Our family goal this month is somewhat unique to our situation here in Chile. We just passed the ten-month mark here, and while we are all working on our Spanish, Matt and I both feel we could be doing better.
Learning a foreign language is more difficult than you might think, and though we live in a Spanish-speaking country, we aren’t fully immersed in the language. We live, work, and go to school mostly in English. This month, we’re going to crack down a little and try to speed up the pace of our learning, and I discussed with my boys (Mary isn’t quite reading yet, so is in a slightly different situation, learning-wise) the following:
Movies only in Spanish.
Singing (we sing a hymn together each evening, and more on our Monday family night) only in Spanish.
Family prayers in Spanish (I think personal prayers should be in your native language).
Speaking whenever possible in Spanish/Spanglish (this is hard to do, but also pretty funny and entertaining).
Extra time using Rosetta Stone, which we purchased last fall. The boys have been required to do a specific number of lessons each week, but last night I told them that I’ll pay them for extra ones. They are always trying to earn pocket money, so I’m hoping this will motivate some extra study.
At least one new word or phrase per day. I bought each of the kids a new notebook yesterday, and encouraged them to listen for new Spanish words they don’t know, or to think of something they wish they knew how to say in Spanish. Each evening, we’ll pull out the journals and share our new word, so hopefully everyone can learn it.
Does it sound like we should have been doing all of these things all along? Probably. I haven’t been too pushy with the boys, because it was a challenging transition moving here, and all of the normal things I nag them about (piano, homework, chores, etc.) haven’t gone away either. But now it’s time to step it up a notch. I’m sure it won’t surprise them that none of the new “rules” are going away come April. Having a second language is valuable for so many reasons, we don’t want to let this opportunity slip away.