Learn Spanish & the Mexican American War


¡Viva la revolución!

¡Viva la revolución! Boys having fun at summer camp!

My two oldest sons homeschooled from grades K – 7. They played war games almost every day.  They would have enjoyed studying Spanish while learning about the Mexican American War!

One of our local parks had a Civil War and Revolutionary war summer camp.  They absolutely loved this.  I played war with them for so many years, that after 7 or 8 years of this, I decided I’d be the cook.  At this point there was also a new baby in the family, so I can remember staring off into the distance with a tired mind, stirring my imaginary pot of army soup and wearily calling them back in from battle to eat.

Wouldn’t it have been great to add in some real life history to our play? You can turn your history lessons into real life reenactments and learn Spanish while you’re at it.  I found a great PBS site for the Mexican American War.  I mean, it’s over-the-top amazing.   PBS – U.S./Mexican War

PBS US:Mexican War

PBS US:Mexican War

PBS Website on Mexican American War

The site can be geared to multiple age groups.  Topics range from the U.S. concept of manifest destiny, U.S. presidents, Mexican presidents, political history in U.S. and Mexico, Mexican Americans in the southwest, Native Americans in the southwest, racism, history of famous people in the U.S. / Mexican war on both sides, war tactics, geography, war history, war life, journalism.  The website has copious subject matter that can be broken down into small tidbits if needed.

Las Soldaderas were a part of the Mexcian Revolution and the Mexican American War.

Las Soldaderas were a part of the Mexican Revolution and the Mexican American War. – Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-25760

A Rich Learning Environment

I even learned there were “soldaderas” – women, wives, mothers – who followed the Mexican soldiers into battle and were an integral part of camp life and battle in Mexico at the time.  If I had only known that while my boys were playing war, I could have found myself a better role to play!  I got pretty bored with camp chef.

The PBS Teacher Resource video clips for this series are no longer online, but I found the documentary on You Tube in two parts.  Part I  and Part II.  You can also purchase it here. Currently there is a 15% discount if you sign up for email.  It’s about $70 without the discount, but heck, you could use this the ENTIRE YEAR!  There is so much to learn!  And you can also add Spanish! Why not throw in a trip to the Southwest if you can!

The documentary is approximately four hours long and it’s broken down into chapters.  I highly recommend to use the chapter approach!

Learn Spanish While Studying the Mexican American War

How do you add Spanish?  Add it into your everyday play.  Why not reenact?  Write an article about the war in Spanish.  Illustrate a battle scene and label parts in Spanish. Or, talk about the drawing in Spanish.  Use simple sentences if your Spanish is basic, Write a daily newspaper about the war.  Make a lap book.  Make a board game with facts about the war as part of your game.  Create a play in Spanish. Write a soldier’s diary about the war. Make some food that soldiers might have eaten in Mexico. Create your own timeline and talk about it in Spanish.

Your level of Spanish will depend how much Spanish you use.  Have your kids look up words associated with military life.  Read about life in a Mexican military camp on the PBS site. Learn how to use the imperative mood with informal or formal commands in Spanish.

Giving Commands in Spanish

Learn the Imperative with the following website. I  like this site a lot because it also has pronounciation and they try to be succinct and simple. www.spanishdict.com

Here’s an example of their page on Commands:

There are many different types of commands in Spanish, including   commands, usted commands, ustedes  commands, nosotros  commands, que  commands and infinitive commands. Check out our articles covering all of these command types!

  1. Affirmative Informal (Tú) Commands
  2. Negative Informal (Tú) Commands
  3. Formal Affirmative and Negative Commands
  4. Nosotros Commands
  5. Que Commands and Indirect Commands

Soldiers take orders and officers give orders, right?  Perfect for learning the imperative.  The tense can take some time to learn because it involves the subjunctive tense.  But you have lots of time with this unit of study. Don’t worry about everyone getting it correct right away.  Have fun first, and with time giving commands will become second nature.

The R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish Curriculum introduces verbs throughout the curriculum as they occur naturally within each Unit theme.  Chapter ten specifically studies verb conjugation.