Friday, October 14, 2011

Why Homeschooling Is So Exciting For Me Right Now, Part 3: Spanish

"[C]hildren learn by example. Most importantly home-school teachers must serve, through their own behavior regarding their own work, as good examples for their students."-[Source]

I'm using this to make word lists, for my own use.

I took a two-month Spanish class at the local community college this past summer. There was lots of repetition of stuff I already knew, and I was tempted at times to feel bored. And then the teacher would ask if anyone remembered the word for carrots, and I would have to admit that no, I didn't, even though she'd told us three times before.

So the biggest thing I learned from the class was the need for endless repetition1.

Since I want the kids to learn Spanish, too, I went over to the local school supply store to see if they had any Spanish workbooks. They had flashcards and one workbook that looked like it had more pages of "teacher's guide" than actual Spanish work for the student. I came home with a simple picture-dictionary, but as cool as it is, it was not having a lot of effect with the kids.

Attractive and well-done, though.

Gosh, I thought, why can't someone make a decent Spanish workbook?,  I mean, even I could make a better workbook than anything I've seen. 

I was just spouting off mentally, of course. I'm always thinking to myself that if I was the one running the country, or driving a bus, or running a scientific study, then I'd be doing it right. But slowly...

the thought percolated ...

through my mind ...

that maybe ...

just maybe ...

I actually could make a Spanish workbook.

And once that thought really registered, I went at it with great gusto. The kids' spelling and vocab workbooks are organized around having a set of words that they work on each week, with a activity page for each day, and that was how I started setting up my Spanish workbook.

 Is it obvious which of Jose's relatives I'm aiming for with this picture?2

Right now I'm working on how to explain conjugation to a seven-year-old kid.

It's incredibly fun. And more than once, it has felt like God was slipping me ideas for activities to include.

I'm torn between making things look better with more color, and saving on my printing costs. Opinions on that?

If I keep this up for the whole year, then by the end, I will have a complete Spanish workbook. Kid-tested on my own kids.

Maybe someone will even find it worthwhile to buy it.

1. That lesson was re-inforced when I looked in one of the Seton math workbooks and saw a whole page of problems that all added up to 13, 14, or 15. The repetition clearly would help engrain those few math facts in. I realized I had been pushing the kids too fast, trying to make them learn more new things, just because they already understood the previous things, instead of waiting until they had memorized them.

2. I had a family tree picture, but I discovered that 16 words was too many for any of the kids except Kyrie. So next week the kids'll re-do the first week with eight family words instead of sixteen. I cut back the following week's Body Parts list from 16 to 8 as well. I'm even wondering if I should do twice as many activities (two weeks' worth) for each word list. But I'm not sure I can come up with that many activities.

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