What is it?
Homeschool Spanish Academy provides an online Spanish curriculum taught by native Spanish teachers through Skype video chat. Students are given 1-on-1 instruction in Spanish by trained instructors who interact with them and encourage them to converse in Spanish.
Each program was created by professionals and was designed to promote conversational Spanish while introducing numerous vocabulary words in each lesson. The programs are individually tailored to the student by the instructor who works with each student. The instructor can choose the pace that best suits the child, introducing new words, providing more challenging material, or focusing more in review as needed.
The classes vary in length – the Early Language Program offers 25 minute classes while older level students have 50 minute classes. The student can take classes once or twice a week for half a semester, a full semester, or an entire year. This program is geared for students from ages 5-12 but it is recommended to start around age 7. No prior Spanish is necessary; however if student’s have some Spanish experience, the instructor will tailor the lessons to meet the child’s ability level.
Here is the pricing for the Early Language Program for 1 student (prices are different for the various programs). You can also pair students and have two children participating in the program together. That pricing can be found on their website.
We plan on continuing with the program and we will be doing 1 full semester of 1 class per week which will cost $99.99 or just $6.67 per class. That’s an amazing price for 1 semester of 1-on-1 language instruction!
Class time is scheduled in advance with the instructor of your choice. You can change instructors during the program or stay with one instructor for all lessons.
How did we use this product?
We reviewed the Early Language Program. This program focuses on learning the sounds of letters in Spanish, useful vocabulary words, and then progressing into sentences so the child can converse in Spanish. You can see an overview of their curriculum here.
Curly met with her teacher once a week in the afternoon. She was able to have classes during naptime while the littles were sleeping. Because it was quiet at the house, I was able to sit nearby and listen in on her lessons.
Her instructor would begin with questions in Spanish, providing the English translation when Curly needed help. Curly was encouraged to say as much as she could in Spanish and her instructor helped her when she could only say an English word. The first few minutes of each lesson were conversations about her week, her family, and her likes and dislikes. Then the instructor would put the lesson on the screen and would begin teaching Curly her new words. They would work through several pages of words and pictures for the lesson. Then Curly would practice her words in conversation with her instructor. After each lesson, the instructor would upload some homework pages (which were pages of pictures with Spanish vocabulary from the lesson material) for Curly to practice throughout the week.
Her lessons included:
- Spanish vowel sounds
- Family members
Here’s a look into her lesson about vegetables:
The instructor, Rosa, asked Curly about her week and what things she liked to do. They talked about swimming, school, and reading with Rosa encouraging Curly to try new Spanish words throughout the conversation.
Rosa put the new lesson on the screen and read through the names of the various vegetables pictured on the screen. After Rosa taught Curly the name of each vegetable, she discussed each one to make sure Curly knew what they were and could pronounce them properly. Then they talked about their favorites and least favorites as well as the preferences of people in Curly’s family. They both agreed that they didn’t care for eggplant or beets!
The next screen had rows of vegetables and Curly had to tell Rosa how many of each vegetable were in each row, while also correctly naming the vegetable.
The following screen had three vegetable names in Spanish followed by one picture. Curly had to choose the correct name of each vegetable from the ones provided.
The last page had pictures of all the vegetables and Curly had to name as many as she could. At the bottom of that page was a list of vegetable names in English and Curly had to translate those into Spanish.
Curly and Rosa talked to each other for a few more minutes about what they liked to eat and what Curly’s plans were for the rest of the week. Then they said good-bye until next week!
Here’s another clip from the lesson.
What didn’t we like?
While our first instructor was very sweet, I’m not sure she was the perfect fit for Curly. She was more reserved and very patient but because Curly can be shy, she needs someone who is very outgoing and who will encourage Curly to speak up and interact. The program does allow you to try any of the teachers until you find a good fit for your student so we were able to find someone who was more assertive and who forced Curly to speak up and answer in Spanish.
The instructors speak Spanish as their native language so their English can sometimes be difficult to understand when you’re a young child who is talking via Skype connection. Curly liked me to be nearby in case she was confused and after several lessons I encouraged her to ask more questions so she could make sure she understood. For some kids, it might be important for a parent to be nearby to ensure that the student is participating and understanding the conversation.
What did we like?
Curly had a great time interacting with her instructors. She was able to have conversations in Spanish with a native speaker who would teach her words in context. I found that she had excellent retention of the words she learned in her lesson because she had been using them in context throughout the lesson.
The instructors were all so very nice and encouraging. Curly was shy and was not willing to speak up and try out her Spanish words in the first few sessions. Through their encouragement and praises, she felt comfortable asking questions and trying new Spanish words after a few lessons.
The instruction is private and individualized. Curly was able to be challenged right at her level and the instructor would spend time reviewing the words that she had difficulty remembering. The lessons moved at the perfect pace for her and she was able to keep up very well.
There is review in each lesson. Each new lesson has review of words from previous lessons which ensures that your child will not forget the previous words. After several sessions, I reviewed all of Curly’s previous words with her and she remembered all of them.
It’s about conversation! That’s the one thing I can’t give my kids – conversation with Spanish words in context. They can’t get that interaction from other curriculum. Because I don’t know Spanish either, I don’t feel equipped to help them. With this program Curly was able to have conversations and practice her words with an instructor who could provide immediate feedback.
What did we think overall?
We used this program last year and I thought it was excellent. However, I wasn’t sure Curly was quite ready for it. She was still pretty unsure about practicing her Spanish with the instructors and I needed to be right next to her for each lesson.
But what a difference a year makes! I think Curly is now the perfect age for this curriculum. She learned her vocabulary words and had wonderful conversations with her instructors. She was practicing her Spanish outside of class and remembering what she learned. And she looked forward to every lesson.
Curly is signed up for an entire semester of classes through Homeschool Spanish Academy and we’ve already scheduled them with her favorite instructor. I’m looking forward to hearing their giggly conversations as Curly shares silly things with her instructor such as how much she loves her swim cap and how much she dislikes mushrooms. I’m fairly certain her instructor was beside herself as Curly told her fun facts about herself in half English/half Spanish. I loved hearing them giggle at each other! I can’t wait to see what she learns and how well she can converse in Spanish when the semester ends!
I have found Homeschool Spanish Academy to be an excellent resource for one-on-one Spanish instruction that is tailored to each student’s needs and learning abilities. It would be a perfect choice for a family who does not speak Spanish but would like the ability to practice with a native speaker and work on conversational Spanish.