If you have ever wanted to learn to speak Spanish as a family, here are many different options that our family has used! Honest opinions and pros and cons about each program so you can figure out what will work best for your family.
Learning Spanish as a family
Having grown up in the US I definitely took for granted being able to converse in English. Although I took Spanish classes in middle and high school, there was no real drive to learn to use it in real life.
By genetics, I am Indigenous Mexican, but by heritage it was less emphasized. I grew up with a love for the food and the music but with no connection to the language. It is always embarrassing when people speak to me in Spanish and I have to admit that I don’t speak it.
Even more disappointing is the missed opportunity to learn because my Hawaiian father is a fluent Spanish speaker (yes, I realize that is odd).
Once I became a mother, I had a strong interest to connect with my heritage. I wanted to be able to share that heritage with my family.
I started trying to relearn Spanish so I could share that with my children. But with no confidence and no structure we never made it very far.
Why should we learn Spanish?
Studies show that learning a second language is helpful to a child’s brain development, AND it’s good for adult brains too.
It is also, I think, a crucial step for helping reconnect with your heritage and can help bridge so many gaps both culturally and socially.
After moving to the Netherlands, I realized what a privilege it is to not worry about whether someone would be able to speak the language I know! I also realized how much I missed out on by not speaking a second language.
There were people I could have learned from and connected with. New friends I could have made. Opportunities to have helped…if only I knew Spanish.
So, we made the commitment to learn Spanish as a family upon our return to the US. We knew we would have plenty of opportunities to practice with various family members who speak Spanish.
How can a family learn Spanish at home?
We’ve used several different products to help us accomplish learning Spanish. It’s definitely a learning process and some methods have been more successful than others.
Being consistent with any program is one of the biggest struggles of learning and that is definitely one battle that we are constantly fighting. It can be helpful to have another family that you can practice with or that can be an accountability partner.
The biggest thing to remember is that it will take consistent practice using the language as a family to start to see results. It can be hard but it’s so worth it!
Now, my second youngest is heading into a dual immersion program and I am so relieved that I will be able to help him this time around, unlike when we moved to the Netherlands and my kids were helping me.
Spanish Program options
I’ve tried to include a variety of different kinds of kits at different price points. We have either purchased them ourselves or bought them through a homeschool charter program when we were doing that.
Here are a few of the products we’ve used:
- Foreign Language For Kids
- Hola Amigo
- Homeschool Languages
I’m working on detailed reviews of each product so please make sure to come back and look for those.
So, which program worked best for our family?
Hands down, my favorite has been the Talkbox program. If you have children across multiple ages like me, it’s the easiest program to implement immediately with the entire family because you start using phrases immediately and there is a super convenient app!
There are also multiple options for different price points. You can get a book with related audio in the app and get started with just that. It’s convenient, portable, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and allows you to have the flexibility of learning whatever you want.
Then, there is a subscription box that comes regularly (you can adjust the timing to suit your family’s learning pace). It is structured and comes in a specific order to help you naturally learn grammar and sentence structure with activities, posters, and little cards to post around your home. Each box has a specific focus ie. food, bathroom, playground, etc.
Lastly, there is an online community that is so wonderful and supportive and a great way to connect with other Talkbox families and to potentially find someone locally to connect with who is learning the same language.
Perhaps the best part, the Talkbox program is available in more than 10 languages, with more possibilities if there ends up being enough interest. The current language options for Talkbox are: Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Romanian
Cost: $90 per box (discounts available for paying for multiple boxes upfront), $35 for the phrasebook only ($10 discount available if you purchase with your first box)
My second favorite is the Homeschool Languages program, especially if you have younger kids. My older kids humored me through it but it was much more fun for my younger two. I felt like it had a similar feel to the Talkbox program but with more “tools” to use with it.
The kit comes with a teacher’s manual, so if you really want the structure, it’s super helpful to guide you along the way. There are also various types of games, flashcards, small books, and, perhaps my little boys’ favorite, a hand puppet.
Included in the manual are links to different videos with songs and skits that help reinforce what you are working on in that lesson. My boys love the songs and they request we sing them frequently.
We don’t have this but there is also a subscription unit add on that will give you additional activities focused on specific topics ie. the zoo, the garden, etc.
Homeschool Languages only has 5 options available but they are some of the most common languages chosen. The languages available are: Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese.
Cost: $159 for a full kit, $85 for digital files only, subscription add on is $10 a month
Foreign Language For Kids
Foreign Language 4 Kids is an online immersion type program. I think it works fairly well for older kids and was a simple to use program. They would watch the unit videos, take quizzes, and complete worksheets based on what they watched. However, it would take more navigating to implement for an entire family.
The biggest downside was that I had to make copies of the workbook to use with both of my older children and the worksheets are only good for kids who can read and write.
I think the videos are useful for a family to use and are the cheapest option but I did like having the workbooks to help reinforce the learning for my older kids. There are other learning activities available on their website but we chose to get other supplements.
This program is only available in Spanish
Cost: $312 for the online program with workbooks, there are lots of options in how to implement this ranging from DVDs for $15 to everything they have for $550
Hola Amigo and Duolingo I would consider supplements to a family language program.
Duolingo is helpful for expanding vocabulary and for daily practice but it lacks the structure that the other programs have. However, I will say that the app has come a long way over the last few years and is more focused, more practical, and has more features than were available in the past.
Each language is being updated with their new format, and for Spanish at least, I think it’s fantastic. We have the family plan($120 a year) which has been very much worth it for our family.
Hola Amigo is great for adding fun hands on Spanish use and cultural connections. This is a monthly subscription box that highlights a different topic with each box. There are games and activities and more in each kit and we thoroughly enjoyed them.
Some of the items are one time uses while others are multi-use which I also appreciated. You can purchase additional items like puzzles, toys, printable activities and games and more.
Cost: $60 a month for the subscription box, other items vary in cost