FREE Spanish Lesson and Foreign Language Workshop!

Contact us today to arrange a FREE Spanish lesson and foreign language workshop for your co-op, support group, or school!

You will learn:

1. How and why so many students fail to achieve proficiency with ordinary methods
2. What brain researchers and language acquisition experts are saying
3. Simple techniques that improve retention
4. How to provide contexts that increase appeal and enjoyment (because learning another language is AWESOME and should feel that way!)
5. The difference between various curricula, programs and methods
6. What kinds of free/cheap resources are most beneficial and HOW TO FIND THEM
7. How you and your family can work smarter, not harder, and jump over this hurdle successfully! No matter what AGE, LANGUAGE, or BUDGET you’re working with, I would like to help you find what you need.

Caryn will schedule the workshop at your convenience.

Contact us today!
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Speaker Bio:
Caryn Hommel, homeschool mom and author, holds a degree in Spanish Language and Literature from North Carolina State University and taught Spanish in public schools for ten years. Her success with teaching Spanish using Total Physical Response (TPR) and Total Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS) motivated her to develop a unique DVD-led curriculum to help other homeschoolers to benefit from wonderful, brain-friendly approaches to foreign language instruction. She has also designed and implemented an ESL curriculum, led educational tours of both Spain and Mexico for high school students, and presented at NCHE, FLANC (the Foreign Language Association of North Carolina), JCHE, and the Johnston County Second Language Network.  She assists families in the homeschool community by offering private and co-op classes, conducting free seminars, and speaking at homeschool conventions. The Hommels have homeschooled since 2003 and have two fantastic college students. Caryn continues to teach her younger two children, and thinks that exploring life and learning as a family is the most fulfilling way to spend her days!

Comprehensible Input Ideas for ANY Language

As young children, we acquired our native language(s) because of relevant, personalized, compelling comprehensible input.  Unfortunately, this is what is lacking with most foreign language programs.  Fortunately, in today’s digital age, finding solutions is easier than ever, once we know what to look for.

Appropriate input can include videos, music, television, news articles, podcasts, books, conversations, sports narrations, and more.  You’ll be glad to know that it’s possible to find TONS of it for FREE!  This article explores 25 ways to access, adapt, and/or create comprehensible input…25 ways to accelerate your way to the proficiency you want!

internet-and-multimedia-sharing

Since comprehensible input is so crucial to developing fluency, you may want to seek out additional resources, too.  As you evaluate the usefulness of these resources, just make sure that the “level” is not too difficult for you (not frustrating) and the content appeals to you personally.  Also, extended contexts are highly preferable to disjointed, rapidly changing contexts— in other words, stories and other connected discourse are best.  Plus, they’re just more fun.  Win-win!

To find comprehensible input for the foreign language of your choice, simply google the words “comprehensible input” along with the name of the target language (e.g., “comprehensible input mandarin chinese”).  Then evaluate the search results according to the criteria above.  Try to spend a little time each day with a good comprehensible input resource.

Things NOT to worry about just yet:  Perfection.  Grammar (conjugating verbs, learning structures).  Translation.  Making the sounds correctly yourself.  These things have more to do with output than input…and that’s putting the cart before the horse.  You can’t give what you haven’t received, so don’t fret over spending the time you need soaking up input.  Relax and enjoy the input.

smiling

If you decide that you want to go with a curriculum, I hope you’ll consider Excelerate SPANISH.  It was created to provide relevant, personalized, compelling comprehensible input—via scenarios that resemble real-life situations, imbued with humor, and rich in content.

I hope this post helps with your personal quest.  If you find some really great free resources and think we should all know about them, please pass on the good news!

 

Bring More SPANISH Practice into Your Homeschool

The key to becoming really proficient in Spanish is practice, practice, practice…but how is a homeschool family to accomplish this goal most advantageously?

Obviously, choosing the most effective curriculum is an important first step.  Make sure that your program’s approach is based on sound principles.  Many common practices are not best practices, and a little research up front can keep you from wasting valuable time and/or money in the long run.

Then, find additional “comprehensible input” to further familiarize yourself with the patterns and flow of the Spanish language.  Here are some guidelines to help you select the most practical resources:

  1. Pick those options that are interesting, appealing, and enjoyable for you.  There’s just no need to settle for tedious or dry material.  Speaking another language is fun, and your activities should be, too.
  2. Use audio, reading, and visual materials that are at an appropriate level for you.  The bulk of the language should be comprehensible to you, with just enough element of challenge to keep you progressing.
  3. Speakers (live or recorded) who are willing to enunciate, speak slowly, repeat, etc. are ideal!  Of course, there are also benefits to hearing Spanish spoken at a natural pace, so that you won’t be thrown for a loop when you face native speakers in real-life interactions.
  4. Remember that when you learned your first language, fluency came first, then grammar study— not the other way around.
  5. Sometimes, the best things in life really are free.  That’s also true when it comes to “comprehensible input.”

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For conversation practice with native speakers and/or other students of Spanish:

  1. Shared Talk is a little-known but wonderful treasure offered for free by Rosetta Stone.  You do not have to own or use the Rosetta Stone program to access Shared Talk!  Click here for more details or to sign up.  (Parents, remember to always monitor internet use by your children!)
  2. English-Spanish Chat is another such resource.  There are fewer members, but I have heard positive feedback about this site.
  3. The Mixxer allows for language learners to find a conversation partner to talk to via Skype.
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¿Hablas español?

For authentic comprehensible input:

  1. Notes in Spanish offers free podcasts at various levels.  If you like, there are also worksheets you can download and use.
  2. Here is a Children’s Digital Library you can access for free!
  3. These sites offer videos and/or TV shows in Spanish: Argentina’s Public TV, TV al Vivo, TVN, Nicaragua’s Canal 15, Spain’s Tele MadridANTV, and Univision.
  4. To listen to music in Spanish, visit this site featuring over 600 stations!  I also liked the music videos here.
  5. For news, see Telemundo‘s site or Madrid’s ABC (or google, of course).
  6. BBC Languages is no longer updating their site, but it is still functional and well worth exploring!

If you find other sites that you’d like to recommend to homeschool families, please tell us!  Also, feel free to let us know which resources were most beneficial to you.

Gracias, y buena suerte con su práctica.  🙂

Su segura servidora,

caryn hommel

 

 

FREE Workshop for Your Homeschool Support Group or Co-op!

I’d like to offer your co-op or support group a FREE workshop on teaching foreign languages in your homeschool, to benefit all families no matter which language(s) or curricula you choose! We will discuss:

1. How and why so many students fail to achieve proficiency with ordinary methods
2. What brain researchers and language acquisition experts are saying
3. Simple techniques that improve retention
4. How to provide contexts that increase appeal and enjoyment (because learning another language is AWESOME and should feel   that way!)
5. The difference between various curricula, programs and methods
6. What kinds of free/cheap resources are most beneficial
7. How you and your family can work smarter, not harder, and jump over this hurdle successfully!

I’ll be happy to give the workshop at your location (within reasonable driving distance of NC) and at your convenience. Bring your students, of course! We’ll do a few mini-lessons in Spanish to give you a better idea how the various approaches work (and feel for the students).

If you are far outside the NC area, I would be happy to meet with your group via Skype!

Please contact me by email (see “ask a question” fields on this page) to make the arrangements.  I’m here to help!

Su segura servidora,

Caryn Hommel

Homeschool co-op family pic 2012