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Sunday, June 19, 2011

¡Hablo español!

Fred Laphen, 669-984-8010 or 669-106-0305

My biggest disappointment having lived in Mexico for three years now is that our children are still not fluent in Spanish. I had this huge dream that all of us - the entire family -  would be blabbering away... speaking 'Mexican' at rapid rates of speed and using present tense AND past participle - regular and irregular verbs.

I have said it a million times, "If it is one thing that my kids get out of living in a foreign country it will be that they are fluent in a second language."  I truly believe in my heart that speaking a second or third language is paramount when it comes to employment, especially in this time of economic crisis.

With that being said, why - why - WHY are my children still not speaking Spanish????

We are nomads. We move our home around depending on the weather. It is very difficult to live a nomadic life and be in one place long enough to develop relationships and establish routines with local people. We hang out mostly with other cruisers. And, cruisers in these parts means that our friends are mostly gringos from Canada and the USA who blabber away in English. Now that we are 'stuck' in one place for more than  a few weeks, es un buen oportinidad a aprender espanol! Carpe diem!

For our homeschool cirriculum, we have the kids studying Spanish. We use several programs. For me, my favorite is the Pimsleur Spanish I-III Speak and Read Essential Spanish audio CD's. I have the lessons on my MP3 player and I listen during my walks in the mornings.

Pimsleur is not cheap. We paid full price at Amazon back when we had jobs and an income. The second and third we thankfully got used and given as gifts. There are also downloadable formats for Ipods and MP3s. I recommend going to Ebay or Craigslist to see if you can get a bargain.

 We also have Rosetta Stone, a computer CD which is more visual... pictures and corresponding audio. That is great supplemental, I think.

However, if you can swing private lessons, that's the way to go.
I just spent a week in an intensive Spanish class. I began at 9am and worked on Spanish for 4 hours per day for 5 days. I will say that at the end of my 4 hours I was ready for a stiff cocktail and a siesta, but because it was too early for the cocktail I ended up going home and taking a nap. The classes were intense, but it was phenomenal.

If you are considering spending some time in Mazatlan, I highly recommend calling or visiting the director, Fred Laphen, at SPANISH AND ENGLISH FOR ALL. My teacher, Maria Elena, is a Mazatlan native and university professor. She was wonderful! I was in a class with one other person who, although could not speak as fluently as I, could write and read the language much better than I. It was a good fit.

Fred is very flexible - arranging teachers to coincide with your schedule and arranging classes so that you are in an appropriate level. He wants you to get the most out of your experience.

The price is roughly 100 pesos per hour for one-on-one Spanish lessons or group lessons. If there are more in your family or you have a group of friends that want to come together, Fred will give you a discount. For Tim and Carolyne to take a class together, for example, it will cost 180 pesos per hour. They start next week!

The school is located at - 230 Angela Perralta - just a smidgen south of the Gran Plaza mall and Mega grocery store. From the marinas on the north side of town, you can take either the Cerritos Juarez, Playa Sur or Torreo bus at just a cost of 6 pesos per person each way.

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