Hacking Spanish, by Jen N.

hacking: to use a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system

While learning another language certainly isn’t unauthorized access, we are going about it in an unorthodox way. We recently started Latin again, and I’m not crazy about purchasing anything for grade school Spanish this year. I used my google-fu to search out some fun resources.

We are on episode 8 of Mi Vida Loca, and we’re doing pretty good with the printable flashcards available on their website. We look forward to Spanish every day – that in itself is a win.

Since there are only 22 lessons, I’ve started thinking about what we can do next. I already own Spanish for Children from Classical Academic Press and could probably use a combo of that plus the resources at Headventureland.  We are really enjoying the video presentation, so I think we’ll use that alongside these free online resources :

Salsa Spanish – a children’s TV series that is free to watch online. It is all in Spanish, but you can open a PDF transcript that translates each episode. There are also a few games and activities that go along with it.

Spanishtown – a website with lots of games, videos, and printables

Destinos – another video immersion course like Mi Vida Loca.

Free online quiz-type programs:

Duo Lingo


Live Mocha


Tin Bot: Spanish Language Reader – not free but super fun.

52 weeks of Family Spanish – free with Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Of course, I would love to spend some time on the beach in Mexico or Spain because I know that hearing and interacting with native speakers would be the best way to achieve textbook-free fluency. Here are some ideas that fall just short of that beach vacation:

  • Our library has a ton of classic picture books in Spanish. We still have them mostly memorized so it’s an easy jump to comprehension.
  • Go to a Mexican, Cuban, or Latin restaurant and focus on the menu in Spanish. Try to order in Spanish.
  • Do some of your shopping at a Latino grocery store (very prominent these days in cities all across the country). In our area, the signage at Home Depot and Walmart are also in Spanish.
  • Some video game captions can be set to Spanish. Pokemon takes on a whole educational bent that way.
  • Watch a tv series in Spanish. We haven’t tried this yet, but I’m thinking about it. I think Disney movies would also be helpful to gain fluency.
  • Play scrabble. There is even  a dedicated Spanish game version.


I’d love to hear about any other awesome free resources that I may have missed.

Image: Mission San Miguel in California.

Jen N. – Jen has spent her time homeschooling her five children since 2001. She has read over 5,000 books aloud. A fan of all things geeky, she calls her children her horcruxes — each one has a talent for something she might have pursued herself. Jen and her husband have created a family of quirky, creative people that they are thrilled to launch out into the world. With the three oldest graduated, Jen now has time on her hands and has started a blog: www.recreationalscholar.wordpress.com

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