Home-school in Spanish

A child’s world is one big learning lab. Their first classroom? Your casa. In the United States, homeschooling has reached the mainstream with an estimated 2 million children being taught at home, a statistic that increases by 7 to 12 percent each year. Get on the bandwagon and you’ll help preserve one of the most important birthrights you can pass on to your niño: fluency in Spanish. Wondering how to begin? Try adapting some of the techniques used to foster bilingualism by the most respected dual-language schools around the country:

  • Set aside a specific learning area in your home. Make it a Spanish-only zone, down to the labels on boxes, books on the bookshelf and posters on the wall.
  • Use Spanish-language materials. Map of the world in Spanish? Check. Flashcards in Spanish? Check. Calendar in Spanish? Check. Having these items demonstrate to your child through your actions that you take this endeavor seriously -- and your child will as well. Scour the Internet for Spanish-language versions of other classroom staples, and you’ll find an array of resources and tools to help teach Spanish at home.
  • Set aside a specific time to practice Spanish. Consistency is key, as is creating structure. If your child knows that there is a beginning and an end to the daily Spanish drill, it will be an expected part of a routine.
  • Try a “Mami and me” class. If you enroll in a class -- be it dance, music or yoga -- where the instruction is bilingual or entirely in Spanish, you’ll help your child discover an outside world that values el español.

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/jhorrocks

by Belén Aranda-Alvarado