Enseñar inglés a mi hijo me encanta, pero la mera idea de tener que enseñarle matemáticas o física me provoca sudores fríos. Por eso, tengo mucha curiosidad por saber cómo se organizan los padres que optan por el homeschooling. Hace tiempo que seguía el blog de Mónica, una homeschooler de Estados Unidos, así que le pedí que me contestara unas preguntas. Mónica es de las mejores en su campo y ha recibido el premio Best Latina Education Blogger LATISM en 2011, 2012 y 2013. Aquí tenéis la entrevista. ¡Muchas gracias, Mónica!
[Foto: Mónica (Mommy Maestra) la segunda empezando por la izquierda, en una reunión con Michelle Obama]
Where are you from? I was born in Texas, but my mother's side of the family originally comes from Monterrey, Mexico, and my father and his entire family live in Spain.
Why did you start blogging? What’s the best thing blogging has given you?
I first began blogging to promote my online baby boutique, Latin Baby. But once I started homeschooling my daughter, I began to focus on education and MommyMaestra was born. The best thing blogging has given me is a way to encourage other Hispanic parents get involved in their child's education, and provide them with resources to help them make learning fun for their children.
1. Why do you want to teach Spanish to your children?
I want my children to learn Spanish because I believe it will not only help them get a good job when they grow up, but because I think it is a valuable part of our culture. I want them to be able to talk with their family in Spain easily, but I also want them to travel and see how people around the world live. I want them to understand that there is more than one way to do things, and that language does not have to be a barrier, that another language is nothing to fear.
2. What do you recommend to teach a second language to children (in your case, Spanish)? Books, cartoons, music, films, trips to Spanish-speaking countries, playgroups?
I certainly think that any and all resources are valuable tools. I still struggle with teaching my children Spanish, but videos, books, and an actual homeschool curriculum works best for my family. I wish, though, that we lived close to family so that I had help with this.
3. What’s your favourite book in Spanish and in English?
Oh! That is such a hard question! I have MANY books that I love. How about authors? I love most everything by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, Monica Brown, René Colato Laínez, Yuyi Morales and many, many others.
4. What’s your favourite song in Spanish and in English?
I love the Gypsy Kings and I love John Denver. How's that?
5. What’s your favourite film or cartoon for kids in Spanish and in English?
Plaza Sésamo/Sesame Street.
6. Why did you decide to homeschool (this is really interesting for us in Spain, as children must go to school by law from 6 to 16 y.o.)?
I never planned to homeschool. BUT when it came time for my daughter to enter school, I realized that we live in a failed school district. The State had come in and taken over the schools and even closed one down. There is a large homeschooling community in my area, and they were very supportive, so I decided to try it and we have enjoyed it. I don't know if we will do it all the way through college, but for now, it works for us.
7. Do homeschooled children need to sit exams in ordinary schools every year?
It varies by the State. Here in North Carolina, we have to do end of year testing. This past year was my daughter's first time to do so and we were a little nervous, but it all went really well. Such a relief to know we are on the right track!!
8. Is homeschooling common in your area?
Yes! There is a very large group of homeschooling families in our area. I'm not sure I would have chosen this path without them.
9. What spots would you recommend for families visiting your area with their children?
The Outer Banks of North Carolina is beautiful and very famous. We have beautiful beaches, aquariums, museums and more. But to the north of us in Virginia there are many historic sites and museums that are valuable tools for learning about U.S. history.
10. Could you tell us an expression typical from your area? (For example, a way to say Hi or Good-bye, or the name received by the inhabitants, etc.)
Well, where I originally come from in Texas, we love to use the expression, "Ya'll" which means you all. For example, it's not uncommon to hear someone say, "Ya'll come back and visit us any time!" And in Spanish, we mainly speak more of a Mexican dialect, with different words and diminutives. Whenever I would go and visit mi papá in Spain, he would always laugh at the words I would use!
Anything else you’d like to add?
I just want to thank you for this opportunity. I'm so flattered at your asking me to answer a few questions on your lovely blog. Un abrazo fuerte.