Saturday, October 29, 2005


I'd like my children to learn Spanish. I don't know the language myself and I'd like to learn. I keep monitoring the class offerings in the area, but with a 3 year-old, I don't think now is the right time for it. I'd like for us all to take classes together in the future.

So for now, I'm strewing Spanish. Some things we have around the house:

A CD of Spanish songs by Twin Sisters productions that cover the basics like colors and the days of the week. There is also an alphabet song, which blew my mind, because I'd never known there was a different alphabet in Spanish. Its not much different, but it was news to me (I took 3 years of Latin in high school). I picked this up for a few bucks at TJ Maxx. It includes a little book with song lyrics and activities. We have some other Twin Sisters tapes that I got from Christian Book Discounters on sale. One of them is about Chemistry -- its pretty funny, I think. Another is about safety and another is about zoo animals.

Muzzy video tapes -- these are always being marketed to homeschoolers and we receive mailings about the program now and then. I got these for free at a homeschool curriculum swap. Each level contains about 4 or 6 videotapes and some workbooks. The videos are various cartoons in Spanish and there is a corresponding English version. I think the idea is to plop the kid down and have them watch and just absorb. I have Level II and my friend grabbed Level I. I may try to swap to see what Level I is like. Level II is okay, but there are a couple of creepy characters that didn't really jazz my kids, so I don't know if I want to fork out the bucks to buy this.

Leap Frog Leap Pad and Spanish workbook -- we have one of these toys and I bought the Spanish workbook. I must say, Suzanne, 5, does not play with this toy much at all. Every now and then, she'll pull out the Leap Pad and play with it over the course of a few days, but then its gets put away for awhile. She has several books that go with this, so I'm not sure that she even used the Spanish one much. I would note that we have a few of the Leap's Pond books (from Marshall's) and they include a bit of Spanish in each.

A few years ago, we got a bilingual doll who teaches some Spanish words. The kids don't play with her much, but when they did, I can't say they either learned much or that they retained it. Maybe they did. At this point, I must note, that I like it when products have both audio and visual components -- I'd fault this doll on not having an accompanying book to see the words she was saying.

I recently got an Usborne video, First Fun with Spanish. It follows the Usborne book, First Hundred Words in Spanish (which we don't have). For $15, I figured I'd give the video a try. Its animated and follows a little girl through her day with her family. The family is Spanish speaking and she is bilingual, so she translates. Its pretty interesting, but I grew tired of it after awhile. However, I'm glad to have it and think I may pop it it now and then and see what we learn. Getting the book is probably a good idea, but I don't have an Usborne rep and don't feel like looking for one. I suppose if I come across a vendor at a fair or something, I might pick it up. However, the Scholastic book clubs are offering First Thousand Words in Spanish for less than $5, I think, so I think we'll get that. I kind of like Usborne books, but they don't seem to do anything for my kids, so I try to limit my purchases.

I'm always reading homeschooling books for their suggestions on teaching foreign languages. I really enjoyed the tips in Homeschooling on a Shoestring. It advised to first just listen to the language to get a feel for it. It suggested getting a Spanish instruction tape from the library and just listening to it for about 15 minutes on a daily basis for awhile before even attempting to learn the language.

We're planning to participate in a Spanglish play with a friend on mine. She taught a Spanish class last year that we missed, I hope she teaches one in the future.


H. Stallard said...

If it were me, I'd pick up a few everyday common phrases in spanish and start using them in my everyday conversation with my kids. That way both you and the kids would be picking it up.

Marjorie said...

Thanks for the good idea! One of her toys sings "Hola, Amigos -- Hello, friends!" Thats about all I do right now.

mike said...

i would highly recommend finding an authentic mexican (or other kind) of restaurant. Take the fam. The game is that no one speaks english. :) Hey...when you're hungry you will learn a new language in a hurry. I did this in Germany. Within a week I could speak a little german, hindi, italian and greek. I was working on communicating with the Turkish dude that ran the kabob stand outside the train station too. :)

Marjorie said...

Yum -- thats a tasty idea! Thanks.