*UPDATE: The author of Spanish for You sent me an update. She’s reorganized the ebook files that come with the program into folders so it’s easier to find what you are looking for. She’s also working on reorganizing the audio files. This minor change makes the curriculum even easier!*
There is no doubt about it, we live in a global village and every day our world gets a little smaller. Knowing more than one language is extremely beneficial now and will become even more important as our children reach adulthood…BUT…have you ever tried to learn a second language in high school or as an adult? It’s really difficult, especially if you are like me (and my kids) and don’t seem to take to it easily. The experts say that to effectively learn a second language you must start as early as possible but that’s not always practical or possible if the language isn’t spoken at home.
Over the years we’ve tried quite a few foreign language programs (Muzzy, Instant Immersion and Rosetta Stone to name a few) but they didn’t work out so great as they are geared toward auditory learners and not one of my 5 children is what I would consider a strong auditory learner. Most recently my 14 & 16 year old daughters took 1 year of Spanish in a brick & mortar school as well as 1 and 2 years, respectively, through our state online school. Despite their years of instruction they are not nearly fluent and their pronunciation is dismal, and more importantly, they do not enjoy the classes and are only taking them to meet the college admission requirement. I feel quite confident in saying that the standard auditory-based with a wee bit of visual thrown in approach to teaching a foreign language just doesn’t work for my children.
Spanish for You is truly revolutionary in this respect as it incorporates auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning in one program. The lessons are well planned, designed to be used for multiple grades and the lesson guide directs you every step of the way. The best part about Spanish for You is that you don’t need to speak Spanish to teach this program.
Things I like about Spanish for You:
-This program was developed by a teacher and has been used in classroom settings for years
-The audio files in the program include native & non-native speakers
What I love about Spanish for You:
-The program doesn’t follow the immersion method so your children are less likely to become confused and discouraged early in their studies
-The program is affordable, packages range from $10 to $65
-The lesson book includes a pronunciation guide that uses familiar English sounds
What I wasn’t crazy about:
-The audio files were difficult for me to navigate and find what I needed quickly. Plan on taking the time before you start lessons to put them in order and rename the files.
How we used the program:
I used the grades 3-4 program with my 8 and 9 year old children, and my 6 year old sat along for some of it. I found that there was too much vocabulary for my kids to absorb in one lesson so we broke each lesson up into two pieces, covered 4 days a week. For the first few lessons we found matching videos on YouTube to watch since my kids respond to seeing and hearing together much better than just hearing. While the program does come with flashcards we opted to make our own to reinforce their learning styles. Each lesson takes us about 20 minutes so it’s easy to fit into our day.
Day one: Introduce first half of lesson, watch YouTube videos, create our own flashcards, play corresponding game found in lesson book.
Day two: repeat of day 1
Day 3: introduce second half of lesson and repeat steps listed in day 1
Day 4: repeat day 3
TIP: Take the audio files with you! The kids spend about 8 hours a week in the van while we drive to and from activities. If I had a working CD player or iPod hook-up (I don’t, bummer!) I’d burn the audio files and we’d listen to them during our commute.
TIP: After a few weeks try playing your kid’s favorite DVD on the Spanish language setting
All-in-all I find Spanish for You to be a well put together program that my kids & I enjoy. It’s not overwhelming and leaves us feeling confident and wanting to learn more.
Spanish Playground is a site full of fun & free printables, videos and games for learning Spanish
Byki is a free program that uses visual flash cards to teach and practice Spanish and hundreds of other languages!