January 17, 2013
I've got two young children under age 5 whom I'd like to learn Spanish with, along with myself. My partner is a native Spanish speaker, bun unfortunately reverts more and more to English with all of us as it's the dominant language where we are living. We don't have Spanish-speaking family close by, nor a lot of other Spanish native speakers as friends as we are in a city with a very small Spanish speaking population. So there are not a lot of immersion opportunities for us, other than forcing my partner to speak, which he finds quite challenging for some reason. They do have some basic vocabulary at this point, but really nothing I'd call functional language.
Given their ages, I don't see much value in formal lessons or television shows (they can't read yet), but would welcome any tips on deliberate language exposure opportunities at this age. We have spent some time traveling to visit family overseas, which was an amazing opportunity and really expanded all of our language skills but we just can't spend months at a time overseas. A few weeks maybe once every two years is what we can afford right now.
We've talked about planning a longer chunk of time overseas when the children are school age, so that they can go to a local school and learn Spanish, but I'd like to build up their skills as much as possible in the meantime. Or, can I rest easy that a periodic dose of Spanish every year will do some good, until they are able to deliberately study the language at an older age? The social context seems very important for children because they might not seek out "language opportunities" the way an adult learner does, but will readily apply language when they need it for everyday communication. How do you create a language social context for children when you don't have a ready made community to immerse your family into?
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