Monday, May 13, 2013

Review of Spanish for You! Fiestas

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I always love reviewing Spanish programs since Henry is a native speaker. It drives me crazy that I never made the effort to become fluent enough to speak to our children from birth.  I feel like I cheated them of having the advantage of being bilingual (in Southeast Texas, no less!).  Now they have to learn Spanish in school like everyone else.  Fortunately, there are great programs like Spanish for You! This program really does live up to its tagline. It is simple, effective, and affordable.  In fact, after using it for a little over a month, I am still surprised at how easy it is for my eldest daughter to sit down and do Spanish. For me to work with my younger children hardly takes any time at all, either.

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Spanish for You! currently offers two themed Spanish curricula (with a third debuting in June).  We reviewed Fiestas which is, unsurprisingly, party themed! Designed for grades 3-8, we received the following components for review (all files were completely accessible and easily downloadable):

  • a pdf download of the lesson guide for grades 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8
  • a pdf download of self-checking worksheets
  • a downloadable mp3 audio file of the entire book
    • you can choose to listen to the author or a native speaker
  • a pdf download of flashcards and activity pictures
The package that I received is available for $64.95, but Debbie Annett, the creator of Spanish for You!, recognizes that not all families have children in all of these age groups; thus, you can purchase the levels separately.  Each level, as delineated above, can be purchased for $39.95.  

How Does it Work?

This Spanish curriculum is as easy as it comes.  Its focus is on teaching students how the language works so they can put sentences together in order to be able to communicate.  They learn this in the context of different themes.  Parents are provided with lesson plans that tell them exactly what they need to do on any given day.  While optional activities are provided, they are not required, and the program simply doesn't take that long to use. For example, on the very first day for the 3-4 grade, students are to read Leccion 1, p. 1 with audio and do Learning Your New Vocabulary, p.1. All told, we spent 20 minutes on this lesson, but we could have spent less time. Every day you are also supposed to practice 2-4 common words and phrases which, if you have ever had any exposure to Spanish, are probably at least somewhat already familiar to you.  In essence, each day contains some oral work, some listening work, and some (minimal) written work.

Grades 7-8 are only slightly different.  The oral work, with words and phrases, is the same, meaning that families can do the practicing together, but the worksheets are harder.  The program is ideally suited for families to work together.  

How we Used Spanish for You!

We started the day with Spanish for You! We reviewed our words and phrases, did the reading and audio for the day, and then added any written work to our individual work for later in the day.  I found this program so easy to use and so easy for my kids.  I loved that the emphasis is on being able to speak sentences quickly.  In that regard, my opinion of Spanish programs has changed over the last couple of years.  Always before, I have wanted hard grammar and conjugating taught first, but the older my kids (and their grandparents) get, the more I just want them to be able to speak Spanish. They are getting the grammar in Latin (and it's really not all that different). They want to be able to understand their abuelos (who are fluent in English, but speak Spanish frequently to each other and to my husband).  My son knows that his abeulos call him lindo, which he knows is meant affectionately, so he calls his abuelo lindo and his abuelo linda.  They love that! I know it is something that they think is funny, adorable, and sweet.  I would so love for my kids to be able to actually converse with them, rather than just bestow nicknames on them! I think Spanish for You! is the first step to that.

Spanish for You! has samples on its website and is priced very affordably.  If you are looking for a painless and non-time consuming approach to teaching your children Spanish, this just might be the program for you.


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