Language learning has ALWAYS been important to me. In high school, I learned French. In college, I learned Spanish. My French teacher told my mother I was "gifted...." but I am gifted or not, I'm not fluent.
You can't take French lessons starting in High School, learn a list and textbook full of stuff, and expect to be speaking like a native.
When I teach my English classes, I don't speak a word of non-English. I have learned through this experience that speaking with a native is the best way to learn a foreign language.
There are so many apps out there to teach you a language.... how many have you tried? And how fluent are you because of them?
For these reasons, I have decided to make it one of my goals- to have my children speak at least one other language. The earlier I start, the better.
BUT....private lessons are EXPENSIVE!
Here are the top ways I have found to receive a foreign language education, for a reasonable price (some of these are free!)
Panda Tree uses fluent teachers from different countries to teach your child through immersion learning. The teachers will speak Spanish, and no English. While this sounds overwhelming, please keep in mind- I do this with 2 year olds every day. It's NOT that scary. They will use props, pictures, and play games. Want to try PandaTree for free? Scoop up your free lesson here. No credit card info, no commitment. We tried a few different teachers, and we definitely have our favorite! (His name is Jorge, and he makes my daughter giggle!)
They will assign homework (which is totally optional), and encourage you to work through practice games in-between classes.
You can earn multiple free classes for referring friends, too!
Rockalingua will also give you a free trial! For 30 days, you will have access to all of their games and songs. My daughters loved this, and learned some new words through some of their songs. Get on their mailing list! As of last month, they started sending out free video-chat lessons via Zoom! We are actually doing one today! Sign up for your free trial, and jump on any other free opportunities they offer!
THIS ONE I am exceptionally excited for! This is a program this was created by an altruistic man, who cares about people and doesn't seem to be out to make money. Not only is the program VERY well-priced, but they also give free lessons to refugees. How cool!
What makes this one stand out? The price, for starters: as low as $13/hour. HELLO!
But wait...it actually gets better than this...
There is no limit on the class size. You can use this in your public school, for a class of 45 children... you price? Still $13/hour.
We had our trial yesterday, and our teacher was from el Salvador. Since the classes allow for multiple students, we are starting a Spanish Club and splitting the cost between friends. It doesn't get much better than this! So head on over, grab your free lesson while you can!
They also have a free conversation simulator to practice with, and all of the homework and tests/quizzes are free.
I haven't tried this one yet (I'm still working through the freebie classes!), but this hires native speakers from around the world, in every language imaginable. Each teacher sets their rate, and you choose your teacher. You can buy a small or large package, or just have a trial lesson (for a smaller cost). I feel like this would be better for older, more advanced students to practice free-talk or homework help. I do not feel that I would have a need for this quite yet, but it is on my radar to use in the future!
**As I learn of more and try more, I will update this list!
*****I HIGHLY recommend PandaTree, so make sure you grab the free lesson, and invite your friends to do so as well! (you will get more free lessons!)
Jillian Shanahan is an online job coach, mentor, and teacher.