Using the Bible and the TPRS method, our dynamic courses equip you to communicate effectively with native speakers in the fastest way possible, both about everyday matters and the Gospel message. Thirty years of research show that the most effective way to learn Spanish is through hearing and reading lots of Spanish in a meaningful context that you understand. While it is relatively easy to learn to say many sentences by rote memory, the key to becoming fluent is being able to understand and respond to the myriad statements that a native speaker might say. Living Waters Spanish students learn to become fluent in the language.
What Living Waters Spanish classes are Not: Foreign language coursework is difficult to transfer from one type of curriculum to another. For example, students who have had several years of studying with Rosetta Stone, HSLDA, Bob Jones or Abeka might need to begin in Level 1 of Living Waters Spanish.
Living Waters Spanish courses are so much more than just learning Spanish. Students read and listen through books of the Bible, share their observations from their readings and worship the Lord Jesus Christ together in class. We grow not only in head knowledge, but in heart knowledge and truth, as well, by God's grace.
Courses are taught both in classrooms in the Portland/Vancouver area and on-line. Classes meet one day per week for 90 minutes and include about two hours of weekly homework.
Classes are open to students from 10 to 110 years of age. If you would like to join a class, please complete an Enrollment Form. You may also send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org (note the double 'ss') or call 503-715-7227.
Sr. Riegg has an online grade book that is available to parents and students to view at any time during the school year.
While earning good grades in school is important for college admissions, the greater purpose in learning Spanish is to glorify God, enjoy His creation, and extend His Kingdom on Earth. Grades, in themselves, should merely reflect what has been learned, and not be one’s primary motivation for studying.
At the end of the course, students receive a final grade report for the year, which parents may use as desired. They can also write their own grade report, based on their own expectations for their child. For example, pre-teen students might deserve a higher grade, because they are taking a high school level course.
In determining the grade that students earn, missing work receives zero credit until it is made up. Make-up work, including missed assignments and low grades, needs to be completed within one month of its due date.
Does Learning Grammar Help?
Sr. Riegg used to methodically teach verb conjugating and grammar rules, but found that such memorizing helps students very, very little to communicate in Spanish. In fact, spending time memorizing verb conjugation charts may actually hinder more than help a student to become proficient in Spanish, if that time could otherwise be spent in actually using the language, that is, in hearing, speaking reading and writing Spanish. This is backed up by dozens, if not hundreds, of research studies.
Think about how we learned English: Did we memorize a lot of grammar charts that we then put into real communication? Or, did we learn English by hearing, speaking and later reading and writing it? God designed us to pick up languages by directly using them, in much the same way we learn to play a sport or musical instrument: Mainly, we practice them, under a coach or teacher.
Now, this is not to say that memorizing verb charts does nothing for you - knowing the charts can help somewhat, but only after you are already fairly proficient in the language. However, even then you are probably better off just spending that same time you would have spent on memorizing a chart instead on talking with someone in Spanish or reading a Spanish book. Plus, you would probably enjoy it a whole lot more!
Here is what one mom-teacher had to say in reply to the above comments: "Dear Sr. Riegg, While I don't speak Spanish, I did teach English and reading to special needs kids at all grade levels for many years. I wholly agree with you. It was my experience that having students spend time reading, increased their ability to read exponentially. It was not worksheets, or laborious drills, it was immersion in literature, discussions, reading aloud together, and reading silently, and making the reading a shared, enjoyable experience which enhanced the comprehension and reading level of each student. At the end of the year, when test scores come in, people wanted to know what we had 'done' to get such dramatic results. Many said the results were 'unheard of' especially for this population of students. The answer was pretty simple - we read! - and enjoyed, it I might add. Many students who have challenges never make it through a book. The first year we read interesting books totaling 2,500 pages - books like C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia for 5th and 6th graders along with a handful of other wonderful books. No wonder their reading improved. Previously most of the students had not read one complete book. Most educators would encourage the reading but not have the courage to step away from worksheets etc. I wholly concur with your approach. It can seem a bit risky to go against the current 'methods', but it's precisely why we drive an hour to bring both our girls to your Spanish class. They have learned a great deal, they always enjoy the time in class, and feel very proud of themselves for tackling something difficult and succeeding. You are a great teacher, and we are blessed to have you serve our family by teaching Spanish. Serving the home school community should give you lots of freedom to be creative in approach and program. The fact that you use the Bible as your text is an added bonus. I have heard the girls say they are beginning to think in Spanish, they can read simple words and signs they see in airports and businesses and get quite excited that the language is unfolding for them. Thanks for all you do. Be encouraged. Sincerely, Jane"