Why should our kids learn Spanish online now? Well, for one thing, this is a good distraction for moms and dads who swore you would never stop traveling, even after having kids and now find yourselves grounded. Though we’re not exactly stamping our passports, we can still be those parents who prepare their children for grand new adventures. There is also the fact that Spanish is a very useful language to know right here at home. Plus, it’s just fun to learn another language, especially when you and your children have a few hours to fill.
I know from experience that this is a project best begun when your kids are young. As a child immigrant, my was part of a generation that valued assimilation over bilingual parenting, so she totally failed to teach her own children Spanish when we were little. By the time I was in high school and she saw how hard it is for older children and teens to learn a second language, she greatly regretted her choice. The logical option for us was to supplement my education with telenovelas. We swapped out General Hospital for tales of peasant girls being seduced by rich land owners, who happen to be the sons of scheming matriarchs. Maybe this is not the example you want to follow when it comes to teaching your children Spanish.
Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since second-language learning consisted of boring textbooks and maybe a set of cassette tapes (if you were lucky!). Today, dozens of programs are available that use scientifically proven methods to teach children all sorts of subjects using games, immersion, one-on-one instruction, augmented reality, and more. The study of language instruction has become advanced and probably rather profitable, though many of the options we list here are free or inexpensive.
Even after all that science, it’s still true that the best time for children to learn Spanish is when they’re very young. Those pliable brains that are built to add on new vocabulary words every second can just as easily absorb words from other languages, too. In this list, we’ve included several options that appeal to that ideal age. But it’s also not too late for your older children. There are plenty of engaging apps and courses that will immerse tweens, teens, and young adults en español totalmente. We have no guarantees that they’ll be sounding like Univision newscasters by the end of these classes, but who knows?
If you don’t speak the language yourself, we certainly recommend staying in the room for these courses in which adults and children learn Spanish online and off. After all, if kids are the best at learning a second language, maybe you’ll do best by putting yourself in a younger frame of mind.
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