Free German Resources.

We are working on more German this year. I'm hoping that we can all speak pretty well at the end of the year.

We are working on more German this year. I’m hoping that we can all speak pretty well at the end of the year.

I have found many free resources on the Internet for German this year. Last year we started with Powerglide German, and a German tutor. This year we are continuing with Powerglide (sometimes) – but we are also using new resources.

BBC has a great German learning program with videos. It’s a lot of fun. We are watching one video per day, although sometimes we watch the same video many times in a row if my kids  – and I – haven’t learned the lesson yet. It just depends on how we learn the lesson on wether we watch the video.

Here’s the link: BBC German program.

I’ve also found a bunch of free worksheets on the web. This means I can print out worksheets and we can do them as a family – me included! We often have fun coloring them in, writing the words, and doing the worksheets together. My husband then gets the grade the worksheets. The kids find it pretty amusing that they get better grades than Mom. It’s also a way for my husband to be a part of our homeschooling experience, since he sometimes feels left out.

Free German worksheets 1

Free German worksheets 2

Free German worksheets 3

Free German worksheets 4

Lastly, we speak German. I have some phrases that I will only say in German – “It’s time to go home” and “Stop” – are always done in German. But we also have time at night or in the morning. My husband likes to speak German with them over breakfast in the morning. We also have found a great German restaurant in town. When we go there we only speak in German. We go at least once a month. It is fun to watch the kids constantly have to repeat their English words in German.

I think we are only able to do this because my husband speaks German fluently. I’m not sure I’d have the incentive to learn another language at this time and speak it with the kids if it wasn’t for my husband constantly challenging us. And to make it even more challenging – my kids are picking it up so fast! I feel so slow compared to how quickly they are picking up German!

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Adding to our German resources.

We’ve been studying German for a year. We have had a German tutor, a German program (which was fun, but we didn’t do religiously), and my husband speaking German with us. So now what do we do? I don’t think the kids are ready to move onto the higher level German courses, but we need a way to still practice.

Browsing on Amazon I found the following resources –
The Everything Learning German Book: Speak, write, and understand basic German in no time

German for Children with Two Audio CDs, Third Edition

Lightning-Fast German for Kids and Families: Learn German, Speak German, Teach Kids German – Quick As A Flash, Even If You Don’t Speak A Word Now! (German Edition)

I haven’t gotten the books yet, but I hope they come in soon. This way, I have extras to add to my German course. I am also having the kids watch German cartoons on YouTube. The words go really fast, but it gets them used to the cadence of the language. Nicholas was so excited yesterday when he could pick out some of the words in German. Since the kids have to work at watching them, I generally pick the German shorts. Even better, I get to delegate this task to the husband. He gets to do it, and send me links.

Delegating it to the husband has a bunch of benefits, not the least of which is that he feels involved. But the kids also like watching something that daddy has picked out for them – they watch it with very little fuss. It’s been amazing having him so involved in German. If only he could get more involved with a lot of other things too.

Where is the….?

Where is the…..

It is a phrase you need in any language. I always joke that I can say “Where is the bathroom?” in a lot of languages. So we are focusing on this phrase for today in our German lessons.

What is awesome about the “Where is the” phrase is that you can also focus on lots of vocabulary. I chose a few new words and a bunch old words. Here’s the word list – in English.

Piano
Kitchen
Bathroom
Table
Chair
Sofa
Car
Door
Food
Water
Cow
Horse
Dog
Doll
Dollhouse
Bed
Blanket
Pillow
Cheese

A lot of these are already words we use in our German lessons. But some are new words.

I ask the kids, “Wo ist/Wo sind ein/eine …” and they say “Da ist der/die/das ….” and have to run to it or find it. It’s a fun, active way to increase our Getman vocabulary and have some fun.

Park play day.

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I’m a big fan of making play count. Sometimes we are outside all day during the summer and it is hard to do book learning. So instead we turn to a different type of lessons and skills.

Motor skills are important. For the young set, parks are a great place to develop gross motor skills. For older kids, parks are places to learn to play together, to use their imagination, and grow.

For me and mine, we also learn German at the park. My husband is fabulous and teaches me what I need to know the night before. I learned the commands for: go play, have fun, run more. I learned the words for different types of park equipment and things we might do at the park.

Then I made the park a German zone. I spoke only German to the kids and let them speak only German. It was a fun hour that we couldn’t do in rainy weather.

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Toddler Tuesdays: Shape puzzles

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We have these shape puzzles. They are wooden and come with shapes of various colors and sizes. The puzzles boards have holes for the shapes that the kids have to fill in. The puzzles are basic things like birds and planes, trains and cars.

They are a great activity to do all together. They help my youngest learn her shapes and colors. She has to put the right shape of the right color in the right spot in order to make the complete puzzle. Nicholas gets the experience of learning to teach her. There is something very rewarding about watching him patiently show her where the green circle is and pointing to where it goes in the puzzle.

But we can also use this as German time. In addition to doing the colors and shapes in English, we do then in German. When I ask Abby what shape and color she needs for a puzzle, and Nicholas responds in English, I then ask the question in German and get a German answer.

Differentiated learning, where you teach children of different levels in one setting or lesson, is difficult but not impossible. Part of differentiated learning is letting the more advanced children teach. Teaching reinforces knowledge and doesn’t require a child to engage in pointless repetition. Another part of differentiated learning is finding a way of using the basics to teach a new lesson – in this case German.

Regardless, it is a blast for all concerned.

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We are learning German!

Our parts of the body German lesson. Nicholas colored it as we named the parts of the body.

I’ve been a big slacker in our house when it comes to foreign language. My kids do know the word “no” in about 4 different languages. It seems that the more serious the need for a “No” the more languages it comes out in. They can also count to three in 3 different languages – much for the same reason they know the word “no” in so many languages.

But as helpful as the word “no” and the numbers 1, 2, and 3, are in raising children, they are not the best foundation to a real understanding of the language. So, we have chosen German to learn in our house. There were a few reasons for this. My husband is fluent in German and has no wish to learn a new language – so he can help out and read the books we have in German (we have some kids books in German and things like that). Second, I like to learn new languages

and have no problem learning with my kids. Lastly, Nicholas can learn and use German with his dad – it is important to have someone to practice with and his dad loves to have some way to help out.

So I looked around for resources to help me teach him German. Then I realized that many of the “teaching” resources were geared towards formal lessons and we are hoping for a more informal approach – kind of like how we teach children

Other visual aides we have created for our German lessons.

new words when we are teaching in our own languages.

I invested in 2 books – Teach Me German and More German, and a German phrasebook. Between these two things we are working hard at German. I go through the books the night before and pick a phrase or our lesson, and then we work on those things all day long. We even make our own visual aides. I make sure Nicholas is involved with making the visual aides. I have found that getting him involved – physically – in the lesson makes it stick better.

We are slowly working our way through, and so far I have about a 25% success rate in getting the lessons to stick. But I figure that it is okay – because we will cycle through the lessons we pick (about 20 of them) every 20 days until they stick with us and we can use them. I’m hoping that the lessons stick with Abby a little better since she’s younger.

I do know that our parts of the body lessons have stuck. Nicholas is a 4 year old boy – so he’s really into calling me a “poopyhead” right now (which results in a time out; and too many time outs result in bed time). But now he’s calling me a “poopy der Kopf” – not exactly the right form of the noun, but close enough. Regardless of how creative he’s getting, he still gets a time out.

 

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