I've always valued learning a foreign language, but never felt confident enough to actually speak what I had learned. I wanted to give my children the gift of learning a foreign language at a young age, rather than making them struggle with it through adolescence like I did. But, as a novice French-speaker and homeschooler without any foreign-language speaking relatives up my sleeve, it didn't seem likely to happen.
Talkbox.Mom is a foreign language resource that helps make foreign language instruction possible in our home. Incorporating language into our homeschool everyday has been the key! We aren't learning foreign language through workbooks and verb conjugation, we are living foreign language.
We've been using Talkbox.Mom in our home for over a year, and I was excited to have this opportunity to write a sponsored post about it. All of these ideas are my own. You can check out my policies page for more information.
What Is Talkbox.Mom?
I first learned about this curriculum in a Charlotte Mason homeschooling group. It is so similar to how Charlotte Mason taught languages: through phrases and real life conversation rather than grammar drills. The first box we ever received was full of phrases to use at meal time and in the kitchen. There were 8x11 posters to put up around the kitchen as a reminder to use the phrases. We also received a book full of additional phrases that I could look through to add to our home. An account at Talkbox.mom gave us access to French audio and fun games and activities. Since our very first box, the resources inside have varied and we love how they mix it up on us! We've gotten big posters, cards to place around the home, and flip charts, all filled with French phrases that we can learn and impliment in our daily life!
Tips for Using This Foreign Language Curriculum
Throughout our year of foreign language learning, we've had highs and lows. Sometimes we haven't been as consistent as others. I've narrowed in on the things that have given us success with Talkbox.Mom.
1. Put up the posters
When we first got our Talkbox.Mom box, our house was under renovation. This did not work out well because we didn't have anywhere to put up the posters. But, I thought I could refer to the posters when we wanted to, or that just having the curriculum nearby would magically transfer knowledge to us (lol!) Nope! The moment our home was somewhat presentable, I put up the posters, and our language learning increased exponentially!
Some of the posters are small, and some are much larger and come in a tube. I always take those posters out right away and flatten them under books or they will be perpetually curled.
We put our posters, including our progress sheet, in our breakfast nook, as well as other places around the house. We refer to them as we do 10 minutes of French during our morning basket time.
2. Don't let the posters become part of the decor
When I was preparing my Talkbox.Mom materials for this post, I discovered a card from the rooms and games box on the wall in our basement. We did that box almost a year ago! Because we are creatures of habit, it's easy to train ourselves to ignore something that we post on the wall. The key, I've found, is to take it down before it starts to blend into the background. Move it to a new spot, or take it down for a couple of days before putting it back up again. This has been an important step for me so that I don't forget to look at the posters.
3. Prepare ahead of time
At first, I tried to just learn as we went, but after awhile I realized how important it is to prepare ahead of time. Taking a moment to go through the phrase book and the app phrases each week has helped us be more intentional about finding phrases that are relevant to our family.
4. Try for a few phrases a day
Without taking the time to intentionally choose phrases, I often just went through phrase after phrase at our breakfast table French lesson. My children didn't learn much that way! I started narrowing down on a few phrases in our Talkbox.Mom box each day, and that helped to give us focus.
This also helped us to more easily apply the phrases we learned outside of our morning time language lessons. If we have a specific focus, then we know what we should practice throughout the day, whether it's outdoors, getting ready for the day, etc.
5. Listen to conversational French every day
Listening to the audio phrases through the app is a huge part of Talkbox.Mom that we tried to skip at first. Sometimes during our morning time lessons, it gets a little hectic and it's hard to hear French phrases amidst the din of two preschool boys! But when we really narrowed down on a few phrases, it became easier. Now we listen to a few phrases multiple times, rather than trying to listen to many phrases once. My daughter is really starting to get the hang of the accent since she has listened to it so much, and even my preschoolers join in to share phrases! Implementing language in a conversational way has been key!
6. Write it down
On the same vein as narrowing down the phrases we learn and preparing ahead of time, I bought a notebook and started writing down the phrases that we wanted/needed to learn. The notebook happens to have two columns, one for the French phrase and one for the English phrase, but any notebook will work! At our morning time lesson, I often reread through the phrases that we've already learned.
7. Don't miss the extras
The website has fun extras that you can download to enhance your language learning. It would be easy to look them over if you aren't on the website often, but that would be a mistake! These games offer a fun way to shake up your language learning. Talkbox.Mom is currently offering a free ball challenge, as a way to start speaking the language of your choice right now! Sign up here.
Another extra is the Talkbox.Mom Facebook group. I have gotten so much good advice and inspiration from other moms who are using the curriculum.
A highlight of this month was when my three-year-old started speaking in French. This is not unusual among Talkbox.Mom families. Hearing and applying the language makes it possible to start speaking it right away. And if we can find success with it, then so can you!
If you need help deciding which language to start learning, go here! Use the code thankful for $20 off of your first box and book now through December 20, 2020.