Sandwiched between a private education and heading off to Spain to live for a while we home-educated our three children.
It was a perfect moment in time that lent itself to many wonderful memories for us all not least to tackle the issue of how to learn Spanish at home.
It’s incredible how the boundaries of learning can be stretched when the restraints of school are lifted.
In all subjects this was true but perhaps languages became a main focus for creativity with ideas coming from all directions.
In our family we are blessed with a patient and fluent Spanish speaking uncle so when he offered to help the children learn Spanish at home for an adventure in Spain we couldn’t refuse.
What a wonderful way to spend family time together particularly as we knew we would be separated soon by our move to Spain.
What happened next was the start of a short but exquisite three months. Sat around the kitchen table everyone joined in the all important question of how to learn Spanish at home, until we hatched a plan that focused on fun while learning.
While we wanted to achieve a level of basic Spanish more importantly we aimed to introduce the unique culture of Spain through food and music as well as the language.
So, what better place to start than in the kitchen with a rich and delicious paella.
Once the recipe had been sourced, shopping lists were compiled in Spanish with each of the children in charge of particular ingredients.
Nick handled the fish while Emily’s job was to make sure we had all the other ingredients. Laura, as the oldest and most responsible was to be in charge of the wine selection. Of course no Spanish meal is complete without Spanish wine on the table.
From the moment they left home with their shopping lists as much of the trip as possible was conducted in Spanish.
I’ll never forget those three grinning faces pressed to the windows of the car as it shook to the heavy beat of ‘Dame mas Gasolina’ at full volume all the way up the drive in the direction of the supermarket.
To see them return fired up and ready to cook was wonderful, we realised it was very possible to learn to speak Spanish at home with everyones enthusiasm.
For the next few hours much hilarity was to be heard from the kitchen as they tried their best to speak in Spanish while creating what became a mouth-watering culinary success.
We all sat that evening to an incredible paella lovingly created by three open minded children and their favourite Uncle.
The verdict? A complete success.
We continued to learn Spanish at home over the next few months making sure we kept the children’s interest by keeping it relevant to their interests and ages.
Have you ever tried watching your favourite Disney movie in Spanish? It’s a fabulous idea for children particularly if like ours your children know the dialogue by heart.
They didn’t take their eyes of the subtitles and so picked up plenty of short sentences and had a lot of fun in the process.
More importantly they were learning Spanish with humour and in a loving home. Their side-splitting attempts to roll their Rs will be much remembered!!
Don’t be afraid to learn Spanish at home with your children, it opens up a whole new world to be thoroughly enjoyed.
Happy Spanish Learning,