I took several years of Spanish starting in middle school. I did well and passed my AP test in high school and even went on to tutor Spanish-speaking kids and work in a box factory where most of the employees were Mexican, Gautamalan and El Salvadorian.
However, I never really felt that I had oral fluency. I'm much more comfortable writing and reading Spanish than conversing. I assume this is because I didn't start learning until I was a pre-teen and was never really fully immersed in the language.
So where do I start to teach my own kids the language without confidence in my verbal skills?
I was pleased to discover several tools to help me! I found a musical cd with catchy songs about every-day activities, En mi Casa. We listen to it daily and I try to implement use of the vocabulary when we're doing these activities in real life. Without complete comprehension of what they're saying, they've already memorized most of the songs and have lovely accents! And now they're starting to understand the words.
The other tool I've just started using is Whistlefritz dvds. While we also watch Sprout en Espanol, I think they learn more from these dvds because they're geared more toward teaching Spanish rather than teaching pre-school level concepts to children already Spanish-speaking. Emberly learns the most from these because of her attention span, but Bauer does tune in for the catchy songs and more interactive portions.
I'm also reviewing my Repaso book from AP Spanish to refresh and trying to speak Spanish at home and take every opportunity to use the vocabulary that they know.
My ultimate goal would be to take them to Spain or South America when they're older a for longer trip where they would get to feel real pride in their ability to communicate and appreciate the culture without anxiety from a language barrier. And then that they could easily pick up a 3rd (and 4th and 5th if they so desire) language with greater ease when they're older.
I'd love to hear about other experiences and tips from parents teaching their child(ren) another language than what's primarily spoken at home!