About Spanish Language Learning
Spanish Mama is for bilingual families, Spanish lovers and teachers, and the curious who wants to know more about Spanish Language Learning. Maybe you are a native speaker wanting to bring up baby bilingually. Maybe you don’t speak a second language at all, but want your children to. Either way, I am here to encourage you and share ideas.
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. I moved to the high jungle of Peru to teach English after graduating, 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 Alfonso and I now live in the U.S.
Raising Bilingual Kids:
Our first baby was born in 2012, and thus began our journey of raising bilingual children. I had assumed when living in the U.S. we would speak Spanish at home. I realize now it is much more complicated than that. There is a reason generations of bilingual or immigrant parents have failed to pass on their native tongue to their children: it is HARD!
While living in Peru, I had friends (mostly European) who spoke several languages. I would love for the world to be that wide open for my children. Many skills can wait, but an ear for language, like music, should be developed as early as possible.
I am usually comfortable speaking Spanish in almost any setting, 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. Spanish Mama is less a how-to at this point than reflections on what we are finding along the way.
Teaching Spanish: The Twaddle-Free Classroom
I also teach Spanish and am always researching how to strengthen our Spanish program. Lately I have been moving away from the textbook and experimenting with ways to make Spanish Language Learning more active, more natural, and stick long-term. Like everyone, we have good days and bad ways, fun discoveries, and sometimes setbacks. Learning a foreign language ought to be an interesting, fun experience and has so much potential for creativity. I am working on developing materials for teachers, parents, and homeschoolers and will be posting them here as well.