Five Tips on How to Keep Up with Spanish During Breaks and Vacations
Family vacations are wonderful, but they are also an excuse to stay as far away from a textbook as possible. Why study at the beach or conjugate verbs at the amusement park? It turns out, there are many beneficial reasons to squeeze in a bit of learning while on break. If you go on your trip armed with a few basic tools, your child can get back into class speaking more Spanish, not less. Here are five tips to help your child keep up with Spanish on your next trip.
1. Consider the Destination
Think about where you plan to go and see if there is some way to confront your child with Spanish. This is a great chance to help them practice Spanish in a way that not only puts them on the spot, something that lets them see why being bilingual is important, but it’s also a fun experience to put their hard work into action.
Can you go somewhere that has a Spanish-speaking community or is bilingual? Would a trip to Mexico or somewhere further south be possible? If you can’t leave the country, find places that are more diverse and less reliant on English for either a day trip or an extended stay to challenge your child.
2. Associate Language with Food
Do some research and find a place that serves food from a Latin country or Spain and ask for the menu in Spanish. Better yet, make friends with the waiters and see if one or two will help your child with some basic conversation about food. Help your learner feel like a true international with more language – and a highly refined palette. You’ll be surprised how a just few sentences spoken in Spanish can increase your service.
3. Post and Share in Spanish
A huge part of vacation is photos. Let your learner be your personal social media manager, but insist that every second or third post be done in Spanish. They can share their best moments on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and practice some writing skills in a fun, low-risk, way. They’ll be taking and sharing photos anyway, why not capitalize on their interest and make it time for language practice?
4. Find a Language Community
If you’re on a break from studies at home, you can use time away from class to keep your children interested in Spanish.
Try a cultural center, a local church or co-op to give your learner a group to speak with away from class. These groups will be mostly adults, so email first and ask the organizer if a younger speaker can try a meeting with a chaperone.
Nearby homeschooling communities are generally really friendly and usually are very welcoming to visitors.
5. Start Your Own Group
Rather than find a group to join, reach out to friends and neighbors who also have children learning Spanish and host a meeting of your own. Invite a guest speaker or design a fun lesson on your own. Try the site Teacherspayteachers.com for an instant Spanish lesson or show a short film in Spanish and then lead a discussion. This is your chance to do something more fun and laid back so enjoy it.
Have other ways to help children (or adults!) keep up with Spanish while vacationing? Share them with the HSA community by commenting below!
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