and nursery rhymes “count” as poetry.
Act out real-life scenarios for conversation practice. This idea requires only five minutes of prep, but yields great results, if you have kids who are nearing the conversational level in their language. Take some time to write out a 10-15 different scenarios on strips of paper that you place in a jar; these can be things like “Eating in a restaurant,” “Studying at the library,” or “Traveling on a plane.” Once a week, choose one scenario to act out with your kids—5-10 minutes max, depending on their language abilities. You can re-use the same scenarios later, since they’ll grow and adapt as your kids’ language skills increase.
Read (and discuss) a newspaper article in your target language. Here’s a helpful list of the many foreign language newspapers that offer free online content.
Translate an idiomatic phrase or proverb—and then try to figure out its English language equivalent. Idiomatic expressions can offer a fascinating peek into other cultures. If you follow these links (all of which include English translations), you can learn idioms French parents use with their kids, some Latin American idioms, and even Latin proverbs.
Listen to a podcast in your target language. Our family loves listening to (and learning from) podcasts of all types—including foreign language podcasts! I even have a post of my favorite foreign language podcasts for kids. One episode per week would be a great thing to listen to with your family.
Do you have other ways to include foreign languages in your morning basket? I’d love to hear them!