Do you LOVE that snail? I LOVE THAT SNAIL! He's achieving his goals!
Are you one of those people who makes lots of resolutions? Or none at all? My Marine makes one every year: to not make any resolutions. And every year, he keeps his.
If you enjoy new plans, new starts, (like I do!) and maybe learning Spanish is amongst those plans, let's get rid of some of the obstacles in the way.
When it comes to foreign languages, many parents (homeschooling or not) feel stuck. They may feel fearful or even antagonistic toward learning a language other than English. A major contributor for these feelings is personal experience. Foreign Language lessons often contain dull drills, unclear grammatical explanations, and topics that are simply uninteresting. Therefore, the goal is to make sure our own children’s experience is different.
How? Read on.
Even if you are not fluent in a second language, you CAN learn and teach WITH your student. By leading the charge, you will be motivating your child in a way that has an immeasurable impact. So rather than getting bogged down with an endless list of what to DO, let's look at five common pitfalls that you will want to avoid. The goal is to NOT repeat the way we learned (or didn’t, as the case may be). How many of us can say, "I took two years of a foreign language in high school, but I can't remember a thing!" when referencing our own experience of learning a second language? So instead of focusing on what to DO (which may not be clear in your mind), let’s make sure we avoid what NOT TO DO.... from our own experience!
We'll tackle two obstacles today.
Obstacle 1: “Can I even do this?” (FEAR)
Fear is a huge de-motivator. The fear of the unknown can prompt questions like these:
- “How do I pronounce that word?”
- ”How do I make best use of the textbook?”
- “Will I sound weird?”
- “How long will this take until I can actually SAY something?”
Choose your first few words carefully. A great start to learning a new language, (after “thank you” and “please”, of course) would be to memorize some funny adjectives -- words that crack you or your child up in English. You might choose words like “slimy”, “funny”, “stinky”, or even”ugly”. These words can be applied to SO many more situations than the nouns we routinely and traditionally learn. Humor dispels fear…Use it!
Obstacle 2: “Am I excited to learn this language?” (PRECONCEIVED IDEAS)
Are you interested in the culture of the people who speak the language you have chosen? Previous experiences heavily influence our ability to readily learn a language. Make sure you choose a language that will get you and your child excited!
Do you enjoy learning? Has your child ever heard you say, “I’m just no good at learning a language!” If so, you will need to prove yourself wrong. Start by learning ten words. SHOW them that playing with flash cards, labeling a picture, and sticking notes all over the house are great ways to learn. By making the effort to learn and demonstrate the process to your child, you will show them that ANYONE can do it, and that includes THEM!
In couple of days, come back to check out the other three obstacles you can avoid fairly easily.
In the meantime, download this fun and easy advent calendar. 25 words, one word a day, easy to print, craft, and practice. You're gonna love it.