If you are interested in teaching your children a second language, I highly recommend you familiarize yourself with language acquisition theory, that is how languages are learned. If you understand this, you will eliminate a lot of wasted time and resources many people put into learning a language that don’t work.
This book, How Languages are Learned, comes recommended and I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my Amazon list (affiliate link).
italki.com is a wonderful resource to find both professional language teachers as well as non-professional speaking partners. I have hired teachers on several occasions, both to work with my kids as well as with myself. The main drawback is if your teacher lives in China there can be time zone coordination difficulties, but that can be overcome and you may also find some teachers who do live in the US as well.
Serge Melnyks is a Mandarin language teacher who has created a totally free Mandarin language podcast along with other downloadable resources. I really like listening to his podcast as a supplement and a way to keep the language fresh in my mind. His podcast is geared towards adults with topics such as staying in a hotel, ordering food, etc. One thing I like is that because he is not a native Mandarin speaker, and I think his accent makes it easier for me to understand the tones.
Pimsleur Chinese (affiliate link)
The Pimsleur Chinese (Mandarin) Conversational Course is awesome. I actually got my copy at the library, so even though I have this affiliate link here, you can probably just borrow one from your library, too. But some people might like to have their own copy they can use for longer than 2 weeks at a time. My Mandarin is at the point this course is really just a refresher for me, but it’s still really useful and helps to learn vocabulary and grammar in a totally natural way, that is, without memorizing rules, but by hearing the language used in a logical way. Tons of repetition ensures the language “sticks”, but circling through the vocabulary and sentences also ensures you are not bored out of your mind. Highly recommend.
TPRS Storytellling (affiliate link)
In my mind, Total Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS) and Comprehensible Input (CI) techniques are the only ways anyone should be learning a second language, especially children, who really thrive on learning in a way that is fun, interesting, and relevant. The book, Fluency Through TPR Storytelling, is geared for practitioners and teachers of a second langauge, but I think should be required reading for anyone whose children are learning a second language, to have realistic expectations and ensure their kids are getting the right training. TPRS/CI techniques are easy to learn, so if you work with a Mandarin teacher already, you can just request they use this method to teach you and your kids.
And much, much more…
Because I am a mom of 3 and this website is just starting out, I don’t have time to list every resource that I have used at the moment, so please stay tuned!