WIN A One Week Course of Online FREE Spanish Lessons

free spanish lessonsWho’d like to win some Free Spanish Lessons ?

 

We are regularly contacted, via our website, to promote a wide variety of companies offering a multitude of products and services. Our standard answer is usually “No”, as we generally do not promote anything we have’t tried for ourselves. Unless of course we see that somebody is passionate and professional, we think that our readers will be interested in what they have to offer and then we may chose to support them.

The other day we received one such random email. However, the friendly approach and the service being offered caught our attention:

“Hola!

My name is Alberto and I lead a group of Spanish teachers who teach Spanish via Skype. 

I´ve been reading your page, and I think that your customers can benefit a lot from our services.  We teach Spanish via Skype for people who want to come to Spain, or don´t have the time to go to a local school …”

We had a look at Alberto’s website, liked what we saw and decided to get in touch with him. We asked him to tell us a little bit more about his company. This was part of his reply …

“Hola Lisa!

Some years ago I was working in a Spanish school, and I got asked by some students to have some Skype lessons online once they got back to their countries, and well… after some time I quit my job in the schools and started to give Skype lessons full time.  Private lessons, no boring books or grammar lists, just pure communication based lessons. 

Students were happy! So I started giving lessons to their friends as well, and classmates and… well, I needed more teachers! So I went back to the best teachers I had worked with and gave them training in Skype teaching. 

They delivered really well as well, so I decided to form a proper company and start offering the lessons to companies and more people! …

… Currently we are 4 teachers but there are another 4 being trained, and I expect them to be ready before the end of the month” 

What a fantastic idea!  We decided we would like to support this great initiative. But, there was a problem. We hadn’t used their services and could not see when we could fit in the time. So, we had an idea. We would ask you, our readers, to try Alberto’s course and to give us your feedback. So, who would like to be our Family Life in Spain tester?

free spanish lessons

To win A One Week Course of Online FREE Spanish Lessons, conversational practice and guidance, with Alberto Profesor, simply …

  1.  In the facebook and comment box below, tell us, in as many words as you like,  why you think you should win A One Week Course of Online FREE Spanish Lessons.

The Deadline for entries is 31st May 2013. A shortlist will be selected based on the originality of the reason given and the number of votes received, chosen by Profesor Alberto and ourselves..

The final winners will be chosen by our readers and Facebook fans (Tip: the more friends who vote for you on our page the more chance you will have!).

The course entails a one-hour class, each day, from Monday to Friday, at a pre arranged time with Alberto Profesor.

Oh and even more good news … there will be THREE WINNERS for Free Spanish Lessons!!!!

free spanish lessons

Good luck everyone! ¡Suerte a todos!

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  We are now asking for you to vote for the 3 winners.

To see the 6 finalists and to cast your votes:

1. Read the comments below

2. Visit our Facebook Page and cast your vote:  CLICK HERE to go to FACEBOOK

Choosing the Best International Schools in Spain for your children

Let us help you to find the best International Schools in Spain …

international schools in spain

Choosing the best International schools in Spain for your children is one of the most important decisions you will make, whether you are moving abroad, or you are already living abroad.

We all do what we believe is best for our children, yet how do we make the right choice regarding the best schools abroad?

Rules and regulations differ in each country. Not all countries have league tables to advise us which are the best performing schools, although there are many regulatory bodies that can be consulted to conduct basic checks.

Probably the biggest worry when moving abroad, to a new country, is that you cannot rely on the strong network of family and friends for practical experience, advice and guidance.

We will become your reliable network. Your source of information, your guidance and your gateway to feedback from others in a similar situation to yourself.

If you are undecided whether to send you children to state schools or international schools in Spain, read our article here  and do not hesitate to contact us if you are still uncertain.

If you have decided that private or International Schools are best for your children, then this new service is for you …

Take the first step and Contact Us

 

Whichever country you are moving to, or living in, you need to consider your own basic requirements, such as:

  • Is your child better suited to a small or larger school?
  • Do you prefer them to change schools as they progress or stay in the same (For example the jump to senior school or the potential change at sixth form level)
  • How far do you want your children to travel to school?
  • What transport options exist / are provided by the school?
  • What timetable best suits your own commitments?
  • Do you prefer your children to have meals in school or will they come home to eat?
  • Is the availability of extracurricular activities important to you?
  • Which language do you prefer your children to be educated in?
  • Do you prefer a particular curriculum / teaching syllabus?

The list may seem endless however, we will provide you with a comprehensive checklist to assist you to make an educated and well-informed decision.

Remember, we are here to help!

Education in Spain : Division

As our children grow older, the challenge to keep up with their education in Spain, their schoolwork and their often vast quantities of homework continues. I am currently a very proud mum who has two very intelligent and hard working children (yes I know they are only 5 and 8 and there is time to change but please let me wallow in the glory of this moment!).

Mr Google is regularly present at homework time as my range of vocabulary is expanded on a weekly basis looking for antónimos, sinónimos and who knows what else for words I have never heard of before, in order to keep us with my eight year old son.

Up to this point, I have managed to rise and conquer the most challenging of challenges of an eight year old’s Spanish school homework (that BA Hons degree has its uses!). However, I have stumbled. I am still stumbling. But, I think I’m getting there ….

I am attempting to understand and be able to explain the reasoning behind the Spanish way of carrying out mathematical divisions!

What in the world are they trying to do to us? Why do they make it so complicated? Do they know how frustrating it is not to be able to explain something to your eight year old son who thinks you can do everything? You can do everything in his eyes … except Spanish division!

I posted a plea for help on my Facebook page for mums who had older children who could maybe enlighten me. Their replies…

“Omg. It’s a nightmare. They do it all backwards. How they get the right answer is beyond me. Good look in finding an explanation”

“After one of daughter no.1 ´s teachers rubbed out a whole page of long division homework (btw the answers were correct…) I really spat my dummy out and ended up having a lesson from one of the teachers! I don´t like it and think it´s a real is arse-about-face method……”

“I never got to grips with it and would check all my daughter’s homework questions with a calculator! Eventually she learnt how to do it both ways to please me!It is however the most arse about face method ever!”

” *headache.com* good luck!”

The only tips were … “You will find tutorials on you tube…. Good luck!”  and “I went to the school and asked the teacher personally to show me what to do – it was the best solution”

So, at the last parents meeting, I raised the issue and was very kindly given this web link by Joshua’s teacher: SEE HERE

These pictures are what you are shown. ( NOTE: If you click on each image it will enlarge and you can read the comment)I have added some translations at the sides. Simple isn’t it ?  (lol)

education in spainLa división 2

education in Spain

 

Thankfully my little brain box of a son has mastered this and no longer asks for my help but I continue on my quest to find an easy solution and explanation. Do you have any tips to share to enlighten us? We’d love to hear from you.

Fun Facts: Benefits of Learning Languages

What are the benefits of learning languages?

If you have been wondering whether it is really worth learning another language, this infographic may provide you with all the motivation you need.

Speaking another language can improve your chances of love, earn you more money, make travel more fun and make you cleverer and healthier … or so they say!

 

Kaplan International Colleges, a leading provider of English language courses, has created an engaging and educational infographic that explains the benefits of learning languages.

Scientific studies have proven that speaking more than one language has many benefits in terms of travel, love, intelligence and money. The infographic reflects these findings in a fun and interesting way.

4 of the many declared key benefits of learning languagesare:

  • Money … people who have more than one language earn more.
  • Love … bilingual people are more attractive.
  • Travel …is easier and more fun.
  • Intelligence … bilingual people are cleverer and healthier.
There are numerous interesting facts such as 270 British dating agencies have agreed that people who speak a foreign language are more attractive to the opposite sex and multilingual employees can expect a salary uplift of up to 20% in certain jobs.
What do you think? Do you agree with their findings? Let us know what you think …

School Holiday Calendar Spain: Andalucia

Here is the School Holiday Calendar for Andalucia, Spain for the school year 2012 -2013. As the 2012 school holidays begin, you can use these Spanish school holiday dates to plan any trips and holidays for the coming year.

Please remember that provinces may also have local holidays, such as Semana Blanca in Málaga.

 

 

 


Education In Spain (Our Story II)

In our previous post Education in Spain (Our Story I), we told of how smoothly our eldest son adapted to changes. Our daughter however, appears to have suffered more due to the changes in her young life.

At the age of 15 months, she eventually adapted to private Spanish nursery in Velez Malaga.  An attempt to start the Spanish state nursery in Mijas pueblo, 10 months later, ended after 2 weeks of non-stop tears and an unrecognisable little girl!  In no way do I mean to criticise the Spanish state nurseries, however, the noise levels and general mayhem on entering and leaving the establishment made my decision to go elsewhere a very easy one. As I mentioned earlier, each child’s needs are very different and we recognised our daughter’s need for a more quiet and controlled environment.

On recommendation from a friend, she started a private bilingual nursery in Fuengirola and, much to our relief, by day 2 she was walking in happily … at last, we had our happy little girl back!

In September 2010, she has started the state school in Mijas pueblo.  During the parents pre term meeting we were given the option to have an adaptation period (periódo de adaptacón). This entailed the children attending school for ½ hour for a couple of days and gradually working up to the full 5 hours … this used to be obligatory for new pupils however, this year the teacher advised us that “although strongly recommended”, she was not allowed to enforce it.

To my horror, only 5 of the 23 pupils in our daughter’s class chose the adaptation period. Can you imagine the chaos of twenty three little 3 year olds from 9am to 2pm on the first days?  Not surprisingly, our daughter did not have much fun …

The weeks that followed saw her being dragged, screaming ,from us by one or two staff members, many of whom received punches and kicks to various parts of their bodies. “Distraught & devastated” does not even get near to describing our emotions every morning . We were “those” parents of “that” child! As hard as it was, we stuck to our guns and followed the advice of others and persevered.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was only two months later , she is loving school and is singing and dancing  and babbling way (in her own lovely way) in Spanish.

Education In Spain (Our Story I)

education in Spain

Welcome back Josh!

In our post  Education in Spain (part 1), we mentioned that probably, the first decision you have, regarding your child’s education, when moving to Spain is the choice to place them in a state run school or a private/International school.

In one sense, our decision making process was made more simple by the fact that both our children were born in Spain (Fuerteventura, Canary Islands), and have never lived in the UK. It is generally considered that the younger a child is, entering the Spanish education system, the better they cope.

This is not however a guarantee; the child’s character, ability and individual needs must also be taken into consideration. What was for us, in comparison, a “piece of cake” transition with our son, was a real shock to the system with our daughter.

Our son attended a private Spanish nursery part time from the age of 12 months. At age 3 he attended a French state school (during our very short attempt at “Family Life In France”!) , from age  4 he attended a state school near Velez Malaga, aged 5 he moved to Spanish state school in Mijas pueblo where, this year (2010) he has moved up into  1st year Primary (primer ciclo de educacion primaria).  No doubt, some of you will be shaking your head, wondering how a child could cope with such change in his early years … I know I am his mother, but I can proudly say that he is one of the most contented, responsible and well adapted little boys I know. His school reports are the kind every caring mother hopes to receive. At aged, almost 6, he is completely bilingual , he has an in depth understanding of both the UK and Spanish culture and a thirst for more …

TIP: Many state Spanish schools offer a Summer School (escuela de verano) in July and August. This is a great way for your child to get to know some of their new classmates before the start of the new school year in September.  If you are unable to check details direct with the school, try asking for information at your local social services office.

The experience with our daughter was not so smooth … Read more here about our experience of education in Spain…

Our Education in Spain page includes lots more advice and links to help you to make your decisions.

Halloween 2010

I am writing this, having just spent almost five hours, with around one hundred and fifty pupils aged five to seven years, at my son’s school, making ghosts! The children had a fantastic time but my fingers are sore from cutting and sticking, that’s for sure.

Today is the first of four days of Halloween celebrations in our household, this year. We all know that Spaniards do not need an excuse for a party, but when did Halloween become such a big event?

As a friend recently said “when we arrived here (in Spain) 12 years ago halloween didn’t exist here!! I remember decorating the little school for their first halloween and the parents and teachers walking in in amazement and said what a horrible thing to celebrate!!! and now look at it!!”

Today it was evident that a Halloween costume is a “must” in every child’s wardrobe. I have seen a wide range of costumes available, with prices ranging from around eight euros to almost forty euros.

How many of you know the origins of Halloween? What do you tell your children? I must admit that I had no idea until today. If you want a detailed explanation, check out the Wikipedia link here: Wikipedia

I quite like the idea that Halloween celebrates the end of the “lighter” half of the year and the beginning of the “darker” half, the Festival of Samhain. I have not yet delved deeper to be able to tell my children why we “trick or treat” or even why they dress up as witches, ghosts and other scarey things … this year they are the right age to take part and enjoy. Maybe next year I will learn a little bit more!

If you want some great recipes and food ideas for Halloween, have a look here: BBCgoodfood

For some fantastic activities for the children, our family favourite is : Ativityvillage
The ghost which is really easy to make and the children love is here:  Balloonghost

Happy Halloween …. Enjoy!

Education in Spain (Read in English)

Teaching your Child to Read in English …

read in english

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”    – Emilie Buchwald

Anyone who has a little knowledge of the Spanish language will agree with me, I am sure, when I say that I think that teaching your child to read in Spanish is a lot easier than teaching them to read in English. In Spanish, unlike English, you generally pronounce the word as you read it.

To give you an example, let’s take the words “casa” and “house”:

The traditional Spanish method teaches the children to join letters to make syllables which then join together to make words. As my son would say, “c con a … ka” “ese con a … sa” … “ca ..sa” “casa”.  Now let’s try that with “house” shall we? (no chance!)

I am no expert in neither the English nor the Spanish language, but, I have previously taught both English to Spanish adults and children and Spanish to English adults, so can speak of and share my experiences.

However, I had no idea how to help my 5 year old son, who is 6 next month, learn to read in English. That was until I discovered a wonderful book on amazon.co.uk ,who, for those of you still in the dark, are now offering a free delivery to Spain for orders over £25.

The book is entitled “Reading Lesson: Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons” by Michael Levin and Charan Langton. It gives you an easy to follow recipe for teaching your child to read. The 444 page book contains twenty lessons. The lessons are easy to do both for parent and child. You will need to work with your child about 15 to 20 minutes a day. A typical lesson can be finished in approximately one to two weeks.

We have only just started the book but I wanted to pass this information on to as many parents as possible who may find themselves in a similar position to myself. It is never too soon to move forward with our childrens education.

Here is another parent’s comment about the book …

“I bought this book because my son was having difficulty reading words. He is 6 and has been in school for 2 years however reading involved sounding out individual letters. We have now completed 19 chapters and his reading has improved dramatically largely due to clustering sounds which one does automatically when you are reading but without help or any background in teaching it is difficult to do as a parent. I found this book very helpful and the instruction is very clear and easy to follow.”

So, if like me, your child is in Spanish state school and you feel that you wish to give them a helping hand with their English reading then consider giving this book a go.

Order your copy of this great book here:

Thanks for reading!

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