Top Ten Obstacles to learning Foreign Languages, #6 and #5 (KEEP IT SIMPLE!)

Flip Flop Spanish is counting down this week with the top ten obstacles (and solutions!) to learning Spanish (or any foreign language.)
Today we are on #6 Memory, and #5 Keep it Simple!

Memory problems with learning Foreign Languages#6 MY MEMORY ISN’T GREAT
This is an interesting obstacle many parents have brought up - they feel they can’t possibly teach or learn new vocabulary because their short term (and even long term) memory performs so poorly for them on a daily basis. 
Sometimes their concern is because their child (frequently the pre-teen) has such poor memory, they feel they’ll set them up for “another” difficult subject, and want to avoid the struggle.

Here’s the kicker: the OPPOSITE is true - learning a second language - another way to communicate the same thoughts and ideas actually is a proven way to IMPROVE short and long term memory. I won’t link the studies here, but I’ll post them over on the Flip Flop Spanish FB page tomorrow morning. You’ll see them there if you already follow our page.

If this truly has been an obstacle for you and yours, I recommend going about it in a different way. Often vocabulary has meant a long list of words - that visual in a small font is daunting for ANYone, and ends up looking like another skyscraper (goodness I’ve talked about skyscrapers a lot this week!) Here are the “other” ways of learning that don’t include lists:

~ Instead of a list, use “chunky bits” of information, and always include a doodle or a picture of some kind.

~What’s “CHUNKY?” - A sticky note, a flash card, and slip of paper with ONE word on it, an action that goes with a single for ONE phrase. A gif, a hand signal, a bingo game that allows you to move words around. SMALL BITS of info that are already separate from the other bits.

~Charades, guessing games (like with the dry erase paddle in SiSi Level 1)

~Starting with FIVE words per week (one word per day feels like you’re SLOGGING through it. But focusing on the WEEK! Now that is GOOD!

Products from the Flip Flop Spanish booth that help with this idea include:
Flip Flop Jot, Linguanotes, Flashcards Sets (Verde, Azul, Rojo, Ministry, Anaranjado - start with Verde, if you have to just choose one.

Visit our booth here:

Keep it Simple, Learn Spanish with Flip Flop Spanish#5 KEEP IT SIMPLE
We homeschoolers often feel like not only do we have to “do it all,” but we have to do it all RIGHT NOW!

Somehow, in educating our own children, the metaphor of eating the elephant one bite at a time simply isn’t socially acceptable, is it?  
(With apologies to our elephant friend in Obstacle #6)
We feel the need to swallow that gargantuan guy (think: gargantuan task) WHOLE!

So, what happens?

First, we set unrealistic expectations - not only for us, but for our children. “Let’s start Spanish today. We’re sure to be fluent by noon!” We think we’ll translate, learn the grammar rules, apply a few words, and BOOM!

Trying to translate is complicated, and fraught with the potential for multiple errors, causing FEAR to set in. Grammar rules are NOT fun, causing us to NOT like this subject. Suddenly, it’s all complicated, we only know our colors, and we sit down in a heap, and try again next year, starting with the colors AGAIN, which sends the signal “Spanish is boring,” to our children (and us.) Unfortunately our final recipe for disaster has occurred. A fun, easy subject is now complicated, scary, and boring. SIGH.

DON’T WORRY KEEP SCROLLING! (Sing with Dory! Just keep scrolling, just keep scrolling!)

The beauty of See it and Say it Flip Flop Spanish is that it’s actually DOABLE.

~You and your family are learning to RECOGNIZE, not MEMORIZE photo cues. (not the written word)

~Lessons are 15 minutes or shorter

~The goal is to absorb six words per week

~You don’t even learn full phrases or questions (that you’ll invariably get mixed up anyway, at the beginning) you just learn ONE PICTURE at a time.

~ You can quickly categorize words you’ve absorbed and those you haven’t (I know it and don’t know it piles)

~ Three times per week is the “perfect” goal, but just three times before the next lesson is satisfactory - progressing doesn’t have to be on a rigid time table.

~ You don’t even have to find a pencil!

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