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December 2023 Newsletter

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Every day, choose what’s important

Happy December!

Thanks to those of you who joined the You Have Homework community this past month. ¡Bienvenid@s!

Our monthly newsletter is built to help you keep going on your Spanish language learning journey, no matter how hard it feels, no matter how many mistakes are made, because the end goal is worth it.

This month’s newsletter includes:

📝 My new favorite word

🤦🏽‍♀️ My biggest facepalm from last month

💪 What new technique I’ve been trying (and loving) recently

🗓️ Setting goals for the new year

💞 A good podcast episode you can listen to


To realize with a sense of profundity, like the feeling of something dawning on you. 

De repente me percaté de que había logrado mis metas del año.

Suddenly it dawned on me that I had achieved my goals for the year.

Similar: caer en (la) cuenta, captar la onda, darse cuenta

🤦🏽‍♀️ Yes, I know what vergüenza means

Nothing makes me feel more embarrassed about my Spanish-speaking skills than when I have to communicate with anybody after a good glutes/leg day at the gym. 

Last week, I had to sort out extending my apartment contract until January, and I was struggling through our conversations more than normal, but the end was the worst. The manager asked how the apartment was, and I said that everything’s fine except one of the plants is dying because of the air conditioning. So far, I was doing pretty OK. 

However, when I wanted to say that after putting it out on the balcony, “the sun burned it”, my brain collapsed, like that poor plant. First, the word for sun that popped into my head was soleil, which is French, and absolutely not Spanish. After that derailed my thought process, I went on to say, 

El quema…no, ummm…la quemo. La quemó!

The shame of it all. Luckily, I was already on my way out of the door so I could be embarrassed in peace.

💪Siempre pa’lante

My absolute weakest point in Spanish is verbal fluency (one of six areas of improvement on my free cheatsheet download), and I’ve been experimenting with new ways to improve this.

Since I want to speak like an intelligent adult, I make time to use materials written by a native. About three weeks ago, I wondered if memorizing passages would help. So far, I think I’ve felt more at ease when I’m out talking to people.

Here’s what I do every morning, for a week. I read one passage from a book out loud, and after every sentence I close my eyes and recite it from memory. 

It’s less about memorizing the words, and more about getting the word order, verb tense, and genders correct. I do this to build the “muscle memory” in my brain. 

I am using a guide book of a tarot deck, but if you were to do this on your own, I suggest using text that varies in verb tenses and grammatical persons. And if you can find materials with a positive tone, even better – after all, we are what we say.

🗓️ A daily practice

Have you thought of your 2024 New Year’s Resolutions yet? Personally, I realized a long time ago that it’s easier for me to commit to a process, rather than a goal far in the future.

That’s why I created a 12-Month Undated Language Learning Planner. I need to write EVERYTHING down in order for it to get done, especially when my days get overwhelmed with work. 

My future Spanish fluency is not an option, so I make the time to plan what my focus is for the month and the different exercises I want to complete each week.

In the January newsletter, I will share with you what my goals are for the new year!

💞 How to talk about your relationships

On the topic of commitment, I really enjoyed this episode entitled, “¿Vale la pena casarnos?” of Aislinn Derbez’s podcast La magia del caos. She talks to her sister Mich Aguilera and therapist Nilda Chiaraviglio about the importance of choosing to work on your relationship every day. We even hear Aislinn talk hypothetically about her younger self going into her now-failed marriage by using the pluscuamperfecto del subjuntivo.

On YouTube and on Spotify, you might have the option to see an auto-generated transcript, so you can read along with the audio. Check the description boxes to see if it’s available for you.


¡Hasta el próximo! Have a wonderful holiday season and be sure to make time for yourself.


You Have Homework Founder

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