I thought I would do a little update on my spanish learning to date. Myself and my kids are learning spanish together, but I am using slightly different methods and tools so I thought I’d put this separate.
We must have been learning for over 2 months now and I have written before about what resources we had used. It takes me a while to settle into using new things and seeing what works so some of the things I mentioned I don’t use as much and some new things I’ve tried have stuck too.
I felt like I needed some structure for myself to work through that would be separate from the kids so I purchased a Basic Spanish workbook from Amazon and have been plodding through that.
I’ve been very much enjoying a series I have found on Spanish tv called Isabel and is, unsurprisingly, about Isabel, Queen of Castille. As I absolutely love history I have been soaking up as much information as I could about the time in Spain and it has made watching it much easier. I’ve actually started again from the beginning since I found an english novel about the period which filled in lots of blanks and since having that knowledge plus better spanish myself than when I started watching it the first time it’s made it much better and I’m hugely enjoying it. I actually just love listening to the spanish language for an hour or so (or any foreign language really, dunno why, just sets off a spark)
One blog that I have been trying to read is Fluent in 3 Months which is a blog of an Irishman who is learning different languages and aims to become, um, fluent in 3 months. lol! I’ve seen and heard of him before but there is *such* a wealth of information on his site that it was a little intimidating knowing which article to read first if you know what I mean. It’s a fantastic site and I would definitely recommend popping over there and reading some of his stuff. Anyway, one thing he thinks is most important is speaking right away and this is what I have struggled with, so I have been trying to think of ways to get out there and speak.
I started with an adult spanish class which I thought would be perfect for real life conversation, but I’m finding it a bit frustrating due to the slow pace of the class. There is only another couple of weeks left so I’ll stick with it, but it was a bit of a disappointment. It’s all reading off a dialogue sheet and no speaking for yourself. I needed something else so I decided I was going to try getting a one to one lesson after hearing about Italki from the FI3M site. The cost is actually quite reasonable and there are a load of qualified teachers on there to teach you. I took a deep breath one day and booked a lesson!
I am so nervous of new things, but I made myself do it. I hated the idea of sounding stupid, but I made myself do it. I was way out of my comfort zone, but I made myself do it!
Some teachers do a trial lesson so you can see if you like them before comitting to a full hours lesson and this is what I had. Oh my word, all the ideas in my head that I thought I knew spanish just went out of the window! My mind went blank, I forgot stupid things like numbers and greetings. Honestly! But you know what, I feel like I made progress, I learnt new things and speaking is a hugely different skill that tests all my knowledge all at once. Answering workbook questions is a breeze compared to it! I can totally see how making yourself speak from day one of language learning would help you progress way quicker than just reading books or following a course.
There are lots of other free ways to connect with spanish speaking people on the internet. On Italki you can connect with other people and arrange informal language exchanges for free. I haven’t done this yet, I need more courage!! Another site I heard recommended is Verbling which matches you randomly with speakers of the language and you do 5 mins of speaking and then switch. I am also too scaredy to try this one yet too. But you never know, I may sort myself out one day and make myself do it!!!
Regardless of the fact I feel stupid when talking, I have been completely loving the whole learning process and I hope will continue to do so! I’ll try and update how I’m doing in the new year perhaps. Hopefully I will have some progress to report!
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