Homeschooling Help: Irish Language
“Haon focail, dó focail, trí focail eile and I not knowing no focail at all!”
By Sadhbh Breathneach
Homeschooling is no mean task especially when we find ourselves out of depth to the point that we are no use to our struggling children. Apart from Math being taught in a very different way to “the way I learned” at school, the word on the street is that Irish homeschool work can leave parents scratching their heads.
As a lecturer in St.Nicholas Montessori College in Irish, I thought that perhaps I could share some of the resources that I use along with tips on how to use them. Those of you who have tried to look for help online will realise that it is a minefield so my aim is to point you towards a few really useful and user friendly resources that should cover you across the board.
First of all you need to have a really good dictionary at hand and depending on the age of your child I would recommend you spend time teaching them how to look up words themselves. Luckily there is no need to go out buying big heavy dictionaries as there has been huge work put into some fantastic free resources online by Foras na Gaeilge.
TIP: The trick to using these resources is to choose to read them in English which you can do by clicking on that option up on the top right hand corner of the homepage on each one.
- Focail.ie aims “allow users to find every contemporary Irish word on one site, together with information about the sources in which those words may be found”. If you click on “About this site” it gives a detailed account on how to use the site and the related sites you can find more detail on the word in question. You can search those links directly from this site too which is really handy.
- Teanglann.ie is a vast database aimed at providing “users of the language with free, easy-to-use access to dictionaries and to grammatical and pronunciation information relating to words in the Irish Language”. It is brilliant for looking up verbs in all the tenses, finding words in their different forms and it has a phonetic database that allows you to listen to key words in the three main dialects which is a life saver when you are stumped by unfamiliar spelling! It contains a “grammar wizard” which is nothing short of magic when trying to find an adjective and how it might change after a noun. This site for me is my go-to one for finding new words and checking spelling and grammar.
The acquisition of sounds is a hugely important step in language learning and what better way than through music, song and rhyme.
- www.songsinirish.com is a wonderful resource with both old and new Irish songs including a range of well known pop songs featured. Each song comes with a video and the lyrics in both Irish and English. If the grammar homework is getting too much just leave it aside and sing a song together instead!
- https://www.altram.org/amhr%C3%A1in-agus-rannta – This resource is great for younger children. There are a range of simple songs to help with sentence structure and target language in a natural way.
- www.seideansi.ie – computer games are a great way to entice children to engage with language learning and this is a free resource with categories for all Primary School Aged children containing matching games, sentence construction activities and lots of other games along with regular opportunities to repeat the words and sentences as they go.
- www.dinolingo.com is a child’s version of the very successful duolingo APP. Unlike duolingo though it is not free and requires a subscription. You can try it out for free to decide for yourself but certainly if you are finding it hard to get your child to engage with the work being sent home it might be worth the investment.
- https://www.gaelchultur.com/en/phrase_of_the_day.aspx – Finally, the best thing you can do to help your child with their Irish is to use as much or as little as you can yourself with them throughout the day. Try these phrases below out for a start or get the “Frása an lae” App (Phrase of the day) on your phone to build up your own language skills:
- Dún an doras – close the door
- Bí ciúin – be quiet
- An bhfuil ocras/tart ort? – are you hungry/thirsty?
- An maith leat bainne? – Do you like milk?
- Ar mhaith leat cupán tae? – Would you like a cup of tea?
- Maidin mhaith – good morning
- Oíche mhaith – good evening
Also please post below any other resources that you have found useful. Let’s help each other out in these trying times! #fansabhaile #stayathome
For more help with homeschooling, please see our blogs here.