Let’s talk today about homeschool Spanish curriculum for middle school and high school students. Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed because you as a homeschool parent are trying to figure out how to plan a subject, or, maybe, how you are going to teach a subject that you don’t understand because you don’t speak Spanish. Maybe you took Spanish a long time ago.
I want to talk to you about the foundation. How to gain a strong foundation when you are studying Spanish and when you are learning at home.
I always compare Spanish to math. Math has different concepts and levels and requires more than just memorization. You need to understand. You need to start building those skills at an early age, and then as you move on to more advanced math you are supposed to start solving problems using math.
Yes, facts are important in math. Just like facts are important in Spanish. Learning vocabulary, learning the grammar rules, all of that stuff is super important when learning a language. But I want to give you an example about learning facts and why they’re important: RIght now my daughter is studying really hard for Chemistry–yes, during the summer time–she is memorizing and learning some facts that are from the periodic table. For her AP Chemistry class. The reason she is putting all the work up front is because when she gets into the AP Chemistry class, she’s going to be required to solve problems, chemistry problems, and do labs, and she needs to know the facts.
So, I’m not against learning the facts in Spanish. I am totally supportive of that idea. But the question here is: Why are the teens, the middle school or high school students, learning the facts? Why are we making them learn the vocabulary and the grammar for a year? And the answer is because we want them to learn to communicate in Spanish, obviously. Now you must be saying, “Ah, that’s easy,” but I know that this could be a challenge. I know homeschool and Spanish can be a challenge. But I think half of the challenge can be overcome with a good curriculum.
As parents, we want the best curriculum. Sometimes for us, the best curriculum also needs to be easy to use and easy to learn. However, we have to be careful not to just focus on the easy parts when we’re learning a subject; In this case, Spanish. Easy is important, but we must also focus on the complete part. Let’s focus on having a complete curriculum when learning Spanish.
Now, what do I mean by complete curriculum? This means that the curriculum for your middle or high school student needs to be cohesive and also needs to give the students a learning experience. Again, this is important, the experience. I also want to focus on the experience.
A Spanish curriculum for high school or middle school students should have grammar, it should have the vocabulary, it should have worksheets. Maybe a workbook, textbook, and drills. It should have tools to learn. That’s important, but I want to add one more component to the curriculum: a good curriculum in Spanish should also have a teacher present. Now, you may be saying, “I don’t have access to a teacher,” but even a homeschooler can still learn Spanish using an independent curriculum or self-paced, online course. And the course can still have a Spanish teacher present on some level. The benefit to you is that, since you can not teach the content, you can have someone teaching it for you, teaching the content. To me, that is huge support for the homeschool parent that doesn’t know the subject or hasn’t mastered the subject.
That’s one thing that I wanted to bring up to you because a teacher can make the learning experience fun and make the learning experience interactive–and that’s important, to be interactive. “Interactive” is important when teaching a language.
This is how I navigated my math challenge. And you may be saying, “why does she keep talking about math?”
It’s because that was an issue for me. So, I totally understand it when you have an issue with Spanish. So, for me, the way I navigated the math curriculum when I was homeschooling my kids–Well, I am still homeschooling, but when they were young–I always made sure the math curriculum included video lessons. So, even though the teacher wasn’t actually there, it was a DVD, my kids liked having the guy teaching the class because they could connect with the person. A person will make jokes, will ask questions, and will make learning fun and interactive.
So, that’s one thing I did when my kids were learning math. Now, if your Spanish curriculum does not include a teacher or some level of teacher presence, I encourage you to get creative and figure how you can add that aspect, or feature, to your Spanish curriculum.
For example, a parent that signed up for my independent course told me that his teen was still was going to be learning Spanish in my course, but the teen was going to be practicing the lessons with friends that are native speakers.
Another parent told me that she had access to Spanish-speaking family members, so they were going to use the family members for the kids to practice speaking the language on.
Now, remember, I want to make a clarification. Just because you have a friend or family member that speaks Spanish as his or her native language doesn’t mean they necessarily know how to help your teen speak the language or learn the language.
I always encourage you, the homeschool parent, to have a curriculum as a guide. A curriculum can give you a structure, so when you have a tudor or a Spanish teacher that wants to help you, you have the curriculum.