Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spanish and Latin Resources

The ideal way of learning a foreign language would be to have a native speaker live with us (or maybe just come to our home several hours a week) or to live in the culture of the language we are learning. After all, our kids seem to be learning English pretty well living in America.
But I haven't found those two ideals working out so far. What we have tried follows:

Usborne First 100 Words in Spanish (click title for Amazon)~ This book was given to us. I don't know if I would have bought it on my own, but it has been nice for the younger kids. They like to look at the pictures, and they hear what some common Spanish words sound like (helpful pronunciation guide in the back).

Play and Learn Spanish ~ another ideal here would be for mom to learn the conversations & songs and apply them to every day life. That just never materialized. So the 1st-4th grade kids listen to one section once a week. I read the English part first. Then any readers in the group read the Spanish part while listening to the CD. They listen through the section twice. The songs are fun and catchy ~ "Sol Solecito" is a favorite. The kids go through this book several years in a row. (click book cover for Amazon)

Pimsleur Spanish was not a hit with the one child who has used it. One of her biggest hangups was the overuse of the word 'beer' (I wasn't as familiar with this edition as I should have been!). It was expensive for how much Elizabeth loathed it. I might try it again when she's older. (click image for Amazon)

A local co-op Spanish class thankfully brought Elizabeth back around to enjoying Spanish (God knows what we need and provides!). I will hopefully be able to utilize classes periodically.

Salsa was a recent discovery that all the kids enjoy (preschooler, 1st and 4th graders). They are Muppet-like shows that are entirely in Spanish. I read the English synopsis first, and then they just watch an episode once a week. ~

The 4th grader and I are also reading short children's books in Spanish and figuring out translation as we go. I'd love to figure out a way for the kids to use what they are learning. That may be a change we figure out for next year.

And this was a year of starting Latin. For ease of use and accessibility, quick feedback from the instructor and web management, enjoyment, and actual learning, (price isn't bad either), I highly recommend Visual Latin. We are going through it pretty slowly, but Elizabeth likes to randomly translate words into Latin so I know it's working and she's enjoying it. She's also reading a Latin children's book and just received a Latin New Testament. Even though she doesn't understand everything she's reading, the VL instructor (Dwane!) recommended this approach. And I just realized he posted my question and his answer on his blog! How cool is that: Visual Latin.

* As an affiliate of Visual Latin, I receive a percentage of all sales made via click-through links provided on this website.

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