Teaching a second language at 4 1/2

MagooMagoo Posts: 2,173Registered Users Curl Neophyte
I'm fluent in Spanish and always planned on having my children speak both English and Spanish at home.

After my son was born, I was very good about incorporating both languages into our daily routine but then he was almost 18 months old and barely speaking so I worried that the 2 languages were confusing him, so I backed off on the Spanish and reverted to English only. Since DH only speaks English it was also easier for me to just speak English all the time at home.

Well, now that he's 4 1/2, I'm kicking myself for not sticking with it. I'm wondering if it's too late to reintroduce him to the Spanish language?
He definitely shows an interest and always asks how to say certain words in Spanish. He has this great opportunity to learn a second language from his mom and I don't want him to miss out.
I'm just not sure on how to go about it. Like I said, DH doesn't speak it so it's not like DS can hear Spanish being spoken at home. He loves when I read him Spanish children's books. I've also bought him the Spanish version of several of his favorite books.
I've thought about those children's language software programs like Muzzy but they're pretty expensive and I'm not sure how effective they are. I'd be willing to spend the money if I knew they worked.

Any thoughts?
3b/c fine, thick, porous, protein sensitive
Modified CG, CJ Rehab, JCWDT, KCKT, VO5 Chamomile Tea Therapy, CJDF, HEBE Gel/Mousse, Bioinfusion Rosemary Mint shampoo, occasional protein

Experimenting with BRHG

"If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain"

Comments

  • CocoaCoilyCocoaCoily Posts: 2,648Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I'd say, speak to him in Spanish only. That's really the best way. You could also enroll him in Spanish language classes for children, when he's school age. All of my husband's American-born Polish friends went to Polish-language school. They hated it then, but really appreciate it now.
  • KaiaKaia Posts: 8,815Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    It is most certainly not too late. I learned Russian when I was 6 and English when I was 11, and I am fluent in both (well, my Russian kind of sucks now that I don't use it, but I understand it perfectly and WAS fluent for a long time). I agree with the suggestion for you to speak Spanish to him all the time or as much as you can. Supposedly, it's actually least confusing to children if each parent consistently uses a certain language.

    Of course, I should take my own advice and speak to my children in Polish. :roll: It's easiest for me to communicate in English, but I know I'll be kicking myself later when my kids know none of the language that's most dear to my heart.
    *Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

    Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
  • curly_keltiecurly_keltie Posts: 791Registered Users
    It's definitely not too late. I was in French Immersion starting in Grade 1, and I was from an English speaking home.

    As a previous poster said, you speak to him only in Spanish and your DH can speak to him in English. a few of the families in DS's daycare do this. One boy in his classroom speaks Chinese at home and English at the daycare. Another boy in the baby room (2 years and younger) hashis dad who speaks English and his mom who speaks a language that is native to the Phillipines. Their language aquisition is a little bit slower, because they are learning two languages, but it's not so slow that it is concerning.

    Good Luck!
    Long, blonde, 3a/mostly b hair.

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  • CostenyaCostenya Posts: 520Registered Users
    I don't have children. But, I'm a native speaker of Spanish and most of my friends are as well.

    This is what I've observed...

    My friends (and their spouses, if they also speak Spanish) have been talking to their children ONLY in Spanish since the day they were born. They also have their children with Spanish-speaking babysitters. They also have taken it upon themselves to teach their children Spanish grammar. The children usually learn English once they start pre-school/kindergarten. There really is no other way to do this if you want your children to be truly fluent--as in being able to use and conjugate grammar correctly, accent, etc.

    At some point, the children usually mix both languages in together. But, by the time they reach a certain age, they will be able to sort out both properly.

    My friend's husband, both of whom are from Puerto Rico, came to the U.S. when he was a child. His mother took it upon herself to teach him grammar all throughout his childhood into his teenage years. He was so fluent, that he was able to go back to college in Puerto Rico. He is in his 30s, has no accent and speaks perfect Spanish. You have to be really dedicated, though.

    I learned Spanish when I was 3 and moved to Mexico, and then I "forgot" English, and then I "forgot" Spanish when I moved back to the U.S., and by the time I was around 10 or so, I had both languages down. The reality is, you never "forget". It's just the brain's way of storing and processing.
  • CocoaCoilyCocoaCoily Posts: 2,648Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Kaia wrote: »
    It is most certainly not too late. I learned Russian when I was 6 and English when I was 11, and I am fluent in both (well, my Russian kind of sucks now that I don't use it, but I understand it perfectly and WAS fluent for a long time). I agree with the suggestion for you to speak Spanish to him all the time or as much as you can. Supposedly, it's actually least confusing to children if each parent consistently uses a certain language.

    Of course, I should take my own advice and speak to my children in Polish. :roll: It's easiest for me to communicate in English, but I know I'll be kicking myself later when my kids know none of the language that's most dear to my heart.

    I'm still trying to get my husband to speak to our daughter in Polish only. He has a weird aversion (like he'll go to the Polish deli and speak to them in English). And, I guess, it's just easier to speak English at home for him.

    But, especially since I'm also trying to learn Polish, it would be doubly good for him to speak it at home.

    I tell you all this as a way to encourage you to speak to your children in Polish. I ask my husband all the time why he doesn't pass on this knowledge he has to his daughter.
  • SigiSigi Posts: 2,379Registered Users
    My son's school has a partial Japanese immersion program. Half the day is spent learning in Japanese, and the other in English. In kindergarten they learned their numbers, colors, shapes, body parts, a few animals, days of the week, all that stuff. They also started on the Hiragana alphabet and learned a bunch of phrases. The teacher sent home a disc with Japanese songs on it so the child could listen to the language at home.

    I'm sure you could find a Spanish language workbook for Pre K or even Kindergarten. That would be a great way to start, I think.
  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    My own personal observation is that kids will only become fluent in a language at home if both parents are speaking to each other in that language. Heck, I grew up in a house where my parents both spoke Marathi and I still wouldn't consider myself fluent. Like Costenya said, you really have to keep the English out if you want to achieve fluency and that's not a reality in most families.

    My family is much like yours: DH and MIL speak Punjabi to Karan (who is almost 4), My Mom speaks Marathi, but together as a family we speak English. When Karan was smaller and only speaking in single words, he used Punjabi and English interchangeably, but as his language skills improved and he started using more complicated sentences, he switched over to English. He still uses Punjabi words and understands it quite well, but he'll need more formal education to actually learn to speak Punjabi at this point.

    That said, it would be great it you spoke to DS in Spanish and then reinforce that with preschool or language classes. Then your Son will have a a very good chance of becoming fluent.
  • MagooMagoo Posts: 2,173Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Thanks for the replies ladies. I will certainly keep at it. Hopefully some of it will stick!:toothy7:
    3b/c fine, thick, porous, protein sensitive
    Modified CG, CJ Rehab, JCWDT, KCKT, VO5 Chamomile Tea Therapy, CJDF, HEBE Gel/Mousse, Bioinfusion Rosemary Mint shampoo, occasional protein

    Experimenting with BRHG

    "If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain"

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