Mar
19
2012

  Alternate Alphabets

I learned something interesting at lunch w/J and her parents last week. J is an Italian professor when she's not recording songs. She speaks several languages, and I asked her opinion of what other language we should start teaching W, since preschool is the easiest time to learn. I was thinking either French, Spanish, or Latin. She thought if he learned any of the romance languages as a toddler, the others would be easy to pick up later since they are similar, so we could choose our personal preference. She thought Latin grammar isn't that useful for learning current languages, although it was great for vocabulary.

What she suggested that I had never considered, was to start teaching him alternate alphabets rather than alternate languages. And the phonics associated with them. She thought Greek would be the best place to start. She said she always had trouble with alternate alphabets since she didn't learn them until she was older, but suspects if she had learned them when she was young it would have been easier to learn the vocabulary and grammar for those languages later.

So I've ordered a Greek Alphabet primer so I can learn the phonics myself so I can teach W, and then a set of Greek alphabet blocks I'll give to W on his birthday. He's picking up phonics in English very well-- we have flash cards he likes to play with, and he sounds out the three-letter words himself. So I think he'll do fine with Greek, too.

Frankly, I'm not totally thrilled by the prospect of learning new languages myself, and would probably gladly outsource this. But of course, no preschools around here teach what I want W to learn, so I'm stuck homeschooling whether I like it or not. On the plus side, the boy learns super-fast, so I doubt I'll have to spend very much time on it. Besides, T loves playing teacher so I bet he'll spend some time working on it.