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5 Reasons to Study Spanish!

5 Reasons to Study Spanish!

Have you ever considered teaching your child a foreign language?  It’s a dilemma many homeschool parents face.  When you start, what curriculum to use, and why do our students need to learn a foreign language anyway?  At True North Homeschool Academy, we believe that learning a foreign language has many benefits.  See just a few of them below.

Why learn Spanish? Here are 5 Compelling Reasons.

1) There are currently 20 million people studying Spanish right now!

Of all the foreign languages to study, Spanish might be the most popular, and for a good reason. There are approximately 437- 527 million Spanish Speakers worldwide, depending on which list you look at, but it’s definitely in the top 5 languages spoken worldwide.

2) Spanish is also spoken and understood by over 52 million people in the United States.

But buckle up because that number is going to grow! By 2060, the Latino population of the U.S. will reach close to 130 million, making it the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, overtaking Mexico, and increasing the Spanish language’s global standing.

3).  Spanish, as a language, has a bright future.

With Spanish speakers on the rise, not only in the U.S., It is currently ranked as the second most important language for British citizens to learn.

4).  Spanish will increase your employability.

The Spanish market is a huge demographic for companies to target. Currently, the Latin American market has a 1.5 trillion dollar purchasing power (according to Forbes), making Spanish-speaking employees more valuable than ever to employees as they tap into this profitable market.

5) Understanding Spanish will allow you more opportunities.

These opportunities may come as the chase to travel, work, or study abroad with a richer experience.  Speaking Spanish will also open up an entire entertainment world, with Spanish You-Tubes, television, and movies produced in Spanish.

Why learn a foreign language? For the health and brain benefits, of course!

  1. Learning a foreign language can stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s! Mono-lingual adults showed signs of cognitive decline up to 3 years earlier than bilingual adults.
  2. Bilingual children score higher on problem-solving than monolingual kids. Learning a new language can improve overall cognitive functioning, including how second-semester you are. In other words, bi-lingual people are better able to observe and understand their surroundings, as well as edit out distractions. Bi-lingual people are better able to spot misleading information. Isn’t it interesting that Sherlock Holms, Lord Peter Wimsey (great fictional detectives), and their creators, Sir Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers, were bi or multi-lingual?
  3. Learning a foreign language enhances your understanding of your mother tongue.   Learning a second language causes a student to look carefully at sentence structure, grammatical functions, and the nuances of vocabulary. A fun aspect of Spanish is that it’s a derivative of Latin. Latin words significantly influence English. You probably know some Spanish and Latin vocabulary already!
  4. Learning a second language enhances memory and vocabulary.  These benefits allow students to score better on standardized tests!
  5. Learning a second language is good, clean fun! Kids naturally love to talk and write in codes, and a foreign language is just that. A terrific code to decipher for young minds eager to learn and develop! The early your child learns a second language, the more confident and adept they will be at learning multiple languages!

So are you convinced that your child needs to learn Spanish but not quite sure where to start?

If you are looking for a great second-semester memory-enhancing, code-deciphering, FUN class, check our Spanish for Children or Beginning Latin! Classes meet live online each week with a passionate, invested multi-lingual speaker.

Looking for a self-paced option? We have Self Paced Spanish!

(Wondering if live, online homeschool courses are right for you?  Check out the reasons we love live classes!)

Latin, Math, Music: Universal Languages

Latin, Math, Music: Universal Languages

Latin, Math & Music: Universal Languages

Latin, Math, and Music are the three universal languages. In other words, they transcend the cultural barrier and speak to people regardless of what language they were raised with. It’s a great time to be learning all three and if your homeschool doesn’t integrate them into your program already, now it is the time! Students who understand the three universal languages have more tools in their toolbox as they interact and communicate with the world!

Universal Language: Math

Math is symbolic and defines shapes, space, time, volume, and concepts. As you can see math concepts go way beyond a simple math text. You don’t need to share a language to share the beauty and simplicity of math. Students do need math to cook, build, create, shop, and so much more.

Universal Language: Music

Music is evocative but also keeps time, allowing us to understand something basic or complex with emotion, cadence, and rhythm. The beauty of music allows us to respond to each other and the universe despite ability, age, reason, or language. We all know that music can reduce anxiety and stress, refocus our energy, and helps us memorize and hold on to memories.

Universal Lanuage: Latin

Latin because it is the basis of western culture and the root of so many romance languages. The Ancient world was governed by this fascinating language it and it was integral to the formation of western culture. This fascinating language teaches your kids critical thinking skills, vocabulary and so much more!

Latin, Math & Music: Simplify Your Homeschool Journey!

It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the plethora of choices available. Homeschooling offers an abundance of riches that can offer us so many possibilities, but also decision fatigue! You do not need to feel lost and burdened by how much you could do; take heart and simplify! Focusing on Math, Music, and Latin would allow you to provide a superior education to your kids!  Personally, I would add in some fantastic Bible studies, and you would be golden!

Create a Plan, Get a Homeschool Partner

Like me, you might not have considered these three subjects as actual languages and it is a bit of a paradigm shift to think of them as such. Doing so allows us to see the importance and beauty of each, and gives us a great apologetic for spending the time, money, and resources needed to really dive in with all three of them.

Online opportunities abound to learn these three amazing languages; including both free and paid options. Our Academic Advising team is ready to walk you through a typical course of study, based on your student’s needs and goals and help you create a Personalized Learning Plan that is affordable and doable.

 

 

 

Why Learn German?

Why Learn German?

Why should your child study German? Honestly, the best reason of all is simply because they want to. Whether the interest comes from family heritage, an interest in history, or just that it sounds “cool,” that internal drive is what motivates students to move beyond requirements to any level of mastery.

Benefits of Learning The German Language

Most of the benefits provided by learning German are common to learning any foreign language:

  • It satisfies college requirements.
  • It increases a student’s understanding of English.
  • It increases a student’s ability to recognize context clues.
  • It increases cultural understanding, both of their native culture and the culture of the target language.
  • It broadens perspectives and shows new ways of looking at the world.

German has the added advantage of being delightfully literal.

 

A Good Teacher Makes Language Learning Less Intimidating

I took German in high school because Russian wasn’t offered. I had never really thought much about language before that. Spanish made more sense, or so everyone told me, but I did not enjoy my eighth-grade introduction to Spanish. Fortunately, I had two excellent German teachers whose teaching styles perfectly matched my preferred learning style.

The first was Ms. Glendening. She opened the doors of wonder for me and a whole new world of language. When I wasn’t able to afford to go on the class trip to Germany, she was visibly disappointed. She then searched for a scholarship opportunity that paid for a year of study abroad. My second teacher was living in Germany.

As a teacher, I try to emulate the best characteristics of both: immersive, meaningful, playful, and encouraging.

Beautiful postcard view of the famous historic town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber on a sunny day with blue sky and clouds in summer, Franconia, Bavaria, Germany

Parts of German grammar can be intimidating. There is no getting around gender or case or adjective endings. How tedious this is for students has a lot to do with how it is taught, however. One of the clearest methods I know is a simple sentence-building activity that visually demonstrates how German sentences are put together. I turned it into a sort of simple choose-your-own-adventure type game. This grammar drill ended up the most requested game for our end-of-year party.

If a student develops a passion for German that brings them beyond college requirements, there are, of course, other benefits.

  • German is the dominant language of the EU, with more native language speakers than any other European language. It is the second most spoken second language (behind English).
  • Germany has the largest GDP of EU member countries.
  • Germany directly invests over $10 billion into the US economy. Several German companies have satellite offices in the US.
  • It is the language of Goethe, Schiller, Kafka, Brecht, Beethoven, Mozart, and many others.
  • German immigration has greatly influenced American culture.
  • Many of the world’s most significant works in science, theology, psychology, history, and literature are written in German.
  • Plus, binge-watching your favorite television series sounds like more of an accomplishment in German!

Join us this fall on the wonderful adventure of learning German! German I, German II, and National German Exam Test Prep are all available and taught by Dana Hanley.

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Project & Presentation Samples

These are examples of some of the projects complete by students in our online German classes.

Brochures:

Video Presentations:

Why Study Spanish?

Why Study Spanish?

This quotation from Charlemagne is timeless. We have always heard that it is beneficial to learn another language, but do we really believe it? Well, I do.

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” – Charlemagne

My Visit to Spain

As a cautious high school student, I boarded my first plane flight to Spain with a group of strangers. Armed only with three years of poorly learned high school Spanish I ventured headlong into a homestay with a wonderfully patient family. Later in my junior year of college, I lived in Córdoba, Spain for an academic year taking classes in Spanish and living life in a Spanish dorm. I quickly had to learn to navigate in my new world.

My Second Soul

So this brings me to my second soul. That summer after my junior year in Spain I was invited by my brother to be a translator on a mission trip to Mexico. I however was not a believer. I was very far from God. A dear friend suddenly died while I was in Spain and the heartbreak of losing him so young shocked me to my core. “What could I say of myself if I passed suddenly as he did?” The big questions of eternity loomed in my heart and my head.

While in Mexico I was paired up with a pastor’s wife and we did door-to-door evangelism together. She used her parallel Bible and I would read and explain concepts in Spanish. It was during that trip after many late-night talks that I surrendered myself to Jesus. I gained my second soul through Spanish.

Why Choose Spanish?

Aside from the beauty of the language and the connections you will make as you study it, Spanish is the language of over 450 million people in the world! By learning Spanish you will be able to understand your native English more. And you will be humbled by how much you do not know about your own language!

I hope you will be able to join me (Emily Harkey) and my students this year in our journey into Spanish with True North Homeschool Academy, or with another curriculum or class – it is truly through the struggles and joys of learning another language that you are able to “possess a second soul”.

More About Emily & Her Spanish Classes

Currently, Emily Harkey teaches Spanish A, Spanish B and section two of our Spanish Level One classes. We are thankful for her expertise. She really immerses the students in the language and culture and she loves the benefits of the interaction students get in her online classes. Hear more from her about her philosophy and teaching styles in the video below:

Thank you, Emily, for sharing from your heart! If you want to learn more about why your child might want to learn Spanish, check out our blog post 5 Reasons to Study Spanish!

Spanish Curriculum Giveaway!

Enter from May 21 – June 4, 2021: True North Homeschool Academy is giving away Spanish curriculum. Enter for a chance to win our self-paced elementary level Spanish curricula from Risas y SonRisas or Level One (used for Spanish 1) or Level Two (used for Spanish II) of the Spanish curriculum, Breaking the Spanish Barrier. It’s an exciting opportunity and one we hope you will ENTER TO WIN! True North offers Spanish classes for your elementary students as well as Spanish for middle school (junior high) and high school Spanish levels 1-3.

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Celebrate Chinese New Year!

Celebrate Chinese New Year!

A Little About Celebrating Chinese New Year

February 15 kicks off the 2021 Chinese New year, which lasts until January 21, 2022.  Based on the Lunar New Year, it is celebrated in Asian countries around the world, including China, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, and Tibet, as well as Chinese communities throughout the United States.

My daughter and her friends have a round-robin monthly movie night. This month they’ll be watching Mulan, eating fish, dumplings, and sticky rice cakes while celebrating the Chinese New Year!  My daughter is hosting and has spent many happy hours creating Chinese Lanterns, beautiful cut-outs, and banners with sayings on them as decorations. The theme was inspired by her Chinese language class. Of course the color red features prominently and that is because “red” traditionally means “good luck” especially accompanied with gold or black lettering or decoration. These are cheery and beautiful decorations and the pops of red are a beautiful contrast to the dead of winter we are experiencing!

Each Chinese Year is assigned an animal. This is based on the Chinese Lunar Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac is a classification system that assigns animals and related attributes in a 12-year cycle based approximately on the orbital period of Jupiter. 2021 is the year of the Ox. According to tradition, people born during the year of the Ox are considered hard workers, intelligent and reliable. They don’t need to be center stage or demand praise are calm and make excellent leaders.

Happy Chinese New Year design background for banners, poster, greeting card and brochure. Photorealistic 3D rendering.

Celebrate Chinese New Year with Activities

  • On Chinese New Year, you’ll commonly see a calligraphy character on a square of red paper, hung in a diamond shape. The character, 福 [fú],  means good luck.
  • Red envelopes full of money- are traditionally gifted from an elder or parent to children, or to anyone who’s unmarried.
  • Firecrackers and fireworks are often set off throughout Lunar New Year, both to ward off an ancient monster called Nian,
  • The Lion Dance and Dragon Dance and gymnastic performances are an exciting part of a Lunar New Year parade

Chinese people playing lion dace on street during the lunar new year celebration.

Celebrate Chinese New Year with Traditions

  • Don’t cry or argue. Talk about happy things to set the tone for the future days.
  • Pay your debts before the New Year starts and avoid bad luck.
  • Don’t cut your hair or anything else on the Lunar New Year. It is believed that you’ll be severing connections.
  • Avoid wearing black or white as they are associated with mourning.
  • Don’t do laundry on the first or second day of the New Year. Avoid washing your hair too so that you do not wash your good fortune away.
  • Don’t sweep after Lunar New Year’s Eve; you’ll be sweeping away accrued wealth and luck.
  • Wear red to attract good luck.

Celebrate Chinese New Year with Lucky Foods to Make and Eat

  1. Fish – In Chinese, “fish” (鱼 Yú /yoo/) sounds like “surplus” and it’s believed that eating fish will bring an increase in prosperity.
  2. Chinese dumpling (饺子 Jiǎozi /jyaoww-dzrr/) – legends say that the more dumpling you eat during the New year celebrations, the more money you’ll make in the New Year.
  3. Glutinous rice cake (年糕 Niángāo /nyen-gaoww/) – symbolizes prosperity. The main ingredients of Nian Gao are sticky rice, sugar, chestnuts, Chinese dates, and lotus leaves.
  4. Good fortune fruit – tangerines and oranges (橙 chéng /chnng/), which sounds the same as the Chinese for “success” (成). They are selected as they are particularly round and “golden” in color symbolizing fullness and wealth.

As with many New Year traditions celebrated around the world, a deep and thorough house cleaning is in order. Getting rid of the old and treating oneself to new, particularly new clothes. Make sure those clothes are new to bring you good luck!

And share the New Year Celebration with those you love- family and friends- eating, giving red envelopes full of money and wishing each other good fortune and ( 新年好 Xīnnián hǎo) Happy New Year!

Studying a Foreign Language is such an excellent way to learn about cultures, geography, and people around the world. Learn more about our Chinese classes (Mandarin, simplified) Elementary, Middle School, Senior High. Chinese, along with Hebrew and Spanish,  is one of three Critical Languages taught live and online at True North Homeschool Academy. We offer Spanish, German, French, and Latin as well. Follow our page on Facebook or join our group where our academy students and teachers sometimes share how their foreign language classes have been inspired by the cultures we study and share your ideas for a Chinese New Year celebration!