“I know zero Spanish.” Where can I begin?
This was me just a few years ago. I had no skills, no familiarity, no ability.
I’d like to share these resources with you, since some of what worked for me might also work for you!
These language lessons are the perfect place to start as a beginner. From the first day, you begin speaking the new language. The activities are highly interactive and use spaced memorization to help review the concepts.
Pros: Daily lessons lasting exactly 30 minutes. You can hand these to a child as young as 6 years old (in my experience) and have them succeed. The parent doesn’t need to be involved in structuring or planning the lesson. The lessons give exposure to the rhythm and sounds of the language.
Cons: Cost can be an issue. The monthly subscription is $15, and it will take several months to complete the lessons. We chose to get the CDs from the library, download them to our computer and then put them on listening devices for our children. Those extra steps are tedious, but a good way to save money.
Another con is that these lessons rely on auditory memory. If you need to see things written down, it might still be hard for you to remember. It’s nice to combine these lessons with other resources.
Testimonial: When my family visited Spain, I used a sentence straight from a Pimsleur lesson: “esta es la cola?” We were standing outside a museum and I couldn’t tell if this man was in line or not. He gruffly replied in English, “I speak no spanish.” I felt so proud of myself for getting to use the lesson material. My six-year-old daughter was proud of me, too. She said, “He only speaks one language, but we speak two!”
There are hundreds of thousands of free videos for learning Spanish. I think the best ones are the ones that use music and songs to help familiarize concepts. A few of our favorites:
You’ll find other songs and videos that you enjoy, I’m sure. One special shout out for instructions in Spanish:
Dreaming Spanish: videos with zero English, but lots of images and actions that help you understand and build vocabulary.
Pros: Many people have created amazing videos that are engaging and fun.
Cons: Heavy parental involvement. The videos are short, and after the video you need to make decisions–do we listen again, do we try something new, do we shift gears altogether.
Testimonial: If you could hear our house, you’d know these songs get stuck in our heads! We love to sing and sing and sing on repeat.
Start with these two resources and let me know how it goes! When you are ready, hop over to my Intermediate Spanish resource list.