Formal or informal?

-Before I explain how to use my curriculum for formal or informal lessons, let me define what those words mean to me.

In a few words, when you are going to have a formal lesson, you are going to dedicate a time to purposefully teach something to your child. So not just teaching as life happens (which is what I would define as an informal teaching) but more like when you sit at the table and go through a lesson during a specific time of the day with a specific goal.

CM talked about the benefits of starting learning a language at a young age, and recent studies confirm that the younger the better! She said that the younger the more like a native they will speak. And why is this so important for a good communication? Because a mispronounced word can have a very different meaning or can just not be understood at all, making the communication difficult and maybe even unpleasant.

CM recommended having a nanny("nurse"), so if you can afford that, go for it! having one person speaking only Spanish to your child is one of the modern day favorite methods (linguists call this the OPOL approach) but if you can't, then you can use this curriculum and I will be like a virtual nanny. CM had their schools teaching foreign language in a formal setting. I believe though, based on her recommendations, that formal AND a Nanny at home would be best!

Therefore, our curriculum has two aspects, “the Nanny" and the ”Formal”. The Nanny would be doing all the activities in the curriculum whenever you can, for as long as you want, maybe if you learned about spiders, you would pull up the Unit 1 song and sing it. Just like if you had a Spanish speaking nanny in the house playing with and reading to your kids.

Now, if you are still in the Early years stage, use the songs, poems and books as you wish, it could be just listening to it, learning one a year, one a month, and so on. It all depends on your child's exposure to Spanish. For example, kids raised in bilingual families will go faster through the units than those who have not been exposed to the language before.

But if you want to have formal lessons, then for year 1 add to your schedule 10 min lessons 3 times a week (I recommend 2 for the book and 1 for a poem) and 15 min class to learn the songs. During this time, you will do:

-The book activity: You can go through 3 Spanish books in this year curriculum, the first one will gradually transition into formal studies, the second and third are all formal book study (from Unit 4).

-Poem recital. Read the translated poem to your child (or narrate it to hin) so that he has an idea of what is all about. Have your child listen to the poem verse by verse as he picks up on what it means and memorizes it. (Poem formal lessons start from unit 4).

-Song. Learn two songs per term. (follow instructions on the songs card) Even if you are already doing formal lessons, do not have formal lessons during your school brakes, switch everything to “Nany mode” and learn informally. Two Spanish poems per term is recommended, but again, follow your childs speed, some have had much more exposure to Spanish than others.

Do everything else on the curriculum as if your child got off school and now the nanny is speaking Spanish to him.  

I reccomend starting formal lessons in Unit 4 because thats about the time it takes for a child to actually hear the Spanish sounds, and I don't want to make a child try to memorize something he can't hear. But if your child is very familiar with Spanish. You can start the formal lessons right away using the song cards. Both poem and book study don't have all instructions and pictures for formal study until Unit 4, but you can find pictures on your own if you desire to start formal lessons in the first 3 units.

This is what you will do with the poem:

1- Listen to the poem pointing at pictures for nouns and acting out verbs. Do this three times each lesson. (Once your child is familiar with the words, just listen to it without gestures or pointing).

2- Have your child repeat and memorize the poem sentence by sentence. Do this the rest of your 10 min. 

*You can hive him the idea of what is the poem about or read the translated poem if you think he needs more help.


This is what you will do with the book:

1-Listen to one sentence at a time as you point at nouns and act out verbs. (Once your child is familiar with the words, just listen to it without gestures or pointing).

2- Ask your child to repeat new vocabulary.

3-Do steps one and two for the rest of the lesson and have your child narrate the short story.

In the begining, your child might only be able to narrate a couple or a few words and that's fine! Speaking is the hardest part of learning a language (reading is the easiest and listening second easier).

4-Start each lesson with a quick review of last lesson by listening to last lesson's audio once.

5-Once you've gone through the whole book, listen to the audio book and have your child narrate.


This is what you will do with the song:

1-Listen to the song once.

2-Listen to me reading the song, one sentence at a time as you act out verbs and point at nouns.

3-Have your child repeat new verbs and nouns and then the whole sentence.

4-For the last few minutes, listen to the song with music as your child tries to sing it.

Start each song lesson quickly reviewing what you learned the lesson before by listening to me reading the lyrics as you act and point. Once you're done with a song, keep playing it and singing it informally from time to time.