Our family has decided that this is the year we will learn a second language.
My stepdaughter is in public school, but she doesn’t have foreign language classes. (Budget cuts maybe?) And my homeschooled kids haven’t had any foreign language instruction yet, despite the fact that their father speaks French (due to his Canadian citizenship) – something I’ll never quite forgive him for!
We decided on Spanish for several reasons.
For one, my husband speaks a little. Second, his father and step mother are fluent (Julia is Costa Rican, and my FIL, though he’s as gringo as they come, speaks fluent Spanish to the point that his English is now sketchy. They reside in Costa, and visiting them is definitely on the to-do list! Not to mention we would be able to communicate with Julia, who speaks no English, and would have built in cheerleaders and coaches).We also have several good friends who are either native Spanish speakers or who speak it conversationally, so we would be able to use our skills on a regular enough basis to keep most of it.
Third, the United States is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico. Also, Spanish is easier to learn than many other languages, and far more practical.
I have been teaching the kids colors and a few vocabulary words in Spanish, but we’re mostly in the research phase of the best way to go about learning Spanish as a family.
I will likely invest in some adult classes. My knowledge of Spanish is muy poquito, so it would probably take me months of daily study to catch up with hubby. I’ve heard great things about Rosetta Stone, but it’s quite expensive, and I think I would do better with the built in accountability of a weekly class and teacher.
Hiring a tutor to come to the house and tutor the kids is prohibitively expensive, unless I’m able to convince a friend to help me out inexpensively (H.G. you know who you are!).
Have you learned Spanish or another second language as a family? How did you go about it?
It was put together by the Isabella and Ferdinand folks, who started a Spanish language learning program for kids.
The CD contains original songs used by the Isabella and Ferdinand teachers in their classes for children.
There are several things I really like about the CD.
First of all, the songs are catchy and vibrant, and the kids really enjoy them (I was worried about this at first. I feared the older kids wouldn’t think the music was “cool” enough, but I was wrong!).
My oldest son immediately loved Track 2 (The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria). It sounds a little like it belongs on the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean. A little regal, and dark. And Pirate-y. That’s because the song is about Christopher Colombus, el capitan, a la conquista de America. He has been studying the liner notes (with lyrics in English and Spanish side by side) several times a day. My favorite song is Track 5, about the Aztec Market. (Is it funny that my favorite song is basically about grocery shopping? LOL) It’s beautiful.
That’s another thing. All the songs have to do with Spanish and Latin heritage and history, which has led to some great discussions about these cultural icons. Some examples: Frida Kahlo (we had a great time reading about her life and viewing some of her art online, which led to a discussion about communism, etc), Diego Rivera, Don Quijote, and more.
Teaching something with song is obviously very effective. I’ve often wished I could remember scripture chapter and verse the way I can remember old Beatles songs! Putting rhyming words to a catchy beat makes memorization almost effortless.
I’ve also been surprised at how much my 5 year old hears in the songs. Several times a day she asks me a question like,
“Mommy what’s that word for girl again?”
“Mommy what does ‘oh-tra vays’ mean?”
“Otra vez, it means again.”
We’re picking up vocabulary without even trying.
Anyway, it’s been a fun jumpstart to our adventure in learning Spanish as a family.
Please leave suggestions in the comments area or link to a great post from your own site if you have any recommendations! Thanks!