Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Encouragement for Parents with Children Reluctant to Learn Spanish

© Can Stock Photo - creatista

My oldest son ended our fall semester at our homeschool co-op with a C in Spanish... and that's only because he participated in class and that was factored into the grading!

I'm telling you this because the truth is for some of us, it's hard passing on our heritage language. Even though Spanish was my first language and was spoken most of the time at home, once I started going to all-English schools and - most significantly - once my great-grandmother passed away, Spanish wasn't spoken all that often. And I was certainly never formally taught it. 

So although I understand it perfectly and can speak it well enough (I do make a lot of mistakes at times), Spanish hasn't been something that I easily passed on to my kids. 

Maybe you feel the same way?

When my kids were little, we did a lot of Spanish. I have bookshelves bulging with Spanish-language and bilingual books. I read to them in Spanish all the time because I wanted their ears to hear the nuances of the language and my daughter had excellent pronunciation (and still does). She currently takes Spanish in high school at a private school and is getting A's. We're planning on her going to Spain this summer to stay with my family, which should be a really great experience for her and help her to improve her Spanish.

But that middle kid has resisted me the whole long way. 

We've tried so many homeschool Spanish curricula and classes. And I thought, well, maybe he just doesn't want to learn it from ME. So I signed him up for Spanish in our new homeschool co-op that we attend each week. Pero nada. His teacher says he's a great kid, but he totally bombed the tests. And I would beat my head against the wall every week helping him with his Spanish homework. 

So this semester we are doing something different and so far, I'm hopeful. Now he is doing Duolingo on a daily basis. And I haven't had to help him once. And he doesn't resist when I ask him to get it done. He even does it on his own without me asking!

I'm hoping to mix in some Spanish for You! lessons as we go along this semester. I'll let you know how this goes.

But I wanted to share all this because so often people say, "Oh! You're MommyMaestra! You've raised bilingual kids! You know how to do it. Tell me how." Ummm, no. I've never claimed to be an expert on raising bilingual kids. I struggle with it just as so many of you do. But I am always happy to research your dilemmas and help you find answers so that we can all learn from them. 

And I wanted to tell you: Don't give up. 

Don't give up because your kid refuses to learn. Don't give up because they're "too old." Don't give up because it's so hard. 

Sometimes you just have to keep trying different ways until you stumble upon the best program or practice for your kid.

I hope I've finally stumbled upon the one that works for my middle kid.

Fingers crossed!


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