I did a poll a few weeks back asking how many people felt nervous about having an accent or making a mistake when speaking another language- about 2000 people responded and 88% said they felt nervous or embarrassed….EIGHTY-EIGHT percent of people learning or speaking Spanish felt nervous about their accent or worried about making a mistake.
After three weeks of traveling through Costa Rica and speaking only in Spanish to everyone, ZERO people have complained about the fact that I have an accent when I speak. No one cares when my husband fumbles or struggles to get a question or thought out. Do you want to know how people react when you try to speak another language with them?
They SMILE. They help when they can. We laugh. We connect. We learn each other’s names and ask questions and teach new words and live these beautiful moments - no accent or forgotten word or wrong conjugation gets in the way of our connection.
I remind myself that anytime anyone practices their English with me, all I ever want to do is support them and cheer them on. I know this isn’t always the norm, I know there are mean people out there and trust me, I have been made to feel really stupid before when speaking another language….I get it, it cuts deep.
But this is just a reminder that you don’t have to let having an accent or not speaking perfectly stand in your way. I am so grateful that my bilingual kids are getting to see just how powerful their Spanish is on this trip - just how happy people feel when they’re able to connect in their native language with us.
So here I am trying to remind you that in the real world, MOST people (the kind, loving people that I like to believe make up the majority) are just cheering you on. Let go of your worry and this need to be perfect and just go for it. I’m cheering for you ♥️
A special episode just launched during my trip in Costa Rica all about butterflies! Tune in to learn a special Spanish poem with our (rain)forest fairies and see what trouble my pesky hamsters, Nacho and Pip, get into!
You can find ¡Hola Nature! linked in my bio or anywhere you listen to your podcasts. You can also find the RSS link on the podcast page of my website and connect it to your Yoto player 🤩😱
I hope you enjoy! 👇🏼Drop any requests for future episodes here 👇🏼
Guilt, shame, and pressure are some of the most common emotions people express to me when they talk about teaching their kids another language.
Maybe you feel guilty because you didn’t start right away. Maybe you’re ashamed you don’t speak it as well as you want to be able to pass it down. Maybe you feel like it’s too late and you ruined any chance you had.
*virtual hug* Will you believe me if I tell you that I understand all your feelings, but also tell you that you haven’t done anything wrong? It isn’t too late. You didn’t miss your chance. Your best is good enough. You aren’t alone.
Why should you believe me? I’ve been a Spanish teacher for 12 years and I have my MA in Spanish education. I’ve taught thousands of kids, from every age, how to speak Spanish and I’ve worked with thousands of families over the past four years to help them on their journey. Here’s what I’ve seen…
First and foremost it’s not too late. My seventy year old neighbor is learning Italian quite successfully - you have a lifetime to learn. Don’t feel rushed to get your child fluent by age 5. Focus on developing a love of language and let that be your goal.
You’re good enough and plenty capable of teaching your child, even if you can only say Hola and Gracias. You can learn right alongside your child, what an amazing way to show them how important learning Spanish is to you! Model language learning - what a gift for your child. No one expects you to be perfect, your best is good enough.
We ALL have different goals. Some want their kids to be able to count to 20 in Spanish, others want full conversations, while others want full fluency and reading and writing and ALL of these goals are equally amazing. Don’t compare your goals and your journey to anyone else’s.
Most importantly - you aren’t alone. I’m here, thousands of other people are here, and we’re all on this journey together. If you’ve been feeling any of the negativity that is SO commonly connected to language learning - I see you. ♥️
👇🏼 The questions I get asked the LEAST that I feel like I should get asked the MOST as an expert in Spanish education with kids…
So often we get our “fluency blinders” on and we forget the real goals when it comes to teaching our kids. We don’t want them to forget this stuff in a year. We don’t want them to just remember bits and pieces. We want them to learn it and love it so much that it becomes a part of them. What are the questions we should be asking to achieve this?
How do I involve my kids more in their Spanish learning at home? How do we go beyond memorization and regurgitation? How do we encourage them to CHOOSE to speak Spanish because they WANT to, not because they have to? How can I make the language come alive for my kids?
It’s easier than you might think. Sometimes it only needs to be a conversation - what do you want to learn about? What are you interested in? Where should we go? How should we do it?
Give your kids some agency with their learning, they will surprise you with the amazing ideas they come up with!
And of course here are some ideas from me:
Music, art, cooking, sports, video games, travel, fashion, cartoons, building, writing, reading, singing, geography, space, science…every single one of these could become a deep dive language lesson for you and your family. What are they passionate about? Start there and enjoy the ride 🥰
👇🏼 FREE art lessons for kids in Spanish on Youtube?!
I’ve been trying to figure out how to show you all how to do this for WEEKS and I finally got it. We’ve been absolutely obsessed with @artforkidshub art videos the past few months. It’s become a staple in our homeschool. Well ONE day I found out you can put the audio track in Spanish! The audio doesn’t match up with the mouth moving at all but since the majority of the time it’s just the drawing screen, it doesn’t really matter. My kids don’t mind at all!
Here’s the thing - you get a different Spanish audio track for each video AND it only works on certain tutorials. Even still, this is an amazing free Spanish art resource AND I finally figured out how to filter out which ones have the Spanish option and which don’t. Here’s what you do:
•In YouTube, enter in “Art for kids hub” and hit enter.
•Then at the top where it says “filter” click and then select “subtitles/cc” under features.
•Now pick your video! There are so many fun ones to choose from. We’ve become artist-superstars over here from these.
•Once you get into the video, click the little gear, then select the Spanish audio track! If you kids are learning or need it slower, just lower the playback speed!
This is a GREAT way to increase Spanish input while also doing something fun that your kids LOVE. They don’t need to understand every single word, they can watch, listen, and follow along with what they see.
Happy drawing familias!
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