Immersion is ALWAYS a buzz word in the Spanish learning and curriculum network, because we know that we learn best by absorption. The thing is --- you can't do it. So any Spanish curriculum or Spanish class that promises learning through immersion that doesn't include airfare to a Spanish speaking nation is not going to be able to deliver on that promise.
(Don't worry, I have happy news in a second. Keep reading.)
I'm really sorry that there's not better news about this. Immersion means... TO IMMERSE. If you want to learn a language by immersion, then you'll need to study for a few weeks, move to a location, country, neighborhood, or organization where all the relationships and jobs and ALL events around you are conducted in Spanish 90% of the time.
Anything else is simply not immersion. An hour or two in a class, or Spanish at home that includes one or even ten phrases a day is not immersion. It's not BAD, it just needs to be defined by a different term - like "One Phrase a Day."
That's not to say we don't want to try and work towards that goal. But if immersion is your immediate goal, you're likely to be overwhelmed and give up.
So! Let's call it Language Integration and I'll give you some tips on how to do it. Adding as much Spanish as you CAN to your world is a GREAT goal. Here are 7 simple ACHIEVABLE steps or tips on how to get Spanish INTEGRATED into your homeschool day on the WAY towards immersion.
1) Basic, Daily, Simple steps:
- Add 10 minutes or so of Spanish Music (Youtube.com, Choose your favorite music app and search "canciones para niños", or find a local Spanish AM station on a radio.)
- Watch a Children's Show in Spanish: Peppa Pig is a fun one.
- If you use any apps that use audio, change it to Spanish. The Bible App (YouVersion) is the one I use.
2) Math Lesson Time: When checking your homework (maybe not while learning a new concept) recite the answers in Spanish. Time telling is also a great idea here, and we have BOTH options of numbers and time telling flashcards to download - adding audio this month, too!
3) Science or History Lesson Time: Choose the theme, three main vocabulary words. Make a poster or a small index card, or ANY kind of list and add them to the space where you typically learn the subject. POST them on the wall in Spanish. Say them, doodle, them, act them out. The depth of knowledge will increase in both your science AND history lessons as WELL as in Spanish - because you've created a meaningful anchor to connect all the information. Wondering exactly HOW though? Here you go:
- Choose your vocabulary words and write them on the paper/post it/card stock in a list. (~4 minutes)
- Use Spanishdict.com to look them up one at a time, read and listen to the examples of uses for each word. (~8 minutes)
- Write the Spanish (and MAYBE the phonetic Spelling) next to the English Words.
- Add a doodle or a color to each word, to help it stand out.
- POST IT on the wall for the week.
4) Literature Time: Whether you do read-alouds, solo-reading, book reports, or narration Charlotte Mason style. You can ask your student to give an opinion or description. Here are some words to add to your literature discussion in Spanish. Post the adjectives somewhere in the room, or add them to your Personal Learning Dictionary.
- Es = it, he, she is
- asombroso = amazing/awesome (ah-sohm-BROH-soh)
- aburrido = boring (ah-boo-REE-doh)
- interesante = interesting (een-teh-reh-SAHN-teh)
- valiente = brave (bah-lee-EHN-teh)
- curioso = curious (koo-ree-OH-soh)
- romántico = romantic (roh-MAHN-tee-koh)
- More advanced? Add -est to your sentences with the phrase el más or la más (She is the bravest = Ella es la más valiente. He is the most romantic = Él es el más romántico.)
5) Grammar/Language Arts/Spelling: This tip is NOT for absolute beginners - if you have been doing SiSi (See it and Say it Flip Flop Spanish) for a little while - maybe two months or so, THEN, you could add this portion in. As you discuss any of your grammar concepts (I don't recommend grammar in ANY language until 4th grade or so) you can ask the question: I wonder how that would be in Spanish? Here's a cool resource: Side by Side Grammar. Another option is typing in a short sentence or phrase from your lesson on SpanishDict.com and comparing!
6) Copy Work - What ever you use for handwriting, writing it in Spanish is a GREAT option. Try to say everything in Spanish as well. We copy our Bible Verse in Spanish and in English, and sometimes copy from several translations. The students then decode or guess as much as they can, and add at least one word to their Spanish/English Personal learning dictionary (The Skinny Book.)
7) Art and crafts, poetry, singing - Add in a bit of encouragement and criticism in Spanish. Whether your own work, or others, you can describe it in Spanish. Words like MUY (very) and TAN (so)...
- increíble = incredible (een-kreh-EE-bleh)
- hermoso = beautiful (ehr-MOH-soh)
- detallado = detailed (deh-tah-YAH-doh)
- creativo/a = creative (kreh-ah-tee-boh)
- Necesita más.... (It needs more...)
Did you know I have a youtube channel? It houses a fountain of ALL kinds of Spanish learning tips, homeschool advice and direction... and a few fun ones about farm life. These tips will show up over there soon, TOO!