One of the nice things about living on Delmarva is that even though we are at the beach and the area is largely rural, it has a very diverse feel to it.
Sometimes, I joke that it is Florida North. It is not uncommon to go to the grocery store and hear people speak Spanish or head to the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach or eat at a restaurant in Lewes and hear Russian or Romanian spoken.
Delaware is a small state, but it still manages to have a very international feel to it.
This is very important to me because I want my kids to grow up knowing that the world is a big place. I want them to experience as much of it as they can. Part of experiencing the world is experiencing the people who live in it. I want them to be able to relate to everybody. I want them to be able to experience other people’s cultures and languages.
The really cool thing about Delaware is that the schools also embrace other cultures. This year, kindergarten students in the district where my kids go to school are learning Spanish along with English. I think that is fantastic. My only regret is that my kids are in the first-grade and third-grades and are missing out on a chance to become fluent in a second language.
I am not giving up, though. Before we moved to Delaware, nearly two years ago, we borrowed some Spanish discs from the library and listened as we drove to school and to the grocery store, etc. The kids loved it. I did, too. We actually learned some Spanish. Granted, we can only say “No, No es un grande coache,” but at least we can say “No, no big car.”
I have searched in the library in Lewes and in Milton for the Spanish discs that we used in Maryland, but I couldn’t find it.
I recently bought some discs from a local shop in Rehoboth Beach, but the Spanish is focused on travel questions and was too fast for us to catch on. So the search continues.
Here are some other options I came up with in case you want to help yourself or your children learn Spanish.
The local library
We love the library. They have everything you need to learn just about anything. If they don’t have what you are looking for they will check other libraries and find it. They sure are nice, and it is all for free. The price of admission is your residency and driver’s license. The libraries at the Delaware beaches offer books for kids in Spanish. So, we will try that. In Sussex County, DE kids can even Dial-A-Story in English or Spanish. To use Dial-A-Story, call (302) 856-3535 or (302) 856-3536. We will give that a try, too.
The library also offers Spanish conversation groups, but the groups do not fit our schedule. Our library also offers online courses. I found one on Babble. It is fun and easy.
Want to learn Spanish? Check your local library, because chances are they either offer some opportunities for you to speak with others or at a minimum, they have books, discs and perhaps even some computer games.
On Delmarva, a large portion of the population speaks Spanish. We have radio stations that are dedicated to Spanish speakers. Sometimes, when I am in my car I will put on the station and just listen. I am finding that I understand some of what is being said. The local television group also has added several Spanish stations to the mix. While I have not watched those stations, I have watched “How I Met Your Mother” in Spanish. It is still funny in any language.
Is there anything better than YouTube? You can learn just about anything from YouTube. When my kids struggled with phonics. We turned to YouTube and found Geraldine the Giraffe. My kids learned phonics and reading became much easier. So, we are going to try something similar for Spanish. I have already found a few channels that we are going to try. I like Spanish for Kids. There are others, but I figure we would start here. It is a little long, though.
I have headed over to Google Play and downloaded some free Spanish apps. If your kids are like mine, they love paying with your phone and iPad. So now they can learn some Spanish and I can, too. I downloaded Spanish Solo. It was free. It tells you phrases and it allows you to speak into the app. If you pronounce the lessons correctly it gives you a check. If not, you get an X. My kids are goofs and they will probably go for speaking into the phone.
Ok, I am a true geek when it comes to books. The more books the better. I found some Spanish coloring books that I believe me kids will like. We love to color and work on art projects, so this is right up our alley. Best of all the coloring books are inexpensive. They are actually cheaper than regular coloring books. I really like Dover Little Activity Books. We will give this a try.
With so many Spanish speakers on Delmarva, this one seems obvious. Just say Hola and see if some of the people you meet who speak Spanish will teach you a few words. We are trying this. Little by little we are hoping to build our conversational skills.
If you have any ideas or strategies on how to learn or teach your child a second language, please add your ideas in the comment section.
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