When I shared on Instagram that we started online language classes for kids this year, I got tons of questions on how we found our foreign language teacher. Here are all the details of where we found her, how often we’re doing it, how it’s going, and more!
How We Found An Online Foreign Language Teacher for Kids
Benefits of Foreign Language for Kids: Learning A Foreign Language
My husband and I both speak at least one other language fluently. We’ve known for a long time the benefits to kids of learning a language while young, including cognitive development, empathy, and discipline. We knew that starting at a young age would help those different sounds settle in their brains, and make it easier to form those sounds later on. We knew that it would build brain muscle and memory, and that it could help them in their primary language training.
When our kids were babies, we considered exclusively speaking to our kids in another language from birth. However, Dan and I don’t both speak the same other languages, which complicated things. We did consider having just one of us speak English and one of us exclusively speak another language. But it just got complex, and honestly, there are so many other things to think about while parenting that we never managed to really commit to doing that.
What We Did for Foreign Languages Before This Year
Before this year, we did still teach our kids bits of other languages. We let each of our 3 older kids choose a language to learn from one of the grown ups. Our oldest chose to practice Portuguese with Dan, our 2nd child practiced Kannada (my native Indian language) with me, and our 3rd practiced French with me.
We generally practiced a couple times a week for 5-10 minutes at a time. It was often while making dinner or doing something else, so it always felt a bit haphazard as we tried to think of the next good phrases to teach them. Still, they did learn basics like numbers 1-10, asking for water and the bathroom, etc.
Why We Found A Virtual Teacher for Our Homeschool Foreign Language Curriculum
Near the end of last year, I started considering whether they could get some more consistent language education. Moreover, we decided it really would be wonderful if all of our kids could learn some of my native tongue. While not required when we visit India, it’s certainly nice to have some background. It also felt important to me to maintain that part of my cultural heritage. And I thought it would be great to include a homeschool foreign language curriculum!
While I’d been working with our daughter a bit to learn some phrases, I didn’t feel like a particularly adept teacher. First of all, while it was my first language and I understand fluently, I haven’t spoken it on a daily basis for many years. Though I understand and speak colloquially, neither my vocabulary nor my grammar are particularly strong. I didn’t feel confident in guiding them through nuance of pronunciation, either.
I realized it was time to look for a different foreign language teacher. Kannada is not a particularly common language, so I didn’t think I would find a local class. We’re not going out many places now (and have a lot of moving parts for scheduling when we do go out more), so I thought an online language class for kids would be a great solution.
Finding An Online Language Teacher
I started out by doing a LOT of Googling. I looked up local Hindu temples and Indian associations to see if any of them offered classes, online or otherwise. None seemed to have anything available.
Through my searching, I stumbled on TeacherOn. I’d never heard of it before, but it’s a platform to find online teachers and tutors from around the world. And it is totally free!
I signed up with a profile and started looking up Kannada teachers. It turns out there are dozens!! I searched for anywhere in the world since I was fine with other time zones.
Though it hadn’t occurred to me before, I realized there were language tutors who were actually living in India who could teach my kids! I figured it would be even better to have a native speaker who had studied the language extensively to teach them.
Which Teacher to Choose for Online Language Classes
Before settling on a teacher, I messaged several of them to find out about their training, rates, experience, and interest in teaching our kids. I explained that we have 3 kids who would be actively participating, as well as a 4th who would listen in (but probably not sit for the whole thing…).
In finding an online language tutor for kids, I looked for teachers who:
- Had worked with children before and understood their unique needs
- Were familiar and comfortable with an online format
- Were native speakers of the language
- Had teaching experience
I ended up with a few good options but one foreign language teacher clearly stood apart from the rest. She has taught Kannada to kids for many years and is currently working on her Ph.D in Communications while teaching part-time. Even better, she loved Hindu studies, Sanskrit, and shlokas (Hindu chants), and was willing to teach some of those to my kids, as well. She was also very reasonably priced, so we were delighted.
She suggested a trial class to make sure it was a good fit, and it worked great.
Timing and Payment
Since our foreign language teacher is in India, we have quite a big time zone difference. We decided to meet via Zoom early in the morning her time, and at 5pm our time. We have classes two times per week. It has been great!
Our teacher suggested we could either pay via PayPal or bank transfer, and that we could pay at the end of each month. Very easy!
We’ve been delighted because she is always on time, does a great job with lessons, and is so enthusiastic!
How Are Our Zoom Language Classes Going?
Honestly, we’ve all been thrilled with these classes. The teacher is so fun and has little games, teaches them some writing, and is fun but has high participation expectations. My kids have been absolutely loving the classes – they get so excited to tell me things they learn and repeat them around the house.
I love that they’re learning the correct basics from a dedicated teacher. Mostly I’m thrilled that they’re hearing the language on a regular basis from a native speaker. She also brings in cultural aspects, and it’s so meaningful to me that my kids get to share in that.
There you have it – how we found inexpensive language classes for kids. It’s been such a great experience for us and I hope this post helps you, too. Feel free to drop any questions in the comments below!
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