Foreign Languages

Hello,

I am dad to a 14 year old 8th grader. She has two dreams. To either go to the Air Force Academy or own a Chick fil A franchise. The first is more realistic believe it or not so that leads to my question.

She is fluent in two foreign languages-German and French. She has been in a language immersion school since kindergarten. Been in German since K and French since 6th grade. She has an opportunity to start a 4th language in 9th grade in Spanish or Russian. Will that benefit her application to know 2 foreign languages or will going for a 3rd language really separate her. The reason is we want to get to calculus by 12th grade and a 3rd foreign language won't make room for that. So get to calculus or really excel at foreign languages?

Thanks for your time,

Jeff
 

RickD_USAF

Air Force Veteran
My belief is that you should try to get calculus. The languages certainly are a bonus, but having a solid math foundation will pay more dividends. JMHO
 

fencersmother

10-Year Member
Founding Member
Hm. I have two USAFA son grads and a daughter who is an owner of a Chick-fil-A. Small world.

If you choose the language, forgo Spanish for Russian.

I might lean toward the Math, except for the Russian.

Why is there such a conflict anticipated now, for a child in 8th grade, going into high school? Can daughter not have any possibility of summer school, dual-enrollment, or online classes?

If there is already "no room" for what you want and need in your child's curriculum, perhaps you still have time to consider other high school options?
 

kinnem

Moderator
5-Year Member
Calculus is the way to go to get an appointment to an Academy. They are all engineering schools. Being fluent in 2 languages, besides English, already separates her from the pack. Adding a third will not do much for her IMHO.
 
Hello,

I am dad to a 14 year old 8th grader. She has two dreams. To either go to the Air Force Academy or own a Chick fil A franchise. The first is more realistic believe it or not so that leads to my question.

She is fluent in two foreign languages-German and French. She has been in a language immersion school since kindergarten. Been in German since K and French since 6th grade. She has an opportunity to start a 4th language in 9th grade in Spanish or Russian. Will that benefit her application to know 2 foreign languages or will going for a 3rd language really separate her. The reason is we want to get to calculus by 12th grade and a 3rd foreign language won't make room for that. So get to calculus or really excel at foreign languages?

Thanks for your time,

Jeff
Hm. I have two USAFA son grads and a daughter who is an owner of a Chick-fil-A. Small world.

If you choose the language, forgo Spanish for Russian.

I might lean toward the Math, except for the Russian.

Why is there such a conflict anticipated now, for a child in 8th grade, going into high school? Can daughter not have any possibility of summer school, dual-enrollment, or online classes?

If there is already "no room" for what you want and need in your child's curriculum, perhaps you still have time to consider other high school options?
That is pretty cool, congrats to your three! My daughter is applying this summer to her first job-at Chick fil a! My kids attend language immersion so it is very structured in the way you learn a language to become fully fluent. She is fully fluent in German and getting there in French. She would have to start Russian or Spanish in 9th grade to become elementary proficient in Russian or Spanish by 12th grade. However that last foreign language will be difficult with getting to advanced math and science due to her continuing to take French and German full time! I think most responses here are saying go for math. I was kind of leaning toward that but was not sure and I had to commit to Russian or Spanish now to get on the schools special track to become fluent by 12th grade. She can take Russian at the academy so all is not lost:)
 
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Calculus is the way to go to get an appointment to an Academy. They are all engineering schools. Being fluent in 2 languages, besides English, already separates her from the pack. Adding a third will not do much for her IMHO.
Thank you. Was leaning this way anyway but did not know if adding to her specialty was worth it if she was a bit weaker in math or science. I feel good now about directing her to to polish up her German and French through 12th grade and get on that math track to calculus. Thanks sir!
 

fencersmother

10-Year Member
Founding Member
Russian is a strategic language and would be looked upon with some favor over French & German. Spanish is encouraged because of the number of Hispanics in the ADAF. A kid fluent in Russian would have a hook, though I am not sure four years of high school Russian would qualify anyone as "fluent"

There are probably more opportunities for your child to study Calculus outside the standard classroom than Russian unless you live in an area with a large ethnic population.

Another thing to consider: your 14 year old daughter may be intrigued by USAFA now, have a strong desire to be a pilot, etc. NOW. I always encourage parents to support their young kids but not push them into anything, particularly when the child is not even in highschool. (My daughter wanted to be a nun-veterinarian for YEARS. She is now that Chick-fil-A owner, married to a wonderful young man, about to deliver her first child) In short, open to possibilities to her, but don't think for a second the desires of a 14 year old will definitely still be there when Lil Susie is 17. Maybe yes, maybe no.

Let us know what you and DD decide and how things work out.

Best of luck
 
Russian is a strategic language and would be looked upon with some favor over French & German. Spanish is encouraged because of the number of Hispanics in the ADAF. A kid fluent in Russian would have a hook, though I am not sure four years of high school Russian would qualify anyone as "fluent"

There are probably more opportunities for your child to study Calculus outside the standard classroom than Russian unless you live in an area with a large ethnic population.

Another thing to consider: your 14 year old daughter may be intrigued by USAFA now, have a strong desire to be a pilot, etc. NOW. I always encourage parents to support their young kids but not push them into anything, particularly when the child is not even in highschool. (My daughter wanted to be a nun-veterinarian for YEARS. She is now that Chick-fil-A owner, married to a wonderful young man, about to deliver her first child) In short, open to possibilities to her, but don't think for a second the desires of a 14 year old will definitely still be there when Lil Susie is 17. Maybe yes, maybe no.

Let us know what you and DD decide and how things work out.

Best of luck

Thanks for the detailed response. I really was not expecting such a detailed response not from just you but others here. This was my first post! My wife said last night that when I told her about your sons going to USAFA and your daughter being an operator. My wife stated people/families with strong faith think alike!:) To your point I am just setting them up to do great things and we have went through many careers. I just want them to know what choices are out there and have decided to put them all in foreign languages full immersion school from K-12 grade to give them a niche in whatever career they choose. even chick fil a looks highly on being multi-lingual as well. I have two boys and two girls ages 11, 12, 13 and 14. They all want to serve. They are also in CAP and love it! So did your daughter start out working at chick fil a as a young teenager? Just curious about what her track was there? Have a blessed day!
 

USAFA10s

USAFA Class of 2012 Kirtland, AFB
10-Year Member
It seems you have already gotten lots of good responses, but I wanted to add my endorsement for a strong math foundation.

Like others have said, having a high level of proficiency in two languages already sets her apart. Being weak in math not only hurts an application, but would make classes at USAFA much harder (I tutored a lot of struggling freshman in clac 1 and 2, those classes are fast paced and challenging).

If she really wants to learn Russian, it is worth looking into other options for either math or Russian, however I'll caution that learning math in any kind of online format without an instructor is going to be hard. It may be easier to take math in high school and do a program like Rosetta Stone for Russian.
 
It seems you have already gotten lots of good responses, but I wanted to add my endorsement for a strong math foundation.

Like others have said, having a high level of proficiency in two languages already sets her apart. Being weak in math not only hurts an application, but would make classes at USAFA much harder (I tutored a lot of struggling freshman in clac 1 and 2, those classes are fast paced and challenging).

If she really wants to learn Russian, it is worth looking into other options for either math or Russian, however I'll caution that learning math in any kind of online format without an instructor is going to be hard. It may be easier to take math in high school and do a program like Rosetta Stone for Russian.
Whatever path she takes USAFA or Chick Fil A a strong math foundation seems to be essential according to above posts. So if it is the USAFA then since she is fully fluent in French and German she will just wait and take Russian at the academy, get involved in exchanges and apply for the LEAP program. Thanks for the advice!
 
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DS is taking Russian online with the college of Southern Nevada. There are others as well. He meets weekly with a native speaker tutor and a native speaker facilitator (so 2 hours of one on one instruction). His native speaking professor teleconferences all students every other week. In just two semesters he an carry on 30-40 minute conversations about family, food, going places, school and video games. At this point it's mostly vocabulary and listening he has to work on, reading and writing are solid skills. We are supplementing with Audible's Pimsleur courses (my audio book credits) and he will use those to stay fresh.

So not only is he started on a Russian Minor for USNA or ROTCn or his plan B Cyber Security/Russian double major, but he fulfilled his high school language requirement in a language he wanted, and in a year.

Sorry to de-rail! DS is passionate about the need for Russian in his cyber security field of choice. Anytime someone shows interest, I try to share his passion rubbed off on me, too ;)
 
DS is taking Russian online with the college of Southern Nevada. There are others as well. He meets weekly with a native speaker tutor and a native speaker facilitator (so 2 hours of one on one instruction). His native speaking professor teleconferences all students every other week. In just two semesters he an carry on 30-40 minute conversations about family, food, going places, school and video games. At this point it's mostly vocabulary and listening he has to work on, reading and writing are solid skills. We are supplementing with Audible's Pimsleur courses (my audio book credits) and he will use those to stay fresh.

So not only is he started on a Russian Minor for USNA or ROTCn or his plan B Cyber Security/Russian double major, but he fulfilled his high school language requirement in a language he wanted, and in a year.

Sorry to de-rail! DS is passionate about the need for Russian in his cyber security field of choice. Anytime someone shows interest, I try to share his passion rubbed off on me, too ;)
No problem. One thing I did learn for sure is how much more people are pushing Russian over Spanish! No doubt on which one she should take as a 4th language is she goes USAFA. If she goes the Chick Fil-A we will probably go Spanish.
 

cb7893

5-Year Member
I agree with almost every response you have received, but let me address it from another point of view. It appears as though you are trying to plan out your DD's life for the next few years. Don't do that. From your posts, you seem to be providing a good environment for her to blossom. You should trust that and worry about other things.

IMHO, there is nothing more important to the development of a young brain than math and proficiency in one's native language. None of this has to do with attending an SA. It is about learning to think, understand and express oneself. The idea is to provide a foundation for the skill set which allows your daughter to pursue that, for which she has a passion.

You will find no stronger proponent of foreign language learning than me. It develops a part of the brain which may otherwise go under-utilized. It develops pattern recognition, problem solving and public speaking. Read about the demand for LDS college graduates who have served missions in foreign countries. The demand isn't specifically for their foreign language skills, but for the skills they developed by learning and using a foreign language. The US is an immigrant nation, full of native speakers of other languages. Your DS may be able to differentiate herself on a college app, but ultimately it's other skills which get her a place at the table after college.

DS#1, Army 1LT, took a strong resume of foreign language skills into college and further developed them, but his major was Chemistry. He is receiving bonuses on his paycheck for those skills. However, those skills had virtually nothing to due with the Army's decision regarding his occupational specialty and have nothing to do with what he's being doing for 19 mos. of Active Duty. It did play a significant role in where he goes next, but only after he proved himself for 19 mos. doing something else.
 
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I agree with almost every response you have received, but let me address it from another point of view. It appears as though you are trying to plan out your DD's life for the next few years. Don't do that. From your posts, you seem to be providing a good environment for her to blossom. You should trust that and worry about other things.

IMHO, there is nothing more important to the development of a young brain than math and proficiency in one's native language. None of this has to do with attending an SA. It is about learning to think, understand and express oneself. The idea is to provide a foundation for the skill set which allows your daughter to pursue that, for which she has a passion.

You will find no stronger proponent of foreign language learning than me. It develops a part of the brain which may otherwise go under-utilized. It develops pattern recognition, problem solving and public speaking. Read about the demand for LDS college graduates who have served missions in foreign countries. The demand isn't specifically for their foreign language skills, but for the skills they developed by learning and using a foreign language. The US is an immigrant nation, full of native speakers of other languages. Your DS may be able to differentiate herself on a college app, but ultimately it's other skills which get her a place at the table after college.

DS#1, Army 1LT, took a strong resume of foreign language skills into college and further developed them. He is receiving bonuses on his paycheck for those skills. However, those skills had virtually nothing to due with the Army's decision regarding his occupational specialty and have nothing to do with what he's being doing for 19 mos. of Active Duty. It did play a significant role in where he goes next, but only after he proved himself for 19 mos. doing something else.
I am just really taken on how detailed responses are here. Never seen anything like it on a forum board. But forgive me this is my first post here. One thing is I have to have her blessing first before I get her involved in anything. I always tell her you have got to want it and I will help you anyway imaginable. If she decides to go a different route other than USAFA or any route she will be prepared. She says she is having fun and is actually flying back from Stuttgart Germany right now after being an exchange student-her third trip to Germany. Me and my wife try to make it fun and we do it with them and we have fun as well:) Thanks for the affirmation and advice!
 
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