Looking for resources to learn Spanish quickly as a family

Before we relocated to Florida, we had been seriously contemplating moving to the Caribbean or Latin America. We settled on Florida because it was as close as we could get to those cultures without formally leaving the United States (and because, like Latin America and the Caribbean, Florida is a tax haven). We would like to live somewhere with a more communitarian culture in general, and it is becoming clear that the United States is not that place.

We are planning to resume our search for a second house (maybe even permanent residency) elsewhere after this coronavirus panic is over. I suspect there are going to be a lot of good deals on foreign real estate in the next year or so.

We already know quite a lot of Spanish, but we are looking to develop a true fluency in it as quickly as we can. Fortunately, we live in a place where there are a lot of people who speak Spanish as their primary language, so there are plenty of opportunities to practice. But I would like to find some resources we can use as a family.

I figured I would take a chance and crowd-source that search. We already have the Living Language series and various books and novels in Spanish. Is there something better to use?

What I am not looking for:

Rosetta Stone or anything similarly gimmicky

Cutesy homeschooling worksheets from someone’s blog or Teachers Pay Teachers

What I am looking for:

Something directed at Latin America specifically, not Spain

Something that would not be too intense in terms of grammar for a child

Something that has cultural commentary would be a plus (like etiquette and slang)

Many thanks to anyone who has recommendations.

6 thoughts on “Looking for resources to learn Spanish quickly as a family

  1. Understand, first, that learning a foreign language touches on mastery of four different skills — speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing — and that you will probably not develop equal strength in all four areas.

    My advice (I taught French and Spanish to Americans for more than forty years) is to watch Latin American movies with English-language subtitles, and supplement this practice with formal study of Spanish grammar (in case one of you should turn out to be what language-acquisition theory used to call a “supermonitor”).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Several people have recommended watching a lot of movies with subtitles and reading English translations of pop songs.

      What is a supermonitor in the context of acquiring a new language? Someone who goes back and hyper-edits their speech?

      I took several languages in school, including German through graduate school. Language is such a fascinating thing to me, especially whether or not it “sticks.” I used to be so good with German that I could easily read Nietzsche and even grasp all the word-play, but now (almost 20 years later) I can’t remember much of it at all. But a child once taught, would probably remember it forever.


  2. “ What is a supermonitor in the context of acquiring a new language? Someone who goes back and hyper-edits their speech?”

    A supermonitor is someone who is quickly able to learn and apply grammatical rules, and who can do this so efficiently that a listener in the target language is unable to tell that the monitoring process is going on. The other side of this coin is that, whereas another learner may be able to pick up on nonverbal cues, and/or may have good listening comprehension, the supermonitor may not be able to make much sense of things unless s/he can fit what is heard into its proper grammatical slot. The first learner often becomes adept and fluent, but without being particularly grammatical. The supermonitor, by contrast, may not be a “natural” learner of languages and may (for example) excel in speaking, reading, and writing the target language but be almost completely at sea in a setting where actual people are speaking the language the way ordinary people tend to do — quickly, colloquially, and with many deviations from fornal grammar and syntax.

    Liked by 1 person

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