Friday, February 24, 2012

Never Would Have Guessed...

If someone would have asked me 15 years ago if I ever thought I would teach, the answer would have been a resounding "NO!"  If someone would have asked me 5 years ago if I ever thought I would homeschool, the answer would have been the same.  So here I am with a few years experience teaching in public school, 5 years of being a stay at home mom, preparing to begin our gran aventura in homeschooling.

One attitude which has not changed over the years is my passion for languages.  I love being bilingual and desperately want my children to be bilingual.  I want my children to have an advantage that I didn't have: learning a second language as a young little sponge.  To me learning one (at least) other language is on the same  level as learning a musical instrument or participating in sports--it leads to a well-rounded individual, and the advantages stretch well beyond the benefit of knowing two languages.  But more about that later....

Five and half years ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest son, I had all these grand illusions of speaking and reading to my child in Spanish.  Oh, it would be so easy, after all I had taught dual-immersion 1st grade for a year.  I scoffed my bilingual friends who said it was actually very difficult to speak to their children in their second language.  Huh, that would not be me! (So I thought).  I started out reading to my son in Spanish from day 1 and did as much speaking in Spanish as I possibly could.  Turns out, though, that speaking in a second language is much more difficult than I thought, especially being surrounded by English speakers.  Turns out I also underestimated my son's intelligence and will.  At 10 months he began screeching miserably if I tried to read to him in Spanish and would continue to do so until I began reading in English.  The whole bilingual baby gig would be more of a challenge than I anticipated.  My friends were right!  Oh Well, not the 1st or last time I underestimate the effort required to produce an end result.  

My son's obvious dislike of Spanish coupled with the fact that we were living short-term (military family) in Okinawa, Japan, along with a host of other excuses (which I'm great at making), resulted in my wonderful collection of children's Spanish books sitting unused, gathering dust.  My hopes for a bilingual baby were dashed (at least for now).

A few years later I decided to try again.  I began making preparations for "Mommy's Spanish Preschool." We did OK, learned colors and some greetings, when once again life happened.  After only 16 months in Florida, Uncle Sammy sent us packing for Las Vegas.  Being the frugal couple that we are, my husband and I did a DITY (Do it yourself) move.   That was enough to put any sort of homeschooling on hold for quite a long time.  

Now one thing that I love about Las Vegas is that there are plenty of opportunities to practice Spanish, especially when compared to Japan.  My first thought was, "Maybe we can hire a native-speaking nanny."  But as mentioned previously my husband and I are (to put it nicely) frugal.  It just seemed silly to me to hire someone to do a job which God had given me the necessary skills to do.  All I needed was to stop making excuses, muster up some confidence in my abilities, and start prioritizing my time.  Sounds easy, right? 

My son is now 5 and his little brother 3.  After many months of praying, thinking, researching, consulting, surfing, etc., I have decided to homeschool my oldest for kindergarten and attempt to teach him in a dual-immersion setting.  I have spent many hours searching the internet for other immersion homeschoolers.  I have found several, but none who are non-native speakers.  If a non-native immersion homeschooler happens upon this blog, I hope to chat because I feel like I'm venturing into the unknown.  Either way, here we go, on our gran aventura.


  1. Hi Heather! We non-native homeschooling - for preschool - my daughter is turning 4 yrs old this month. We live in Romania but I've been speaking in English (mostly) to her since she was 1. She didn't protest against it ... also I have been reading to her only in English ever since.
    Here she is, talking a bit in English.
    My blog in mainly in Romanian now, but hopefully I'll write in English too soon.

    I've found your blog browsing through the Multilingual forum, looking for Spanish resources for kids, I'm thinking of exposing her to a bit of Spanish. You have a nice collection, I will go and check it, I have no idea where to start, I hope I will find ideas on your blog!

  2. Adina,
    Thanks so much for sharing. I checked out your blog video, and wow!! Your daughter's English (and yours) is fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing. You are an inspiration to the rest of us! Good luck adding Spanish to your language repertoire. I hope to add a third language in a year or two.

  3. Heather, I saw your guess post on MommyMaestra's site today. Your story sounds so familiar. I am a native English speaker that learned Spanish through high school and college and spent 12 years in public education as a bilingual teacher and facilitator/consultant for school districts. I now have a newly three year old and five year old and will be homeschooling next year. My five year old did not respond well to my earlier attempts at Spanish when she was a toddler but she is now curious as she sees its usefulness here in Texas. I am thrilled to find your blog and look forward to following your journey as you are just ahead of me. I blog for bilingual/dual-language teachers at

  4. Candis, it's so nice to hear from someone with such a similar story! I would love to hear how your first year of homeschooling goes!