Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Our Bilingual Charlotte Mason Homeschool Journey

Miss the broadcast?  Go here.
It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect
It’s not that I don’t like learning.  Maybe it’s that I like learning too much.  Maybe that’s what has me feeling like I’m in over my head.  Maybe it’s that I’m a perfectionist and think I need to know ALL. THE. THINGS. before I begin something.
 
Just Start Somewhere!
I’ve recently subscribed to the Fly Lady emails.  Have you heard of her?  She has a website that has been recommended to me over the years when I reach out for help in the area of house cleaning.  I have a hunch her emails might actually help me with more than house cleaning.  There’s this saying she uses at the end of each email: “You are not behind!  I don’t want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are.  O.K.?”

Fighting Feeling "Not Ready"
I always feel “not ready.”  It’s that same feeling I had to fight when I finally decided to jump on Periscope the other day to talk about our first year of bilingual homeschooling Charlotte Mason style.  I have no idea how to do that!  I look around and see people who talk about Charlotte Mason as easily as they breathe in and out.  Or I see people who are native Spanish-speakers homeschooling their children in Spanish AND English.  But they live in the States I tell myself.  They hear English all around them and have unlimited resources in English to help them school their children in a second language.  My next conclusion sounds like this: “I just need to move to Costa Rica.  Then I can bilingual homeschool.”  Can you tell I tend to make things harder than they have to be?  I have so much to learn.  

How I'm Preparing During Summer
I have so much to learn.  But with a few guides I've found on Periscope (@aliciahutchinson@liladelightedinlife, and @juliebravewriter), the books below, the curriculum designed by Ambleside Online, and the guidance of my sister-in-law (we're going to be going through Charlotte Mason's 20 Principles together) I hope to get my bearings in Charlotte Mason enough to establish a foundation of how we will approach learning in the years to come.*  It's a process and each season, each year I'll continually want to learn more and re-evaluate.   But for now, this is where I'm starting out.

*If you want to follow the same reading schedule we are just click on the "20 Principles" link above.  It will say you can't view the content, but all you have to do is register as a member of the AO forum--it's free.



How to Incorporate Spanish
As I mentioned on Periscope, all of the read-aloud and living books assigned for Year 1 on Ambleside Online originated from English-speaking countries/authors.  Which is fine and great--it's our mother tongue.  So to figure out how to incorporate Spanish into our Charlotte Mason education for now I'm simply inserting Spanish where she says French in her "A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six."

"...to name 20 common objects in French, and say a dozen little sentences..."

"...to sing one hymn, one French song, and one English song...

I also hope to dig up some good blogs or blog posts about a Charlotte Mason education in Spanish, and until then I'm listening to general homeschool information (in Spanish) from the new podcast I found last week called Madres Homeschoolers.

What About You?
Did you feel overwhelmed starting your first year of homeschooling?  How did you decide on a style?  Are you using Charlotte Mason's philosophies to guide your schooling?  Do you bilingual homeschool?  I would love any encouragement or ideas you have for me!  And let's remind each other we don't have to have it all figured out before we begin.





Monday, June 6, 2016

Speak Spanish with Your Baby!

When I had my first child a friend told me: "Speak Spanish with him all the time.  Let your husband speak English and you just speak Spanish."  I sooooo wish I could have done that.  I just was not quite prepared for it.

Adjusting to being a mom for the first time felt like enough.

Oh.  And I was also newly married and figuring out how to be a wife.

Did I mention my husband also went back to school after our first was born?

Basically I was overwhelmed with life and hadn't given much thought to passing on my second language (Spanish) to my child.

My friend was so wise and I wish I could have followed her advice.  But life is like that sometimes and we just can't do all the things.  At least not at once.

So here I am with my fourth child.  She's ten months old, and she's actually in the baby carrier, laying her head on my chest as I write.  {These months go by so quickly.}  Fourth time around I feel much more comfortable speaking Spanish with my baby.  I have much more research under my belt, know so many bloggers that support and encourage me, and have had a little practice.



Just today in my email inbox I received an email with a huge list of baby vocab from a blog I found in those years between my first child and my fourth.  That email reminded me of another blog post I read three years ago (when I was newly pregnant with my third) over at All Done Monkey--which I love because she explains so well how to use the words in context or how you might hear them used.  All of this made me think...I should share this with people who might be looking for help with introducing Spanish to their babies.

Does that sound crazy to you?  Introducing a foreign language to your baby.  It's not!  I promise.  Especially if you are like me and studied Spanish in college and have a dreamy idea that one day you will be able to teach your kids to speak it.  I would say, start as early as you can.  Each day I find more and more resources online to help us parents.  

One last resource I want to mention is one I bought last month or so (with my own money, and of my own accord): the MamaLingua app.  This app can be used with more than just babies.  What I appreciate about it, is that it teaches phrases and has them spoken by a native speaker so you can learn the phrase with your child if you don't already speak Spanish yourself, or if you want them to hear it in a native voice.  They have a LITE version that is free.  So go download it and poke around to see how it works.  I have some pictures here to show you, but if you're like me a hands-on experience is better to see whether or not you like it.  

 
In addition to learning words and phrases to talk about "baby life," it's a great idea to learn lots of baby songs and finger plays in Spanish, and also to make sure you are getting lots of adult Spanish input to exercise your own Spanish brain muscles.  But that is another post for another day!  I can't promise when I'll get a chance to share my favorites in that category so be sure to subscribe to updates for this blog (left column) or follow me on Instagram @fortheloveofspanish so you won't miss it.

Click here for a list of baby vocab WITH AUDIO
pronunciations recorded by a native speaker.
Go here for a list of baby vocab with in-depth
 explanations on meaning and usage.