It was back to school for both my children today and while we they had an amazing summer immersed in Spanish, neither is enrolled in a dual language immersion school. This means we have to work hard at home to maintain the Spanish flowing.
I’m not really concerned about their speaking skills, as Spanish is the dominant language in our home, but I am concerned about their abilities to read and write in my native tongue. This is particularly true in Vanessa’s case since she just entered second grade.
Many people think the definition of bilingualism is being able to speak in two languages, but mine also includes reading and writing correctly in both. Vanessa reads and writes in Spanish and I can’t take the credit for that because she apparently just transferred those skills from English to Spanish as she learned them in school. Even so, I believe she’s at the point where she needs more of a formal instruction. I wish I could say I’ll take it upon myself to give that to her, but I don’t have the skills or the patience to do so, and so for a few months now, I’ve been exploring some options.
Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion that a private Spanish tutor might be just right for her. While more expensive than other options, the obvious advantage of private tutoring is that it can be custom designed to meet your child’s specif needs taking into consideration his pace and level.
How To Find A Private Spanish Tutor
Through my preliminary research, I’ve already found a few options in my area by doing a simple Google search. Check it out:
TutorFind — You can search by language, state, city and even sex.
Spanish Blackbelt — They offer one-on-one Spanish classes for children 6 years and older in several states.
StudyPoint — Another company that offers one-on-one Spanish tutoring in several cities across the nation.
Craigslist — Just go under lessons and tutoring and search for Spanish tutors.
I’ve actually found a couple of tutors on Craigslist and I’m getting ready to make some phones calls to start interviewing them. It never occurred to me to look there, but I was pleasantly surprise with what I found.
Also, remember that, for the most part, all language schools offer private tutoring and many of them start them young.
Another option, is to seek a bilingual elementary school teacher or a Spanish teacher who may no longer be doing it full-time, but might be interested in doing some private tutoring. I know a couple and you probably do to, if you really think about it. If not, ask around.
Finally, while private tutoring can get expensive, you can always get together with another mom and share the expense.
Another option could be an immersion for a couple of months in a Spanish Speaking country. Here in Spain children can even go to the local school, and get extra support from the Spanish language school. We have had several families from the USA staying between 3 months to a year. In case of interest more general information:
At the Spanish Language School in South Spain, we offer programs for children, teenagers and adults, private and intensive courses. Families that woud like to stay a longer period of time, can sign up the children for the local school in town. There are after school activities all year around, and a summer camp during the summer months. We will support you all the way (accommodation, school, internet and such), and can provide references. The town is a great place for families: safe, local, great beach, small mostly Spanish population, and a great climate all year around. A unique concept for families looking to really immerse into the Spanish language and culture. More info: http://www.spanish-school-herradura.com or contact us: email@example.com
Great ideas! Be sure to instill a pride in the culture and identity of Spanish-speaking peoples and their histories so that the child will be proud to use the language and not ashamed in the face of peer pressure.
Please keep us updated on how it goes with the tutor and let us know what you choose for your younger child. We recently had to move away from my son’s dual language montessori school (because of a job change to another city) and I’ve been wondering how we’re going to manage, as he was learning to read in Spanish first, but that won’t be the case this year. I’m afraid it might confuse him some, but if it looks like you’re having a good experience with the private tutor (something I hadn’t actually thought about) that might be something we try, as neither of us has any training in teaching reading skills or elementary ed.
Yes, Casey! I plan on writing about our experience with a tutor. I think it’s a great option for those of have who don’t have access to a dual language immersion education, but it’s impossible to know how it’ll all work out until you hire a tutor and your child has a few lessons. So, I’ll share our experience for sure!