Monday, June 20, 2011

Foreign Languages for Junior High

Introducing your 8th grader to a foreign language is super! Beginning a foreign language during the Junior High years typically allows the student to acclimate better to the language before he/she graduates.

There are many great homeschool curricula out there that introduce your student to the language using a whole word or whole meaning approach. This means that instead of learning the language by a "textbook" method (vocabulary etc.), they are learning the language with meaning.

I particularly like the online curriculum that offers immediate feedback if the student is pronouncing correctly or not. They use a microphone either separate or connecting to a headset, and then speak the words as they are learning it. This method is extremely beneficial for keeping the student pronouncing correctly.

There are even other curriculum that introduce the student to complete thoughts through pictures and speech. They allow the student to repeat and practice these thoughts - adding meaning to the words that the student is learning. This method is not only great for younger language learners, but is definitely FUN!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Where is Timbuktu?

8th graders can learn geography in many ways, from online homeschool curriculum to seek and find map games. Geography is a subject that gets people moving. The study of populations, maps, topography, geography encompasses many things.

Integrating geography into other subjects such as history, science, literature, language arts, and even math can be very effective at helping the student make connections. These connections provide meaning for the student, and application of the knowledge to their future.

The most common part of geography study is map skills. The 8th grade student should be well versed in the location of the continents, many of the countries in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. Students should also be able to point out the states and capitals of the United States.

Finding a curriculum that meets these standards, introduces population statistics, and also provides connections to other subjects will make a big difference in how this knowledge is applied to the student's future studies. Geography though often neglected is an invaluable subject.