Spanish Lessons

It’s funny how homeschooling changes my perspective.

When I was in college finalizing my requirements for my Associate’s degree I put off the Foreign Language classes as long as possible. I’m just not good at foreign languages, I told myself, I just don’t get it.

I barely scraped through Conversational Spanish. I think I managed a B in the class, but that was only because the teacher was too kind. Plainly put, I sucked at it.

This summer as I was planning Emily’s homeschool, I looked over Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp.


I reviewed the goals for a foreign language, basically it was as follows:

  1. Simple words and phrases
  2. Greetings and the names of the numbers from one to ten
  3. The names of colors and other everyday expressions

But I started to get worried. After all, I sucked at it in college. How could I teach something I barely knew?

Also, I realized that I really wanted for Emily to have the opportunity to learn the two big ones – Spanish (Latin American version) and Mandarin. In terms of world population, these will be the biggies in terms of future marketability and growth.

I looked around and finally, inexplicably, decided that I needed to learn both languages as well. And not just sort of learn them, but really, really learn them.

I purchased Level 1 of both Pimsleur’s Spanish and Mandarin versions. Mandarin is in the closet…waiting. We have just finished Lesson Four of the Spanish Level 1 and I’m…excited.

For myself.

I’m actually…getting it…understanding it…and it is absolutely fabulous.

Entiendo y hablo un poco de espanol muy bien! (And no, I didn’t have to look that up, I KNOW it now.)

Emily sighs dramatically whenever I put a CD in the player. We drive to where we are going with me repeating and remembering. Occasionally I hear some words from her – “pardone” or “gracias, senor” and more. I think that she enjoys it more than she will admit. Meanwhile, as I learn more and more words and phrases, I am beginning to use them in our day to day interactions. For example, instead of saying “very good” I often say, “muy bien.”This allows her to learn, without any real pressure.  She can understand the word in the setting in which it is used.

The instructions for the Pimsleur language CDs say to complete each lesson to a level of 80% or so total comprehension. So far, it has been relatively easy to accomplish that requirement on my first try. I’m looking forward to going through Level 1 and then purchasing Level 2 and continuing to make progress…all the way up to Level 5.

For the first time in my life, I’m listening to Spanish conversations with curiosity and enthusiasm. What can I learn? How can I better myself?

Clark Aldrich, author of Unschooling Rules writes in Rule 30, “Every day, adults are role models of learning (whether or not they want to be).” He goes on to say, “Whatever learning activities adults want children to perform, they have to model themselves. If they want children to read novels, they have to read novels.”

So while learning Spanish might not be Emily’s first choice in things to do today or tomorrow, I will keep putting in the Spanish CDs and making progress. I am engaged actively in learning, and she can’t help but be sucked in just a little bit. And really, at this age, a little is all she needs. It will set the stage for learning in the years to come.

And check out this book, I’ll be talking more about it in upcoming posts…

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