In addition to the preceding tips, there are some you can
Arrange a year abroad for you kid, or a
few month at least. This will only cost you the airplane ticket, as another kid (let's
say, a young mexican) will come to your house for the same time. For thosw who made it
during teenage years, this is one of the most meaningful experience of their youth. And
the languages learned early stay forever, with a better accent and almost effortlessly.
Have a I-pay-your-foreign-books-and-movies policy with
your kids. There are many excellent movies that run in foreign languages in most big
cities, and many foreign language bookshops as well. If you pay for those, you give your
kids a strong incentive to practice the languages they learn.
Find a foreign magazine or newspaper that
suits your kid's tastes (snowboard, italian art, french fashion, russian chess, ...) and
offer him a year of subscription. Make him want to show it off in his school (not very
moral, but you want him to be proud of his language learning, don't you ?).
Try to spend vacations in countries speaking the
target foreign language. If you don't speak it and your kid does, make him feel
important several month in advance, telling him that he'll be your guide and that the
whole family will have to rely on his language skills during the vacations. That should
motivate him to learn as much as he can to proudly use his new skills before you.
If you have several children, you can either foster a
moderate sibling rivalry by playing who does speak spanish best, or encourage each
kid to learn a different language, preserving his individuality. The latter may
be better for the youngest, as they probably won't like to be measured to their elder's
performances, especially if these are very good and unreachable. A different language
would then allow the younger to have his own, irreductible realm.
Find a spanish speaking maid, who does not
speak much english, and encourage her to speak to the children in spanish. Thus they will
learn half the language while playing !
There are many, many books, cassettes, CD-ROM's,
videos for language learning nowadays. If you can, buy several and
use them jointly. A new CD-ROM can spark interest and curiosity from a kid that would
otherwise be bored by traditional methods.
As you already know that language teaching in schools is
totally unsufficient to really learn a language, why won't you hire a private
teacher a few hours a week ? In many areas this is not very expensive and it's
much more efficient than group learning.