Why Should Your Homeschooler Study Critical Languages?

Why Should Your Homeschooler Study Critical Languages?

Why should your homeschooler study critical languages?  Critical Language Study is a foreign language study that puts your homeschooler ahead of the pack.

Foreign Language study can be a struggle for even the most dedicated Homeschooler. It’s just hard to teach what you don’t know. Thankfully, there are so many great resources available now for instruction with fluent speakers and teachers, that it’s just a matter of finding a great fit!

So, why not ramp your foreign language studies up a bit by going after a Critical Language?

What is “Critical Language?”

A Critical Language is a term used to designate a language where the demand outstrips the supply. In other words, there is a high need for a language professional in these areas, but we can’t meet the supply.

These languages are essential for reasons of diplomacy, trade, and national security. Because diplomacy, trade and national security fluctuate, the list of Critical Languages fluctuates as well.  The current list for Critical Languages includes 60 languages, which can be found here https://www.nsep.gov/content/critical-languages.

Everyone knows that foreign language study enhances your Educational Opportunities, and contributes to Leadership Potential and Career Readiness.  However, these languages are often overlooked because they may be considered more difficult to learn due to a different alphabet, pronunciation or grammatical structure;  they are not closely related to English, like Spanish, French or German would be.

However, anyone who obtains proficiency in a Critical Language automatically has improved scholarship opportunities as well as improved career prospects, as jobs in government, international companies, non-profit organization or security services are looking for professionals with second language training.

What are the best languages to get ahead with your career?

Mandarin and Spanish are on the list, time and again. In fact, if you know English, Spanish and Chinese, you can communicate with 2/3 of the world’s population, which never fails to look amazing on a resume!

Interested in Career Fields that utilize these languages?

  1. Become a Translator (having to do with the written word)
  2. Become an interpreter- this has to do with the spoken word, (this would be more challenging than translating).
  3. Apply for a foreign language Intelligence Officer
  4. Work as a Foreign Language Teacher
  5. Work as an International Sales Manager
  6. Work in a business/ Customer relations that requires a foreign language
  7. Work in the military as a linguist/ Foreign Service Officer
  8. Work as a Humanitarian/International Development Services Offices
  9. Work as a Foreign Correspondent

Jobs Opportunity Listings for those with a Second Language

Scholarship opportunities available for those with Critical Language Training:

Professional Organizations for Language Study and Specialists

Relevant Websites and Publications

Interested in foreign Language study that will take you further? We offer Spanish K-12th , Chinese,k-12th  Hebrew 8th-adult, and Latin I-IV and German I at True North Homeschool Academy. Classes are taught by exceptional teachers who are either native language speakers are fluent and most are polyglots to boot. Culture studies and inspiration included!

Are you overwhelmed with choosing a foreign language study for your student? Let us simplify it today! Check out some great reasons why your homeschooler should study a critical language. #TNHA #criticallanguage #foreignlanguage

Lessons Found in Family Travel

Lessons Found in Family Travel

Jet-setting Families

Why travel with your family? It can certainly require a lot of effort! But family travel is full of teachable moments for our children and us! Diapers, strollers, pack-n-play, car seats, boosters, snacks, toys, busy bags, wet wipes, extra clothes, passports, phone chargers…etc. Oh! Don’t forget the babies and the older children! You finally got yourself half-packed for this international trip. Then you went for a bathroom break, only to find that the kids “help” you unpack your bags again. Out the door, sitting in traffic, checking in at the airport, only to find out the airline is slapping extra charges on you for checking in baby gear. Take a deep breath, cue the airport scene from the movie “Home Alone,” apologizing to the people sitting next to your children on the plane, only to arrive half-way across the globe jet-lagged and exhausted.

Sound familiar? Yep! Then why in tarnation would any parents go through the trouble taking young kids to travel, even taking them half-way across the globe?Boys in a car hanging out the window

We Are Global Citizens

When I was single, I worked as an international educator at a University.  Both my research and my mission were centered around teaching college students to be successful global citizens.  I have directed study abroad trips that hosted 300+ students. But now that I am a stay-at-home educator and mom, I can vouch that it is more a lot more work to take three little preschoolers on trips than 300+ college students.  I still have the same mission – to train my children to become successful global citizens, to show them a world that they have never seen before, and to increase their appetite for differences and tolerance.  

A Vision for Homeschooling That Sparks Communication

My vision of homeschooling is not only to impart knowledge and see them off to college in twelve years. My vision for our home education is to train our kids to be effective in a global economy, and ultimately, advance God’s Kingdom to the nations.

So how do we get there while we change diapers and haul those strollers? We lift our eyes and look beyond the hassles of traveling. We model flexibility and problem-solving.  We set examples of cultural appreciation, and God’s love the red, brown, black, and white little children. And while we do it, we as parents learn the most! We get to reexamine our hearts and attitudes towards others in this diverse world. Teaching moments are everywhere while we travel. Being outside of our usual social circle, our kids get to see people and things outside of their routine.  Then Boom! They ask innocent questions that make us think and make them love.

For example, my six-year-old child saw a Muslim woman in headdress when riding the subway. His questions sparked a whole conversation about “modesty” and “respect.” These types of discussions sometimes serve as a mirror into my own heart and attitudes. 

Teachable Moments for Parents and Kids

If you ask me, what’s the one thing that I learned most of my own heart? C.O.N.T.R.O.L. During our travels, we take along the curriculum that we are scheduled to complete, but I have to turn over my need to control and flow with the circumstances. Sometimes the bus doesn’t show up, that tropical rainstorm lasts an hour, the museum is closed for maintenance, and the child with motion sickness drenches you in puke!  One has to learn to laugh it off. I have learned to repeat to myself and our kids “When God closes a door, He will open up a window”. 

The Art of Distraction

True story, we planned to visit an art museum in Taiwan. After forty minutes of commuting, we discovered the museum was closed for an art installation. Both parents and kids were disappointed. We allowed kids a few minutes to be sad and disappointed. My oh-so-dramatic five-year-old even let out some wails. Then I remembered that I had mastered the art of distraction: “Oh! Wow! Look at this little gecko on this tree!” The kids then started to observe that tiny little gecko for five minutes while I search for the next living creature on the sidewalk. Ants, spiders, roots, tree bark and other random things have made up the best teaching moments. Sometimes there is nothing better than a simple observation lesson. Then, you betcha, I will say, “See? If we had gone inside the museum, we would have missed all these interesting sights!” There, drilling the concept in. Flexibility is essential for both homeschooling and parenthood. 

We Learn Everywhere

As homeschooling parents, we do what we do best – make anywhere our classroom!  Homeschool mommies are excellent CEOs of their families. We thrive on lessons, logistics, planning, routines, and order. But any big-name CEO will tell you the value of risk-taking and flexibility. So yes, traveling with little ones can be hectic, but what better way to learn how to give up our control of life and turn it over to God? So, I accept the challenge and imagine that my 100m dash through the airport is a scene on the “World’s Amazing Race” Reality TV show.  Both pit stops and final prize are glorious. 

About the Author: Yating Chang Haller is a freelance writer and international educator.  She works full time as a mom and home educator of 3 little ones (3, 5, 6 years old) and part-time at Purdue University, USA.  She was born in Taiwan and grew up in Singapore.   

To read more about homeschooling and family trips, check out the blog post on Homeschooling Basics. Get tips on adding family field trips to your curriculum and learn more about how traveling and foreign language study work together or read about how to build a unit study. 



Chinese – High School Level

Chinese will prepare your high school student well for further understanding this critical language.

Course Objectives:

• Students learn basic elements of phonetics of Chinese characters: Pinyin, tones, and rhythm
• Students learn basic strokes and the order of the strokes to recognize the structures of Chinese
• Students learn to read and speak Chinese from the situational texts with scenario pictures to
enhancing understanding
• Students learn Chinese cultures through topics of lessons in each unit

There are ten unit lessons in this textbook and each unit lesson comprises text, reading and speaking,
words and phrases, sentence making, unit story

Lesson I: Cangjie’s invention of Chinese Characters
Students learn the legendary story about Cangjie’s invention of Chinese Characters, which are
Lesson II: A Fable
Students learn the fable about a lamb trying to eat a white flower on a hill.
Lesson III: A Story about Joking
Students learn a funny story about joking about what to eat at a home setting.
Lesson IV: Making a Guess
Students learn a story about making a guess about who is the older brother and who is the younger
brother at a school setting.
Lesson V: A Folk Tale
Students learn about a folk tale in which a wolf in disguise was trying to enter the locked
house of a little girl.
Lesson VI: Song of The Mountain and an Ancient Poem
Students learn a fairy tale poem about the song of the mountain as well as a classic ancient poem
called On the Stork Tower by Wang ZhiHuan.
Lesson VII:  Spring Festival
Students learn basic facts about the Chinese Spring Festival
Lesson VIII: A Fairy Tale Poem
Students learn a fairy tale poem about how a horse, a frog, a fish, a bird, a snail and a brother and
a sister get home.
Lesson VIIII: How Many Books? A Prose
Students learn a simple math story in a classroom setting. Students also learn prose about an
ancient brush.
Lesson X: A Fairy Tale About A Mouse
Students learn the fairy tale about a mouse called BeiBei learning a lesson about bravery.

At the back of the textbook, there is an English translation of the unit stories for all lessons as well as a
vocabulary chart with English translation. Besides the textbook, the workbook is also required for this
course. There will be two mid-term exams and two final exams.

Required Textbook:  MeiZhou Chinese Simplified Characters Level 2 Textbook


Using Homeschool Travel as Career Prep

Using Homeschool Travel as Career Prep

In our Orienteering Class, we talk about many things related to adult life and careers. We had the good fortune to have a guest speaker this month, a homeschooling, blogging, expat, living in Scotland, to share about how travel has enriched her life and the life of...
Biblical Hebrew II

Biblical Hebrew II

Biblical Hebrew II

Biblical Hebrew II is a continuation of Hebrew Conversation I.  Students have learned how to read and write  the Hebrew letters and vowels, and proceed from there to Biblical Hebrew grammar and vocabulary They will continue to read and understand passages from the Hebrew Bible and gain further mastery and insight into reading the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament as well as those interested in Middle East studies or the study of Critical Languages.

This course complements the Modern Hebrew Course and would pair perfectly with Biblical Feasts and Festivals.  It is beneficial, but not necessary, to register for both courses.


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