ESL in the Home

As I am in the final stages of preparing to bring this little boy home, the finality of teaching ESL sets in. I've been doing a little research on the ESL teaching community and have realized there is absolutely not a single resource for homeschoolers to teach ESL. Big surprise. On the other hand my research has lead me to believe that the home is the best place for my little guy to acquire English as a second language. The resources I've managed to track down are full of rich language activities that give the student the opportunity to learn the language in real time. Like baking cookies and playing board games. Potentially tricky in a classroom, but standard activities in the home. Nice.
So yes, informal language acquisition tasks in the home are limitless, especially when there siblings to partner with. What a relief.
But when I look at the formal language tasks I sort of have to shake my head. Every phonics program on the market banks on the fact that the student is already familiar with the language. Students should already know what aardvarks, avocados and antelope are so it's not a stretch to put them all together in the "A" category.
I'm going to bank on the fact that my son won't know what any of those things are, let alone that they have something in common.
Which means there has to be a lot of vocabulary acquisition before much phonics can be taught.
But my teacher brain revolts. PHONICS! Every student loves phonics! In some twisted way it doesn't feel like I'm teaching him anything if we don't start phonics training from the get go. So for months now I've been trying to find a handful of justifiable phonics activities that don't require any vocabulary. When I figure it out it's going to be worth millions. Because there's a huge market for non-vocabulary based ESL phonics programs for homeschoolers. I know.
So until that phonics revelation occurs to me, I'm stuck with vocabulary. I'm sort of making up vocabulary games that I can use to introduce strategic terms that he's going to need right away. Like everyone runs into the kitchen and shouts "kitchen!" then everyone runs to the shower and shouts "shower!"and so forth. I could see my 3 biological kids getting a huge kick out of such silliness.  Perhaps we'll play a rousing game of "find the fork!" as well.


Jennie Louise said...

well it sounds like you have a huge task to undertake, but you seemed dedicated, intelligent and resourceful. Good Luck with everything !

Melissa said...

Sounds like you have a great jump start already. I wouldn't worry so much about phonics at the get go but at phonological awareness. Phonics is the written with the sounds, phonological awareness is the sounds. Play sound games, rhymes, clapping syllables, beginning sound matches, sing nursery rhymes, etc. But definitely find those great picture books of 100 words. Colby loved learned words quickly. Just my two cents as a reading specialist.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I'm sure being totally immersed in the home will bring about the language quickly!


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