4 L’s of Bilingualism

4 L's of a language

I love to read bilingual and mulitilingual bloggers New Year’s resolutions. My husband and I identify with so many of them.  Perhaps the fact that we are in the same bilingual boat as these blogger, makes us want to navigate to the same destination, which is, proficiency in the second language.  To tell you the truth,…
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If you can not access Spanish – English homeschooling resources

When I started to teach my kids at home, I had set in my mind that even though Spanish was my first language, the school taught at home must be in English. These were the reasons that 4 years ago set my mind,

  • We leave in the States, they must speak English and Spanish, being English their first language (especialmente porque solo uno de los cuatro adultos en la casa es hispano hablante).
  • Most of the available books are in English
  • Most of the curricula is in English
  • English is going to bring them more opportunities in their future life and studies, everywhere..
  • Eso si! Spanish with mom must be used most of the time, but during school time.

However, and as the time went by, I started to change things around. Somethings, I just wouldn’t know how to explain them in English. So, I started to quick in some Español. Here are the changes we have made so far.

  • Phonics, we do it in English first and then in Spanish.
  • Mathematics, I drill in Spanish.
  • We count in Spanish and English
  • Shapes, both languages.
  • Measurements, in both languages
  • If I read the Math  problem, I do it in Spanish. If they read it, it can be in English.
  • Spanish cognates, help a lot to quick some Español in our English Homeschool day.
  • Grammar, sometimes I talk about el Verbo, el Sujeto y el Predicado. The structure and parts of a sentence are similar.
  • Vocabulary time, can be with both dictionaries. An English dictionary and a Spanish dictionary.
  •  Science, Geography and History. Even though our curricula is in English, I always show them Latin words or names of places that have Spanish in it.
  • Play games in Spanish, they love it.
  • Libraries, have some Spanish material. Not a big selection, but a few books is better that nothing.
  • TV, we do not have cable, and I am picky with what we watch. So I use DVD’s from our local library. The best of all is that you can change the language set to Spanish.
  • And of course the internet, that has many valuable resources.
  • We have some Spanish language lessons.
  • Listen to Music in Spanish.

Results I have gotten so far.

  • They understand what I read, and what they read.
  • Their English Speaking Grammar has a lot of Spanish Structure. Americans do not like it, but I love it. That is why we study English Grammar as a subject right?
  • Even though, they do not want to speak much Spanish. They can understand it.  I believe I can solve that problem going to visit home for 6 months.
  • They like Sylvio Rodriguez.
  • They use a lot of bolivianismos in their vocabulary.
  • They are growing accepting other cultures and races as part of God’s Creation, the best is that they love it.



Learning about Cholitas

My older daughter is going to be some sort of artist or designer. She is crazy about art, color, texture, fabric, proportions, matching colors and beauty.

When she was 3, she told me “mommy, your pants are blue and your sweater is blue, but they don’t match”, and in deed they did not match.  This little one is the one that is less Hispanic looking of all my children, but the one that speaks Spanish without any fear.

Yesterday, she sat next to her American Grandmother to see her knitting. She asked and inquire about how to saw and knit. She wanted to knit something for herself.

Today, I had a surprise for her, we were going to talk about Cholitas.  Cholitas are Bolivian typical women, as clamor magazine.org describes them.  “The Cholita outfit is one of Bolivia’s most interesting cultural costumes. Tough-looking women wear their waist-length hair in braids connected together at the ends with tassled tullmas. They hurry about the busy streets of La Paz decked out in quadruple-layered underskirts called centros, bright polleras, little patent-leather or clear plastic slip-on shoes, fringed mantas neatly folded and worn across their backs, and small felt bowler hats balanced on top of their heads.  In the chilly winter or rainy summer, they throw on a pair of alpaca leg-warmers and sometimes wrap their hats in plastic bags, but still manage the muddy streets in their Cinderella-style slippers.”

To whom has visited La Paz – city, or the Bolivian Altiplano, this is a perfect description of this women.

So we talked about cholitas, how they dress and how they make their beautiful clothing.  Besides, she remembers them since she interacted with a few cholitas while visiting family in Bolivia.

I have a set of soft dolls, that represent a Bolivian family.  Un papá (cholo), una mamá (chola), dos niños (llock’allas) y dos niñas (imillas) . A symbol of nuestra familia.

Bolivian Family


By the end of the class, she was able to make her own set of Tullmas.  Yes, she made her own pom-poms, I made the laces, and we both put them together, here a few pictures of our hands on Bi-cultural learning.


Big brother saw we were having fun and tried to help with the laces.

After cutting the yarn and getting it out of the card board circles, she gave the last knot to hold the pom-poms together.  And I tied them up to the wool laces.  She was thrilled and proud of her work and her knowledge.

Here is the result.

And that is how they look braided and holding the woman’s hair. My youngest Cholita is showing them off.

Teach your children about your background. Teach them to learn where they came from. Teach them to accept and love other cultures. Teach them that all of us were made by God for His Honor and Glory, no matter where we were born.