Homeschool Online Hebrew Language Lessons

This post originally appeared on See Jamie Blog –  Reposted with permission. 

In June, Kathryn completed two years of mitzvah classes at her dad’s messianic synagogue. Her mitzvah classes included Hebrew instruction, and she enjoyed these lessons so much, she requested to continue to learn Hebrew this school year. I try to follow her interests in homeschooling when possible, but this was a subject I’d have to outsource.

online Hebrew language lessons review at See Jamie Blog

{Please note: I received six lessons in exchange for an honest review, and was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a favorable review. See disclosure page.}

Online language lessons fit our homeschool needs.

Several other homeschooling friends use online language lessons for their students, but the programs I’d looked into previously did not offer Hebrew as an option. When I discovered Hebrew tutors on italki, an online language lesson site, we were excited! However, after one half-hour lesson, Kathryn was frustrated and feeling like she knew nothing. This tutor would’ve been wonderful if she already had some fluency in conversational Hebrew, but most of her learning prior to this had been liturgical. Which is great, of course, but we hadn’t realized how little this prepared her for lessons with a native-speaking tutor.

We needed a Hebrew teacher who could start at Kathryn’s level and help her along without making her feel intimidated. I emailed Lamar in the support department at italki; he said most students try two to four teachers before choosing a long-term teacher that fits their learning needs. For our second try, we chose to work with a professional teacher, rather than a tutor.

Hebrew lessons via Skype

Kathryn was nervous at the beginning of our 15-minute introductory session to assess her level, but found herself less intimidated by these new teachers, a highly qualified husband and wife team of professional Hebrew teachers who live in Jerusalem. After her first full session with them, she enthusiastically liked Tanya and her husband Dor. By the middle of that first lesson, Kathryn felt comfortable enough to take on all conversation and interaction for the remainder of the lesson.  Dor began the first lesson with basic conversation: things like “What is your name?” and “What do you like to do?” After that, Dor led Kathryn through the beginning of a nursery story about a fat chicken that lives in a tower. Then Tanya started teaching Kathryn a song about the days of the week.

For subsequent lessons, I made sure to stay nearby but Kathryn’s comfort level progressed to the point where she didn’t need me to sit right next to her. After each lesson the teachers assigned homework to practice what they’d been teaching.

Our teachers live in a time zone seven hours different from ours. This could make scheduling a challenge because our lessons have to be weekday mornings, when the neighborhood kids are in school. With the flexibility of homeschooling, though, it has worked out just fine.

online Hebrew language lessons

Why we love italki language lessons:

Kathryn is learning from the comfort of our own home. As far as internet safety goes, she and I have discussed what is and isn’t safe online, and I stay within hearing distance — but I feel she is quite safe with the italki teachers.

Depending upon your needs, you can choose to work with a professional language teacher, or a tutor. Working with professional teachers has been best for us. Lessons with professionals are a bit costly, but still less expensive than local tutors I’ve found. An even more economical option would be using an italki tutor: great for anyone with basic language skills in need of more fluency.

There are dozens of languages to choose from: Russian, Italian, Spanish, French, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese, just to name a few! At the bottom of the italki homeschool page, there are recommendations for professional teachers who all have experience teaching children.

You can read reviews for teachers/tutors. After every session, italki users give feedback, which means teacher ratings stay current. Every professional teacher is required to upload their resume and teaching certificates, too.