Which foreign language to teach first?

Cindy Tracy1 comment

A lot of homeschoolers ask me which foreign language they should first teach their child (children). If your children are young (as in 6 or younger) - I would make this recommendation. If there is a language which you know well, then obviously start with that language. If your family heritage is Russian, and you are planning a trip in a year or two, learn Russian with your children. Even if you don't speak the language, you can learn with your children by watching a dvd together (such as Bilingual Baby in Russian) or listening to an audio CD (Teach Me Russian) or doing a software program together (Vocabulary Builder Russian). I guarantee your child will learn faster than you, though! If there is no connection to another language, you can either start with a more difficult language, such as Chinese or Arabic - making your child quite marketable when they are older, or an easy language such as Spanish - plenty of materials available and native speakers with whom to practice.

If you never thought of teaching a foreign language before and your child is still in elementary school - see the above. If they are in middle to high school, Latin is a good choice for a year or two. In my opinion, the benefits of Latin to everyone are to strengthen their knowledge of the English language in terms of both vocabulary and grammar and to help in preparation for tests such as the SAT. I think Latin is better taught in middle and high school than to elementary school students, and would welcome a discussion on that subject.

However, you still need to study a spoken language that is used today to communicate. Speaking properly in another language becomes harder and harder the older you become. You need materials - whether audio, video or software where you can hear pronunciation by native speakers.

Comments (1)


You should learn Chinese, since China is growing so fast in economy and world influence right now. It will help you with some practical purposes(easy to find a job in the future, different lens to see the world, better connection to cultural root, etc).

Right now I am teaching my baby to learn Chinese, hoping she will become a bilingual in the future and be proud of her cultural root.

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