Monday, July 6

Learning a Foreign Language the Natural Way

We have been working on Spanish and Mandarin lately.  One of our favorite teaching resources is TalkBox.Mom.  Her unique approach to language instruction relies on the brain's innate ability to pick up on cadences and phrases as the language is actually used, rather than focusing on grammar and vocabulary...

Best of all, you don't have to know the language because you'll be learning alongside your children.  This can be used with young children for bilingual development, or with older children as foreign language curriculum.  (This is how we are using it.)  The subscription model helps families to stay the course, focusing on different language aspects each month.

All of the materials are created by native speakers, so you're getting an authentic language experience!

Get $20 off your first TalkBox
Use coupon: holly20

What's included?
Where we've listed {Spanish}, insert whichever language your family is interested in learning.  We selected Spanish as it's the most common in our area.  Other available languages include: Mandarin, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Hebrew, Russian, and Romanian.
  • Box
    • There are nine basic boxes in the program.  Successful completion of all nine will have your student speaking nearly native!
    • You can choose whether to have a new box each month, every other month, or at another set of intervals.  Move at your own speed.  
    • Depending on your selected speed, there is a recommended timeline and order of completion for the activities in each box.
  • Vocabulary Charts
    • This is my boys' favorite part of the program.  We have charts hanging all over the house!  They use the one in the bathroom while they are in there...the one in the kitchen while we're cooking or washing up...etc.  By keeping them where they are most relative, they are frequently accessed.
    • In addition to colorful charts, there are flashcards.  While we haven't used these much, there have been a plethora of ideas in the TalkBox group for games and fun ways that families have utilized them.
  • Grammar / Phrases
    • Each box builds upon itself with grammar, so you absolutely need to go in order!  Box one features the basics, and by box nine your grammar should be nearly native.  
    • The audio portion of the program employs native speakers to ensure that you are getting the most authentic pronunciation as an example to follow.
  • Accountability Chart
    • For the homeschool family that requires something for the state, or just for themselves, to measure progress, these charts allow you to track your progress through each box.
  • Three Challenges
    • These focus on the specific vocabulary and grammar featured in the current box.  The first challenge is to get familiar with words.  The second goes a bit deeper with phrases, and the third is for application.
  • App
    • This free downloadable app allows you to access the phrases anywhere!  Every time you receive a new box, that information is added to the app.
  • Use {Spanish} At Home book
    • Not a requirement, but definitely an asset, this book includes useful everyday phrases that will help you being talking in your language immediately.  Find a phrase that you commonly use (such as 'Where are my keys?'), and begin using the {Spanish} version of it!  
    • Phrases are broken down by keyword, so look for 'I need a band-aid.' under B for band-aid.  Look for 'Turn off the lights.' under L for lights.
  • Facebook group
    • The team runs an accountability group on Facebook that includes live videos, weekly check-ins, and lots of fun prizes!  This is a great way to connect with other families who are studying the same language, learn some new ideas for implementing the tools you have, and even find a foreign language penpal for your student.  Last year, they even had a fun Christmas card exchange amongst the families studying the same language!
Looking Ahead
TalkBox.Mom is also getting ready to release an Academy feature, which will allow you to use the program not as a supplement, but as a complete foreign language curriculum!  Successful completion of four boxes would satisfy one year of the selected language.  With the launch of their new Bookstore and Academy features, it will be easier than ever for parents to tailor their student's experience!

The Academy will feature the same content as the original boxes 10-18, but instead of having to buy all of the boxes in order (the old model), you'll be able to select only the ones that interest your student.  So, if your student likes travel and airplanes, select that box to focus on.  If s/he is into sports, select that box.  Boxes 1-9 feature a lot of grammar, which builds successfully on itself, but once you master box nine, you can tackle the other boxes in any order.  This is a great way to customize your learning!

The Academy will also feature unit studies in math, science, and history so that your student can work on traditional core school work while mastering a new language.  Think of the immersion school model -- it will have downloadable PDFs, video, and music.  The first language to be released in Academy format will be Spanish, releasing fall of 2020.  

The TalkBox.Mom Academy is only available to TalkBox.Mom families. Each challenge in the Academy has prerequisites for various boxes. So if you finish Box 1, there will be challenges available for you to purchase and add on to your experience. Similarly, if you finish Box 6, there will be more challenges for you to purchase and add on to your experience.

Opening around the same time, the Bookstore is for bilingual families, and will feature workbooks, flashcards, and story books in a foreign language.  At first, only Spanish will be featured, but they plan to add other languages as well.  This would present an option similar to an immersion program, where the student is learning other subjects in the foreign language they are studying.  

Get $20 off your first TalkBox
Use coupon: holly20

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