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  • How We Start Our Homeschool Year – The Spanish Immersion Soft Start

The homeschool soft start was a little insider trick I learned from a veteran homeschool mom. It works wonders, and we made it our own by adding a Spanish Immersion twist.


In this post I lay out the advantages of an immersion soft start, my goals while easing into school, and what it looks like in our home!

The name Spanish Immersion Soft Start might be a bit miss-leading, because the Spanish Immersion part is hard-core and all-in. It’s the academic part that we ease into softly.

I know many families who school year-round, but we are not one of them. We usually finish up school around the middle of May and then take a hard break for June and July. 

Then we ease back into our homeschool year the first week of August. That's usually two (but this year three) weeks ahead of our area public schools.

Why start back early? This strategic early soft start gives me three distinct advantages.

Three Advantages of an Immersion Soft Start

  • Advantage #1 - We get a head start on our 172 required school days. This gives us breathing room throughout the school year to take a mental health day (ie: an unplanned no-school day) when we need it most. Say, perhaps in February? Yes. Definitely February.
  • Advantage #2 - I can focus on rhythms, habits and character in both my children and myself that I want solidly in place before we bring in academics. For instance, we are adding in a new household chores this year (bathroom cleaning and laundry!) and a soft start allows time to work out the kinks in new rhythms and expectations.
  • Advantage #3 - Spanish gets established as a core part of our homeschool before any English subjects even enter the picture.

Truth is, I am a non-native Spanish speaker and my husband doesn’t speak Spanish. Over the summer we spend a lot of time together or with extended family (none Spanish speakers either).

So our Spanish always tends to slide over summer break. We need a couple weeks to put a heavy focus on our minority language at the start of each school year.

Spanish Immersion Soft Start

Starting our school year off in Spanish with a focus on rhythms, character, habits and FUN has been a great way for our family to get back into the bilingual homeschool groove each fall.

My Goals for our Immersion Soft Start

My goals for our soft start are also three-fold.

  • Goal #1 - Re-establish Our School Morning Routine. Our homeschool morning routine looks like my husband getting up with the kiddos and feeding them breakfast while I drink my coffee in bed. Yes, you read that right. He’s amazing. After breakfast I emerge, kids brush teeth, and we all get dressed. This year we are adding in one morning chore, and then we all head to the school space around the same time my husband heads to work. This is vastly different from our summer schedule in which my husband gets up with the kids, feeds them breakfast, and then the kids proceed to do whatever they want. You can imagine it takes some time to get back into the homeschool morning routine!
  • Goal #2 - Re-establish Spanish in our hearts and minds. Our homeschool is the anchor of our bilingual journey, and without the rhythm of homeschool our Spanish slowly slides downhill. This happens every summer. Instead of beating myself up, I have learned to simply do my best in the summer and then come back full-force at the beginning of each school year. To be able to enter enter Spanish full-force and full-immersion, it has to be FUN. Which leads me to my 3rd goal:
  • Goal #3 - Re-establish Connection As Teacher/Mom. Summer time allows me to take a step back from my teacher role and just be my kids’ Mama. A soft start in the fall gives me time to re-establish the teacher/mom dual roles in a way that is FUN and focused on connection with my kids instead of having to jump right into academics.

What Our Immersion Soft Start Looks Like

Our soft start begins with me. I try my best to speak only Spanish (unless I’m speaking directly to my husband).

Then my husband and I work together to get the kids going through their homeschool morning routine (breakfast, teeth brushed, get dressed, do chore). This takes quite a bit of reminding and prompting at first. 

After our morning routine, we head downstairs to our homeschool space while my husband heads to work. 

But...instead of the full meal deal that is School-In-Full-Swing, we only do Morning Time and a communal math activity! Our Morning Time involves reading aloud, reciting and memorizing poetry, music, and fun activities...all in Spanish.

We use this Fall Spanish Morning Time Plan. I throw in a fun communal math activity to get the numbers flowing again. But that’s it!

It's About Connection

I want my kids to ENJOY being together, to enjoy being with me, and to enjoy learning and speaking Spanish.

As our rhythms and Spanish get established, I start to add in more academics like true math lessons (which we do in Spanish), Spanish language arts, and a few seat work activities like map work and handwriting. If you want to see our Spanish Curricula for 2020 you can read this post

I hope that by the end of the second week our Spanish routine will be well established.

Then starting around week three, which is when the rest of the world begins school, we add in our English subjects. Once those are established we are running at full-capacity with the rhythm we maintain throughout the school year.

What about you?

How do you start your homeschool year?

Take a second and let me know in the comments!

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Lauren Stengele

Lauren is a 4th generation Mexican-American, and 2nd generation homeschooler. She learned Spanish as a way to reclaim her heritage, and now passes it on to her three children whom she homeschools bilingually. She started Bilingual Together to provide encouragement and resources to other bilingual homeschooling families.

  • Thank you for your blog! It is so helpful.
    Do you do anything to keep your Spanish fresh? I’m considering trying one of the online Spanish classes, so I can keep the grammar current and correct for my kids.
    Here is another resource I’ve found helpful for our bilingual home: https://materialparamaestros.com/

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