What's your goal for second language learning in your homeschool? Do you want your kids to learn about a language or actually be able to communicate with that language? Adelaide Olguin of TalkBox.Mom takes the later approach. Her second language learning kits teach the entire family just a few useful phrases at a time in an immersive, whole-language approach. Instead of getting bogged down in grammar lessons and long lists of vocabulary words, you are using the language from day one. This episode includes not only tidbits about foreign language learning but also general tips for dealing with homeschool stress, how to promote interest-led learning, and overcoming that internal voice telling you that you're not good enough.
Janna Koch (00:36):
Welcome to Homeschool Your Way. My name is Janna Koch. I'm your host and the community manager at BookShark. In this episode I am joined with Adelaide Olguin. She is the creator and owner of TalkBox.Mom, and we are going to be talking about her program. But don't run off just yet. Not only are we going to be talking about her program, which is a foreign language opportunity to teach at home, but she's going to be sharing some of her own stories about homeschooling her children. So, let's jump in. Adelaide, welcome.
Adelaide Olguin (01:11):
Thank you so much for having me, Janna. I'm so excited to be here, and also talk about my homeschooling journey and using a foreign language with your family.
Janna Koch (01:22):
That right there is enough to possibly scare me away just a little bit. Because I was homeschooled in the '80s and we did not have a foreign language requirement in the state that I grew up in, I went, purposely maybe, went to a college that did not have a foreign language requirement because that is very intimidating. So, I know that you are going to put myself at ease as well as those who are listening. But before we even get to any of that, let's find out about Adelaide. How did you get into the homeschooling arena?
Adelaide Olguin (01:57):
All right. Well, first of all, that cracked me up. That's so funny because I'm like, "It's so easy what we do that I'm like, 'You're intimidated? Oh right, right, right. I know why. Because you did it the hardest way possible.'" But don't worry. Okay. So, how did I get into homeschooling? For me, really for homeschooling, I was just thinking about looking at my own experiences in school, other people's experiences, and I realized that really what you're learning in school doesn't equal success in life at a whole level. And so for me that was a really big deal because I worked so hard to get really good grades. I worked so hard. I had friends that worked so hard and in that journey I saw a lot of them sacrifice their values for what they were doing. I saw them sacrifice a lot of time with their family. A lot of relationships were sacrificed to be able to get these A's.
Adelaide Olguin (02:48):
And then I saw that even then at that point, even getting those A's, it didn't mean that you would get the best job, you would have the highest income. So, if you equate success with income, which I don't, but if you did it, that isn't even equal to what it would be. And so I just thought, "What are we doing here? Why are we pushing so hard in this direction, sacrificing things we think are important for something that isn't actually helping us?" So, for me it was really a lifestyle thing. What do I think is success? What's success for my kids? I would love my kids to be able to have really strong, good relationships. I would love them to enjoy the things that they're doing. I would love for them to know, especially for me as a constantly recovering perfectionist, just know when you start something you won't be good at it, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
Adelaide Olguin (03:41):
So, those things to me, I wanted my kids to be able to actually have experiences and not be afraid to have experiences. I want them to be more specialists than generalists. I really want them to go deep on what's important to them and I want to have that time with them and have that relationship. And so even though I created and I run TalkBox.Mom, the first thing I do every day is homeschool my kids. That's the most important part of my day. I love it. It's wonderful. Really, that's what I want for my life. Just looking at my life, what is success? That's success to me, is having this time with them and helping them find what's important for them and have fun doing it.
Janna Koch (04:26):
So, Adelaide, tell our listeners, what are the ages of your boys?
Adelaide Olguin (04:30):
I have an 11-year-old, an eight-year-old and a three-year- old. And yes, they are all boys and they're about to have birthdays. I have loved homeschooling my boys. I think it's really fun. Since they were really little, that's when we decided we really wanted to homeschool because I wanted that different lifestyle. And for us, what that looks like is we put everything in storage to travel around with our kids for a couple of years. And so we would live in a country for a couple of months and just become part of the community. It's very fun. And now we have a home base and we'll go away for a couple months out of the year and travel. But that's a huge part of our learning. So, if there's a series of books on US history, international history, we will have so much fun going through those, reading those and then going to the place and enjoying it and being part of it. So, for me that's the fun of homeschool.
Janna Koch (05:26):
So, you've created your own immersion type of homeschooling that you are just letting them live it out as they are learning it.
Adelaide Olguin (05:35):
Yeah, I guess so. That's a fun way to say it because we do languages. So, yeah, it is. We have such a good time. We will learn. Well, what it starts with is, as we go through, let's say, a curriculum, we will have our kids ask questions that are important to them about the place. Whatever it is, it's their question. So, we'll learn more about it. We'll go there. We'll find answers to their questions. And it's their question. They're excited to answer. It's not my question. It's their question. And as they answer it, they go so deep into it and they'll ask people who work at a museum. They'll do all this research on it and they'll put an answer together. And it's really this high level of academic research that they're doing, but they're just little kids. It's so fun to see them get so interested in their questions and they'll put together their answers in maybe a brochure or a video or a PowerPoint. It's super cute. So, for me it really is about just being curious and leaning into that curiosity as we go to different places.
Janna Koch (06:36):
I think that one of the reasons that you are so inspiring in the homeschool community is because you are an example of learning to love learning, right? To be a lifelong learner. It isn't just about knowing the information for the grade, like you talked about earlier, this idea that, well, if you get an A, then you must know the information. I disagree 100%. I actually didn't work hard in school, got A's, probably because I could kind of remember the important points, and then I'll say-
Adelaide Olguin (07:08):
Janna Koch (07:08):
Right. My friends would be so upset with me. They went, "Aren't you going to study?" I'm like, "Why? I know what they want. I'll give it to them." But I will tell you that doesn't mean I was learning anything. And so when I'm homeschooling with my girls, I'm like, "Oh my gosh, second chances for me." A lot of parents try to live vicariously through their children in other ways. I do it through the learning. And so I get really excited. With my youngest, we're going to be starting US history again at BookShark's highest level for US history. And so we are planning a trip to Philadelphia and then we're going to tour DC. I've never been to those places. I've been reading about these places my entire life, the history books, the stories that go with it, historical fiction.
Janna Koch (07:51):
I'm so excited. And I'm like to my daughter, "Are you excited?" She's like, "Eh." I'm like, "Okay." So, I'm going to take your advice even though you didn't realize you were giving it to me, and make her or ask her to come up with some questions or something that she wants to answer so that she does get a little bit more excited about where we're going. Because I couldn't be more excited and I don't know how to get that. If I could just shove that into her and into my children, then I would be a successful homeschooling mom maybe.
Adelaide Olguin (08:20):
Yeah, it comes from two places. It comes from their interest and their investment. So, that's when they're excited for a trip. So, their interest doing the research journal. That's just what we call it. So, it's just a question. They go through it. You have to be so clear it's not about you. They could be interested in anything. They could be interested about the rocks in front of the Eiffel Tower. It could be really anything. You might have a future landscaper. You don't know, right? So, it's really that. And then for the investment part, what we do is our kids, we might say, "Hey, these are the things we're interested in. Which order would you like to go up to them in?" Have them help with the planning, help with the booking. We also, on some trips, we'll have them do the percentage of the cost of the trip for their age and have them learn for the trip.
Adelaide Olguin (09:02):
Maybe you don't want to be that hardcore, but we'll do that. And it gets them so, so excited. They're like, "When are we going to go to the Pokemon Cafe in Tokyo?" That's the only reason they want to go. So, it can make it really fun. It might not be why you're interested. But I know when my dad, he would do these trips with us. And when we went to England it was after we had done world history, which at my school was pretty much just British history. So, we'd gone there and we went on to the hop-on-hop-off bus. And it was, even for me, I didn't really know it was going to happen, but it was so exciting to re-hear the things, re-see the things. It became real. And that to me was just an amazing moment that I wanted to have. And now I see that in my kids.
Adelaide Olguin (09:47):
So, we were at the Perot Museum in Dallas and there was an archeologist there and he had a little statue of Chichen Itza, which is a ruin in Mexico or a... Anyways, it's an ancient civilization. Okay, anyways. So it was there, a little statue of it. And my son just walked up, he was six at the time, and he's like, "Oh, Chichen Itza." And the guy's like, "You know what this is?" And my son's like, "Yes." And he explains to the archeologist how many stairs are on each side and the level at the top to equal 365 because that's how many days there are in the year because he loves numbers. His question was, "Why are there so many stairs?"
Adelaide Olguin (10:20):
But he's having this huge conversation with this archeologist and the guy was just loving it and then they're exchanging other information about the culture because we had learned about it and gone there. And then my son goes, "So, do you work at that site?" And the guy got really embarrassed. It's like, "No, I work at one next to it." But isn't that interesting? Somebody who does so much research could have such a meaningful conversation with just a kindergartner or first grader.
Janna Koch (10:46):
Yeah. Yeah. Which is what geeks us out as homeschool parents. That's the part that we want to be like, "Yes, they get it. They understand it. What we're doing matters." And although we don't need to be told that, we don't need examples of that... Or if you do, we are here to say, "What you're doing matters." And these little aha moments are going to add up to what your son ends up doing with the rest of his life, the passion that he finds through all these experiences. Which leads me to the question, since you are a traveler and you have created this language curriculum for families to use, just talk about TalkBox.Mom. Because it makes perfect sense as you're talking about these experiences for your children. And the sky is the limit. Some people are limited because they don't speak a second language.
Adelaide Olguin (11:43):
Yes. So, at TalkBox.Mom our goal is for you to start talking in the language, don't worry, the same day you start. The same day you start, you will be talking and using the language. Your child will be understanding it. You will too, right when you start. So, it's so easy to do that you don't need to be worried. Okay Janna? Don't be worried.
Janna Koch (12:09):
Sweat. Sweat, Adelaide. Sweat.
Adelaide Olguin (12:11):
Now, the reason that I know that you would be successful at this or any family that would like to use a language is because you are the person who taught your child their language. Moms and dads are the most successful language teachers in the world. We have a higher success rate than university professors when it comes to teaching languages. And we can be in any socioeconomic situation and be passing on our language. You could have a family with a dirt floor or you can have a family with a marble floor. They are passing on their language. And it's because of the unique skills that we have as parents that we do things differently than traditional programs.
Adelaide Olguin (12:50):
And so at TalkBox.Mom we want you to lean into your skills as a parent. Easy example. Traditional class, you go to say your first word and they're like, "No, no, no. Not like that. Not like that. It's like this," right? And you're just trying to say your word. Your baby says their first word, they're looking at a ball and they're like, "Ba." You're like, "Oh my gosh, let me get my camera. Let me make a video." And they're like, "Here's the ball. That was amazing," right? But you wouldn't have a mom who's like, "It's ball. You're saying it wrong," right?
Janna Koch (13:20):
Adelaide Olguin (13:21):
You'd be like, "Honey, you need a weekend. You must be tired." We don't do that.
Janna Koch (13:27):
That's a different program.
Adelaide Olguin (13:28):
Yeah, that's a different... Ooh. Also, I would never go up to another mom that has, say, a three-month-old and be like, "So, have you started the past tense with your baby yet?" No, right? We talk to our babies in all tenses. We use full sentences in the moment as life is happening. We're not grabbing vocab words here and there. That's not how language works. Language is something that when you say a full sentence, so if I wake up in the morning or you wake up in the morning and you're, say you're a coffee drinker, you're super tired, so you're like, "I need my coffee," right? You say that every morning without realizing it. Then you tell your toddler who wants cookies, you're like, "No, you can't have these cookies yet." And your toddler's like, "I need my cookies." And your husband's like, "You have created a monster here," because of how you are, right?
Adelaide Olguin (14:17):
They're extracting. So, they hear these little phrases and they extract. They're not like, "Here's a noun. Here's a verb,. Here's an adjective. Put it together." Because if you do put that together, it doesn't actually make the language that you're learning. Because languages, they just don't make sense. Even English. If I tell you, Janna, "Put your shoes away. Put your plate away," right? Away means gone, not in its place. But we're literally telling our kids to put things in their place. But it sounds like some dark abyss. But we wouldn't think about that because language is not so logical. It's very emotional.
Janna Koch (14:52):
It is not.
Adelaide Olguin (14:53):
It is not. So, at TalkBox.Mom, we do not start with things that literally hold you back for years learning a language. We don't start with grammar. We don't start with vocabulary words. We don't start with learning things that you'll never use. We also don't start with just spending one hour per week or a little bit of time per week. We spend a little bit of time each day or part of your week. It's not crazy. It's not like you have to be insane, like whoo, do a ton. Not like that. But if you just spend, say, a 30 minute lesson once a week, that's great. But it needs to be a little different because okay, Janna, how much would it freak you out if you signed one of your kids up for piano lessons and they only at piano lessons played the piano and they didn't practice throughout the week and you're paying every time for that lesson? That'd be stressful, right?
Janna Koch (15:40):
Yeah. But you actually just described my household.
Adelaide Olguin (15:42):
Okay. Yeah. So, we all know that stress. We're familiar with that stress.
Janna Koch (15:45):
Yes, it's frustrating.
Adelaide Olguin (15:47):
But then it would also be like you saying to your child, "I'm so sorry. After your piano lesson, you can't play the piano. You can only listen to music, look at notes, write down notes," right? That's a similarity of doing a language and then your child not using the language in your home. And so that's why at TalkBox.Mom we use the family dynamic to practice the language. And you could be a native speaker or you could be somebody who doesn't know anything about the language, and you use our program to use the language in your home so that you can talk. And it's set up really, really simply. Everything is done for you while giving you the freedom to choose what you want to work on with your family. So, our signature program is broken up into nine different boxes.
Adelaide Olguin (16:33):
The boxes come with all of your materials printed. Your core materials are there ready to go. And then part of the program is all the native speaker audio that's either in the app or on the computer. And it also tracks your progress as well. So, you can work through the roadmap. Our fluency approach for the first box is to be consistent and make exponential progress. So, in each box there's three different challenges. In our first challenge, we have phrases that you would use with your family in your home like, "I'm hungry." How often do your kids whine, "I'm hungry." So, when you look at your challenge, you would say, "All right, I'm going to work on one to five phrases at a time." I recommend right when you start, choose one or two if you're nervous. That's all you have to do. So, if I were to choose one phrase, I would choose the phrase, "I'm hungry."
Adelaide Olguin (17:21):
I listen to the native speaker audio. This is the biggest part. It's made by native speakers. So, everything you say will be accurate, which is a huge part of fluency. Fluency is the ability to speak easily and accurately. And so we start at TalkBox.Mom in fluency. We don't try to build up to it because then you won't talk. We start there. And so everything here is made by native speakers, not me pretending I know the language or pulling what I learned from school. It's how they speak. And then the audio is also native speakers, not a robot. So, you'll really hear how it sounds. So, when she says, "I'm hungry," she even kind of whines it. That's how authentic this is.
Janna Koch (18:03):
Oh good. So, I can listen to my child whine the phrase and I can listen to a native speaker whine it to me as well.
Adelaide Olguin (18:09):
Yes. And your kids are going to talk. So, if I were to say to my kids, "When do you say I'm hungry?" and they'll be like, "At bedtime, when you say time to go to bed." Because right? They're like, "I'm hungry," all the time. So, we could even practice that. So, after we listen to the audio, we repeat with it. Then I'd have my kids practice the phrase in that situation. So, I'd tell them bedtime and they would all whine, "I'm hungry," all the way. "[foreign language 00:18:31]," all the way to their room where I shut the door and they have to go to bed because we already ate dinner.
Adelaide Olguin (18:36):
So, we would really use the phrases. And that's the big part of it is that we choose the phrases with our kids, we practice them and then we use them. You want your kids to understand we're doing this together. We're all using the phrases so that you hear it. This is great for native speakers because often native speakers will talk all the language at their kids. And so their kids feel like they expect everything of them. And this says, "No, no, no. We're just going to be on the same page. We're just doing these things and working on those things." And you see a lot of progress this way. So, you'd spend a month working on, say, the first challenge. You'd work on one to five phrases at a time. So, at the end you might get through 15 phrases throughout the whole challenge and that's fine.
Adelaide Olguin (19:17):
You then move on to your second challenge and you work on your one to five phrases at a time through that while you keep using the phrases you learned in the first challenge. Then you get to your third challenge, which are these really nice label cards, not flash cards. You put them up in your home and they have phrases on them like "Put the cups on the table. Do you need a cup? Can you get me a cup please?" So, you can see that. You can see the phrase. It can remind you to use it. So, you're like, "All right, I'm seeking Spanish," or whichever language you choose. "I'm speaking Spanish and I can ask my child to put the cups on the table. I don't have to do it." So, you'll be using those phrases. And then what's wonderful is those are things I say all the time.
Adelaide Olguin (19:56):
I was just at a hotel in Mexico and I asked for someone to please bring me a towel. Same exact phrase, just different word which we have, obviously you don't know this, we also have in our program, we have bathroom phrases. So, you know how to use lotion and soap, all the things in your bathroom, turn off your sink. Everything we have is so functional because the language that you use in your home is the foundation of all language. So, when your children go to do science in English, they're just adding in new words. The point where you're at in our program is that at the end, instead of learning a language, you're using a language to learn. That's where we want you to be at and that's where you grow into. So that at the end your challenges are in that language only.
Adelaide Olguin (20:44):
There's no English. It's in the app if you're worried, but on your guides it's not there. That's the progression that you get to. And it happens by just working on one to five phrases at a time because of the way we've chosen the phrases. And when you come back to your challenge because you've been using your phrases, you learn the rest so much faster. So, this is just a really easy, simple way to really build fluency in a language and use the language. Because my goal is not that you learn a language. My goal is that you have life changing results. That because you can use a language, you can connect with, say, your family, if your family speaks the language. Or you can connect with people in your community. So, that to me is so important. When my kids are able to help other people because they speak Spanish... We speak Spanish and German in our home. We have more opportunities in Texas for Spanish.
Adelaide Olguin (21:35):
But when my kids are able to help others. But it's also really fun when we travel, especially to Germany. We can use the language. I say especially because they have really good chocolate, but I could say especially Spanish. Because when we go to Mexico, best tacos. I think that's my favorite food. So, anyway, you can use the language and then it also opens up opportunities for your education, your child's education and your work or your child's work or your spouse's work. That's our goal. Life changing results. You can use the language through just doing these really simple things and adding the language to your life.
Janna Koch (24:12):
So, when I hear you talk about your program, it sounds phenomenal and I am excited. Just so our listeners know, Courtney and I will be starting Spanish this fall and we are very excited. We'll be giving you guys updates and maybe on the podcast I'll throw in some of the things that I'm learning because I do want it to be a life changing experience. What I have found, even talking to my husband and then our older two who took Spanish in high school and people were like, "Oh yeah, I took four years in high school and I took four years in college and I can't speak a lick of it." And so we wonder why we keep requiring this of people when it doesn't work.
Janna Koch (24:52):
I look at my kids and I'm like, "So, you just pretty much wasted all of that time because maybe you could understand a word or a phrase that you hear, but you can't speak it. Maybe you can write out a sentence, but what are you going to do? Walk up to somebody and write out a sentence and, great job, you have the verb tense correctly?" But that's not living life. And so when you talk about your program or we're giving our listeners this idea of what they could do if they did learn a language, it is so contrary to what we've ourselves maybe have experienced or what we hear out there. When people challenge you with that, what would be a response that you would give?
Adelaide Olguin (25:30):
Oh, if a four-year-old can talk better than you in Spanish over four years, like a native speaker, and you've spent four years learning, something is off there. Little kids are so good at talking,. A child in Mexico is going to use [foreign language 00:25:48], right? They're going to get the article right. They're going to say, "[foreign language 00:25:51]." They're going to say [foreign language 00:25:53] for the apples, [foreign language 00:25:54] ] for the banana, but they're not going to know it's masculine or feminine. They're going to know that it sounds right. So, it's just how I'm speaking English right now. I'm not in my head being like, "Okay, what tense am I going to do? How is it going to work?" That is not fluency. If you hear something, you have to say something, you go to read something, you have to translate it into English to get the meaning or put it from English into the language. If you have to do that, that's not fluency.
Adelaide Olguin (26:18):
So, we're not starting at fluency. So, when you're like, "Oh, they have to go and write their sentence down," it's because you're not following the natural language progression. The natural language progression is when you're little, you're talked to, you're read to, you're sung to. Then you start talking, you start reading. And if you're allowed to, watching videos. Then you start telling stories and then reading, writing and grammar. If you start with reading, writing and grammar, you lose the whole foundation of the language. And when you go to read something, you have no idea what it is. So, at the point when you start reading something, for me it's really important that you could open up a foreign language dictionary and get the definition in that language and be like, "Oh yeah, that's what that is," right? That's that level. So, if you're just so focused on grammar, you're so focused on vocabulary and trying to build the language that way, you're going to end up in this just ball of anxiety.
Adelaide Olguin (27:10):
When someone goes to talk to you, you're anxious. When you want to say something, you're anxious. You're so focused on getting it right instead of communicating with the person. Whereas if you learn this way, the same way you acquired your first language, if you learn like that you don't have that kind of anxiety and your accuracy is actually higher because you can filter and hear if something is right. So, it's really funny that we're so caught up on these levels of learning a language and it's like, "Well, that's not even how your child learned their first language. But we get so caught up in this, "I'm this and that." And so, at TalkBox.Mom, we really are starting in level five native bilingual level because everything you learn is at that level and then we're just helping you to go even further and expanding where you can use that.
Adelaide Olguin (27:59):
And as the time goes on, you're going to hear stuff just fall out of your mouth and you're like, "I just said that?" There was a funny one today I said. My son, I got him from this Korean market these little walnuts that were in wrappers. It's like a fresh pastry. He put it in his backpack, completely forgot about it. And someone finds it at our house and I grabbed it and it was Spanish time. So, we'll speak part of the day Spanish, part of the day German, and we switch what part of the day that is. So, we're speaking Spanish and I said in Spanish, I said, "I don't know how we don't have rats in our house." And I was like, "Wow." Just, I've never ever said something like that. And I was like, "How?" But you have the idea, the words come out and you're like, "Oh, okay." Whereas previously I would've had a lot of questions. Obviously that's not something I say all the time. I hope not. Oh my gosh.
Adelaide Olguin (28:54):
But it's just so interesting. So, as you work through learning a language in these different areas that we have laid out in our program, you're able to do the extraction and put so much together and say so many things. It's so cool. So, that's my answer to it, right? It's like, "Do you want to spend a year wasting your time doing things that won't move you forward or do you want to move forward and be able to use the language?" There is this one really nice talk about some family and the mom, she was saying she thought it was crazy, absolutely bonkers that we didn't start with grammar. And then she goes, "Now I can hear when something sounds off grammatically in Spanish and I can fix it in the moment." That's what you want, right?
Janna Koch (29:43):
Yeah. Well, yeah. Because what you're talking about is the difference almost between academic learning versus practical learning. And even though you're going to have that you are going to be learned academically, you are learning it through practicality. And so any teacher will tell you that if a student can actually be doing it as opposed to maybe the theorizing about it... And that's how I feel maybe foreign language is looked at. It's a theory. I can know these rules, understand this is how I need to say it, but if I can't say it what is the point of knowing it?
Adelaide Olguin (30:19):
Yeah, just knowing about a language but not knowing how to use it. I think that was the first time I noticed that language learning was off. I talked to the dean of a German department at a university and I was just explaining how the 100, 200 level classes, the students aren't moving into 300, 400 level classes and being able to really talk about literature, ask questions, do a lot of things like that. And he's like, "Well no, it's usually students who have gone and lived somewhere or they're native speakers or what have you, they're able to do the 300 and 400 level classes." But everyone else is stuck in the 100 and 200 level classes and it doesn't give them the tools to be able to really do these. I mean, 300 and 400 level classes are learning in that language, right?
Janna Koch (31:06):
Adelaide Olguin (31:07):
Like I talked about. They're just not giving you the tools to learn in that language because you've been spending the time learning about the language. It's similar to if you want to ride a bike, you ride a bike. If you want to know how to paint, you paint. If you want to know how to talk in the language, you talk in the language. But everyone's like, "No, conjugate verbs. No, learn grammar." I was like, "No, let's do the thing we're trying to do so we can get better at it because that's what helps us get better."
Janna Koch (31:29):
Yeah. Even the premise, the idea. Your child, when they began to learn, did not learn with the technical part of even writing or speaking properly. It's like, why do we not think about that process? I didn't, but you have. And so that's why you've created this amazing program that I hope will take some of the anxiety away from parents. Maybe the trauma of all of those years, all of those hours doing those worksheets and then not being able to speak a lick of the language or barely sit down and watch a TV show in that language.
Janna Koch (32:07):
So, I do feel like part of the angst that especially homeschool parents may have is that they've had all of these experiences and so they're like, "Ugh." Hands up, forget it. That's not even an option. Not because they don't want to teach their children or they don't want their children to learn another language, they don't feel like it's an option for them. So, if I was a mom and I'm standing in your booth and I'm talking and I'm like, "I don't feel like this is an option for me," I feel like you have done such a great job disproving my statement.
Adelaide Olguin (32:40):
I hope that that's what... If you're nervous, if you've had that trauma from that language teacher or that test coming back, I hope that's the sense that you're feeling. And you can even go to TalkBox.Mom/free and we have a free starter pack, where in minutes you're going to hear your child talking and understanding another language while playing with a ball and you'll be talking in and understanding that language too. And we have things I talked about teaching like a mom. You'll hear advice on that so you can really, really teach the language and have fun at the same time. Because language learning should look like having fun. It should look like your child being so confident and excited to do something new.
Adelaide Olguin (33:24):
It should also be really freeing for you. I mean, in traditional programs, a lot of school districts will be like, "I hope we have 50% of the students complete the foreign language class passing." But as a mom I wouldn't be like, "I hope half my kids learn to talk." I wouldn't think that, right? But here's the thing. We think our kids will be successful. But then do you think that you will be successful? You should. Maybe not learning a language the hardest way possible, but learning a language the way you learned your first, you should feel so successful that you can do that because we have set you up for success and you have the skills. Yeah. So, I hope that's the feeling that you have.
Janna Koch (34:04):
Another thing when we talk about electives in homeschooling, because this would be considered an elective class, not your core classes, but it's actually an entire family learning process that a lot of times when we pick something for our kids, we are not necessarily involved in that, especially if it's an elective. So, for this program it's an immersion for your entire family to be a part of. Because if I'm at dinner and I'm using those phrases and my goodness, put your dish in the sink or put your dish away or however we're going to use those, I say that to everyone in my family. So, when our box came I was like, "Attention Koch family. We all will be learning Spanish come August 18th when we start our school year." And everyone just looked at me. And I'm like, "No, this is a family affair." Because what good is it if only, like you said, half of my family is speaking? I'm excited that we all get to be in this process together because it gives us more opportunity to also then use it instead of just learn about it.
Adelaide Olguin (35:10):
Yeah, I love that. I love that you told your family we're going to be doing this. We're putting our plates away too. And that's another thing about this is, sometimes people think elective's something extra. This is really not. Maybe you're spending five minutes really focusing like, "Okay, here are our phrases. Let's practice it." But the rest of your time is living your life and using the language and so it doesn't feel like such an extra thing that you're doing. And then we'll have families who sign up and maybe it's just the parent and their child is doing it and their spouse has probably past language trauma, they're not doing it, and suddenly they catch them looking at a label card, going to say something. And that's why we have a really big rule in our program is when you hear someone try to pronounce something and it doesn't sound great, you compliment their effort, not in a patronizing way, but you're happy that they spoke because it takes a couple of weeks to a couple of months to hear the sounds being said.
Adelaide Olguin (36:04):
So, if you're, again, on someone for the pronunciation, it silently breaks their heart and makes them not want to do it with you. And so somebody who's really timid in the family, they start noticing, "Oh, my kids aren't saying it perfectly, but mom is still happy. She's happy they're trying. Maybe I could do this too." We've even had families who have a child who has special needs and they're doing the program with their other kids and then all of a sudden they realize their child with special needs are speaking Chinese or Japanese or Spanish, whichever language. And they're like, "What is happening here?" So, that is really fun. Even children who are dyslexic. Or we've had children who were told they wouldn't be able to speak English because this is such a high focus kind of speech therapy that you're doing in your own home. Well, one family, she was just telling me that they said that her child would not speak English. Now her child is speaking English and Italian and reading in both languages. Isn't that wild?
Janna Koch (37:04):
Wow. It is. It kind of blows my mind. Part of me is like, "Oh, I hope so. Oh, I'm excited. I want to. Is it possible?" And so you have given the program so that the possibilities are endless for families to be learning a second language, a third language, a fourth language. I mean, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I'm very excited for this program in my own home and to announce it and let people know who are listening that it is available to them as well. Adelaide, one thing that we missed on purpose because it was such a natural flow to start talking about TalkBox.Mom is your homeschool hack. So, why don't you share with our listeners something that has worked for you guys in your home?
Adelaide Olguin (37:48):
Okay, this is my homeschool hack. It goes just really deep. We're going to get really personal really fast. So, if I feel a lot of stress and anxiety when I'm homeschooling, this is where my hack comes in. So much stress, so much anxiety. I have to think to myself immediately, "Adelaide, you are so focused on the result right now. You need to focus on the process." So, I have to always shift to the process. Am I making the process something that I enjoy, that I think is fun? We can always whistle while we work. We can make anything fun and enjoyable. And I love this quotation. "A horse that loves to race will beat a horse that is forced." So, my hack, what I do with my family is when I start feeling that way, we write down things that aren't working out and we meet about them, just a five minute meeting with the kids, and we talk about what we want to keep doing, improve, start doing, stop doing.
Adelaide Olguin (38:43):
We go through that. And one of the things, just a great example of this is that we were going through our reading books, like one does when they do BookShark. You're going through your reading books and we're doing the read-alouds and I thought, "I would rather not. I would rather not do this. So, what is off?" And I was just so focused on, "We have to read this much this day," all those kind of things. I'm so focused on the result.
Adelaide Olguin (39:04):
And so I asked my kids and their input was, "We would love to just snuggle with you and go to bed an hour earlier and just read our books, do our read-alouds. That would be a dream come true." And I'm like, "Oh really"? My kids loved it. They just were having such a good time. And that's why I say a horse that loves to race will always beat a horse that is forced. And so that's my homeschool hack. Whenever you feel anxious doing something, just what is the process? Bring your kids in. How can you make the process different? And I find that we are checking off our stuff at a faster pace and having fun than had we not done it that way.
Janna Koch (39:44):
I need to implement that ASAP in my life.
Adelaide Olguin (39:49):
But it will make your homeschool really weird. I will say we have a lot of candles coming out when we write, because it's the motivational... It started motivational candle. Now it looks like a seance so it will look weird.
Janna Koch (40:01):
But your kids are engaged and they're doing their writing. So, I mean, it goes back to the whole learning a language a different way, which is really the way we should have been learning it in a natural way. But we have to get out of our own way and stop trying to fit into those boxes that are just not made for a 44-year-old woman. They just aren't. And I shouldn't try to get in my kids box and I shouldn't be asking my kids to get in my box. And so yes, thank you for that hack. I will be going through that process myself as we start up our school year. In closing, what would you like to just leave with our families as they are really processing, maybe like we've been mentioning, their own language trauma, their need for or a desire to learn a second language but just didn't feel like they had the time or the energy to devote to it. What can they take away from you as they end listening to this session?
Adelaide Olguin (41:00):
I know from my own life that I will hear those little promptings of what I need to be doing. I'll hear those things. And I love this one book where this man wrote about how everybody hears that across every culture, every country. We all hear this little voice to help us to do something better, that the second we hear that we want to do something. Because it could be calling to your heart to do a foreign language. It might have been calling to your child's heart or other things in your homeschool even. And then the second that happens, resistance comes in. Resistance is what wants to stop you from going to a higher place. Resistance’s voice sounds like, "I don't have time." It sounds like, "I'm too late." It sounds like, "I'm not good enough."
Adelaide Olguin (41:45):
But when you're a pro and you face that resistance, it's not that you have less resistance than somebody who's not facing it, it's just that you're facing it every single day. It doesn't get any easier. You just have to face it. So, a pro would say, "Oh, I don't have any time so I'll make time here," or, I'll put it with this activity, or, "I'm too late so why don't I just start now? That's the time that I have," or, "I'm not good enough so why don't I get an accountability partner?" Which we have a whole accountability group for families, right? Right. That's how the pro faces things.
Adelaide Olguin (42:17):
So, if there are little things that you've heard in your homeschool journey that you need to be doing, I just really want to encourage you to take it face-on, go and do those things that you really want to do. And as you do it, stay away from distraction because that's a huge part of resistance. And also stay away from shadow activities, which are doing the thing but not actually doing the thing. So, instead of talking in a foreign language, doing grammar. Instead of homeschooling, laminating. We all fall into those shadow activities. So, listen and do the thing that is being asked of you because it will change your life. It'll change your future opportunities.
Janna Koch (42:52):
Well, we hope that you have been inspired today. Maybe if it's not learning a second language, but it is seeing that if you are passionate about something, it is never too late to [inaudible 00:43:02] it for yourself. And then if you see something in your child, it is never too late to get them started either. So, Adelaide, thank you so much for being on today. I appreciate your time and thank you for what you're doing to the homeschool community by offering this amazing program.
Adelaide Olguin (43:16):
Thank you so much. It was so fun to be here and talk with you and connect with you listening as well on the podcast.
Janna Koch (43:22):
Thank you, guys. Until next time, goodbye.