It’s a new year and a great time to begin teaching your kids Spanish or refresh your ongoing efforts. Knowing the following insights may be just the encouragement you need to get started or continue with renewed enthusiasm.
- Kids can begin learning a foreign language at any age, but before age 10 is ideal. The child’s brain is in a flexible state that allows him to internalize a new language more easily. Have you ever noticed how people from other countries seem to know English so well? This is usually because learning English begins in elementary school.
- Becoming fluent takes many years. It is only reached within a year or two if your child is immersed in it 24/7. Knowing this helps you to have a realistic perspective and approach this as a long term effort similar to learning how to play an instrument. No pressure to “hurry up and become fluent”. Aim for reaching fluency by adulthood. That is usually the time in life when parents believe fluency will best serve their children.
- Beginning in middle school is still good. The middle school years give kids time to build foundations so they excel in high school and have a richer language learning experience.
- Beginning prior to high school puts time on your side! You can put together a plan that allows you to teach your kids Spanish at a non-stressful pace. Just keep continuity as you organize yourself. Practice twice or more a week. Examples: 20-30 min./twice a week, 15-20 min/three times a week, 10-20 min/four times, etc. Once a week does not provide enough continuity.
- If you fall off the wagon, all is not lost. Look at the big picture. Did you keep things going most weeks? If so, you’re good. When you do fall off, just do a little review to get back into the swing.
It is ok to take breaks. Take the summer off, spring break, or holiday time. Breaks are good! We regroup. We rejuvenate. We come back with renewed enthusiasm. Just review a little when you return.
- Last, choose a program that interests you and your kids. It doesn’t matter if it is the one everyone else is using or not. When we force ourselves to do things the way others are doing them, we rob ourselves of the joy of experiencing things in the way that fits us. Language learning is a long journey. Make it your own, and trust that over time it will all come together.
If you ever have questions about getting yourself started, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at email@example.com. I would be happy to help!