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Schools Out Forever!

July 11, 2010

schools out for summer in Spain 

Is your school out for summer? The schools in Spain let out for summer on June 23 and it was a big holiday in Barcelona for Midsummer called St Joan's Day. Mozart has been having an idyllic summer at our favorite Barcelona Beach Resort., but our 9 year old finished school in our little village in  Spain at the end of  May as we started our fourth European summer road trip.  Foreign local schools are a fantastic way to become multi-literate and multi-lingual and deeply immerse in a culture.

school in Spain

School is out forever for her in Spain, but it's really been an amazing experience. She was just six when she started her first day of school in Spain. We're monolinguals who have worked hard to raise her as a very fluent trilingual /triliterate from birth, but her Spanish was becoming more receptive because she was living in an English dominated society in California. Now she is as fluent as a native speaker.

party time at school

  giving a gift to favorite teacher

passing out plates and goodies spanish style at school good bye party

We are eclectic unschoolers and mostly do child led learning, but decided to put her into a local school in Spain for five months for several years to immerse deeply in the language, literature and culture. It was also a way to give her consistent friends and a base as we travel the world. There was also one German boy, one Moroccan boy, one Netherlands girl and one English boy...and our little American girl. She had this same teacher for several years and we all liked him. She had a very sweet woman teacher for first grade and okay one for second and this man who we all liked.

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gift for teacher

wild tween dancing

We weren't sure how it would all work out when we left California  in 2006, but now we are so glad that we did this. Most of the kids are local whose families have lived in this small village for centuries. In this class there are six sets of cousins!

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playing violin for classmates 

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On her last day of school, they all gave her sweet good bye letters and pictures and she played her violin for them. I think she was a bit stunned by all the attention and got much applause and even calls for an encore, which she did. She has played her piano a few times in music class, but they haven't heard her on violin since first grade. Her music teacher came in to watch too. We had a little party and the kids danced, ate junk food  and played the Spanish version of rock, paper, scissors that is really cute with a rhyme, ritual  and cheek holding.  ( We'll do a video soon). Good bye school in Spain, thanks for having us!

violin concert for school chums

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schools out forever for this unschool kid in Spain!

school kids in Andalusia, Spain

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Britt-Arnhild

You are really creating precious memories for your daughter :-)

soultravelers3

Britt - Aw thanks! Like any parent, we try. I do hope that she grows up feeling at home in just any where on this great planet.

Europe is such a great place to learn first hand how valuable it is to speak several languages. She didn't really value her Spanish or Chinese until we came here.

Lucy

This must have been a great experience for Mozart. Very interesting to peek inside a Spanish school as well.

Are you headed off to Asia for the next part of your adventure?

soultravelers3

Lucy- Yes, it really surpassed our expectations and was wonderful for all of us. The village & it's people has become one with us and the school played a big part in that.

They must have had English class before the party, as there is not usually English on the blackboard. ;) Also the room was set for the party and not the usual way.

Yes, we will stop to see family in the USA, then off to Tahiti and Asia where we will winter in Penang from Nov through April. Will meet old friends in India & see Taj Mahal before returning to Europe next summer for more RVing. ;)

Amy @ The Q Family

What a great experience you both have been giving to her! There is no better way to learn a language than a fully immersion like you did for her.

Can't wait to follow your family journey to Asia. :)

soultravelers3

Amy - Thanks so much! Yes, it is truly a wonderful way to learn a language deeply and immerse deeply with a culture. We will have friends there forever and it will always be a part of us.

I didn't realize how deeply we would connect through it or how great the language benefit would be before we left.

Hope things work out as well in Asia with our Mandarin. That will be a little trickier outside of China, but we will see and adapt as needed. ;)

soultravelers3

Funny, now that we are in France, Mozart wants to learn French and we did originally want to add France for a winter or two. It does take a while though to really immerse deeply in a language and I think we can pick up French later and easier now that her Spanish is so good. We'll see. ;)

Christina

Just curious - how is she learning Mandarin? Do you have a particular program you're using?

I'm trying to learn some Greek before going to Greece next summer. I've been sporatically using Rosetta Stone (with two 4 year olds, it's been hard staying consistent!). I really, really like that program a lot. My daughter will actually sit in my lap and do it with me. I'm so amazed at the words and phrases she remembers when we don't even do it daily.

soultravelers3

Christina - I've heard mixed reviews about Rosetta, but we haven't used it yet. Fun, that you and your daughter can do it together.

We use a variety of methods as there is really a lot online, even teachers ,for Mandarin. We use Ni Hao series that has text books, CD Rom for games & one for interactive language, audio,etc.

It's what they used for the JHU CTY class and it is good. We also work with a private teacher when we can.

Even cartoons and watching movies in the 2nd language can be really helpful.

Mozart works on her writing and speaking Chinese every day some.

Good luck with your Greek!

Cristina Montesinos

I love following your journey. I'm especially interested to see your information about Spain. My parents are hispanic and I've attempted to teach my two girls Spanish (9 and 11), but it's been difficult. I'm considering a month long visit to Andalucia in spring. Now that you've left the area, would you consider telling us what village was so special to you? I'm considering the town of Nerja and see a village of Frigiliana very close. Do you get there, is it worth a visit? Thanks so much. I look forward to all your blog entries as I'm learning so much from you. Cristina

Caterina B

Wow! I just came back to your blog after a few weeks. You are spending the winter in Asia!
That's going to be fascinating.

Dave

Thanks for sharing your experience in Spain! We're looking at going there next fall with our 14 year old. We're open to any number of schooling options provided that her schooling is in Spanish. Any thoughts on how/where to enroll her?

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Sorry about the delay Dave ( traveling and super busy here).

This is best done on the ground. A rural area with an uncrowded school will take her almost certainly.

Most Spain schools also have help for English speakers ( after school and in school ) since they get a lot of Brits.

Just go talk to the principal. If you speak Spanish that will help ( likely they won't speak English) BUT I know some who didn't speak a word of Spanish that managed to enroll kids.

Good luck! Learn as much Spanish as possible before going!!

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