Posted by: chrisdavis | August 24, 2014

What is the “best” foreign language for your children?

I am a strong proponent of young people learning Greek and Latin root words rather than the traditional language choices offered by state schools. Traditional languages are rarely mastered in a school setting since true mastery of languages only comes by immersion in the language’s native culture. If a student shows a strong desire to learn Spanish, French, or another language, I would find a way to allow that student to spend time in the country where that language is spoken. On the other hand, a working knowledge of Greek and Latin roots is valuable in helping the student with upper level vocabulary and, especially, if the student is entering a scientific field.

There is another approach to languages that I recently encountered in an article appearing in ParentTookKit. The article took me back many years to the time when my oldest son said something like, “When I graduate from school, I want to have a college-prep diploma that will get me into a good college.”

“OK”, I said, “You know that means you are required to take 2 years of a foreign language.”

To this he replied, “The ‘foreign languages’ I want to learn are computer languages.”

By this time, my son had been homeschooled for several years and, by then, I thought I didn’t have a traditional thought in my head regarding education. So I was surprised that I balked at the idea of him not taking Spanish or French or the like.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I considered that my son’s request to learn computer programming should be as advantageous as any offered by the state schools.

Fast forward to my son’s future (he is now 33), owns his own programming business, and does quite well for himself.

The article in, spoke of the need to educate young people in the skills of programming. It argued that the ability to program the various technological tools that infuse our daily lives is currently in high demand in the job market and the writer projects the existence of up to 2.1 million jobs in computer-related fields within the next 6 years.

Learning to “code” also means learning a way of thinking that promotes analyzing, problem solving, and creativity.

For some time, state schools will lag behind as they continue to promote traditional languages such as Spanish and French and ignore the obvious need for young people to become proficient in the languages of programming.

My preferences for children learning Greek and Latin roots as well as my preferences for children learning to program (as early as age 4) appear on my website, ChrisDavisRecommends. Go to the site now and see for yourself…

Chris Davis

PS: If you are not a subscriber to this blog, do so now to receive all future blogs I write.

Have a good September. I leave for Israel this Wednesday for a month. Consider joining me in Israel next June. The website is ExperiencingIsrael. Our trips are totally homeschool friendly!



  1. When I was in high school, I skipped programing (such as it was at the time) because I thought it was like math, which I disliked. I recently took a programing course for fun and realized that it really is learning a foreign language and solving puzzles, two things I love. Interesting to consider how different my life might be if I had had that realization 30 years ago. 🙂

    • Definitely agree. I allowed one of my sons to learn programming languages as his “foreign language”. He is now self-employed as a freelance programmer. Programming is cool and I wish I had learned it, myself.

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