Monday, November 28, 2011

Review of El Espanol Facil - The Easy Spanish

Because my husband is a native Spanish speaker (his parents were born in Cuba), I was very excited when I got the opportunity to review The Easy Spanish from Great Commission Languages free in exchange for my review.  Although my husband is fluent, I have only high school Spanish (plus almost two decades of listening to him talk to his parents!), and my children have, as yet, no Spanish.

The Easy Spanish is tailor made for homeschool families.  No prior Spanish knowledge is required and, depending on your child's age, the curriculum can be completed entirely independently.  There are scheduling suggestions, checklists for phonograms learned, a lesson planner template, and more.  If you are the kind of homeschool mom who really appreciates all scheduling done for you, this is your Spanish curriculum.

Level I is comprised of 36 lessons with two CDs.  Through dialog, formal vocabulary, activities, memory verses, and narrations, your child will learn basic Spanish grammar and phonics.  Easy Spanish can be used by children as young as 5 with parental involvement, or can be completed independently by jr. high and high school students. Included coloring pages also allow for preschooler participation.

To get the best idea of what The Easy Spanish actually looks like, view the sample pages and explanatory video here.  Perhaps the most distinctive thing about The Easy Spanish is its organizing principal.  The writers of this curriculum believe that missionary work is a mandate, and that in order to be effective missionaries, one must not only know the language of the people one is visiting, but one should also know their culture.  Also, because the basis of this curriculum is Christian mission work, the memory verses come from the Bible.  In fact, the entire curriculum is, in essence, centered around the Bible.

The Easy Spanish was not a great fit for my family for several reasons.  First, while its non-intimidating approach likely appeals to many families, the non-rigorous nature of the program is a negative for me.  Second, and this reason closely ties in with the first, too much of the Spanish instruction takes place as what I would call "Spanglish." Spanish and English are intermingled freely, even in the same sentence.  For example, "I would be happy to pass you the onion, que esta en frente de mi." Again,  I need to emphasize that it is just this approach which will likely appeal to many homeschoolers.  My personal rejection of this kind of approach stems primarily from one place: I have spent more than half my life hearing my husband's family reject Spanglish as a conversational tool.  When my husband was learning English as a child, he was never allowed to mix the two languages, the premise being that one truly masters a language when he doesn't rely on another language to convey his point.

It is important for me to note, though, that what The Easy Spanish does, it does very well.
Spanish grammar can be confusing for native English speakers, particularly those who have not yet studied English grammar in depth.  The Easy Spanish takes this confusing grammar and simplifies it so that both teaching parents and independent learners can understand it.  In fact, Appendix D of The Easy Spanish I is the best explanation of Spanish sentence structure I have ever seen.  Even though my kids will not continue to use this particular curriculum, I will absolutely reference this appendix frequently.

The Easy Spanish Level I will be a welcome addition to many homeschoolers' lesson plans.  For $139.95, though, it is likely out of reach for many families (it would be for mine).  If Easy Spanish I is something that would benefit your family, read more about it on their website and at the Crew blog.


  1. The very reason you don't like the program is exactly the reason that we did. lol! That probably stems from the fact that around our area "Spanglish" is quite common, so it seems like a natural approach for us.

    Great review!

  2. This wasn't a great fit for our family either, but I did like the mix of Spanish and English since that's exactly how the spanish language is spoken in south Texas! Many of the newspapers in this area are even written in Spanglish, which I just thought was the funniest thing when I first saw it. :) Very nice review!

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