Hi! I’m Elisabeth, the brains and the crazy behind this blog. Spanish Mama is for bilingual families, parents, teachers, and lovers of Spanish– anyone looking for ideas and inspiration for language learning! I’m a scattered-but-creative-mind, better at thinking of good ideas than implementing them, and always like to learn. I really love teaching and mothering.
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Living Bi-culturally: Our Peruvian-American Life
I began this journey somewhat accidentally. In 2003, I entered UNC-Chapel Hill with plans to major in Elementary Education and minor in Spanish. After floundering through Spanish 2, I dropped the Spanish plans and figured a second language wasn’t for me. After college I moved to the high jungle of Peru to teach English, and five months turned into two years. Along the way I fell for a local guy named Pocho and learned Spanish after all! My husband and I now live in the U.S. with our two kids.
Raising Bilingual Kids:
Even when dating, we talked about raising our kids bilingually, and it seemed like a no-brainer when our first baby was born. But when the time came for cooing and baby talk and then little baby commands, my non-native-speaker status became more evident. I realized speaking Spanish to my kids was not entirely natural, and that being a bilingual family was going to involve more intentionality than I’d realized. We’re planning to homeschool bilingually in a few years as well, following a Charlotte Mason and classical model of teaching.
Teaching Spanish: A Living Classroom
I teach Spanish in my newly textbook-free classroom— an exciting and challenging change. I’m a firm believer now that we should start with the whole, and then move to the parts (rather than starting with bits of grammar rules and vocabulary). Now we are proficiency-based and comprehensible input-driven. I teach using a combination of TPRS, authentic songs and resources, games, and novels to give students real-life Spanish skills. I have lots of ideas and fun as a teacher, but am not always super-organized. Interactive notebooks help keep us anchored– they may not always be organized and beautiful, but at least we have a concrete record of all the crazy activities we’ve been doing!
I feel like teachers face a lot of judgment on the internet, whichever way we teach. I hope you don’t feel that here! It’s a challenging job, no matter where you are, and I know what’s it like to have a terrible day (or year) that makes you question your whole career. I’m just here to share what I’m learning, and what people wiser than me know.
I’m so glad you stopped by!