Please watch more TV

It is very encouraging that the kids are excited to learn Spanish.  They have such a desire to fully communicate with others and would love to just blurt it all out in Spanish, but we just aren’t quite there yet.  They keep complaining that they aren’t learning fast enough, but don’t realize it takes time for these things. We keep telling them it took years to learn English and they are still learning. Either way they want to learn more.

We have been a little cautious with putting too much pressure on them, as school has been a challenge. They will write all about their experiences, when they are ready to share (should be soon). So now that they are asking for tips and ways to learn faster, we are at the ready with info….(not that Alan and I are following our own advice).

We have a great town home that we rented, and were thrilled that it came with British Satellite TV. The downside when wanting to learn Spanish, is that it is in English. One side effect is that the kids are also learning quite a bit British English and learning their humor and accents. This was cool and exciting for them initially, actually they still love it.  We can also get all of the channels in German as well, but not in Spanish.  So what do we do?

Well,  we told the kids to watch more TV!  We have them watch Spanish TV on their computers.  Can you believe it?  I didn’t think we would ever tell our kids to make sure they watch TV every day. They need to watch at least 30-60 min of Spanish TV each day. The rule around the house is “no TV in English unless Spanish TV and their homework is complete”. Most days that means no English TV. That is okay by me!  Anyway, they found Spanish Sponge Bob and Scooby Doo. Each day they come running with excitement, wanting to let us know about the words they understood and what they learned.   Believe me, every little bit helps.

We also have several other tools we are using (Pimsler, various web sites etc).   I explained to Lars the there are several words that are either the same or very similar to English (plan, celebration etc…) He felt a bit more confident with just trying to say “something/ anything”  rather than freeze because he didn’t know the exact word.   We are trying to speak more Spanish around the house and we are planning to work up to a full day with no English (not sure the full Wagoner clan is up for that, so we will see).

By the way, don’t think that they are discouraged. It can be frustrating when you want to just do it now! They are already planning their next 3 languages to learn after Spanish. A different order of preference for each of them, but the same 3. They are very inspired by many of their friends whom are multilingual.

  • Anya (French, Italian, and German).
  • Lars (German, Italian, and French).

Makes me smile that they have the desire!

8 thoughts on “Please watch more TV

  1. So, are you and Lars watch any Spanish TV? I recommend starting with shows for pre-schoolers like Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and Sesame Street. Yes, that does sound silly, but it comes from experience. Look for shows that are intentionally teaching kids simple concepts like colors, numbers, etc. Since you’ll already know the underlying concept, you’ll be able to focus on the spoken language. Don’t worry that you’ll get bored, you’ll quickly move into listening to the more mature language used between the basis instruction segments. From there move to highly predictable serials like the Lone Ranger where you can see the story line within the first 2 minutes, again leaving you to focus on the language. I always try to leave comedy for last. I found the difference in humor (British is a prime example) can keep you from ‘getting’ the joke.
    As for the kids, encourage them to invite friends over to play. Kids are always teaching other new games. That requires careful use of language and their friends will be willing and very patient instructors. They will start with very simple games (like catch) which are easy to teach while they bond and your kids learn the language, progressing to every more difficult conceptual games.
    Good luck! Thanks for posting so often!

    • Thanks so much for the input Nelson. Yes, we have the kids in after school a couple of days a week to get “extra play time” with other kids. They also get to play out often on our street. We are working on inviting some friends over as well. Yes, we were looking for the preschool stuff to, but trying to talk the kids into those is a bit difficult. Little by little we are getting there. The kids and I do watch Spanish kids shows, I don’t think Alan is though. I forget, where did you live? and did you have kids at the time?

  2. So great! I don’t know if you know about Duolingo, it’s a great free language learning app. And what’s great is that once you’ve learned your second language it just becomes easier to learn another since they all overlap in ways and you begin to see the patterns more!

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