Learning Spanish With Purpose
India-born and living in the United States, I had one big goal for my children:
To learn another language.
They started learning Spanish in a Montessori school, but once we switched to homeschooling I knew I had to keep it going. But I had one big problem—I didn’t speak Spanish!
I poured my heart into watching YouTube videos, printing grammar worksheets, and planning Spanish lessons for my kids. I tried hard, but I knew something wasn’t right.
The fact is, you can’t teach what you don’t know. And I was trying to teach my kids a language while simultaneously trying to learn it from scratch.
If you can relate, keep reading!
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Homeschool Spanish Academy to the Rescue
I needed a more robust program that emphasized fluent speech, writing, and reading skills. Then I found Homeschool Spanish Academy—and our Spanish instruction at home has become 100 times more satisfying!
One year later, we’ve enjoyed over 40 classes with them, and my kid has come a long way since we started. She is pretty confident in her knowledge, and the tables have now turned. We are now recipients of mini-lessons.
I’m sharing this story because I believe that parents need to teach their children a second language sooner than later. There is tremendous benefit in learning a language early in life. I’ve experienced its advantages as a child. I lived in Europe for a few years and quickly picked up French from attending a French-speaking school. I can still speak the language today, and it has to do with the fact that I practiced speaking the language outside of my learning environment.
My sisters and I conversed in French at home for many years. Language cannot just be learned in a classroom. The key to long-term understanding and retention of any language comes from engaging with it in various ways. You can do several things to speed up learning fluency if you have a proactive approach.
Approaching a New Language
I’ve seen homeschoolers use Spanish Programs that are ‘open and go’ with workbook format. I find it hard to imagine that picking up a language in that manner is the most effective way. While it may be the case for a few, it’s not the most practical way. Then, there are programs such as Homeschool Spanish Academy. I want to persuade you with a plug-in for interactive, immersive, and experiential learning programs such as this.
Homeschool Spanish Academy is taught by native speakers who conduct these lessons live and virtually. During the one-on-one lessons, your child is involved in back and forth dialogue in Spanish, immersed in the language, and exposed to the accurate pronunciation and the native accent. All of these we tend to overlook, but they are essential to speaking fluently.
A lesson with Homeschool Spanish Academy includes a grammar component, vocabulary, and dialogue. Lately, my child’s classes involve reading and conversation. Since she is a school-going kid, we dedicate one evening to Spanish. But as a full-time homeschooler, she used to do two lessons a week.
So how does my kid continue the learning momentum on days when she does not have a class? I will share our little secret to continuous learning and practice, and I hope you will try these out at home.
After a lesson with Homeschool Spanish Academy, my child is assigned homework. We print them off, and my child writes out the answers in Spanish, which can undoubtedly be a challenge but gives her the ability to seek out what she is unfamiliar with proactively, and know it for good. We keep all these worksheets in one folder, and she will also review them before a quiz.
Keep in mind that speaking, writing, and reading are all different skills in the art of learning the language. Explicit practice in all areas is essential in building each skill. The key is to follow up after a lesson to not forget what was taught.
I like to keep a Spanish Dictionary handy; we use Merriam-Webster’s dictionary with English-Spanish-English translations.
We also love using Spanish Dict. It provides the proper pronunciation of words which is essential when reading. Dictionaries are the most convenient tools you can have when learning a new language. You want one that translates both ways.
Sometimes, when we are sitting at the table for dinner or driving in the car – I like to ask my kid if she knows the Spanish word for a certain something. If she doesn’t know it, we look it up in the dictionary, and we all learn a new word together. That’s how we learned that ‘oruguitas’ means ‘caterpillars’ and ‘mariposas’ means ‘butterflies.’ We can thank Encanto for the beautiful song “Dos Oruguitas.”
Reading Spanish Books
The next best thing you can do is to read. We don’t do this as frequently, but we try when time permits.
- We have several Spanish-English children’s books that we once received through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program, and I’m so thankful they included these selections.
- I once had a teacher from HSA send me a PowerPoint book that my kid had to read for homework. It is a great way to practice applying lessons taught and putting words into context, especially new vocabulary.
- I recently came across Storyweaver, a website that offers free books in several languages. You can check them out at this link. They have English-Spanish books for easy comprehension and translation. While these may not be decodable, they are simple enough, and you can pick your reading level. Reading improves our reading comprehension, increases our vocabulary, and enhances fluency in reading and writing. All these benefits apply to learning any language.
Children’s Spanish Programs
There are so many Spanish-immersed Children’s programs. Amazon Prime and PBS are two good places to find popular kids’ shows in Spanish. Today, we have diversity in entertainment, and kids are now experiencing cultural and linguistic diversity in the shows they watch. My kids love the new PBS program Alma’s way, which is about Alma, a Puerto Rican kid living in the Bronx with her family. They throw in lots of Spanish words in their conversations. Go check out if you have not seen it.
Lastly, We learn Latin (specifically Latin stems) using Michael Clay Thompson’s Language Arts Program. Latin stems highlight the close resemblance to Spanish words, and this has been an exciting way of learning about the derivation of languages and the interconnected networks between multiple languages.
Spanish is a Romance Language, while English is not, yet there is so much resemblance in both these languages because of its root – Latin. When we study these lessons, we take the time to read the Spanish words and phrases because we are learning Spanish as a second language, and allowing the world of language to unfold in front of us.
It’s Time To Learn Spanish!
If you homeschool your child, know that there are many ways you can make learning meaningful, fun, and engaging. If you wonder when is the time to learn a new language – the answer is NOW. If you are wondering what a class with Homeschool Spanish looks like, here is a link to a free class that you can schedule at your own time.
I hope this post was helpful to you. Make sure to follow me on Instagram for more on our homeschool journey. You can also visit my website for lots of parenting articles, homeschool content, and other topics.
Join one of the 40,000 classes that we teach each month and you can experience results like these
“It’s a great way to learn Spanish, from native Spanish speakers in a 1-on-1 environment. It’s been fairly easy to schedule classes around my daughter’s other classes. The best value for us has been ordering multiple classes at a time. All the instructors have been great!”
– Cindy D, Parent of 3
“It’s great being able to interact with native speaking people and having a conversation with them not just doing all the work on paper. It’s also an amazing opportunity to speak with native Spanish-speaking people without having to travel to a native Spanish-speaking country.”
“My Son, Heath, is taking the classes. He’s been with Luisa the entire time and we absolutely love her. She is always patient and is a great teacher. Heath’s dad speaks Spanish so they get to have little conversations.”
– William R, Parent of 3
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