This list includes ideas for supplements that add conversation with a native speaker so you can provide your student with many of the same language exposure and practice that bilingual speakers are exposed to in both languages – conversation with native speakers is an important part of learning a language. Including these supplements can give your child a much more authentic and meaningful language experience. Add supplements from the other sections to give your child a well-rounded foreign language education. Finally, once your child is ready, try out the German Cross-Curricular Subjects and Other Fun Stuff
GERMAN SUPPLEMENTS THAT ADD CONVERSATION WITH A NATIVE SPEAKER
Italki connects you with one on one support with native speakers, and you can arrange tutoring. Has many languages.
The Mixxer Language Exchanges
The Mixxer Language Exchanges. Skype with native speakers (they will want to learn English). You can search by age, so there are teenagers on here. Obviously, supervise your children.
You can find one on one tutors via Skype at Verbling. There are also courses and discussions.
Conversation Exchange Is more of a tool for intermediate-advanced. Connects you with native speakers, to use chat software, write to each other, or to meet up in person (obviously, supervise your children). Has many languages.
Word Reference is more of a tool for intermediate-advanced. If you are confused about specific word choice in a foreign language, you can post here.
Free. Tandem is a program available via website or app. This will need close supervision, but could provide native speaker support. The idea is that the student speaks with someone who wants to learn English, so basically the two can teach each other. Clearly, you’d want to be extremely careful. There are three sections: the Community, where you search for language partners, the Tutors, where you find lessons, and the Chats, where you view conversations.
Busuu is a website or app. There are grammar units, McGraw-Hill level completion certificates, a vocabulary trainer, and conversations with native speakers available. Free to register and do some lessons. Available in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Russian, and Arabic.
Lingotopia is a new favorite game of my oldest child. The first day he played, he collected over 100 words (some new and some he already knew). Their official website description says that “Lingotopia is a language learning game about being lost in a city where you don’t speak the language.” I think the concept probably resonates with a lot of kids because my own kids have made up stories on their own about being lost in a city and having to learn the language to survive. At the time of this writing, it’s available in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish, and seems to indicate that more languages are coming, including Greek.
Here is a little teaser trailer for the Lingotopia game:
Find a local class, tutor, group, or club.
Visits to local festivals, restaurants, or stores where there are native speakers.
Visits to church activities or retirement homes where there are native speakers. A retirement home might be willing to schedule a visit from a student, or a group of students, who want to read books together with native speakers.
Visits to neighbors, friends, or acquaintances who are native speakers. Many people are happy to spend a little time with a student. When I was a young child I had a dear neighbor who often invited me over to read picture books to her. She was kind, her children were grown and she didn’t have grandchildren yet, so she was happy to have my company.