Teaching (and Learning) Spanish
May 2, 2018
Hey Mama,

When they’re still small, it’s hard to believe our littles will ever get big—but my, how time flies! Before we know it, they’re in high school looking at electives and prepping for college—and we think, “What am I doing? I don’t know anything about teaching (or for that matter learning) a foreign language!”

But, you know what? “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) That’s a reward no one can take away. You may not feel like the most qualified Mama in the world to teach Spanish or any other language—but, trust me, you’re the perfect person—because you KNOW these kids of yours. You understand their limitations, their gifts, their current place of discipline and how they best receive instruction and academics in general. You're perfect, Mama!

So take heart, you can learn right alongside them all the while encouraging them to persevere—because in the end, the reward is worth it. Don’t believe me? Read what the experienced have to say from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine :

And remember, Mama, when you see that little smile . . .

One day that smile will be the same sweet mouth but bigger. Same squishy face but more mature. Same wide eyes but looking at you in a different light. Same head but much bigger. A deeper voice, one that speaks to you in a different “language” than now. See those little hands that hold yours tightly? Someday, those hands will match your own in size . . . or be much larger. They will still hold yours.

Invest. Be available. Keep doing what you already are—because it’s working. It will pay off. Nothing is more important in this life right now than the call of Motherhood, the call of serving your family, the call of loving your husband, the call of being a Daughter of the King and simply walking under His wing, following His Word. Do not lose that momentum. Never lose that perspective, either.

See that tiny heart you are shaping today? In future days, it will look much different; it will, in turn, beat strong and true and minister to your own heart. You have done the work of a faithful Mama. They'll rise up and call you blessed.

Stay the course because there is so much PURPOSE, so much harvest you will see. JOY is yours! Keep your eyes on the Lord; as always, His hand is on your head. And He will never leave you.

Sarah Wall
French is our official second language here in Canada. If you live east of Manitoba and went to public school, you probably took at least one French class as a child. But most of us don’t remember much, and so teaching it is like teaching trigonometry. Unless you’re an expert, you can feel like it’s over your head. What’s a homeschooler to do when you want to teach your children something you don’t know?

Outsource it!

Thankfully, we live in an age where technology can rescue even the ones, who, like my father, speak French as “mercy buckets.” If you have no idea about a second language, French or otherwise, there are options available!

There are live classes through sites like OutSchool or Schoolhouse Teachers . You and your children can sit in and learn to speak a second language together from a native speaker or teacher.

There are programs such as Rosetta or Duolingo that let you learn languages through interactive games, stories, quizzes, and other activities on your computer. These are more flexible than the classes, so you can learn at your own pace.

You could see what’s available in your local homeschool community. Does someone offer classes locally? Or is French part of a local homeschool coop? Let someone else teach your kids for you. 

Get Creative!

Sometimes you need to think outside the box to find the way to learn. Maybe there’s a resource in your local area that will help you, or maybe you can find unconventional tools that work better for your family. For example, if you live near a university, perhaps you could arrange for a tutor from their languages department to hold conversation groups with your local homeschool coop or support group.

Maybe you could connect with a family new to Canada, who speaks French fluently. Invite them over and learn their language; while they learn English. Not only do you learn more from real speakers, but you’ll make new friends and gain exposure to other cultures as well.

A great way to learn a language is through continuous exposure. Listen to well-loved audio books in French instead of English. Watch your favorite movies in French—many DVD or Blueray discs now come with alternate language versions. Listen to French radio, both talk and music.

Learning French is doable!

What a great time to learn along with your kids!

Sarah is a single parent of 6, from infancy to teenager, including two special needs children. She and her princesses live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where they enjoy homeschooling, playing, and growing together as a family. She runs  XeraSupport.com ,  a virtual business support agency from home and helps other women start businesses. Sarah blogs at  www.RaisingRoyalty.ca   and you can find her on Facebook or Twitter  @RaisingRoyals , or on Instagram or Pinterest  @xerarose. 
Communicate confidently in a new language! 

Learning a language involves four skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. A well-constructed language learning program incorporates instruction and practice in all four of these areas. “Receptive skills” (listening and reading), where students are receiving information, tend to be easier for early learners because they can glean general meaning from recognized words and often get visual or auditory cues (pictures, tone of voice, etc.) that help comprehension. “Productive skills” (speaking and writing), where students are producing language, can take more time to master, but there are fun ways to practice along the way. Mistakes are a natural part of learning, and I always encourage students to take risks to get their meaning across. Have you ever tried to explain something and momentarily forgot a key word? Were you able to make yourself understood? Your student can do the same thing in any world language! Having the confidence to communicate, even with some errors, is key to speaking a new language successfully. 

Oral presentations help students to gain such confidence. One of the very best presentation formats is the tried and true “show and tell,” a format that allows students to draw on favorite topics of interest while offering a wonderful setting to speak the target language in front of peers or siblings (or even the mirror!). So, ask your students to bring one of their favorite objects, a photo of something or someone important to them, or even a map. Set a limit of thirty or maybe forty-five seconds. Keep these “show and tell” moments short and fun, encouraging students to be creative by using the vocabulary from the current unit in their presentations. The more they are using their new language, the more comfortable, and confident, they will become along the path to fluency. 

Founded by educators, Breaking the Barrier provides print and digital instruction in Spanish, French, and English for Spanish speakers. We blend the rigor of serious content with simplicity, clarity, and a student-friendly voice. The tone is informal and conversational—a one-on-one session between teacher and student, perfectly suited to a homeschool setting. By the end of our series, students have practiced every important topic in the Spanish, French, or English language. They will have the confidence to read, write, and speak fluently. 

The Homeschool Package offers a complete three-level curriculum—Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. You’ll find our workbook, recordings from native speakers, answer key, tests, and our handy Oasis Travel Dictionary. Enjoy! 
Add valuable language learning to your homeschool or co-op classes next year with Spanish for You! Learn more about our affordable, reusable, and flexible Spanish materials today!
Hey Mom,

If you've been reading THM for any length of time, you can almost bet the farm on what I'm going to say regarding the topic of teaching and learning Spanish. If you thought I would say something about how you're smart enough to know what your kids need, and if you want to teach Spanish—great! But if you don't, that's okay, too! You'd be spot on—because that’s what I believe with all my heart.

As I travel to homeschool conventions this time of year, I find myself feeling . . . um . . . “agitated” by all the expert advice telling us what our children NEED in order to survive and compete in this world of ours.

Truth is—YOU are the EXPERT when it comes to your children! If you have children who love languages and have a proclivity (first time I've ever used that word) to learn languages . . . go ahead and turn them loose on Spanish. There are plenty of good online or interactive programs out there.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself with an already over-full schedule and can't imagine taking the time to teach yet another subject the experts tell you that you need . . . then don't sweat it! You won't be holding your children back or handicapping their learning by omitting it.

Honestly, I just don't buy the thinking that everyone needs a foreign language in today's world. Sure, it can be fun to learn if your children and you enjoy it . . . but is it essential to successful living? No.

It's way more important to enjoy your children and for them to enjoy you. And if Spanish, or any foreign language, enhances that, do it . . . if it detracts from it, pitch it!!

Be real,

PS - I'm planning my annual October Speaking loop and would love to speak to your homeschool group along the way. So far my path West and South looks like this: Oct. 1st heading from the Nashville, TN, area down through Texarkana to Dallas, TX . . . down to Houston . . . then traveling east on I-10 across Louisiana, Mississippi, through the Florida panhandle down to the Orlando area (all within the first two weeks of October. If you have a group along that route, maybe we can stop and speak to your group. The cost is a meal and a love offering. Can't beat that. (We'd also shoot for about 75-100 people at the event). If you're interested email me now.

PPS - Did you know that if you live within 200 miles of Milford, IN, you could have me speak to your homeschool group for a freewill offering plus mileage? I'd love to speak at your back-to-school event, kick-off in the fall, or start of the new year. Just fill out the form on this page . . . and we'll get the ball rolling.
Kerry Tittle 
So here is an honest moment where I messed up. I had each of my now adult children take two-three years of Latin, which was great. But not Spanish. We dabbled in Spanish, but we didn’t really LEARN it.

I truly believe that it is most beneficial to have children learn Latin in the elementary and junior high years and learn Spanish in the high school years.

When my older children got out, knowing Spanish would have profited them greatly! Instead, my daughter went and bought a Spanish curriculum (AFTER high school) and learned on her own until she knew general conversations and the Chick-Fil-A menu in Spanish. This brought a great appreciation from the Spanish-speaking community and sharpened her skills to have conversations with them.

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States as well as the dominant language in many of our neighboring countries. So at some point in their lives, they're likely to encounter a situation where knowing Spanish would be helpful.

The benefits are numerous. Learning Spanish can help your children contribute to society, gain an advantage for employment opportunities, be better prepared for travel, and be equipped for missions!

Though I am proud that my daughter took matters into her own hands and learned Spanish, it would have been easier for her to have been better prepared.

Saying all that to say, the rest of my children will take children’s Spanish courses (the fun ones with DVDs and coloring books) and definitely a minimum of one year in high school. I think this is a great way to encourage your children to love their neighbor!

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

Kerry Tittle is a mother of nine children and a 20-year homeschool veteran. She was the owner of ReformationKidz with her husband Rob until a tornado destroyed their home and business in 2014, taking the lives of Rob and two of their daughters, Tori and Rebekah. Kerry is the founder of  Refined Family , which is created to encourage others to find hope in the gospel in the midst of trials.
Jodi Riddle
Hola! ¿Que tal? (translated - Hello! How are you?) This is about the extent of my conversational Spanish, but I do love learning and teaching Spanish. Are you unsure about teaching Spanish? Are you nervous because you are not fluent in it? Here are a few things to consider when you decide to teach Spanish:

Decide why you are teaching Spanish . . .

Reasons for teaching Spanish may vary greatly. For some, a foreign language may be required to graduate. (It’s a necessity!) Others may plan on pursuing a career that requires knowing the Spanish language. (It’s for future success). Some, like me, just teach and learn it for fun. (It’s for the adventure!) Whatever your reason, you can attempt, if not master, this endeavor just like with any other class you choose to teach.

Choosing instructional material . . .

This will be important based on the reason you chose from above. If it’s a necessity, you will want to choose something that is good for your child’s learning type and ease of learning. If it’s for a future career, be sure to study the career choice and/or different dialects and choose the curriculum/teaching method that is most similar to the area your future career (or child’s career) will be in. And if it’s for the adventure, be creative! I personally loved just learning the vocabulary; so we did a lot of fun activities based off of the vocabulary. The more the child loves the language, the more involved you can get. Listening to others speak the language is the best way to learn to fluently speak it. There are many avenues and resources available for you that can meet whatever your child’s needs are.

Enjoy the experience . . .

Did you know that even when you aren’t very great at a subject, you can still enjoy it? As the teacher, our attitude about a subject can dictate our child’s response to learning it—so find a way for you all to enjoy learning! Teaching doesn’t always have to come from a textbook, and learning doesn’t always have to take place during “Spanish class time.” Get creative; be adventurous; step away from the normal textbook routine—make learning fun and you will be able to teach and maybe even learn Spanish as well!

Hasta la próxima! (See you next time!)

Jodi has been with TOS since April 2016. She serves as a Human Resource and Operations Assistant and is also the  Homeschooling with Heart  blog manager. Jodi is a pastor’s wife and has three boys. She has homeschooled for seventeen years and also taught in the private and public-school settings. Jodi enjoys teaching, playing the piano, scrapbooking, and making cards. Her heart’s desire is to help others learn to enjoy these things as well!
UnLock Math  was founded by Matthew & Alesia Blackwood. Both homeschooled themselves, they are now homeschooling their own 4 children in rural Ontario. Alesia went on to become an accomplished high school math teacher. She now brings her passion for math and her gift for teaching it in a way that students find easy to “get” to homeschool families across North America and around the world.

Share this newsletter with a friend, and be sure to let those 
CONSIDERING  homeschooling know about the enormous  FREE  info-pack which awaits them here:  www.TryHomeschooling.com .
Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members! 
No limits.

Whether your child is just learning Spanish or is already fluent, you can find resources for them on SchoolhouseTeachers.com! We have a video-based Elementary Spanish class for elementary students and Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 for high school students. Some of our other courses also have Spanish components available: 

  • Bible Adventures Spanish is a series of illustrated Bible stories for elementary children in their native Spanish language. The full-color files are styled like a picture book and can be easily viewed on the computer.
  • Everyday Copywork includes a number of copywork sheets in Spanish that are helpful for students who wish to practice their Spanish language skills or Spanish-speaking students who wish to practice their handwriting skills.
  • Trek’s Travels is a series of preschool and early elementary books that can be read to the student (by a parent or the computer) or by the student in Spanish.
  • Print & Do is a collection of printable worksheets that are available in English or Spanish. They practice skills and concepts including letters, location words, colors, matching, numbers, sets, shapes, sizes, and time.
  • Visual Dictionary is an image-driven dictionary that is helpful for learning and building vocabulary; labels are available in English, Spanish, and French.
  • Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgos is a Spanish-language encyclopedia directed toward students in K-4th grade or students learning Spanish. It includes thousands of easy-to-read articles packed with stunning illustrations, videos, and interactive maps, as well as links to related English articles in the Kids library. It also includes multiple browsing options, links to world newspapers in English or Spanish, a visual dictionary, activities, and the World of Animals center.
  • The Christian Discipleship class is based on the L.I.F.E. Plan (Living Intentionally For Eternity). It is a simple, straightforward disciple-making course anyone can use to develop and grow their faith. It is a complete package that leads to the investment of a life into God’s plan for his people. It provides the foundation for a lifetime of Bible study and personal development toward one’s personal way of fulfilling the Great Commission.
  • Find all of these resources and more in our ESL and Foreign Language Learning Center!

If you haven’t yet joined SchoolhouseTeachers.com, come give us a try. You can try the entire site for 30 days for $5! If you or someone you know would be interested in teaching or writing for us, let us know. You can email me at bhudson@TheOldSchoolhouse.com. We look forward to serving you and your family! 

in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner  
For the month of May

Recently, we had the opportunity to use The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective, by Gina Ferguson. ( . . .) The student text of The Master and His Apprentices contains 19 chapters on art throughout history, plus an appendix with additional information. Every page has at least one full color reproduction or image related to the topic; most pages have several color images! I was blown away by the quality of the graphics and appropriateness of each image chosen.

The introduction to this text explains the author's philosophy of God as the Master and all other artists as apprentices. Right away you can see this will definitely be a text written from a Christian perspective. The author explains how timelines will be used throughout the book to allow the student to relate various artistic periods to historical events and to the Bible. The book was written after the author experienced the need for a more family friendly approach to art history, where nude works of art are excluded making the text safe to use in family lessons. Still, the book does not suffer in its ability to provide proper high school level art history instruction.

Even with the Teacher Guide, the author states this text is not intended as a comprehensive art history resource, but as an introduction. She encourages students to research further their favorite artists and periods. Even as an introduction, The Master and His Apprentices covers a good deal of art history in the 19 chapters of the book:

  • Ancient Cultures, including Ancient Near East, Egyptian, and Aegean
  • Classical Antiquity, including Early Greek, Etruscan, and Roman
  • Middle Ages, including Early Christian and Byzantine, Medieval and Islamic, Romanesque, and Gothic
  • Renaissance
  • Baroque to today
  • Non-Western Art

The text is organized chronologically and includes a good deal of history from the time frame and geographic location being discussed. One might even say it is a history text written from an artistic point of view. Each major era includes a timeline that compares the major Biblical events with the comparative world and art events. Then, a complete timeline for all eras is included in the appendix. Major works of art have headings that list the type of work and the estimated, or known, date of completion. Nearly all types of art are covered in this art history text: architecture, sculpture, pottery, painting, mosaics, engravings, and illuminations. ( Read the rest of the review.)

YOU can WIN all this book set for your homeschool! 

TO ENTER: Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.
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