I know my post yesterday was painfully long, but I thought of some other things I wanted to say about that. The kids aren't quite fluent in Spanish, but they have a solid foundation. They can understand about 80% of what is said to them and they can communicate pretty well. It's music to my ears to hear them "habla", but they're shy to speak in front of me so I only get to hear them when I'm eavesdropping (or when I threaten to ground them for all eternity).
To test this theory I just asked Evie what she would say at school if she needed to use someone's pencil and she said (with perfect accent I might add), "Me prestas un lapiz?" Will you lend me a pencil? That is not something I taught her. I love it. Then I asked her how she would say, "I want an horchata." And she said, "Yo quieres un horchata." - I wants an horchata. I'll take it. Then I asked her how to say, "My mom went to the store." She said, "Mi mama vamos...va la tienda." (My mom go...goes the store.) Not bad.
This morning I asked Emerson to ask his teacher if he wanted me to come teach English today. Later when I asked him how he had asked (and threatened to ground him for all eternity when he said he was too embarrassed to tell me) he said,"Usted quiere mi mama venga aqui para clases de ingles?" If you speak Spanish you know that this is a rather complex sentence including the elusive subjunctive tense (venga). And he said it almost perfectly. I could cry.
Dave and I got permission from the principal of Cole's school to take him out of regular classes for the three weeks before Spring Break in March so he could attend intensive Spanish classes at a language school here in town. Believe it or not, of all of his U.S. classes (we've been supplementing after school the whole time down here) I felt like he was falling behind in...Spanish. He was getting nouns and fluency at school, but he was missing the basics. Anyway, since his intensive stint his Spanish has become quite good. He says he understands most of what is said to him now that he understands verb conjugation. Yeehaw.