30 October, 2007

Literatura en español and other links

My apologies to those subscribed to my updates...I kept trying to move this to the top of my blog, but I was confusing my browser pages. Ack!!

Literatura en español for different ages and capability levels:

Little Red Riding Hood - Caperucita Roja

Goldilocks and The Three Bears - Ricitos de Oro y Los Tres Osos. There are multiple versions out there, but I like this one for it's simplicity. The illustrations also match the story.

Last weekend I found Kipling's Just So Stories en español as well as Three poems by Edgar Allen Poe en español, including "Eldorado"

Next, I looked up free e-texts of a famous Spanish Play called La Vida es Sueño by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. For synopsis, theme, discussion, etc. go here. I remember studying lines from this in Spanish IV in preparation for state competition over 25 years ago! My events were: Poetry recitation, sight reading, and a dramatic interpretation from this play.
There is the famous soliloquy by the character Segismundo at the end which ranks up there with Hamlet's.

In English it is:
What is life? A frenzy.
What is life? An illusion,
A shadow, a fiction,
And the greatest profit is small;
For all of life is a dream,
And dreams are nothing but dreams.

This first link is the first version of the play. There is another version available here. The text is also available in inglés.

Lastly for today, I'm including a different link for hymns en español than what I've used in the past (cyberhymnal.com).

Himnarios en español / inglés. The Doxology is available at this link, as well!


I am :-)

Señora Javamom

29 October, 2007

Cat treats!

Tigger (photo-scroll down on the right) loves to snack on foods with grains in them. This recipe came into my inbox just today from Petplace.com. There is a recipe for doggie treats, too...but I don't have a dog. Go to the link to try the doggie treats!

Makes 18 treats

1/4 cup warm water
5 tablespoons parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons soft margarine
1 tablespoon cod liver oil
1 cup white flour
1/4 cup soy flour

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine water, cheese, margarine and oil.
  • Add flour and form a dough.
  • Roll to 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutter.
  • Bake at 300 degrees on an ungreased cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden.
  • 22 October, 2007

    My CM and TPR plan - Spanish

    I moved this post to be at the top of my line-up, in hopes that it gets more notice, for those who've e-mailed me privately to ask for guidance. This is based on my research of Charlotte Mason's recommendations and on the Total Physical Response (James J. Asher) and TPR Storytelling (Blaine Ray) methods, which so far seem to be 90-95% identical to CM's recommendations. If I go back to school to get a Masters Degree, this is a subject in which I will dig into and research more deeply. I have several ideas for further study written in rough draft form, and will wait for the Lord's hand if this is to work out.

    With my own younger two boys (ages 12 and 14) and with some of my AO students (children of my friends in my CM book club) I use the following procedures and resources. I will be fine-tuning these for the various capabilities of each age student that I teach (from ages 5-18), both at home and a little more traditional for high school in a homeschool co-op setting).

    ~ I use simple commands in the target language, in our case, Spanish. This is how children learn as babies and toddlers. For example: "Watch out! Look! Come to me! Bring me the plate! Sit down! Come here! Let's go! Don't run!" In Spanish this would sound (and look) a bit like this:

    As recommended in TPR, I perform actions or gestures to express these, which works out great, because I talk with my hands, anyway!

    ¡Cuidado! - Be careful
    Ven conmigo - come with me
    Ven - Come
    ¡Venga aquí! - come here!
    ¡vamos! - Come along!
    ¡vamanos! - let's (all) go!
    vamos a ver - Let's see!
    vamos a leer - let's read!
    Tráigame el plato; los platos -bring me the plate/plates
    ¡siéntete (por favor)! - (you-familiar) sit down (please)!
    levántete por favor - (you-familiar) please stand up
    ¡escuche! - Listen!
    escuchemos - let's listen
    ¡mira! - look/ look out!

    ¡No corre! - Don't run!
    - jump
    toca - touch (as in toca el pelo-touch [the] hair. toca la boca touch [the] mouth)

    So in a group I will say:

    levanten la mano - (all of you-plural) raise the hand
    bajen la mano - (all of you-plural) lower the hand

    Abran sus libros a la página... - (all of you-plural) open your books to page...

    ~ Then I may add in phrases such as:
    jump or stand on the chair, beside the chair, around the chair, etc.
    ~ Play "Simón dice" (Simon Says) with them. Play Bingo to reinforce numbers. Make up memory games with pictures. Vocabulary/Picture learning is recommended in the very young years, but especially pictures without words, only oral presentation of the words.
    ~ Later, make or purchase an inexpensive memory game in Spanish and English. I have one put out by Leap Frog that I found at Wal-Mart for 5 or 8 dollars. Sing your favorite songs in Spanish, whether they be children's songs, Bible verse songs, worship songs, hymns, or folk songs from Cuba. I am slowly building up my supply, and plan to keep posting updates to my blog. Say little poems aloud; the sing-song type poems or rhymes. I found a book of Traditional Spanish Rhymes just for this purpose. It has great illustrations, too. Find the living books listed in the early years of Ambleside Online in Spanish, then do a search for them at Amazon.com or do an online search for "libros en español," and click on the "juvenile" section. Their are a lot of adorable picture books that we are most familiar with available in Spanish, as well. Think of books such as "Buenas Noches Luna" and "Courduroy," "Frog and Toad," "Go Dog, Go!" and many others.

    Here are two fun books I found a couple of months ago. These can be used as reference for CM words for the teacher/mom who hasn't had much or any Spanish. I posted links last week to audio-file pronunciation sites for phonetic help.

    (The above photo is for Donna-Jean :-)

    There are many free e-texts online in Spanish. Just do a search for "free e-texts" and "libros en español" to see what you come up with. Look for Stories such as "The Three Little Pigs" en español or "Little Red Riding Hood." I have posted some links to the blog already, but by the time I would be able to post 20 links of AO books here, you may well be able to find them on your own. I will post some in future as I am able! Stay tuned!

    ~ One important thing to do is to find traditional stories, fables and folk songs that are common to Spanish Speaking countries. Right now, I'm trying to have the balance of about 50% of stories/songs/poems (and eventually even art and movies) that originated within the Spanish-speaking cultures. Then, include 50% of stories, songs, sayings, from world classics. Why 50/50? For now, it just seems simpler to keep it balanced there. I have no Scientific reason to change it at this point (since I am able to find quite a few good resources!) but know it is important to have both styles represented.

    ~ Another book I am reading aloud from is a 1937 Graded Spanish Reader. It has the few vocab words from each "new" paragraph printed at the bottom of the page, and I can go over them at the beginning of a lesson, so the kids can hear and know them when I read the brief story lesson to them. It is working well so far! I send a copy of each paragraph home with each student so that they or their moms can read it to them once or twice more during the week.

    Update: The kids are able to narrate from these pretty much immediately. They are simple stories about a family in a large white house :-). The story builds with each paragraph, which can be read aloud during each new lesson. We review any vocab from the previous lesson, a la CM, and present any new vocab before we begin the new paragraph.

    ~ I like to make up a sentence or two about an animal in the house, or about one of the kids.
    "Hay un gato que se llama Tigre! Tigre es un gato muy simpático.
    ¿Es simpático Tigre? Sí, Tigre es simpático."

    This makes it personal and as James Asher states in his book _Learning Another Language Through Actions_, pg. 3-67, "The TPR works because it is comprehensible input with high believability since we create intimate, personal experiences for the students. Hence, there is intake by the students." He refers to intake as "learning that is stored in long-term memory rather than short-term memory." In other words, the believability factor and the personal factor connect with the students' learning on the right side of the brain as opposed to memorizing lists and dialogues, which teaches ONLY to the left side of the brain. This tends to be stored in the short-term memory.

    I made up a brief line or two about one of Mother Auma's family pets, too! That was a kick. I need to add to Thumper's story when I see them this week!

    Update: "Hay una coneja que se llama Thumper. Thumper es blanca, morena, manchada, y suave. ¿Es vieja Thumper? ¿Es Jóven? ¿Cuántos años tiene Thumper?

    ~ It's important to follow Charlotte's and the TPR and TPRS methods of not adding more than 3-6 new words or units of words per day. Since I only meet with most of my students once a week, I must have a list of extra words or phrases to send home with them, so that they can divide the words up over the week and work on them at home, all based around the theme or story which we are working that week.

    ~ We do a little copywork from introductory and "real" dialogues, or some Bible verse copywork.

    ~My senior high students get to do studied dictation with me from time to time.

    ~ I like to sing a song with the kids. All my students have learned "This is the day that the Lord has made..." Bible verse and song in Spanish this last month. Next we'll learn, "I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy" en español.

    ~ We've already made clocks and learned to tell time

    ~ sung "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" and

    ~ half of my students have already made chore/activity charts learning appropriate questions and answer dialogues that are used to communicate these activities.

    ~We've begun to learn to set the table.

    ~ We've learned the days of the week, to boot!

    ~ Our next step is to take a nature walk while I speak things to them in Spanish. I may talk about the weather and the seasons, as well.

    ~ When these kids are a little older, I could add some German in, a la CM, if they wish!
    This is what I will do with my own children.

    I remember fondly taking a long bike ride all over Heidelberg with a dear friend at the time, who was the son of an elder in the Berlin Church. He gave me the whole tour of Heidelberg via bicycles speaking to me completely in German. This was my second summer in Germany and I actually did understand quite a lot then!

    Any questions?


    20 October, 2007

    It's been two years

    Today is the Komen Race For The Cure. All week long I have been thinking of my friends who have fought or are fighting breast cancer in this month. It has been exactly two years (literally in just a couple of days) since the home-going of one friend from my church family and my homeschool group. Our route to co-op takes us past her hospital. That plus the change in weather just heightens the memories, and reminds me to take time to value, love, "hold," hug, lift up in prayer daily, and communicate with my friends and family who are alive. I think of friends and loved ones (my own father, who will be celebrating his 71st birthday soon!) who are still cancer-free years after their first diagnosis.

    I'm am also reminded of Hubby's Aunt Gail.
    A little after Thanksgiving, we in her family celebrated her life and home-going in early December, 2005. She valiantly lived and loved during a long journey with ovarian cancer.

    So this year, I am thinking of those who are recovering and healing from surgeries and treatments for breast cancer right now. Two of my friends are so valiantly and patiently living and loving through a season like this at this moment; one from church and another of my hs friends who is also in my CM bookclub).

    Then there's my own mother, who is confined to bed these days. She is recovering from surgery to repair a multiple fracture in her ankle and leg from almost two years ago that never healed correctly, so it has been such a trial and source of physical and mental anguish these last couple of years.

    The wreck my dd and I were in one month ago also adds to this reflection of the brevity and frailty of life, and the desire to live life very purposefully; choosing activities and choosing words with laser-like precision or choosing to keep my mouth shut. Oh, yes, human nature gets in the way, but with each season and event comes more clarity and yeah...even wisdom from above.

    The changes of season remind me to re-evaluate my own life, but moreso THIS season, because of the aforementioned events. Fall is also that time of putting off extraneous things and settling in to the "now" of a more fixed schedule. It is a time of quiet routine before the Holidays begin. The prayer that I have is that I choose things wisely, that I not dawdle or miss out on the important things, that I continue to completely trust the Lord who holds it all in His hands.

    I am contemplative but purposeful.


    18 October, 2007

    Coffee Break

    This is our new coffee bar set-up. I found it last week at one of my favorite thrift stores. The thing is, it must have been someone's wedding or anniversary present, as it was still in all it's plastic and bubble wrap inside the box, complete with warranty papers and instruction booklet. It was the low price of $21.00! A new espresso machine alone costs twice that price or more. My coffee-shop employed older teenagers were so happy with my find!

    Now some of the reviews I've found on the net of this machine aren't so great, but ours makes great coffee and espresso. I'm wondering if some of those reviews come from user error or misunderstanding of the components. That is likely, as some of the things are a little tricky or different from other machines.

    My absolute favorite machine, for which I spent $170 many years ago (and it lasted a very long time) is not made or distributed in American anymore, has been broken for about two years, now. We've been using a Gevalia four-cup machine that I bought at this same thrift store for a mere $2.99 over a year ago, so I do not at all feel guilty for spending $21. Even if something breaks down, I have the warranty papers.

    This has been a brief station break whilst I prepare lesson plans and supplies for tomorrow's home school co-op day. I also have some high school Spanish grading to complete, and mid-terms to average. Pray that I can get it all done before dinner time!

    I have two posts that I'm still working on re: Spanish Lessons and resources. I can get back to fine-tuning them after co-op day.

    Back soon,


    16 October, 2007

    More CM commentary - learning foreign languages

    Recommendations in Volume One: Home Education are for children ages 6-9.

    From page 302 ~ based on the work of M. Gouin:

    "The verb is the key to the sentence" and "is the bridge between thought and act." we "think in sentences, not in words...which have a logical sequence...of time."

    On page 303, she lists a "series" of phrases which pack a learning punch.

    "You really learn to think in the new language...You order your thoughts in the new language, and, having done so, the words which express these are an inalienable possession."

    Pg. 304 - Here is an example of an elementary 'Series,' showing how 'the servant lights the fire':

    "The servant takes a box of matches, (takes.)
    She opens the match-box, (opens.)
    She takes out a match, (takes out.)
    She shuts up the match-box, (shuts up.)
    She strikes the match on the cover, (strikes.)
    The match takes fire, (takes fire.)
    The match smokes, (smokes.)
    The match flames, (flames.)
    The match burns, (burns.)
    And spreads a smell of burning over the kitchen, (spreads.)
    The servant bends down to the hearth, (bends down.)
    Puts out her hand, (puts out.)
    Puts the match under the shavings, (puts.)
    Holds the match under the shavings, (holds.)
    The shavings take fire, (take fire.)
    The servant leaves go of the match, (leave go.)
    Stands up again, (stands up.)
    Looks at her fire burning, (looks.)
    And puts back the box of matches in its place, (puts back.)

    My friend, Señora Smith, and I were both so excited about the above list, because it is basically what is done with TPR and TPR Storytelling! She came to CM after TPRS, I came to TPRS recently, and have been a CM student and teacher for about ten years, now. We both had this realization of how much alike both approaches are. Of course, CM is talking about M. Gouin's work, here, but in looking at other PR articles, and information on foreign language learning and presentation in other sections of her volumes, I am convinced all the more that she infused these ideas into her recommendations and schools. I am excited by how much they are like the newer research on TPR which I have mentioned several times in this series of posts.

    From page 305-306, we read:

    "This refers to M. Gouin's herculean labours in the attempt to learn German. He knew everybody's 'Method,' learned the whole dictionary through, and found at the end that he did not know one word of German 'as she is spoke.'

    He returned to France, after a ten months' absence, and found that his little nephew––whom he had left a child of two and a half, not yet able to talk––had in the interval done what his uncle had signally failed to do. "'What!' I thought; 'this child and I have been working for the same time, each at a language. He, playing round his mother, running after flowers, butterflies and birds, without weariness, without apparent effort, without even being conscious of his work, is able to say all he thinks, express all he sees, understand all he hears; and when he began his work, his intelligence was yet a futurity, a glimmer, a hope. And I, versed in the sciences, versed in philosophy, armed with a powerful will, gifted with a powerful memory . . . have arrived at nothing, or at practically nothing!'"

    "The linguistic science of the college has deceived me, has misguided me. The classical method, with its grammar, its dictionary, and its translations, is a delusion." "To surprise Nature's secret, I must watch this child."

    M. Gouin watches the child––the work in question is the result of his observations.

    The method of teaching may be varied, partly because that recommended by M. Gouin requires a perfect command of the French tongue, and teachers who are diffident find a conversational method founded on book and picture easier to work and perhaps as effectual––more so, some people think; but, be this as it may, it is to M. Gouin we owe the fundamental idea."

    Sunday Oct. 21 There is more yet to come ~ I've just come across some more astounding material by a TPR researcher which absolutely supports my theory (in red) above, including quotes from M. Gouin's work!! This adds more information to my quest and solidifies and proves the connections that I was making. This is very exciting, indeed!


    15 October, 2007

    Spanish learning ~ Charlotte Mason Style ~ new resources found

    While on a three-hour break from Jury duty this morning, I happened over to the best used bookstore (located in an old, historic opera house) in our metroplex and spent a couple of hours digging and reading.

    This is what I found there:

    Unabridged and annotated Don Quijote de la Mancha por Miguel de Cervantes

    Plutarch's Lives *in Spanish*
    Spanish Literature anthology 1700-1900
    Faust and Goethe in Spanish
    They had Shakespeare, too, but I'm holding out for a better binding.
    Canciones De Nuestra Caba
    ña, which also has musical notes on a staff. This is an old Girl Scout song book from 1980.

    Other books discovered this past week on a bargain bin at Borders:

    El Libro de las Virtudes by Bill Bennett
    La Oración by Watchman Nee

    Specially ordered for my AO students:

    ¡Pío Peep! Rimas Tradicionales en Español (Traditional Spanish Rhymes)
    Fábulas de Esopo (Aesop's Fables)
    And a sweet book for children: Mis primeras oraciones (My first prayers)

    While I will continue to post CM quotes, other PR notes, and free links that fit both into AO and follow Charlotte Mason's words and advice on Foreign language learning/teaching, you can bet that I will share my used book or special order finds with you all. I really am floored about the surprise of "Plutarco" today! It's difficult enough in English, much less in Spanish!

    And Goethe in Spanish is a little funny, too. I will look for him in German, the original language, as well :-).

    Oh, and I also got to help out another customer who stood before the Spanish section looking for a Spanish Bible. It was nearly ten minutes before she asked me if I could help, and if I knew anything about the translation of the Bible into Spanish. I told her that I carry mine to church every Sunday to study along with the sermon.

    I love that store!


    p.s. One other juror out of our group of 42 also ended up at this bookshop during our long break! We had endured a horrible commute in flash flooding to get to the courthouse from all over our county to sit for hours on a criminal district trial. But what a reward for our wait!
    I'm almost surprised that there weren't more of us there, for nearly seven or so of us in the group are teachers.

    ...and yes, btw, jury duty WAS fascinating!! The fallacies that the defense attorney used were annoying! He was also not very clear several times.


    13 October, 2007

    Foreign Languages CM style

    There is some overlap from post-to-post in this series. I hope you all don't mind.

    I could simply post resources, refer to old CM or PNEU schedules, and then post projected or actual schedules that I am using or will use in the near future. It is not as simple as that, as I am still fleshing out the details (in my CM/AO study group) and comparing CM's writing and philosophy to modern research that I've mentioned before. They are almost identical, from what I have studied thus far. Another friend of mine (Sra. Smith) in my group has taught Spanish the TPR Story telling way far longer than I, although she is not teaching in a school setting these days. She is the one who introduced me to this research/method in the first place. I owe her many thanks. As a side note, she is relatively new to CM and AO and has been very excited to read CM's own words how much like TPR and TPR storytelling CM's ideas are. You would just have to hear her tell of how she was engrossed in reading Volume one while stirring a pot of dinner in preparation for our book club meeting this week!

    Where CM mentions in volume one about "teaching idioms" as well as specific words for things, modern research terms these useful phrases "units" which would count toward the one word learned in a given week's lessons.

    Gleaned from old Parents Union School programmes lent her by Armitt Library, one mom found that First year students in CM's schools learned French taught to them orally with pictures. It matches with a quote and explanation from Charlotte in Volume 1, pages 301-302:

    "As regards French, for instance, our difficulties are twofold––the want of a vocabulary, and a certain awkwardness in producing unfamiliar sounds. It is evident that both these hindrances should be removed in early childhood. The child should never see French words in print *until he has learned to say them* with as much ease and readiness as if they were English. The desire to give printed combinations of letters the sounds they would bear in English words is the real cause of our national difficulty in pronouncing French. Again, the child's vocabulary should increase steadily, say, at the rate of half a dozen words a day. Think of fifteen hundred words in a year! The child who has that number of words, and knows how to apply them, can speak French. Of course, his teacher, will take care that, in giving words, she gives *idioms* also, and that as he learns new words, they are *put into sentences and kept in use* from day to day. A note-book in which she enters the child's new words and sentences will easily enable the teacher to do this. The young child has no foolish shame about saying French words––he pronounces them as simply as if they were English.

    vol 1 pg 302

    But it is very important that he should acquire a pure accent from the first. It is not often advisable that young English children should be put into the hands of a French governess or nurse; but would it not be possible for half a dozen families, say, to engage a French lady, who would give half an hour daily to each family?

    This reminds me of the section in Volume one, page 81 where a day out-of-doors where the "half-dozen words" per day could be the words for parts of trees, colors that abound, the flowers, movements of bird, cloud, etc.; that these words (spoken in the foreign language) "should be but another form of expression for the ideas that for the time fill the child's mind."

    They also engaged in singing 6 French songs over the course of the year. This would break down to two songs per term.

    This might be from French songs, French rounds or nursery rhymes.

    They also learned to English hymns and a Christmas Carol

    In their second year, they added to the above list new songs, then six English songs from the national songbook.

    For the regular French lesson, they used a lesson book and studied French Fables

    in successive years, they would add French poems, French readings for little people, and begins learning French airs, tonic solfa, and phonetic transcription of the music text.

    By year five, the teacher(s) would be reading lessons aloud, with the children helping to translate and then narrate back to the teacher in French.

    They also would have French stories and comics added to their lessons.

    Latin would be added by year five.

    In a set of schedules in a 1908 PR article, other foreign language songs were added, beginning with German in years 4-6. German lessons were also added.

    By year six, two pages of studied/prepared dictation would be added (to the already mounting work of poems, songs) to the children's schedule.

    Two moms have asked me about learning Latin in this fashion, to which I now say, "Why not?"


    My next post will bring together resources and or ideas in multiple languages with age or learning level divisions that hopefully compare to the above list. I will also include helps for older or adult students. If I had the books mentioned in CM's programmes, I could more readily find comparable readers in Spanish, German, and Italian, so there will be some hindrance to actual and exact matches. Since Charlotte is so specific in her ideas, though, we can easily flesh out a close match!

    If you'd like to join me in this process and add links to classics in their original language, then to world classics which have been translated into the target language to be learned, or e-texts and audio books available online, just comment or e-mail me privately, and I can add them to the list.

    Some of you can easily figure this out on your own and find resources online. Others have asked for more specifics, so stay tuned, there's more to come!

    Señora Javamom

    10 October, 2007

    Original Time tables and some of my specific plan for language(s)

    In The Spirit of Ambleside Online nearly free resources for a CM education, I'm pulling together resources for Spanish language lessons that I am actually using For the early years:

    We have several examples available to us of Charlotte Mason's school schedules of the Parents' Union School back in 1908. Notice that as the ages increase, so do the number of lessons as well as the number of languages provided and set "on the table" so to speak.

    It was simply ten minutes about four times a week in the class I time table. One of those times was for the singing of a French song. The other three times were for a French lesson that, according to another CM fan researching the project, who received information from the Armitt Museum (link in right column under "links") including a text called, "Cours de Francais: Methode orale by F. Themoin. French words were also taught with pictures.

    I like to use "matching game" cards, where several students can play together, matching up the pictures. You can make these from magazine or other pictures. One card is in English and the other in Spanish. The children also learn French songs, spread out over the year. For my students, I am choosing the following for our first term:

    "Éste es el Dia" - This Is The Day that the Lord has made
    "¡OH, QUÉ AMIGO NOS ES CRISTO! " What a Friend We Have in Jesus
    "De Colores" a Spanish Harvest song, available free on the 'net.
    Selected Bible verses (in Spanish) for copywork/memory work. I will make it natural and hopefully painless! If I have it in a song format, that helps, but is not necessary.

    For sing-song nursery rhymes, I purchased ¡Pío Peep! Rimas Tradicionales en español. I've seen similar things on the net, but I'll need to scrounge up those links.
    For Fables: Fábulas de Esopo (Aesop's Fables), which I did post in an earlier post today. It is available in both e-text and Librivox MP3 format.
    I will also teach at least one Christmas Carol near December, many are on the 'net, as well.

    That is all for tonight, as I am falling asleep from a very full week!


    Fantastic multi-lingual Bible verse find plus

    Biblos.com multi-lingual Bible

    with side-by-side translation. At Biblegateway.net, you can only pull up one version in the browser at a time.

    A few more beginning resources to get started on the Spanish language:

    el alfabeto and their names

    A: a
    B: be
    C: ce
    CH: che
    D: de
    E: e
    F: efe
    G: ge
    H: hache
    I: i
    J: jota
    K: ka
    L: ele
    LL: elle
    M: eme
    N: ene
    Ñ: eñe
    O: o
    P: pe
    Q: cu
    R: ere
    S: ese
    T: te
    U: u
    V: ve
    W: uve doble ; doble ve
    X: equis
    Y: i griega
    Z: zeta

    And finally, several links for phonetic pronunciation (including streaming audio files!)

    The easy consonants
    the more difficult consonants,
    pronouncing vowels,
    strong vowels vs. weak vowels,
    stressed syllables and accent marks,
    pronouncing the r and the double rr in Spanish (tips-15 minute exercise)

    There is more to come...please stay tuned!

    I received a large Border's gift card from one of my summer school students, so I'm on my way to pick up my hard copy of Las Fábulas de Esopo (Aesop's Fables) in just a few minutes. For those who'd like to hear these, I found that Librivox has Las Fábulas de Esopo in MP3 format.

    I wanted to test the sound of the audio files so I could comment here, but the web site is not responding for me right now. Also find the free e-text here.

    Since the best way to learn a language is as we learned our first language as a child, we can learn basic commands as a child does, also household-type vocabulary, but we can also read a lot of the stories for children in Spanish (or if you prefer French, German, Italian, etc.) in the early years of Ambleside Online. Think as well of young ones' folk tales, stories and songs from different (Spanish speaking) countries.

    back soon!


    07 October, 2007

    Spanish Lessons in session ~ Charlotte Mason style

    In studying Charlotte's own writings with my friends in my metroplex, I'm working toward building a library and arsenal of CM recommendations for Foreign Language (in our case, Spanish, since it is the most common second language in our geographic part of the world); lessons which I am able to use with these families and their children.

    Keep in mind that I'm no titled expert, but have had a good amount of experience learning and an ever-growing amount of teaching Spanish:

    My own learning:

    ~ two years in the early 70's in the Chicago area school system
    ~ more focused since 1979 all four years of high school, having a foreign exchange student as
    a sister for a year and a best friend also from Puerto Rico

    ~ college minor in Spanish
    ~ third language of German acquired during college years and living summers in Germany

    Motivated to teach:

    Add to that my quest for the best Foreign Language program or method to use with my own children, since homeschooling began for us in 1992, and now teaching other students on a regular basis for the last three years, from the ages of 5-18. This amounted to pulling from many of the programs I bought and gathered over the years. I have not been able to recommend just one program to people all those years until recently.

    If I know one's educational philosophy, that helps me to recommend something more specifically to families, homeschooling or not. My particular enthusiasm being very much intertwined with a CM lifestyle, though, lends itself to comparing all that I've gathered and learned about language learning and acquisition with CM's methods, personal research, and recommendations for learning.

    For my CM friends and for my own family and classes at co-op:

    I'm keeping the activities,
    stories, and songs short for the younger ones to about ten minutes per activity, then shifting gears. So, if I use a Spanish sentence sentence to say something about my cat, we then copy it in careful penmanship, then move on to a Bible song or hymn in Spanish. I might teach them the sounds of el alfebeto in Spanish, not worrying about funky, confusing phonograms and such, but teaching them orally. Daily lessons are the absolute ideal, but not practical for most of my students, unless their parents direct them to continue to practice what I've given them throughout the week.

    CM writes regarding foreign language learning for children ages 6-9 in volume I:

    "The daily [French] lesson is that which should not be omitted. That children should learn [French] orally, by listening to and repeating words and phrases; that they should begin so young that the difference of accent does not strike them, but they repeat the new [French] word all the same as if it were English and use it as freely; that they should learn a few––two or three, five or six––new [French] words daily, and that, at the same time, the old words should be kept in use––" pg. 80

    Then I will use common communication phrases with them to teach introductions, where one is from, how old one is, and what one likes to do. Next we will go outside and point out the common things in nature that these children are spending time with already in their own yards or family nature walks. I'll just be telling them a little about it in simple Spanish sentences, giving them more familiarity with common vocabulary, not just vocabulary terms such as "sombrero," "amigo/a," "madre," "padre," or "casa." In our state, most of us, even the children, know these very basic words already! So we will be more CM (again, I'm substituting Spanish for French since that is the most common second language where we live) when she writes in volume one:

    "The [French] lesson may, however, be made to fit in with the spirit of the other out-of-door occupations; the half-dozen words may be the parts––leaves, branches, bark, trunk of a tree, or the colours of the flowers, or the movements of bird, cloud, lamb, child; in fact, the new [French] words should be but another form of expression for the ideas that for the time fill the child's mind." pg. 81

    I also add in some games here and there, but will share more as I pull together all the CM quotes and notes on foreign language teaching and her recommendations. I'm also taking into consideration some of her recommendations regarding the developments of habit of attention and copywork: perfect execution of one letter at a time, for instance.

    It is important to note that, as with Science and Mathematics, much research has gone on in the century since she wrote, but those of you who know CM's writings realize how quite a lot of her writings are supported by newer research.

    Newer linguists have furthered or expanded on the theories similar to that regarding ones about whom she wrote (M. Gouin, for instance), or those whom have expanded on those earlier writers' research.

    Some of my favorite researchers/teachers in the 21st century:

    The following have given me a whole new perspective, lots of ideas, not to mention an ease and confidence in my own "conversability" in the target language --

    James J. Asher Ph. D. on Learning Language Through Actions: The World Famous Total Physical Response method.
    Ramiro Garcia, along with Dr. Asher (Asher and Garcia research, 1969, sited most often and featured as a Citation Classic by 1986). Their research results regarding language and accent acquisition was independently confirmed in recent years by other researchers (Krashen, 1981)
    Blaine Ray on TPR Storytelling. He also gives language conferences and provides class hands-on story building videos that anyone can purchase AND learn from.

    I will post more (over time) on my thoughts and lesson plan developments in relation to CM methods and language learning.

    Stay tuned!


    p.s. I have re-edited this multiple times to make the most sense. My apologies!!

    p.p.s. Programs I have used for one to two years and do NOT recommend alone (for they are simply not complete, and may be quite frankly on the Twaddly side):
    Powerglide, The Learnables, El Español Fácil, and even Rosetta Stone (not a bad program...good for accent building and vocab building, but that is only part of language learning). When I asked a linguist who teaches High School Spanish at my hubby's school (who is an ambassador's son and is a native of Spain) he said he didn't like Rosetta Stone either (in fact, he rolled his eyes when I first mentioned it). One needs REAL life conversation, idiomatic, practical phrases, and actual conversational interaction. Music and fun short stories are good. Appropriate news notes in Spanish are helpful.

    Spanish is Fun by Amsco publishing was alright, and usable for Jr. High students, even. It had problems with confusing directions and too many errors in the answer keys and sometimes even errors in the vocab sections. I liked how it groups sections together thematically, but it could have taken the information along with useful phrases so much farther.

    Please don't waste the children's time and brain capacity with twaddly worksheets, twaddly stories or watered down activities that don't pack a lot of efficient learning punch. Charlotte says one lesson must build, however incrementally, upon the last. They shouldn't just be chopped up bits of facts or stories that don't build or relate to one another. That is what happens too often in many programs. Other programs dwell on the same characters too much, don't progress well enough, stay too simplistic, or use a mix of Spanglish...not really ideal.

    The other problem is that some programs are just grammar heavy. I liked Bob Jones high school Spanish, it was incredibly thorough. However...it was too much information without strong guidance for some. The CD's and TM are easy to follow, but there could have been more practical practice exercises for class time, and less of the need to memorize grammar steps and terms in order to complete the homework lesson.

    One of my assistants last year is from a native Spanish-speaking family and she (but especially her mother) just could not believe this program was "teaching" Spanish in such a difficult way to her grandson! That was a good, trustworthy response and review, in my opinion. They are teaching him something different for Spanish II this year ;-).

    I personally love words and grammar but remember, I've been exposed to foreign languages since I was 8 or 9 and am a sort of linguistic geek. Young children are not geared to learn the grammar of a foreign language right away. They love the sound of the words (foreign languages are musical!) and we can capitalize on different learning methods with young children, little songs, The Bible, finger or other plays, simple poetry, simple "commands," descriptive words in nature. How very CM.

    05 October, 2007

    Jeeves and Wooster

    Finally, a real break! How nice to spend a quiet evening with Dread Pirate Sparsebeard tonight. All the kids were either at a football game or at a Dave Crowder Concert.

    We're all very happy NOT to have homework or grading to do just for this night. We'll be back at it tomorrow, that's a promise. Well, with that little extra break time 14 yo ds and I will take for the OU/Texas football game. *Boomer* and *Sooner* of course--thankyouverymuch!

    This much-needed evening of no obligations was brief but sorely needed and very much appreciated. My brain was mush tonight after our hit-the-ground-running, non-stop, fast-paced, classes today.

    P. G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" was just the remedy for that.


    04 October, 2007

    Tomorrow: co-op, then a break week

    A well-deserved break it will be. I will be working part time up at Dh's school, but at least we have a break from Friday co-op classes. This has been a hard month re: settling old auto accident claims from 2005, settling issues from last month's wreck, including rental car and getting our van back two weeks later than hoped, and settling our finances, which we've had to juggle so much to stay afloat and keep food on the table. The Lord provides just what we need, always has...but...that is always less than what we (or our kiddos) think we can survive on. It is humbling...but in the very best way ;-).

    Dh and I both have been planning two separate trips, his being more detailed and involved for his school: a freshman class trip. Dh also teaches, so we've both been busy, busy, busy with lesson plans, prep and grading. I've said it all before, but one does not truly understand how much time all of that really takes for teachers, when you want to do it well for the benefit of your students. Add to that the fact that dh runs the afterschool program, which means he gets home every night at 7:20. EVERY night for the last 15 years. Then he gets back up at 4:30 and does it all over again. EVERY day. EVERY night. God bless him richly. I truly mean that. He is superman.

    Add to that that we are blessed to home school, so we then spend lots of time the rest of our time on those lessons for our own dear teens.

    Whew. We are TIRED. We had a restful weekend last weekend, but truly...

    SOMETHIN's gotta give. We scramble for precious time with our family unrelated to their schedules or classes. We eek out precious time for ourselves. I kid you not, this fall has been stingy on time to our kids and to us.

    Others pull on our time about our need to be more involved elsewhere (whether they mean to or not...I'm sure if they were in our shoes they'd understand a little better) on top of everything else that we do in our larger city-wide community, reaching out to, working almost daily with, and learning from secular folks and Christian friends alike, more than half who aren't homeschoolers but are public or private schoolers. One of these life commitments is, of course, focosed parenting and discipling our kids, which is simply educating future good citizens, with a strong *and* gentle Biblical world view and preparing them to take on life in a healthy manner as young adults.

    Dh doesn't get enough sleep, as it is. I barely do. Pray that things will ease up for us! For that is physically not a good healthy example over the longhaul.

    Ds, age 14, seems to be understanding Algebra better. Yay. Note the joy in my "voice." I am reluctant to say anything, b/c he had it before, but "forgets" it so soon. He is working on more practice to help him remember more solidly. That should help Dh get to sleep sooner!

    Dd is still behind in her worldviews homework, though she is able to get it all in for a better grade, she's still got the cart before the horse.

    College age son is on track saving for next semester by working a lot and sometimes preparing the right paperwork to get into school.

    I've talked about Margin before, planning time in your schedule to regularly and quickly rest and refresh whether it's quiet time or be together to build relationship and recharge. I have more opportunity to do this than Hubby. That's why he's the Dread Pirate (:-). He juggles so very much. He sacrifices daily. He needs rest. More rest and time with us.

    Okay...I'll close there. He has a trip soon of hiking, but it is a working trip. He's gotta keep those freshmen safe! Yeah. I'm off to finish packing for a hectic, non-stop day of classes.

    Please don't think this is complaining. Trials strengthen in us perserverance, etc. I know that I know that the Lord is providing us with exactly what we need to sustain us, both spiritually, mentally and physically. I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day!

    Hang on to hope, and do not grow weary in doing good!! Do all things unto the Lord!


    02 October, 2007

    Proud of our youngest

    Our youngest (12.5) yo son has made strides and efforts from his own internal motivation recently. We've added History of English Literature for Boys and Girls by H. E. Marshall this week, poetry and copywork, and art study. His math endurance has picked up again, as well.

    He loves mapwork, so that is an easy subject to add to our load.

    Our time period is "Middle Ages" with our co-op, so we are reading a few books related to that time period for our major historical reference this term. He is asking some very good questions.
    His narrations are a little rusty, but I'm upping the ante on the quality and level of books which he is used to reading, b/c he was a late reader. It's encouraging to see progress, especially with this one!

    p.s. He has begun working hard on his piano lessons...for himself and for his piano teacher, Mother Auma.

    More later!