Are you a homeschooling parent wanting to teach your child Spanish, but don’t speak the language yourself? If so, you’ll need to learn a tiny bit about language acquisition, and also some key components of what to look for in a Spanish kids program. Here at TruFluency Kids Spanish Immersion, we’ve been teaching and learning languages since 1996, so we hope to impart this knowledge and make it easy to get started with a program that’s best for your family. This post contains three tips to make your child’s Spanish homeschooling learning experience a great one, and provide recommendations for programs that are sure to get your child speaking Spanish in no time.
Tip #1: Learn a Little About Language Acquisition
Your child won’t learn Spanish overnight, but that doesn’t mean that you should give up hope. Remember that failure is a natural part of language acquisition and it’s important to stay patient with your child as they explore new concepts. If you find yourself getting frustrated, remember that learning a new language takes time and certain methods are more effective than others. Fluency can take upwards of 400 plus hours having everyday, natural interactions with the language, so keep your expectations realistic. If you’re doing 2 hours a week, that would be 100 hours a year. That’s a great pace!
THE CASE FOR IMMERSION & COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT
Research shows that an immersive approach to language acquisition can lead to native-level fluency. You might be thinking that immersive learning is only possible if you live in a Spanish-speaking country or speak Spanish in your home, but there are many ways to get creative with immersion without even leaving your town! To take a more immersive approach to language learning, consider incorporating these key points into your child’s language learning journey:
- Learning vocab for real-life scenarios with short phrases with comprehensible input. Think about the English words that your child uses every day and focus on learning the Spanish equivalents; this will make learning more engaging and most importantly, more useful.
- Speaking in a low-stakes environment. Let your child know that it’s ok to make mistakes and encourage them to keep speaking.
- Listening and conversing with native speakers. This can be achieved through a language learning program or by connecting with people in your community.
Your main focus shouldn’t be learning complicated grammar and mastering conjugations. Instead, focus your efforts on getting your child to listen to and speak as much Spanish as possible (just like their first language!); this will help them build confidence, stay engaged, and get them more enthusiastic about learning. Keep in mind that you can always focus on grammatical rules later on when your child already has a firm grasp on fluency. In formal school, we don’t start grammar lessons until we are 10 years old or more, which is about 6 years from when we started speaking the language well. Give your kids 6 years to immerse, please.
Tip #2: Find The Program That’s Right For You
We are lucky enough to live in an age where Spanish learning and teaching resources can be found online, from the comfort of your own home. No matter your child’s age, schedule, or homeschool routine, you can find a Spanish learning program that fits your family’s needs.
An online Spanish school or local afterschool Spanish program is a great option for families looking to immerse their child in small, conversational Spanish classes of, optimally, 2-6 students, in order to get real-time feedback from a native Spanish speaker.
Real interactions with native speakers provide your child with the opportunity to connect with other students while still receiving personalized support.
We also recommend a fun subscription box, like The Cultured Kid’s Spanish program if you are interested in providing your homeschool child with play-based, listening-focused activities that take the pressure off and encourage them to learn a language by having fun.
Once you have found a program that works for you and your child, consistency is key. The more practice your child has, the better. Try including lessons into your child’s schedule at least three times a week to ensure they are retaining the information they have covered in class. If you can’t commit to more than two classes a week, don’t worry! A little bit of practice is always better than nothing. If you feel like your child is getting behind, try supplementing their lessons with a Spanish book at snack time, or starting their morning with their favorite Netflix show dubbed in Spanish.
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Tip #3: Look For Support In Your Local Community
REACH OUT FOR SUPPORT
Just because you are a homeschooling parent doesn’t mean your child has to navigate their language acquisition journey alone! Look to your community for help and support and try to involve yourself in local Spanish gatherings as much as possible. Here are a few ways you can start looking to your community for Spanish support:
Find out if any of your neighbors speak Spanish, and if they do, ask them if they would like to meet up at the park and practice speaking with you and your child!
Keep an eye out for Spanish-language story hours at your local library and connect with other families who attend.
Ask your local librarian to guide you through your library’s Spanish-language collection. Pick a few books that you can read with your child at home!
Remember that you don’t have to take all of these steps at the same time; focus on one task and set small, achievable goals for you and your child. Maybe this means joining a Spanish storytime group in the Spring, and waiting until the Fall to connect with Spanish neighbors; you might find that joining one group can naturally lead to making more Spanish connections in your community without even trying.
TruFluency Kids Is Here To Help Homeschooling Kids Reach Fluency
As a homeschooling parent, you might feel alone in your efforts to teach Spanish to your child. The good news is that our team at TruFluency Kids is here to help. Our team knows that learning Spanish takes time, but we also know that the journey can be just as enjoyable as the reward. We use the Bellieu Method at TruFluency Kids, which focuses on getting children to listen to and speak as much Spanish as possible, using everyday words and stories with questions. If you want to try and incorporate a structured lesson plan that connects your child with native speakers, take a look at our Spanish class schedule and try one for free with promo code TFKNEWS!