Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spanish Class in a Bax

Nearly everyone agrees that the best way to learn a language other than your native tongue, is by immersion: If you want to learn French, live in France for a while and so forth.

My husband speaks fluent Spanish. As a responsible homeschooling mother, I decided we needed to take advantage of his second language and teach it to the children. Since I don't speak Spanish, this language learning would have to be in the hands of the SC. Now we needed to devise a plan . . . I know!! Immersion!

This became Spanish Tuesday. I fixed a wonderful Mexican meal (from an authentic Mexican cookbook--not some Americanized fare) and had Latin music playing when Dad arrived home from work. The kids and I had worked on the few Spanish words I knew so everyone could say "please, thank you, excellent, water, my house is your house," and we were working on counting to 10. All of this I learned from Sesame Street when I was a child.

This was the second essential point of our classroom experiment: languages are best taught to children because of the life-long retention. Even our Grandma on her worst dementia days could sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" in Latin because she learned it as a child. This was the time and I was sure the Pods and I were ready.

Dad came home and started his tongue a rollin'. Every once in a while I would catch a "bien" or an "uno" and I would cheer. He would look at me like I was nutty because the thing he just said was not something to cheer about. Ug.

Not to be dissuaded, we plugged away. Pretty soon the Pods went their own way and SC and I were like two strangers at the same table. By the middle of dinner, we quit.

Since that disaster (yes, even the food was terrible--turns out I don't know how to cook with instructions like "a little oil" or "some corn meal" or "a spoonful of tomato paste"), I have continued my quest to learn a language other than my own. I have borrowed movies and tapes from the library and listened over and over again. I think I could ask directions to Hotel Columbia, but only if the answer is "here" or "there." My husband is patient and corrects my pronunciations, then says, "Of course, that might not be how they say it in Argentina or Cuba." Seriously, can't someone just decide on one way to pronounce a word and stick with it throughout the Spanish speaking world? And, hey, while I'm ranting, let's do that with English, too. I went to Chicago once and bought a pair of shoes. The sales lady kept asking if I wanted a bax. What the heck is a bax? After saying "huh?" several times, she pulled out a BOX and said, "Do you want this?" Oh.

We'll just keep plugging along and maybe learn something in the long run. I'm open to any ideas.

And I'll get off my soap bax now.


  1. Emily,
    It's like we share a brain(although I think you got the bigger half!) My dad just returned from a mission to Argentina and I've asked him to come be my kids' spanish teacher. Friday is Spanish day. We are very excited. Maybe I'll make some "dang quesadillas" or something.
    Talk to you soon. Your blog is my favorite!

  2. I, too, am learning Spanish along with my dd. We are using Switched-on-Schoolhouse. I feel el stupido. I can't wait until I get to the point when I can watch the cheesy (queso-y?) soap operas. They look el caliente. (?) Please don't judge me? I'm only on lesson 3. Love your blog!