Homeschooling · Our Spanish Journey

In Celebration of “Small” Victories

“Poco a poco, se anda lejos (Little by little, one walks far).” —Mexican Proverb

It’s quite late in the evening. I’m exhausted from the day, I just finished my evening chores for tomorrow’s survival, and I’m typing one-handed while nursing “Bubbles” in the opposite arm and periodically checking in on my crying “Handsome Man” who is ill and not sleeping well at all tonight. . .

Any sane person would seize this moment to get as much sleep as possible, but I’m so crazy excited about “Big Sister’s” little milestone today that I had to write a quick entry. Although I have actually been brewing a completely different entry in my mind, it will have to wait for another day!

A little background on today’s little victory: given the anxiety and inhibitions “Big Sister” has experienced since beginning our Spanish learning journey, I have been working off of a hypothesis: if I could encourage the kiddos at home by teaching them vocabulary bit by bit, they would gain some confidence and also have a mental reference for when they hear a word they know spoken by a native speaker.

Honestly, life has been so crazy since “Bubbles'” arrival that we haven’t had tons of interactions with any Spanish speakers. How disappointing and frustrating!! On top of that, nearly every language expert I encounter emphasizes the importance of immersing children with as many complete sentences in the target language as possible. Not to be deterred, I decided my kiddos would benefit more from the imperfect approach of a non-fluent learner than from no teaching at all!

We started quite simply with my reading board books to them and periodically swapping out English words for Spanish to slowly grow their vocabulary. Again, not ideal but doable for a teacher who is learning. More recently, I have been working to add physical activity to reinforce vocabulary (something which I hope to blog more about!). . .and even more recently, I’ve been working overtime to learn simple sentences and phrases to add to our reading dialogue or just around the house in our basic daily activities.

All of this semi-technical detail when all I really want to say is this—tonight the kiddos and I got to chat online with my friend, “Amiga,” and “Big Sister” spoke her first Spanish sentence outside of our home!!! HOOOOOORAY!!!!! 

We were chatting away and I was actually relaxed and not fussing over whether “Big Sister” was feeling comfortable with being in a Spanish conversation, when she casually asserted herself to ask “Amiga,” “Where is your daughter?” It may not sound like much, but it is so far from where we were just a year ago! I’m incredibly proud of my daughter, so thankful to God for her ability to learn, so thankful for “Amiga’s” willingness to be our friend. . .and super excited to see what else is to come!! HOORAY!!!

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