Posts Tagged ‘adults’

Getting Your Elementary or Middle School Aged Children Started Learning Spanish

November 17th, 2012

Guest post by Debbie Annett
Author of Spanish for You! – A Simple, Effective, Affordable Curriculum for Grades 3-8

You CAN give the GIFT of language. Parent or teacher, Spanish speaker or not, YOU ARE
ABLE to accomplish more than just vocabulary learning with your elementary and middle
school students. It just takes knowing a little about the language learning process and how to
do it.

The Language Learning Process
Language learning takes time and practice, much like learning to play an instrument or a sport.
Becoming fluent takes many years, unless your student(s) is in an immersion situation where
he/she is using Spanish with Spanish speakers for several hours every day.

However, most parents would like their children to become fluent by the time they are adults.
This means that you have many years to accomplish the goal. So, get your students started in
elementary or middle school. You can work on things steadily, over time, in a non-stressful

If you are not a language teacher, knowing something basic about the language learning
process will help you should you decide to get started on your own. You can do this!

We can break language down into 2 elements, receptive and expressive. Receptive refers to
the language we receive and need to understand. That would be listening and reading.
Expressive refers to the language we express and use to make ourselves understood. That
would be speaking and writing.

When we first learn a language we learn the receptive piece. Think of babies learning their
first language. They come to understand all that they receive from those speaking around
them and slowly begin to express themselves. First they say words, then phrases, then more
over time. They learn the receptive piece first and then develop the expressive piece.

When teaching a language you want to provide students opportunities to read and listen, and
then slowly get them to write and speak. Their EXPRESSIVE language should be encouraged
first as words, then phrases, and then sentences.

And know this – speaking is the most difficult piece. Spoken fluency is the icing on the cake.
And that will come after many years of steady practice and study. YOU, as the parent or
teacher, are getting them started and preparing them for higher level learning in high
school and maybe college.

How to Do It
You know some basics about the language learning process. Now, how do you get started?

First, choose a curriculum/product that is:
1. easy to use – meaning it has a lesson guide or something you follow
2. can be used by a Spanish teacher or not, or for self-study
3. provides lots of audio, so you can hear what is in the book – important!
4. provides lots of self-checking practice
5. provides a variety of practice activities to develop listening, speaking, reading, and
writing skills
6. provides opportunities to practice with others – this means the product can be used by
individuals AND has the flexibility to be used with others.
7. does more than just teach vocabulary and phrases. You do not want your student(s) to
just memorize some things. You want your student(s) to learn how the language works.
8. economical - this is not a must, BUT there are some good ones out there that provide all
the above and accomplish A LOT without the big price tag! (Ahem, Spanish for You! is one!)

Second, decide on your approach and schedule.
1. If your approach is to create a class or be teaching in a school, then decide how much
time you have each week to devote to Spanish and how much outside of class you want
students to practice. For example, you might schedule a class 1 hour each week with 4 days
of homework, 10-20 min. each day. OR one class for 1/2 hour a week with 2 to 4 days of
homework, 10-15 min. each day, etc.

2. If your approach is at home for self-study, then decide how much time you have each
week to devote to Spanish. You may schedule your efforts 20 minutes 3 times a week, OR 30
minutes twice a week, etc.

If you “fall off the wagon” occasionally do not fret. Just pick back up and keep going. You want
to look at the big picture. If you have kept things going steadily 80% of the time, for example,
things will be fine. It is when you “fall off the wagon” most of the time that you may not get

(A side note – It is ok to take summers off, or holiday time off. You will not ruin your efforts. During
summers it helps to do a little review here and there, just to stimulate the brain and keep those
connections going.)

As you can see, it is VERY possible for you to begin your student(s) learning Spanish even if
you do not have experience with the language or teaching. You just need to know some
basics about the language learning process and how to do it. You just need to work steadily
over time. Do that, and you will have something of value.

If you would like to learn more about the Spanish for You! curriculum, please visit us at

I wish you all the best in your language learning efforts!

Na No Wri Mo

October 25th, 2012

Facebook Cover

Do you have an inner novelist just bursting to get out?

Or do you live with a hidden novelist?

November has become the National Novel Writing Month, and now is the time to let that little novelist out of hiding.

Here’s the original site for Na No Wri Mo (geared toward adults)

And, they have the event targeted toward kids in elementary school to high school as well.

This would fit in well with your homeschool curriculum and is perfect for this time of year before life gets nuts with the holidays, but fall sports have wrapped up and you need something to look forward to working on indoors with a hot cup of tea and fuzzy slippers.

The kids’ site has tons of resources and downloadable ebooks that will walk your kids through the process of writing their own novel in 30 days.

There’s information for educators, lesson plans, badges, forums, and tons of other cool stuff to get you motivated and help writers not throw in the towel half way through.

I have heard from many that gave it a try and couldn’t believe how many thousands of words their kids could write in a month when they just let the words fly and didn’t worry about anything but getting the story out. This year, we are going to give it a shot, at least some of us. Maybe even me. We’ll see.

Any Na No Wri Mo veterans out there? Anyone with a novel burning to get out?

Less than a week until the event begins, so now is the time to start thinking about where you are headed, dreaming up characters, and sketching some possible plots. Or, just wait until November 1 and just open your computer and see where your fingers lead you. Either way sign up so you can tally your wordcount and even if you don’t write a great novel, you can finish and say you did it.

Check out all their details and get ready to write.

Na No Wri Mo Young Writers Program:

World War II re-enactment

September 5th, 2012

World War II Days

This info from their website:

The largest World War II era re-enactment in the United States with over 1,000 uniformed
re-enactors from 40 states representing soldiers from the United States, Great Britain, France, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Japan, Italy and Germany along with 70 to 80 vintage tanks, halftracks and other 1940s era military vehicles!

One Day Admission Cost (2 day passes also available)
$12 adults; $6 for children (3 to 17); and free for World War II veterans and Museum Members

Parking is free. Plenty of handicap parking is available. We also have roving multi-person golf carts dedicated to shuttling visitors who need assistance.

To learn more about World War II Days (re-enactors & guests) visit

For the rest of the information and to register for this event check out the Midway Village Museum.

Potter coming to Mount Prospect

September 1st, 2012
David Engesath, of Master Potter Ministries
Where: Bible Baptist Church, 123 Busse S. Road, Mt. Prospect
When: September 5-9 with services at 7:00 p.m. each night.
David is a Master Potter that brings the potter’s house to churches and visually explains the 8 stage process of forming clay.  He forms clay vessels on the potter’s wheel while preaching .This parallels the 8 stage sanctification process of the believer found in II Peter 1:5-7.  Understanding this process will encourage Christians to yield, surrender and serve.  This is for both adults and children.

You can find more information on him below:

Free kids’ admission to Brookfield Zoo

August 13th, 2012


Brookfield Zoo, beautiful weather, just before settling back into the books. Who can pass this up?

Free Kids’ Days, for kids 11 and under, are Monday-Wednesday, Aug. 13-15. In addition to free admission for kids, the zoo’s North Gate parking lot will feature interactive games and healthy eating tips at the Meijer Mobile Virtual Playground. Meijer dieticians also will share tips on nutritious school lunch planning.

Kids are free for these few days and special fun activities to go along with. Of course, you still pay $10 to park and $15 for any accompanying adults as well.

Read the rest of the article at Chicago Parent.

Upcoming events at the Midwest Museum of Natural History

April 19th, 2012

A couple events coming up at the Midwest Museum of Natural History:

Safari Sprouts

Wednesday, April 25, 10:15-11:15 am

$8/child (or purchase a 4-class card for $28), adults free

Call 815-895-9777 to register (walk-ins welcome too)

Spend a morning discovering nature at the Museum through games, crafts, stories, and songs, plus a live animal visit each month! Designed for ages 3-5 with an adult.

Severe Storms and Tornadoes:

the perspective of a storm chaser and scientist

a presentation by Dr. Walker Ashley, Northern Illinois University

Thursday, April 26, 7-8:00 pm

$4/person, Members free
Dr. Ashley will examine the science behind severe thunderstorms in the U.S. to discover how and why they form. He will also discuss the many myths surrounding severe storm hazards and storm chasing.

Open swim for homeschoolers

December 5th, 2011

We have really enjoyed the gym and swim classes we have taken at the Centre, and here is an opportunity for all homeschoolers to enjoy some swim time during their break from the regular gym and swim classes.
Times and fees are listed below, and contact information for further information as well.

Home School Drop-In Swim

Home school families – come down to The Centre for
swimming on the following Thursdays when our regular
program is not running during the holidays. The cost per
child is $2.75 and $3.25 for adults. Times will be from
1:00pm—3:00pm each day.

Thursday, December 1
Thursday, December 8
Thursday, December 15
Thursday, January 5
Thursday, January 12

Contact Brett Lind at 847-531-7017 for more information.

The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin, IL 60120

Google Analytics integration offered by Wordpress Google Analytics Plugin