Learning Spanish With A Toddler
We have a map of the world on our wall at home.
It was a gift from a fellow homeschooling mom.
Every time we visit a new state or country, we "scratch off" the country and flag.
I believe cultivating an imagination will bring children far in life. So we daydream, together.
This is not the exact map, but you get the idea:
Every time we daydream my girl points to Russia as where she wants to visit. Every time I ask her why there? Her response is pretty spot on for a 4 year old: because it's the biggest one (on the map).
Running a business while homeschooling is tough. Having a toddler makes it that much harder. I do my best to set up our day so she knows what to expect.
On this particular day, I had a Zoom meet up with a company based in Spain. So I hyped her up about it. She is usually too shy to get on camera, but she is not too far lurking while momma works.
I have read to her since she was a baby, both in English and Spanish. I am no where near conversational, but I would like to get there one day.
She never really had interest in learning basic words because as she got older " that's not a word momma!" She had never heard someone speak anything other than English. We live in a village. Literally. Everyone speaks English.
Then we started spending more time in Orlando. A much bigger, international city.
And we are the odd balls (I love it btw!). Everyone here speaks another language.
And Finley noticed.
Our neighbors in Orlando are Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban. She hears them speak in Spanish everyday.
And NOW she's interested.
Well, those are the words she can remember.
She regularly asks me to teach her " that other words."
Before my call I let her know if she needed something, she would have to wait until I was done with the call. She ALWAYS wants to know who, what why? Here's how our conversation went:
Me to Finn: sis, today mom has a meeting with someone in Spain.
Finn: where's that?
Me: you know that big country you always point to on the map at home? It's underneath that place.
Me: do you know what language they speak?
Finn: SPANISH!! (we've been learning some Spanish words)
Me: can you help me speak to the lady?
Finn: ***blank stare***
Me: you've been practicing Spanish! Come on, sis!
Me: can you help me, sis?
Finn: ****blank stare***
I am pretty sure she's telling me I am on my own with this one lol
I write this to remind you that piquing your child's interest is the key to getting them to want to learn. Making it exciting for them. Showing them your excitement to learn with them.
I know I don't do well with being forced to do something, do you?
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With a new schoolyear starting soon..my inbox will be flooded with questions about homeschooling.
Here are some important points:
How long does it take? Check this handy dandy flyer that is a great start and is very realistic on how long it should take you. Remember, your kids are learning ALL THE TIME. 30 minutes of intentional work with a 4 year old is NOT all that happens in a day.
What curriculum we do need to use? I'll tell you none. Especially the first six months. And box curriculum would not be what I recommend. But. every child is different.
I work-I won't be able to do it. WRONG! School can be done at night, weekends, holidays, on lunch breaks. Maw Maw can help too. I RUN A BUSINESS y'all. There are THOUSANDS of families who work full time, run businesses, work out of town and still homeschool their kids. Be creative.
It takes HOURS to do homework when we get home, how are we going to have time to do it? Your schoolwork is your homework.
Where do you do work? The couch, floor, car, trampoline, steps, restaurants, libraries. Planes, trains, tables. Living room. Kitchen. Bathroom if necessary lol.
It's important to understand you do not have to recreate the classroom at home. I understand some kids need this structure, and you can give them structure without being at a desk, table for 8 hours a day. I don't remember the last time we sat down in a desk or table for hours doing worksheets. After trying for 6 months of doing this, we realized nope it's not for us.
I remember Jon listening to me read to him while he literally practiced his rolls for karate on the living room floor.
Examples of what we do:
With Finn (4) we are working on identifying letters and numbers. On a kid's menu at a restaurant there are usually games--- use that as a time to identify letters. This past week we had to decode a secret message--each letter we worked on identifying the letters.
We play UNO and I make sure to say you can match this color (she knows all of her colors) or this number. What is this number?
I read everyday. Multiple times a day. It's not unusual of for her to pick up a book and pretend to read. She often asks "what does this say?" I've started to point out easy words to encourage her to "read" those words when we are reading together. The. A. Is. I.
Lots of artwork. Lots of projects. Lots of using old boxes to build fun things. Lots of games.
Lots of conversating. When she asks a question-- I often don't give her a straight answer. Could it be this? or maybe this? or what else could it be? The wheels spin.
That is what I WANT TO HAPPEN. I want her to be curious. I want her to ask questions.
And exploring. In our backyard, on the road, in Florida. On the computer.
With Jon (13) he needs to improve on his writing and reading skills and his confidence. He's at an age where peer pressure is real. He is home with me more than he is not, but he is exposed to peer pressure in so many other areas of his life.
Part of the plan for next year is to:
In our day-to-day life, he will help me in my business, is going to take online classes (for high schoolers ) and we will start on a daily routine in September that includes time to get in the right GROWTH MINDSET, exercising and eating a healthy breakfast before we start our day (together). This will include him focusing on a goal, writing out a plan, tracking his progress and making changes until he hits that goal.
Fun fact: I curse like a sailor in front of my kids-- and neither of them curse (they fuss at me for cursing) so him listening to a podcast, watching a YouTube video or reading a book that pumps him up and puts in his head "f**k those people, you are strong, brave and courageous. You do not WANT to be like everybody else" --- is exactly what we will be listening to. Hearing it from his momma doesn't always sink in but maybe listening to other highly successful people and hearing their stories will let it sink in. If not, we'll try something else.
research landscape architecture (this is what my heart knows he would love doing--but the only way to know, is to try it out).
being intentional with our writing--- learning that we need to focus on those words we are not sure is the right form, spelling or use and researching it (handy-dandy google is always nice to have at our fingertips) and encouraging him to remember how to use the word without having to research it in the future.
being intentional with writing more complex sentences. He will focus on the who, why, what where and how to improve those skills. He has a momma that will ask 45 questions if it's not clear enough.
taking online classes that focus on learning how to use critical thinking skills, building the skills for high school essay writing, learning to properly paraphrase text and the like.
we'll always include art in his work--- drawing has been a big part of his day to day life since he was able to hold a pencil.
soccer and conditioning outside of practice.
and he's ready to start working to earn some cash. he's been helping my parents repair their rent house and would cut our neighbor's grass each week but the plan is for him to reach out to landscaping companies to learn about their BUSINESS OPERATIONS and maybe get a little dirty too.
Exploring new places isn't as fun to him anymore, but I will NEVER stop encouraging him to get excited about a new place, city or new area.
My biggest tip is--if you feel your kids are fighting you-- take a break. When you are overwhelmed, not sure what to do next or are feeling discouraged--- you would take a break. It works the same for kids.
We take lots of breaks. So we can travel!
If you'd like to help support our family, book a travel consult with me!
Gators, Sunshine & Laughter
We are from Louisiana. Gators are in our swamps, ditches and waterways.
But we never really see them.
At least, Finley hasn't.
But in Florida, in the campground there's one or two always lurking around:
Feeding the turtles.... with the 4ft alligator not too far behind.
He doesn't move much.
Then it looks like he's going to walk up the embankment.
Me: okay, Finn we need to back up and if we need to run, run!
Gator swims opposite direction.
Gator starts to swim under the bridge.
Okay, sis, let's just go back to the car.
Finn: it's coming?????
Me: not yet, but I dont like that we can't see it.
Finn: ***doesn't hear a word I am saying*** IT'S COMING????
Me: holding in my belly laugh
Finn: IT'S COMING!!! ***throws the entire hand full of turtle food while running full force towards the car.********
Finn: IT'S COMING!!!!!!
Me: running to car right behind Finn with my legs half crossed because I am about to pee myself from laughing so hard.
Finn: IT'S COMING!!!!!
We both make it to the car at same time:
Doors ARE LOCKED!!!
I am screaming at this point in tears laughing.
Finn: IT'S COMING!!!!!
Me: presses button to unlock car
Finn: made it all the way to the other side of the vehicle and was about to climb on top of the trunk.
Me: Sis, it's okay! The car is unlocked now!
Finn: jumps in car, closes the door: IT'S COMING!!!!
Me: sis, we are safe, It's still near the bridge.
Finn: IT'S COMING!!!
Me: Finley!!! It's okay!!! Just gooooooooooooooo, mom! And STOP LAUGHING AT ME!!!!
Fun fact: when I am scared, I laugh. Hysterically.
What did we learn from this?
there's only one gator, mom.
there's five turtles
stay away from the gators!
our faces were white with terror
Exercise: we both ran for our lives!
Okay, in reality it wasn't much of a "lessons' but it was our day and I wanted to share!
P.S. I support my family planning travel. Book a complimentary travel with me today!
As a homeschooling mom who found that her children thrived more when living life together instead of being stuck in a classroom 8 hours a day, I turned my love of travel and educating my kids into the perfect mix: unschooling.