If you haven’t read last week’s post, it might be useful to read that before reading this post. I went over WHY we should tweak our Arabic lessons to fit the needs of each of our children.
This week, I hope to show you how easy it can be to adapt your Arabic lessons to your kids of different ages. You don’t have to worry about the stress of balancing different curricula and materials for each child. Instead, we can tweak our lessons to suit each child while teaching them together.
The tweaks we make when differentiating our lessons are done based on two factors. First, we look at the age of the child. Second, we look at the child’s learning style/personality.
Living in Arabic is the best to study Arabic.
The best way to ensure that your Arabic lessons are age appropriate and interesting is to live in Arabic as much as you can.
Generally, kids don’t need formal instruction until somewhere between the ages of 5-7. At this age, children just want to spend time with you and imitate you. This is the PERFECT age for learning Arabic together with your kids. Even though they might seem quite stubborn at times, they are naturally inclined to learn from you simply through observing you.
For kids under age 5, focus on learning Arabic yourself, speaking to your kids, reading to your kids, and watching Arabic videos. Try to help your kids understand that Arabic is a language that is useful to them. If they see Arabic the same way that they see English, learning will become a lot easier for them and for you.
Find ways to bond with your kids over Arabic.
Young kids absolutely love imitating. This is the age where you can have the most fun learning Arabic. Try to let go of your notions about how to learn a language. Throw Arabic into all of your play. Simply repeat new words in different contexts as much as possible.
Build a family culture where your young children are excited about learning Arabic and speaking with you.
Around age 6-7 (or even later) is the best time to start introducing Arabic writing and reading. If your child is completely new to learning Arabic, try to focus more on listening activities in order to build vocabulary before jumping into reading and writing. Kids at this age love crafts, so try to incorporate Arabic writing into your craft activities as much as possible. As part of your Arabic lessons, you can do a craft or color a picture. Have the kids write one word or sentence to tell about what they have done.
As your kids start to develop in their reading skills, you can allow them more independence in their Arabic learning. Around the age of 9-11 is a great time to start having your kids read on their own and learn how to use an Arabic dictionary. This might seem like a very boring skill to teach your kids. If you have already gone through the process of listening to Arabic and using it around the house, you may find that your kids are eager to learn how to look up new words for themselves. Being able to find the meanings of words is a powerful tool that many children actually enjoy.
These days, there are some exciting ways to look up words. Let your kids try out Google Translate’s photo translation feature on your phone. Let them speak words into an audio translator. Let them watch a YouTube video on the word and try to discover the meaning from context.
Use peer pressure to your advantage.
Tweens and teens love imitating their peers more than their parents. They often find learning easier when they are in a group of their peers.
Peer pressure can be a good thing for your family. Find other families with similar Arabic goals and think of ways to work together to build your knowledge of the language.
Around age 10, kids should be able to write slightly more in Arabic. Try having your child write a weekly summary in Arabic every Sunday. If you’re just starting out and your child is already over the age of 8, you may find that he is more resistant to learning Arabic than a younger child. This resistance may be even more difficult to overcome in teenagers. If they haven’t yet started studying Arabic, it may seem like a completely unnecessary additional stressor in their lives. Teens, like adults, may also be uncomfortable with learning Arabic from the start because they have to relearn basic things like how to read and write.
One way to encourage older kids is to enroll them in an Arabic class with other children of similar ages. Peer pressure is one of the biggest motivators for tweens and teens. You can use peer pressure to your advantage to help your child get excited about learning Arabic.
Being among peers can help your child to see that Arabic is a loved and useful language. If you can’t find a suitable course, try to find one or two other families and have your kids meet up for weekly sessions on Zoom. Many books such as Madinah Arabic have study guides and videos that your teen can use to study Arabic with his friends.You can also pick a reading for each session and have the kids translate it.
.Check back next week for more details. I’ll be sharing a sample 30 minute lesson plan for working with your kids in Arabic.