Review Crew: Homeschool Spanish Academy

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Homeschool Spanish Academy is an immersion Spanish program online, using Skype for interactive 1-on-1 lessons with a native speaker as the instructor.  Homeschool Spanish offers programs for early learners (elementary school), middle schoolers, high schoolers, or adults.

Curly and I reviewed the Early Learner Program which is recommended for children between 5 and 7, or older elementary children with no prior Spanish speaking experience.

Here’s the scope and sequence for the program we reviewed:

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How it works:
When beginning with Homeschool Spanish Academy you will need to make sure your computer equipment is compatible.  You need to be able to use headsets, microphones, and cameras to view and hear the instructor.  Before you begin the program, technical support will call you and walk you through any set-up steps.  Then they will give you a test call on Skype to make sure everything is working before your first lesson.

To schedule your lesson, you log in to the site and go to the scheduling section.  Here you are able to select an instructor, day, and time.  On the scheduled date and time, the instructor will call you via Skype to begin the lesson.  The Early Learner lessons are about 25 minutes each.

The day of our lesson, our instructor would email us the lesson so Curly could review the information before we began.  We also used the material as review between the lessons.  (The older levels receive homework assignments which review the information presented in class.)

Our experience:
We received a half-semester of Spanish instruction which equates to 7 lessons.

Our first lesson, Curly was shy and a little intimated to speak with her teacher and answer her questions.  By the second and third lessons she was comfortable using her Spanish phrases and talking with her teacher.

We spent time together reviewing her lessons between her scheduled sessions and she even taught some of her new phrases to her brother and sister.

We tried doing 2 lessons per week so that Curly would not forget as much material between the lessons.  We also scheduled lessons with more than one instructor so that Curly would have the experience of talking with different native speakers.

The instructors would begin the lesson with a simple conversation, using both English and Spanish, to ask Curly about her day, her family, and her likes and interests.  Each lesson began with some review and then the introduction of the new material.  Throughout the lesson, review material was incorporated and the instructors encouraged Curly to ask questions and they provided positive feedback as she progressed.

Here are a couple videos of Curly’s sessions:

Cons:
If you have loud background noise or if there is background noise on the teacher’s end, it can be difficult to hear for the lessons.  The student needs a quiet and distraction free area to complete the lessons.  This is tough in our house, but we made it work!

You also need to have the computer software capabilities for the program.  You need an internet connection that is fast enough to transmit the images and sounds.  You need a webcam and microphone (or headset).  However, during your set up call with Tech Support (who are great) they test the speed of your connection and your other software.  They were very helpful with set up.

Pros:
The student receives individualized instruction.  The teacher tailors the lesson to the student.

The student is interacting with native speakers and is having to use the words and phrases they have learned in an ongoing conversation.  The student receives amazing practice!

The teacher utilizes review at the beginning of each lesson so that the student builds on each lesson without forgetting prior material.

The lessons are scheduled on your time and take place in your own home.  For 25 minutes, you invite a native speaker into your home to interact with your child.

Overall:
Curly has loved her lessons and enjoyed interacting with her instructor.  She has built the confidence to respond to her instructor’s questions and is trying out her new phrases at home.  She has learned many new vocabulary words and is retaining them well.

I have found the program to be worthwhile and an excellent way to learn a foreign language through direct interaction with native speakers.  I think we’re going to continue with the program with one small change-I plan to ask Curly’s instructors if they can provide some simple homework for her so she can continue to review and retain the lessons.

More Info:
You can visit their site to schedule a free trial lesson here.

The pricing for the Early Learner program can be found below and other pricing options are listed on their site.

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See what the Review Crew thought about Homeschool Spanish Academy.

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Disclaimer:  I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.

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