Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Second Language Learning - Family Unit Study

As a homeschooling mom, I kind of think of our whole life, as a family, as one big unit study.
A few of the ongoing study questions for the (not)quiz are;
How do we best live our lives?
How do we contribute to the well being of the lives of others?
How do we provide for ourselves?
What is the next set of skills I need to develop to accomplish?..... whatever the next goal is.

Yes, I'm a big picture person, but the big picture often leads into very interesting nooks and crannies. For example, like many others, one of my big picture ideas is that it is important to be aware of other cultures and understand that there are many countries, languages, customs to experience and understand to some degree. That idea has led us to hosting an exchange student this year.

Our exchange student is from Mexico and is the same age as my home schooled daughter. She attends school, but her presence in our family is influencing my homeschooling choices with my daughter. Her presence is also influencing my daughter's personal study choices. She has, as a result of more personal and direct exposure to the Spanish language, been more diligent about her own daily study and practice of Spanish.

For a teen, there's nothing quite like seeing someone of your own age be proficient in two languages to shine a little light on your own deficiency. My children are seeing first hand the usefulness of being bi-lingual. They are also becoming acutely aware of the need to use and speak a second language on a daily basis to become a master of it. Observing our student's process and progress in the English language is enlightening.

We are all adjusting to our new situation and learning not to take for granted what someone else experiences or understands or needs. We are all experiencing first hand the differences in how we each see things and how each of our view points have developed out of different cultural backgrounds. My children are seeing how our culture and life circumstances influence how we see things, what we expect and what we assume. We are all learning not to take too much for granted in our expectations. We are developing a deeper sense of the importance of communication between individuals, how cultural assumptions can lead to misunderstandings and also how reaching out to understand our differences can enrich our lives.


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