I love the idea of teaching my kids a second language in elementary school. However, a lot of the curriculum I have tried has been, well, complicated. At this age, I am more interested in giving my kids a functional use of the language than an in-depth one. Also, it’s really important that the learning be fun, otherwise “learning Spanish” becomes just another chore. Well, for this review, we got to sample a curriculum from Spanish For You! and I think this one has met all of my desires.
My 6th grade son and I got to try the Estaciones (seasons) curriculum. The curriculum is written by Debbie Annett, who has 14 years experience teaching Spanish to students in grades Kindergarten to High School. This curriculum can be used for students in grades 3-8, which makes it effective for teaching children at multiple grade levels. Each book is centered around a theme (such as seasons), and has plenty of lessons to keep you busy.
We received a physical lesson book and multiple downloads to go along with it. The downloads included audio recordings of the lesson vocabulary, audio recordings of native Spanish speakers, lesson plans for each set of grade levels, worksheets, and flashcards. Sorting through some of the materials was difficult at first, but all of the downloads have now been reorganized by grade level, making it easier to find what you need.
Lesson plans are set up for a four day week, with a small amount of work each day. I would say our lessons took about 20-30 minutes depending on what we had to do. The lessons begin with an introduction of new vocabulary, and usually the creation of flashcards. I printed these on cardstock so they would last for a while. I have to say, I am really impressed with how well my son learned the vocabulary from this program. We started the book learning about the weather and months of the year, and my son really learned the words.
The short lessons with incremental practice help the vocabulary stick. The extra activities are fun too, and my son didn’t even complain about the worksheets! 🙂 For additional practice, there are descriptions of games you can play using the new vocabulary. Some of the lessons direct you to a page on the website with even more games. I will say some of these games are more fun if you have more than two people playing them (Simon Says for example). I did rope my older son into playing some of these games with us. If you are teaching multiple children from the same Spanish For You curriculum, the games will work perfectly.
We used the lesson plans for grades 5-6. We would begin by listening to the audio recordings of the vocabulary and then move into written practice. This was not too difficult for my son, and he doesn’t like to write! The written lessons are typically short and involve practice with the vocabulary. The audio recordings are very clear and well done. I was surprised that my son was able to follow short commands given to him in Spanish after only the first unit of Spanish For You.
Our book contained five units, but the lessons are broken into multiple parts. I think, depending on your pace, with an older child you could probably do two of these books per year (that’s going at the suggested pace in the guide, if you want to do more work each day, you could probably get done faster). If you are working with younger children, you may want to take your time and only do one book per year.
Either way, I think this is an EXCELLENT curriculum to give your child an introduction to Spanish. It is something I will definitely use again, probably next school year. My son wants me to get the Fiestas book! :). Now if only Debbie would write a high school curriculum that was this simple and clear!! The cost of the Spanish For You books varies depending on which package you buy. Purchasing the entire curriculum for grades K-8 will cost you $64.95 (seriously, you get the book and all the downloads for that price!!). If you wish to purchase a package for only two grade levels at a time (say grades 5-6), then the cost is $39.95. Additional books are available, and you can even purchase a 6-week trial of one of the books for only $12.99!
The Spanish For You website has samples of the books, so you can check them out before you purchase. Those are available here:
I would highly recommend you consider this curriculum if you are looking for an easy and fun Spanish curriculum for your family! You can also find a Spanish For You page on Facebook.
To see what other members of the crew had to say about Spanish For You, click here: