A Neat Use of Technology for Homeschooling
by Hal | September 30th, 2013
Melanie’s brother lives in China, so our children have cousins who speak Chinese. That motivated us to chose Mandarin as our homeschool’s foreign language. There’s just one slight problem. Uh, we don’t speak Chinese!
That’s where technology can really help us! Years ago, we had to find someone in our area who we could trade with or hire to help us with those strange subjects we wanted to do. Sometimes we bought tapes (yes, we’re that old!) or books, but that didn’t give you any feedback. These days it’s much easier!
For Mandarin, we use ChinesePod to teach speaking. It’s a subscription service that gives you access to hundreds of podcasts on all different levels. The earliest levels are mainly in English and explain simple elements of Chinese and the most difficult ones are completely fluent discussions of Chinese poetry and philosophy. You do have to exercise caution in your choice of lessons. We’re not really interested in our guys learning to order a beer or ask a girl out in Mandarin!
We also love Skritter. It’s an online program that teaches you to read and write Chinese characters. That’s the hardest part of learning Chinese, but Skritter makes it fun. Using fuzzy logic (hey, look it up!), the program recognizes when you get it almost right, and helps you to do it just right. It’s like a video game, kind of addictive.
The best use of technology in your homeschool is to help you do those things you just think you can’t do at all! Let me tell you, if a couple of Southern-accented parents like us can do Chinese at home, you guys can do anything!
(Screen shot HT: Skritter.com/ios)