Home Education and Language Learning in the World of Digital Technology

Home Education and Language Learning in the World of Digital Technology

How digital language courses can provide positive individualized learning experiences in the homeschool setting

July 28, 2014

Why do people home educate their children? It could be because of inflexibility in a family schedule. It might be for financial reasons. Maybe home education addresses an area of learning that is not available in the local public or private schools. It could also be to allow a student to progress at a pace that is in-line with his or her unique abilities. But one constant theme that runs through all the theories behind parents choosing home education is that ultimately parents want to make sure their children succeed.

For me and my family, home education came about for a variety of reasons, but one of the main factors behind our choice was the ability to encourage my children to learn as much as possible about anything they desired. As a family, we wanted to travel and see the world, and rather than be tied down to a brick-and-mortar school, we could take the home education with us. We wanted our children to understand that English is one language, but the world speaks hundreds of languages. We realized that the cultural aspects of understanding another language open up opportunities in ways no one can understand until they experience it for themselves.  

We chose to learn Spanish only because it was the language with which I was most familiar. At that time, we used books and CDs, but without fluency of the language in the home, it was hard to teach Spanish thoroughly. It required a lot more time and effort to achieve success. On the elementary level, it was not difficult, but when it came to fluency, the success only became measurable when my children enrolled in comprehensible college foreign language courses during their high school years to finally conquer world language.    

Lately, I have been thinking and asking questions. How can a home educator cover all the bases to teach foreign language without being fluent or, in some cases, have never spoken a word of the language? How does the home educator deliver course work to excel the student to a level equal to the time required to spend on the specific course? How can a home-educated student ask questions on the pronunciation of a word they read in a book? How can the educational system address the individuality of students where a digital learning environment can assist? 

This is the difference between when I was homeschooling my children years ago and now: digital learning opens up avenues for the home educator in ways that were not possible a decade ago. We all know that every child is unique, and every child learns using different methods. With digital coursework, the educator no longer needs to be proficient in a specific discipline or foreign language to make it an educational success. And, with the digital world language courses designed by Middlebury Interactive Languages exclusively for K-12 students, a home educator can confidently provide a base knowledge of a foreign language that will benefit a student for the rest of their life. 

Middlebury Interactive’s digital language courses are designed to educate students in a manner that is successful in its application. For example, there are audio, video and recording capabilities. The assessments are paired with practices, scaffolding at a pace the student can understand and absorb. Students learn culture and a language at the same time. There are no expensive books involved or that will become outdated. The digital course is economical, but more than that, the results are priceless.

With the progression of technology in education, more and more offerings are becoming available to educators on a daily basis. Whether it is a private setting, public school, charter school or home education, technological advances make it possible for greater individuality in the education of our children. As a result, teachers such as myself now possess the tools and resources to ensure students can succeed in any home school environment.

Linda Noack
Linda Noack is the Director of Quality Assurance at Middlebury Interactive Languages. Linda educated her children while they were young from the comfort of her home and also volunteered in other areas of education, including tutorial consulting and creating pilot soccer organizations. After her children were in college, Linda completed her MBA with an emphasis in Project Management. Linda firmly believes that quality does not happen by accident, but instead must be a practiced habit and is something that she strives for every day. Her passions include family, Italy, soccer, gardening, art and travel. The order of those passions depends on if there is a World Cup or Real Salt Lake soccer match taking place.  
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