How to Support Your Child’s Spanish Class at Home
As parents, we want the best for our children, and that inspires us to help them reach their full potential in every way. If your child is taking Spanish classes online or at school, you are surely interested in supporting them in their studies. But how can you help them learn effectively? This article will give you practical tips that you can use at home to encourage learning, boost language skills, and promote memory retention in order to strengthen your child’s Spanish learning.
Keep a Positive Attitude!
According to leading researchers in pedagogy, the sole factor in children’s educational success is parents and their attitude towards learning. That sounds like a pretty big job for a parent! Your attitude and disposition toward your child’s language learning journey are absolutely crucial. Make sure to create a calming atmosphere, a focused environment, and remember to cultivate a loving sense of communication while engaging in your child’s studies at home. Dr. Idit Katz reports in the educational journal Learning and Individual Differences that “parents can improve a sense of competence by allowing children to structure their own tasks and by giving the child the feeling that [he or she] is loved and admired no matter how successful he or she is in math or language.” Whether or not you are fluent in Spanish is inconsequential when compared to how you feel about studying with your child. Positivity, curiosity, and willingness to dig for answers together is your first step to successfully supporting your child’s Spanish class at home.
Routines and Activities
While a positive, engaging attitude is an essential foundation to support language learning, it’s important to consider which practical methods, routines, and activities will work for you. Check out this list of ideas that you could try out:
- Dedicate a specific amount of time to Spanish learning on a daily basis. Our lives are busy, but even so, it’s important to spend at least 15 minutes a day (or even better, 30!) engaged in Spanish content. Practice vocabulary, review class notes and quiz them on new words and phrases with flashcards. Regular practice is a powerful key to success!
- Ask your child to teach you Spanish. This method is called simply Learning By Teaching, it requires your child to explain the new information to you correctly in a lesson format and have you respond as the student. This boosts the child’s understanding of the material and stimulates their sense of initiative.
- Seek out Hispanic or Spanish cultural events as often as possible. Some ideas include volunteering with a charity, searching for Hispanic- and Spanish-inspired restaurants to try new food, and taking salsa dancing classes together.
- Ask your child’s teacher for resources. Connect to your child’s teacher in person or through email and ask how you can help at home. More often than not, your child’s teacher will be thrilled to assist you with extra resources.
- Provide a Spanish-rich environment at home. Regularly incorporate Spanish videos, books, and songs into your child’s life. The themes can relate to what your child is learning at school or not. Ultimately, the extra exposure will be tremendously beneficial. (Check out our lists of books for teens, books for elementary, books for preschool, songs for teens, and songs for young children)
- Encourage direct Spanish language experience outside of the classroom. If you know a native Spanish speaker, ask them to come over and chat with your child. Sign up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy and have them talk with one of our certified Guatemalan teachers. You could also enroll your child in a language camp, a study abroad program, or a foreign exchange program. Nothing is more long-lasting than real-life experience!
- Host a Spanish night at home. Find some delicious Spanish recipes (even better if you read them in Spanish!) to make, set up Spanish learning games (like Mexican bingo, or see more examples below), and invite friends and classmates over.
- Find Spanish apps that your child enjoys. The interactive nature of Spanish apps on any device usually succeeds in holding your child’s attention for longer periods. Look together for apps that you love, or check out our list for ideas!
- Use the internet to your advantage. Find online video games, podcasts, listening comprehension tools, and conjugation trainers to reinforce particular areas of language learning that will benefit your child.
A game is a structured activity or form of play whereby players attempt to reach a specific goal (such as winning or learning). By choosing the right games to reinforce Spanish, you will enhance your child’s communication skills, improve their cognitive development, and promote building social skills. For very busy families, setting aside one night a week to play language-related games is an important aspect of supporting your child’s Spanish class at home. Here is a list of fun and educational Spanish games that you can enjoy!
Spanish Word Snake – (2 or more players) The first player jots down a word in Spanish. The next player must begin their word with the last letter of the previous word. Write it down in the form of a long snake to see how big it grows! If your child knows a great deal of vocabulary, amp up the challenge by starting each word with the last syllable of the previous word.
Spanish Pictionary – (2 or more players) Using a paper, pen, and a timer, each player gets a chance to draw a verb, noun or phrase that they want the other players to guess. You can lower the difficulty by using only nouns, only animals (for example), or you can increase the difficulty by broadening the possible categories.
Spanish Hangman – (2 or more players) Using the rules of the traditional game, simply choose only Spanish words. With each incorrect guess, the hangman’s body parts are drawn until he ‘dies’ and the guessing player loses. Like Pictionary, you can lower or increase the difficulty by changing the available categories to choose a word from.
Veo, Veo – (2 or more players) This is just like “I Spy” but slightly different. Player one says, Veo, veo (I see, see) while the second player (or the group) replies, ¿Qué ves? (What do you see?), and the original player continues, una cosita (a little thing). Each player must guess what it is by trying to identify its features or location, such as ¿Es rojo? (Is it red?), ¿Está abajo del árbol? (Is it under the tree?). You can make the answer easier to guess for beginners by giving a clue: una cosita roja or una cosita pequeña.
The Sweet Support of Family
Encouraging your child to excel in their Spanish studies is one of the best gifts you can give them as a parent. Bring your family together with games and activities that inspire learning and help your child succeed through new studying routines. If you would like to see your child speaking Spanish to a native speaker, sign them up for a free online class at Homeschool Spanish Academy. They will be speaking Spanish by the first class, guaranteed!
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