How Beautiful Mundo Fits into our Daily Lives and Homeschool
At the heart of learning any language is exposure. It's the key element, the most important ingredient. It's why immersion is so effective for language learning.
When we don't have the opportunity for complete immersion, the next best thing we can do is to be intentional about exposure and provide immersive experiences whenever we can. The goal of Beautiful Mundo is to provide a guide and serve as a resource for learning and practicing the Spanish language together. It is written to be a flexible collection of content. While there are underlying themes each week, the content is meant to be loosely connected and related. Some of it also serves as built-in review. This is intentional to give our children's brains the opportunity to draw connections between poems and music, or between stories and recipes or crafts, included in various weeks. From a scientific standpoint, the more our brains connect and relate the information we learn to other information we already know, the more we can remember and truly learn.
So how are these weekly collections of content meant to fit into our daily lives? However we want them to! Maybe you establish the routine of a Monday morning read-aloud in Spanish. Maybe you use snack time to read the poetry selections and afternoon playtime to introduce new songs and dance around together. For every family, Beautiful Mundo will fit in differently and that is why I wanted it to be so flexible from the start.
An Approach to Planning
I am a planner and checklist type of person. I love the sense of order and accomplishment one gets from planning out a week and checking things off one by one, right on schedule. Here's the thing though. After having four kids and taking on home education, I realized nothing EVER goes according to my plans. Sure I can plan out the perfectly balanced schedule and ensure that everything is covered, but 99% of the time I'm not able to check off every box each day. I find it better to take a less organized (but just as intentional) approach.
Meet the running checklist! Instead of suffering from relentless and repetitive feelings of failure, I have now adopted running checklists that I use for Beautiful Mundo (and to guide me through all of our other curriculums and studies as well). I need the organization of visually seeing what I am hoping to cover, without the pressure of assigning it to certain days, weeks, and times. Each checkbox represents an opportunity for language exposure and I have the freedom to check it off whenever I choose.
It's working for me right now, and it's made incorporating Beautiful Mundo into our lives quite enjoyable. Stress will undermine our learning efforts every time. We want our kids to both have fun learning Spanish and see us having fun with it too.
A picture is probably the best way to explain this practice to you. Here are a couple of checklists I had written for Beautiful Mundo in a notebook I like to keep handy. (I did rewrite these so you didn't have to sort through my checks and random notes I tend to add in.)
When I transition into learning time with my kids, its fairly quick and easy for me to reference these and decide what would be a good fit for the moment. We might not get everything done in the assigned week, but we always get to it eventually. I find that returning to an activity from a previous week is actually a great way to revisit vocabulary, bring up an important/interesting topic, or a favorite story again. Rather than look at a leftover checkbox as a sign of failure, I see them as an opportunity to save something for another time. A time when we will all enjoy it more because we won't be cramming it into an arbitrary 7 day timeframe. Some weeks we cover everything and then some, while others we don't. It's okay! It's a part of the journey we are on.
We do center our weeks on the literature selection, phonics instruction, music, and poetry (which I usually incorporate into the "Poetry Teatime" we hold weekly, Julie from Brave Writer style). If the above listed was the ice cream in the bowl... games, vocabulary, crafts, and recipes would be the whipped cream, sprinkles, and chocolate sauce on top, sweetening and enriching our learning experience as our daily lives and en