Can a 4th grader learn Spanish?

My daughter recently announced she wanted to learn Spanish, so I’ve been wrestling with figuring out the best way to teach her.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have an Italian grandmother at home to teach them Italian, or Russian immigrants a couple of doors down who love the idea of sharing their language and culture with neighborhood kids.  How about the rest of us who want our young children to learn a foreign language, and in particular, the homeschooling families who don’t have public school resources to take advantage of?

There are several options for parents seeking to teach their homeschooled kids a foreign language, but they do require some research first to find the best fit for your family.  The best way to develop fluency is for the child to speak and hear the language daily, but that isn’t always possible.  If relatives of yours speak Spanish, then obviously this is an easier choice to teach your child over French, which the child would never have a chance to practice.

4th grade field trips

Fourth grade is prime time for field trips!  Public school kids have field trips, so shouldn’t homeschooled kids should have them too?   Field trips are a fun way to get out of the classroom, or out of the house in this case, and experience a bit of the real world.  Even things that don’t seem terribly educational on the surface serve a role in teaching kids about the world.  The end of the year picnic for your homeschool group is just as appropriate a field trip as a trip to the zoo, because it gives homeschooled kids a chance to engage their peers in social situations and have some fun.

Ideally, a field trip isn’t just a break from the daily grind of schoolwork, but it gives kids a chance to learn even more from real-life experiences.  Trips to an art museum, for example, don’t just teach about art.  Kids also learn what a museum looks like and feels like, and they learn about the expected behavior in art museums, like not touching the artwork!   Some museums don’t allow photography or their art or exhibits, and it’s important to explain these things to children.  These are lessons that could never be learned just from a book.