Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: REAL Homeschool Spanish

Photobucket"Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco..."

That would be the sound of Miss Esmé counting in the bathtub.  And given her affinity towards math, is it any wonder that her favorite Spanish words happen to be numbers?

    New and unique to homeschoolers, REAL Homeschool Spanish takes the entire family on the journey of language learning.
    Our easy to use curriculum is made specifically for the Home Educator and the home learning environment.
    REAL Homeschool Spanish trains you and your child to be able to learn Spanish together and interact together in fun and interesting ways.
    You can interact with your children in an immersion environment using REAL Homeschool Spanish’s easy to follow “Home Educator Tips” and our unique “Idea” sections which give you literally pages of suggestions on how you and your child can use Spanish during your day and throughout the week in a home learning environment / lifestyle.
    Learn how to continue your language-learning journey outside of the initial learning stage.  Play games with your child… bingo, hangman, create albums, have your child design his/her own board game… These are just a few ways for you to be able to create a personalized language-learning environment in your home.
    Each Unit is made up of vocabulary clusters with phrases to use to present the material.  There are 33 Vocabulary clusters and 15 Idea sections each with 3-4 pages or more of suggested activities.
    Recommended Age:  5-13yo (K-8th) 
    Price:  $49.95 download; $89.95 hardcopy 
    For More Info/Samples/To Purchase:
    For More Reviews: TOS Crew

    What Mom Liked:
    • The immersion concept. I love the idea of incorporating your Spanish studies throughout your daily activities, not just for a specific time slot.  I also like the conversational approach.  You can hold a simple conversation in the first week – without learning all the grammar etc. etc.
    • All the ideas.  There are so many ideas given to incorporate Spanish into the day.  You can pick and choose what will work best for your particular students.  On that note – if you are someone who wants to check off everything on the list, you will find yourself overwhelmed.  There is also an activity book that includes fun stuff like crossword, cryptogram, and word search puzzles - these are a bit advanced for Esmé and would probably be good for 2nd grade and up.  Our favorite ideas from the first week:  using puppets to hold a basic conversation, and singing the Greeting Song to the tune of "Where is thumbkin?"
    • Fuzzy Muzzy Dolphin learns Spanish...
    • The age range.  With all the ideas given, you can easily adapt the program for a range of ages.  It’s perfect for a multi-grade family to work on together.
    • Audio examples.  Audio files are provided to help with pronunciation.
    • The planning guide.  A weekly guide is provided that makes it easy to plan and schedule your activities. 
    • The cultural aspect.  I love that the curriculum includes more than just language – it addresses the people whom you can communicate with in the language.  A REAL newsletter gave ideas for studying Mexico and its holidays, for example.  There are free culture links on the REAL website - you can enjoy these even without buying the package!
    • The price.  Compared to other language packages, I find the price quite reasonable.
    What Mom Didn’t Like:
    • The Mom factor. Success with this program is very dependent on ME – the parent.  And I am linguistically challenged.  I have lived in other countries – talk about immersion – and have NOT been successful at learning other languages.  I can’t even figure out sign language!  My hearing loss contributes:  I can say “Buenos Dias” 10 times, and it comes out different every time – I struggle with pronunciation and a whole lot more.  I am woefully inadequate as a student teacher.
    There is much to love about this program!  Due to the mom factor (including hearing loss) and Esmé’s visual learning preference, I’ve found it helpful to mix it with a video-based program that visually demonstrates pronunciation.

    An FYI – the audio is done by native speakers of Spanish from Mexico.  I don’t have a preference as to which type of Spanish we learn – I’m  used to adapting my English throughout the world – but some readers may find this important.

    Thanks to REAL Homeschool Spanish for providing a download for review, and to
    TOS Crew for coordinating the review.  We are not being paid for this review, and all opinions are our own.