Monday, January 3, 2011

Learning Spanish

Learning another language is hard. My brain doesn't work like it did when I was younger. Memorizing things takes much more effort.

As a family, we began two years ago learning Spanish. We started with the ever popular Rosetta Stone. It's expensive but since we homeschool, I chalked it up to school costs. While I do like the immersion method, we found it to be difficult for our family. The kids had a difficult time with the talking portion of the program. No matter how accurately we adjusted the age/difficulty levels, they just could not pronounce the words precisely as the program wanted them to. This left them frustrated and unable to progress even though they knew the words. I too had difficulty saying the words to match the exact inflection in the recording's voice. We even upgraded our headset microphone from the one included, but nothing helped. It's a good program, we just couldn't make the speaking portion work for us.

So, this past year for school we switched to Spanish for Children. It is a homeschool textbook curriculum that is fairly new. It's just ok. I'm not in love with it so far, but at least we are learning the basics of conjugating verbs. I had no idea what conjugations were, so learning this along with the kids has been very helpful.

I took 2 years of French in high school. The first year I had a teacher that tried to teach us Japanese instead of French since he spoke it better, and the second year my teacher got cancer and we had a substitute for 90% of the year. Needless to say I never really learned a foreign language!

Brent and I ended up getting Fluenz, a fairly new program made by college students for adults learning another language. It is similar to Rosetta Stone, but where RS is immersion, Fluenz actually gives tutorials that explain the grammar behind what you are saying.

We were doing really well with it for a few months, and then our Mexico adoption fell apart and we got out of the habit and haven't picked it back up again! I need to get back to it, but the enormity of the task is causing me to feel overwhelmed. And, it is definitely focused for the adult business person. I think lesson 3 has you ordering beer! There is NO WAY we can learn what we need to before we bring home our chicos.

That's precisely why Brent and I have fallen in love with this simple Cd and booklet made especially for adoptive parents. The company is called Simple Language for Adoptive Families and they have programs for several different languages. 

It is a pocket sized spiral bound book (I love that it will fit in my purse while we're in Colombia!) that contains all the most common phrases and sentences an adoptive parent might need in the first few months with their child. It also has a companion cd that says the sentence first in English, then the Spanish is repeated twice with time in between for you to practice it on your own. And, the voices are very pleasant to listen to!

Brent downloaded the cd onto his Itouch so he can listen in his work vehicle. He is able to listen more frequently than I am so he is really flying with it! Right now he has the chapters "Words of Affection", and "Boundaries" memorized and is working on "Bedtime". I'm just starting "Boundaries". We figured we'd go out of order and prioritize what phrases we will need right away!

Anyway, if you are a prospective adoptive parent, I highly recommend this little book. We're loving it!


  1. Yes, we bought that book too and left it in Colombia for other families at our hotel. I don't want to say don't worry about learning Spanish, because that was the one thing we should have known better, but I have to tell you nothing compares to learning it in country. We learned 90% of our spanish the first week we got our kids. When you NEED to know it, you'll just know it! So fun following your journey!

  2. Thank you for sharing. We're doing Rosetta Stone right now, and it is pretty tricky!

  3. Wonderful!! We are having fun saying words to each other but are definitely struggling here as well. And our kids haven't even started--they ask about certain words from time to time but it's definitely hard!! I just have to remind myself I won't be perfect. I am going to check this out for sure, I need all the help I can get!! I took 2 years in HS and my husband had 4 so we have a good start but not enough!


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