Our Homeschool Spanish Learning Experience in Rural America
Learning a foreign language here in America has been a requirement for high school graduation for such a long time that it’s blended into the static noise of earning a high school diploma.
One may wonder, “what am I really benefiting from learning a foreign language—such as Spanish—especially when I live in a predominantly English speaking area? What if I never travel? Work with people of a different dialect?”
I feel these are all questions of the past, especially when our society is becoming more global, but a person may not see all the benefits of learning a foreign language based on their geographical location, demographic, career choice, or experiences.
In this blog post, my goal is to show you how learning a foreign language like Spanish can benefit your homeschool student in more ways than meets the eye.
Our Homeschooling Journey to Spanish
Hi there, my name is Nicole, a homeschooling mama of two who lives in a very rural area of the United States where the predominant language spoken is English. At the beginning of my homeschooling journey, I knew that I wanted to have a foreign language in front of my children at an early age.
Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language
According to the World Literacy Foundation, learning a second language at a young age can benefit a child in many ways. For one, it is much easier for a child to learn a second language as opposed to adults because their brains are just beginning to develop making it easier for them to grasp the concepts.
The challenge of learning a second language also increases their level of perception and inquisitiveness, which improves learning in all other academic areas. Learning a second language also increases a child’s creativity as compared to their counterparts, and it gives the opportunity to open doors to learning about different cultures.
Making Real Life Connections Through Foreign Language
Helping a child see beyond their own backyard can be challenging, especially if you live in a place where there is one dominant culture. We live in a very rural area and although we do visit a nearby metropolitan city where many cultures reside, our backyard mainly consists of one dominant culture.
In one sense, this allows a child to really absorb their own cultural roots and establish a sense of belonging, however, I think it is important for children to learn about how other people live.
Since signing our six-year-old up for Spanish classes through Homeschool Spanish Academy we’ve opened up the opportunity for our daughter to not only learn another language but learn about the countries in which Spanish is spoken. Most of all, our daughter’s curiosity about her teacher’s culture has been powerful and inspiring.
Her list of questions goes on and on: “Where does my teacher live?” What’s the weather like?” Does everyone speak Spanish there? What about English?” What kind of foods do they eat?”
Curiosity-Driven, Self-Directed Learning
Many trips to the library later, we’ve read about different countries in South America, cookbooks on Mexican food, as well as traditional Latin American dances and music.
As a homeschool mom, I’m always one step ahead though.
It’s all fine to read about these things in books, but how can I bring it to life in my daughter’s world today? Sure I could book a flight to South America and take the whole family on vacation to a Spanish-speaking country so that my daughter can get the full experience, but that’s not always feasible.
As my daughter started learning more about Spanish and recognizing common words and phrases, I began encouraging her to keep an ear out for Spanish when we’re out in public places. At the grocery store, library, park, and low and behold, we went to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky for a family trip and as we were walking about looking at all the exhibits, my daughter heard a Spanish-speaking family and brought it to my attention.
With all the noise in the building, it was hard to make out exactly what was being said, but it allowed us to connect to another culture in an indirect way and because we’ve come to understand the language a little bit more, we have more respect and appreciation for the language and the people who speak it.
Connecting Cultures, Building Values
I think for my daughter, it’s helped her realize that even though people may speak a different language, look different, dress differently, and eat different foods, behind the differences we’re all the same on the inside, and that is really what makes it all worthwhile.
My Goals for Our Future of Spanish Learning
So where do we go from here? My goal is to hopefully connect with a Spanish-speaking family in our area making long-lasting friendships while all the while absorbing all the many beautiful things about another person’s culture. And of course, we’ll keep taking Spanish classes through Homeschool Spanish Academy, which has brought native Spanish into our home and boosted my daughter’s fluency by leaps and bounds.
Expand Your Child’s World Learning Spanish With Native Speakers
Among the countless benefits of speaking Spanish is it allows you to talk to more people. According to CNN, in the United States, there are around 53 million people who speak Spanish, making the US the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
You can start to perfect your Spanish fluency today by joining our one-on-one classes with certified Spanish teachers from Guatemala. Sign up today at HSA for a free trial class and benefit from our flexible schedules and personalized lessons and packages. You can trust us as we have been providing reliable, professional services to Spanish learners for over 10 years.
Want more free Spanish lessons, fun content, and easy learning strategies for kids? Check these out!
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- Our Homeschool Spanish Learning Experience in Rural America - September 10, 2021