I realized, after yesterday's post on Spanish Class, that I had not posted previously about this addition to our homeschool year; a co-op with one other family, two days a week, where we exchange children and areas of expertise to teach science and Spanish. Up until this year, the sheer number of children and a sometimes unpredictable schedule, have made me hesitate to take part in a co-op. The need to hold a daily rhythm was greater than the desire to take advantage of extra opportunities. Add to that illness, work, and simply children reluctant to leave the house...it was enough.
However, when a good friend offered an exchange, just a small one; I would teach a Spanish class to her one son and she would take my TWO boys for a science class, Tuesday and Thursday each week; it sounded like an excellent idea. And here we are; five months into our lessons and having the time of our lives.
I studied Senderos, an approach to teaching Spanish in a Waldorf classroom, available there and at other Waldorf bookstores. I thought about what has worked well and not so well in past French classes that I have offered. I knew I needed a plan; one teen girl, three boys ages 7-10 would be my pupils, and their favorite thing to do (at least for the boys) is to tear around the house or the yard like crazed warriors, yelling battle cries and brandishing boffers or Nerf guns. First part of plan; lots and lots of "recess" time. This has been beautifully captured by their science facilitator on her own blog Archie Down! Next up; a set rhythm for each lesson. They have ten minutes or so to greet each other before we begin by reciting our poem. They learn new stanzas and work on a project, which may be drawing or sculpting...or spray-painting and glue-guns. For "Estando la Mora en Su Lugar," a sort of Spanish version of "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly," we created a set of flashcards to remember the sequence of the mosca, rato, gato, etc. They each have a Spanish good book in which they write new vocabulary, dialogs, verses and illustrate to their hearts' content. Then they have free time. Once they have rid themselves of a bit of energy, we sit down and read together, in Spanish and English.
Content is not novel; colors, weather, clothing, food, numbers, the basics of what one needs to begin functioning in a language. We do many mini-dialogs, however, based on real-life, the same way I've been teaching French. "Come in, give me your coat. Honey, take his coat. You can put your shoes over here, etc." One of those dialogs was designed to be used in a special situation; eating out in a Mexican restaurant. We learned how to greet, request and thank politely, and then studied the menu to learn how to order before we went. Our server was gracious in speaking to us in only Spanish. It took her a lot longer, I imagine, than a normal table, but she was very patient and we left a good tip. It was a fun outing!
Thinking of offering language lessons? Go ahead, there are many resources out there. Are you already teaching a foreign language in your homeschool or classroom? Please share your best ideas in the comment section below! And bonne journée!