The Road to a New Language

Thinking about trying something new as a family?  Learning a new language, perhaps?  Max, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad tells us about his family’s newest adventure!

new language

The Road to a New Language: Learning Spanish at Home

When I decided to stay home with my girls this year, I knew that I wanted to make the most of it.  I wanted to make sure that we try to have as many new experiences as possible.  Also that I would never let the fact that I am outnumbered or that it might be difficult, stressful, and mind numbingly slow to be the reasons that we would not go out to have a new experience. Our latest of which has been to try to learn a new language, Spanish to be more precise!

We love to travel to Mexico and try to get out there twice a year, but usually only make it once. We have taken the girls, despite the fact that our friends told us we were crazy to take them and our families consistent reminders that Mexico is dangerous. Both of which are topics for another post! We have been talking about trying some extended stays off of the all-inclusive resorts lately and so it was an easy choice for us to start having the girls take Spanish. My wife and I are somewhat of traditional Americans in that I took Spanish in 8th grade (because my English grade was good enough) before switching to German in 9th and 10th grade because:

1. It is obvious that German will be easier than Spanish.

2. If you have any desire to go to college you have to have two years of a foreign language.

3. And, most importantly, the German class included a trip to Germany!

All I can do is count to 10 & ask “what?!” in two languages.

My wife, on the other hand, took Spanish all throughout high school and into college, but her inability to find the class when she had to go to a new school is the only thing that stopped her from becoming a full-fledged bilingual woman after college. Our own experience also taught us to make it a priority to have the girls start learning a second language as early as possible.

Like any good parent, I took to my best resource (other than iFamilyKC) and asked Google if there were any Spanish classes for kids in KC. Sure enough, a couple of different websites popped up and we chose the one that had the best website. Now, once a week, we go to a small church to sing and play games in Spanish for forty-five minutes. We listen to the songs in the car from home to practice.  I’m happy to report that, after three weeks, I have no idea if my kids know any Spanish!  But, I am okay with that as we have several more weeks to go and, since we are not truly bilingual at home, it’s going to be something we are always working on so that they don’t lose the skill.

Taking classes is a good idea.  I get to go learn with them as well and the teacher gives tips on how to help at home. (Most of the students do not come from multilingual homes.) My wife and I will get better about using Spanish around the house which will help a lot, too. There is a part of me that suspects a switch to flip one day and start speaking fluently.  This way we can travel and attend Spanish events for Kansas City families. In the meantime, we will keep singing our songs and I’ll be sure to let you know how we progress.

Pro Tip: Learning a new language can be hard but there are resources available to your family to make the process a easier. Check out The Language and Music House for details on signing up to learn French, German, Japanese, or Spanish. Classes are available for ages 2 and up!

From iFamily to Yours,