We recently moved to a new part of Texas. You hear some English in this part of Texas but I often hear more Spanish than English. We decided it was a good time for us to learn some Spanish! Our free trial of Speekee Spanish TV through the Homeschool Review Crew was the perfect place to start!
What is it?
Speekee TV is a British-based online Spanish show using puppets and children to teach Spanish through conversation and songs. Speekee TV contains 10 episodes of the Spanish-language show. The program has optional English or Spanish subtitles to aid in comprehension.
Speekee Spanish is geared for preschool and elementary kids with its use of puppets and playful songs.
This program is named after the purple puppet Speekee who interacts with the viewer in each video.
Speekee TV is a subscription service with monthly and yearly options. The subscription is $7.50 per month or $60 for a year of access to the 10 episodes. There is also an option to try the program for 2 weeks for free.
A subscription to Speekee TV also contains another component-Fast Track Curriculum which is an added component for homeschoolers. Fast Track contains 40 weeks worth of lessons plan with activities, video clips from the program, downloads, worksheets, and printable flashcards. The lesson plans are accessed through the site (once signed in) or can be sent to you via email.
Fast Track lesson plans are designed to use one video per month as the basis for the lesson plans. The student should watch the videos repeatedly during that month and participate in the weekly activities from the lesson plans.
How did we use it?
When we first got our Speekee password, we were in the middle of moving. I had no time to go through lesson plans or do hands-on activities. I had to unpack!!! So, I let my kids choose an episode of Speekee to watch each day as I unpacked. Within a few days, they were counting in Spanish, singing little songs, and saying the name of fruits and colors in Spanish. They even began asking questions in Spanish. Every day I would hear things like: Me gusta manzanas! Es amarillo! Soy Jim! Que tal? Muy bien! Donde vamos? No, lo se. Gracias. Te quiero.
After a week of hearing Spanish words intermingled with English, I decided I needed to sit down with the videos and see what they were watching. I was pleasantly surprised by the fun videos that are spoken exclusively in Spanish as well as the catchy songs. I started watching the videos with the kids so I would at least have an idea what they were saying.
Once we were more settled, I cracked open the lesson plans to really get started with Speekee. For the first week’s plans, you are to watch one of the videos, make some puppets, learn the song sung on that video, and practice introducing yourself. The rest of the month’s activities are based on that same video.
My kids enjoyed playing the Up/Down activity in which we threw bean bags and yelled “Arriba” (Up) and Abajo (down) as the bean bags sailed through the air. We also had fun learning colors as we painted. Playing Red Light/Green Light in Spanish as suggested in the plans was a favorite activity. The kids also completed a few of the worksheets through the program which are linked in the lesson plans as PDF files.
We decided to condense the lesson plans rather than spread them over 40 weeks. My kids were eager to move on to other videos rather than continue watching the same video for 4 weeks. We could complete about 2 weeks of plans in 1 week usually-with skipping a few of the crafty type activities and focusing more on learning the songs and vocabulary.
What did we dislike?
There are only 10 episodes! My kids were ready to mutiny when they realized they had watched all 10 and there were no new videos to watch. While they did enjoy watching the videos multiple times each, they wanted more Speekee! I wanted more Speekee too!
The lesson plans are very drawn out and while the pace is slow and gentle, my kids wanted to watch more than 1 video per month. So, we accelerated the pace of our program, while still going back and re-watching old videos.
What did we like?
My kids loved Speekee. They enjoyed the videos. They liked hearing the real children speaking in Spanish in the videos. They loved the puppets. And they really enjoyed the songs and picked up on the words quickly. Even before we began adding in the extra activities, they were already learning words from the videos and using them in context throughout our day.
I was impressed with the simplicity of the videos and how they used repetition to teach the Spanish words. The songs were also very helpful in getting my kids to remember the Spanish vocabulary. The videos were easy for my kids to follow the story line and understand the characters even though we speak no Spanish at home. The visual cues from the video enabled my kids to understand all the vocabulary words.
The activities were fun and helpful in reinforcing the words from the lesson. More importantly, the activities were doable with many of them being very simple but effective. It was easy to integrate our Spanish time into our day (even if we omitted some of the messier, craftier, more time consuming activities-such as making our own puppets).
The subtitles available on the video were also helpful for Curly to follow along and start recognizing the Spanish words.
What did we think overall?
We all loved Speekee Spanish and we continue to watch videos during lunchtime at our house, while doing some activities from the lesson plans in the afternoon. The kids have received an excellent introduction to some Spanish vocabulary as well as learning some very simple conversational Spanish. I found this program to be an excellent one for the younger elementary crowd as the videos held my kids’ attention and always left them wanting more. My only complaint is that there are not more videos available. We plan to continue using Speekee Spanish during our subscription period and if they ever add more videos, we will renew our subscription to continue with the program.
A side note:
This program is British-based and uses some Castilian Spanish pronunciations (from Spain) for words which are slightly different than the Latin-American Spanish spoken in America. While I couldn’t tell a big difference, I did note a few words that sounded slightly different than I was used to hearing.
Check out some thoughts from the rest of the Crew regarding Speekee at the Crew blog!
Disclaimer: I received a free trial of this product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.