The best way to learn vocabulary (and grammar for that matter) is in context, and by hearing it and using it over and over again, much the same way you learned English. The worst way (if you don’t count not bothering to try at all) is probably flipping through a German-English dictionary, copying down translations and just trying to memorize the words.
Do you remember the importance of making connections in the infographic I shared in the opening lesson? The more connections you make with each word, the more it will stick in your memory. To emphasize the point, I’ll share how I learned the word “satt.”
Now, do you think I could ever forget that word? That happened over 25 years ago, but I can still here my host mother’s sharp voice saying, “Bist du satt?”
You will be required to look up a lot of vocabulary in your German-English dictionary. It is good practice, and it will let you familiarize yourself with it for later use. But most of the assignments I give you will be to put the word you look up into some sort of context so that your brain can make connections between related vocabulary.
I strongly recommend downloading a flashcard making app such as Anki. It will allow you to put a picture of something on the front of the card and the German word on the back. This is more effective than just putting the English word because that really only teaches you to translate German, it doesn’t teach you German.
Think of it like this. If you see this:
you don’t want to think, “tree . . . the tree in English is der Baum in German.” You want to just think, “der Baum.” It’s faster and the start of truly thinking in German. Even when you get to more difficult vocabulary that may not be as clear from a picture, it is advantageous to include an illustration along with the English word to help your brain make those connections.
Are you trying to teach German to your junior high or high school students? Has it led to a frustration with the low quality of text books and language learning materials available for home study? Have you tried to utilize the amazing amount of free content available on the internet, but became overwhelmed with the choices and sheer volume of information? Those are the exact reasons I started putting this course together for my own children and decided to share it with anyone else who is seeking to teach or learn German at home. Directions for how to enroll are below! (If you have a younger student ready for an introduction to German, check out my free online German course for younger students.)
There is a forum attached to each lesson that allows you to ask questions, interact with each other and upload assignments. I will not grade these or correct them, but will provide feedback and may use the mistakes I see to guide future lessons.
What you will need:
(Note: This course is for one semester, but these materials will get you through the first year. The dictionary listed is good enough for four years of high school German.)
• A good German-English dictionary. I recommend Langenscheidt.
• A binder with five dividers.
• Bobo Siebenschläfer, von Markus Osterwalder (make sure it is the version linked). I have permission from the author to read the chapters aloud in this course, so it will serve as a nice textbook!
And consider joining the course’s facebook page for some extra practice and a chance to ask questions!
Und das wär’s! (And that’s it!) For less than the cost of a traditional textbook, you should have a pretty good German language curriculum, especially if you can find someone to practice with. I look forward to helping you learn this beautiful language!
Note: Enrolling is a two step process. First, register for the site using this form. Then click “Enroll” and you should be ready to go! You may have to scroll back down after registering.
If you have any trouble, drop me a note and I’ll be happy to help!
Before You Begin
Everything you need to get the most from this course.
Kapitel 1: Introduction to German
In this module, you will begin learning the sounds that make up the German language.
Kapitel 2: Stell dir vor!
This week, we will start learning some core vocabulary and simple sentences.
Kapitel 3: Wie geht's?
By the end of this module, you should be able to have a simple conversation, with guidance.
Kapitel 4: Bei mir zu Hause.
Round and about the house.
Kapitel 5: Meine Familie und ich.
All about your family
Kapitel 6: Was isst du gern?
Food and drink in Germany
Kapitel 7: Wir gehen einkaufen!
Getting dressed and trying things on.
Kapitel 8: Wann hast du Geburtstag?
Someone's having a party and you are invited!
Pause -- Es ist Herbstferien!
What do you like to do?
Kapitel 10: Haustiere
What time is it?
Kapitel 11: Wir gehen zur Schule
Going to school in Germany
Kapitel 12: Wie ist das Wetter?
All about the weather.
Kapitel 13: Wir gehen in die Stadt.
Out and about in a German city
Kapitel 14: Wollen wir ins Kino gehen?
Going to the movies.
Kapitel 15: Weihnachten in Deutschland.
Christmas in Germany