Mom Uses Fortnite To Teach Son Spanish
Fortnite has infiltrated millions of homes across America and with a reported 78.3 million users playing the game in August 2018, the obsession doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. Fortunately, one mom found a solution to balance the gaming craze with something educational and now, as a result, her son speaks Spanish!
Bay-area mom, Elizabeth Hilton, found herself in the same position as many other parents. Her 11-year-old son, Max, was desperate to play the game with his friends but she wasn’t so sure about it.
“I watched some YouTube videos and I was like, I’m not feeling this. This whole idea of pleasure equals gunplay, especially in today’s world, just didn’t feel right to me,” described Hilton.
Although Elizabeth was extremely hesitant to let her son play, Max presented his best pitch, assuring her there was no blood in the game. After listening to him and taking some time to think it through Hilton said she had an epiphany in the shower, “I thought - what if I bribed him and was just like, okay, fine, you can play Fortnite but you can only do it if you do Duolingo (the language learning app) first.”
Elizabeth had been desperately trying to get her son to learn Spanish so he could connect better with his Spanish-speaking relatives and understand his heritage. With a trip to Mexico on the horizon, she thought this would be a great compromise. There was one catch however, the game would have to be on HER phone so she would have full control of the game and when he played it.
To no surprise, Max agreed immediately. With a new found enthusiasm he jumped on the Duolingo app to start practicing Spanish.
“We set it to where he had to do 50 points every day,” said Elizabeth.
In no time at all, Hilton said she could notice a huge difference. “The thing that was really interesting was, he started speaking Spanish on a daily basis. He would say things in Spanish. He would joke in Spanish. When my husband and I would speak Spanish, which we would do so he couldn’t understand, he started understanding us. It was really cool,” she said.
Hilton said she could tell the biggest difference when they traveled to Teocaltiche, Mexico and Max was able to understand his relatives. Months later they took a family trip to Puerto Vallarta where she said Max really started showing off his new skills, “I was over the moon when he started ordering all of his meals in Spanish without hesitation.”
Although she is still less than thrilled with her son playing Fortnite, Elizabeth was happy to “game” the system. She says that using something her son really wanted, motivated him to work on something he wasn’t so excited about and it paid off, “he’s happy because he gets to play Fortnite and I’m happy because Spanish is now firmly established.”
Since Spanish is going so well, Max is now earning his Fortnite time by learning Turkish for their family trip to Turkey this summer!