The Best Way to Learn Spanish Grammar On Your Own
Learning Spanish grammar on your own is a big decision, and you should give yourself a pat on the back for it!
I personally didn’t have to worry about the best way to learn Spanish, but the best way to learn English (since English is my second language). What I enjoyed about my experience is that the process to grammar proficiency offers a wide variety of approaches.
While the variety is nice, it also presents its own challenges—especially when you’re looking for a place to simply start. You’re probably asking yourself: How do I choose the right method for me to master Spanish grammar?
Along with that question, I’ll also explore which strategies will help you to learn Spanish grammar on your own.
What’s more, I’ll discuss the advantages of learning on your own as opposed to relying on a teacher or tutor and I’ll explore the benefits of a grammar-centered approach for mastering the second-most spoken language in the world.
What’s the Best Way to Learn Spanish?
Learning Spanish is a fascinating challenge that you can confront in different ways.
Some people move to a Spanish-speaking country, while others prefer to enroll in a traditional school. Nowadays, more and more people are making the most of the internet’s infinite resources and opting to hire an online tutor or download an app.
The truth is that any path you choose will have pros and cons, but the habits you adopt in order to achieve success should align well with your lifestyle, learning style, and facility for self-motivation.
Learning Spanish with a Teacher vs Learning Spanish on Your Own
While learning on your own is a commendable task—I’ve got to be honest with you. There are endless resources available online to learn Spanish on your own, but these materials will never be able to provide the effective language exposure that a native teacher or tutor could provide.
I know you’re determined to learn on your own, and that’s great. But hear me out!
As a longtime teacher and expert in the field of Spanish language acquisition, I know the benefits and effectiveness of Spanish immersion. Sure, you can get all the grammar instructions you may need from a book or a website. But, a language teacher provides a fertile learning space where you can activate your newly-acquired knowledge and use it in real-time.
My point is—yes, you can learn Spanish grammar on your own. But, if your goal is to master it by integrating it into your Spanish conversations, then consider connecting to a Spanish teacher or tutor.
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What’s Grammar, Anyway?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grammar is “the study of the classes of words, their inflections, and their functions and relations in the sentence.”
Personally, I prefer the description of grammar as “the system of a language that changes over time,” because it makes a point that grammar isn’t a set of predetermined rules that everyone is required to follow. Instead, grammar is a living and ever-evolving system of language elements that grammarists chase around, trying to catalog and organize into “grammar rules.”
Benefits of Focusing on Grammar
While there was a time when language teachers wondered if they should be teaching grammar at all, now there’s no doubt about it. The question is how much.
If you happen to be a beginner Spanish learner who’s making grammar your main focus, you will acquire the forms needed to understand the meaning at a later stage. It’s like a scaffolding that supports the rest of your language acquisition process. In this case, you could say that function follows form.
Besides that, your writing will be the main beneficiary of an increased focus on grammar. Your prior knowledge of the grammatical forms will give you the structure you need to polish your writing skills.
Additional benefits include better reading comprehension, a wider vocabulary, and sharpened spelling skills.
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7 Strategies for Learning Spanish Grammar on Your Own
1. Read Spanish-Related Blogs
Such as this one. (Good job, you’re already doing it!) By reading our blog at Homeschool Spanish Academy you can find quality posts about Spanish grammar written by experienced teachers and linguists. And it’s free!
If your wish is to learn Spanish grammar on your own, I can’t think of a better way to start than by reading Spanish-related blogs and websites.
2. Watch Spanish-Related Videos
Back in the day before apps, YouTube was king. And apps still haven’t come close to dethroning it. You can easily find YouTube videos about anything you might be curious about, and Spanish grammar is no exception.
Spanish Academy TV produces insightful and entertaining videos about all kinds of Spanish-related topics. From the most complex and specific grammar concept, to more lighthearted cultural themes, the content offered by this channel is always positive and helpful for those embarking on a Spanish-learning journey.
3. Download Apps
The best way to learn Spanish may be one that is always available in the palm of your hand. Downloading an app on your phone gives you the benefit of immediacy and the ability to learn Spanish at any time of day. With apps, you can study while waiting for the bus or in bed before going to sleep.
4. Use a Textbook
Sometimes, the traditional approach is the best way to learn Spanish. Textbooks follow a blueprint and are one of the most suitable tools for a grammar-centered learning process. They’re also easy to find if you know how to categorize your Spanish level. Learn about the CEFR for more details on your Spanish level since many books use this system.
5. Rely on Worksheets
Using free worksheets is another interesting way to learn Spanish on your own. You can search for the topic of your lesson on the internet and just add the word “worksheet” at the end of your search term. The results will surprise you, as lots of free printable resources are out there.
6. Read Spanish Books and Newspapers
Some say there’s no better way to learn Spanish than reading—especially if your goal is to master the grammar first. Once you pass the beginner’s phase and you’ve learned the vocabulary you need to engage in meaningful reading, you’ll be inspired to read in Spanish as often as possible.
Reading not only provides you with more vocabulary, but also shows you ways to structure your ideas, exposes you to idioms and cultural expressions, and offers a window into Spanish grammar.
In other words, instead of studying Spanish grammar, you can immerse yourself in it through reading.
7. Grammar Charts
Lastly, keep a language journal where you document all you’ve learned for quick reference. List your grammar elements using a chart. You can add a schedule to it and make sure you add at least one new topic to your chart each week. After a few months, you’ll have several subjects that you can start to combine. Because, ultimately, grammar makes no sense until you put everything together.
What do I mean by that? Let’s take, for example, the 8 parts of speech. Let’s say that you’ve studied them, you know what they are, and you have learned their functions. But knowing the parts of speech is useless unless you can apply that knowledge to create sentences and write paragraphs with them.
Grammar will only take you so far, so it’s important to make sure to apply all those forms and use scaffolding to actually write and speak in Spanish. In my opinion, finding a balanced approach between studying grammar and applying grammatical forms in real-life situations is the best way to learn Spanish.
Final Thoughts About Learning Grammar on Your Own
Remember that there’s no one “best way to learn Spanish,” but many different ways to do it. The best way is one that best fits your circumstances, needs, and goals. Be wary of “magic formulas” offering shortcuts and super quick methods that promise you fluency in a few weeks.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all. If you want to learn Spanish, it will take time and dedication, particularly if you plan to do it on your own. My recommendation is to make a plan and follow it consistently. You can always change course or look for help if you’re not getting the results you seek.
To strike up a conversation in Spanish today, sign up for a free class with us at HSA where our friendly, certified teachers are native Spanish speakers from Guatemala.
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