Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: Spanish For You

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Spanish interest in our house has been growing by leaps and bounds! Laura is just finishing up her second year of high school Spanish, and Kelly has been following in her footsteps, starting a  beginning Spanish program this year. We took a break from the studies we were doing to review Fiestas  a complete Spanish theme study from Spanish For You. Thanks to The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew,  our Spanish studies have been greatly enhanced!
This program can be used for grades 3-8. In fact, the lessons can be taught to multiple grade levels at once, and the worksheets and assignments tailored to the specific grade level. We received a workbook and daily lesson plans, as well as multiple downloads sorted by grade level of additional worksheets with answer keys, and audio pronunciation guides. The lesson plans are sorted into approximately 24 weekly lessons, with the intention of using the curriculum four days a week for 30 minute sessions. There is a lot of review and practical application built in to the lessons.
What makes this different from other language programs: Rather than just teaching lists of vocabulary words to memorize, Spanish For You uses a thematic approach to immerse the student in reading, writing, understanding, and expressing the Spanish language, using a theme already familiar to them in English. Lessons on proper grammar usage are included, as well. The student learns to distinguish verb tenses, plural, and syntax. It teaches the student to actually think in Spanish, not just use it as book knowledge.
Fiestas is a curriculum that uses Spanish holidays, celebrations, and festivals to immerse the student into the Spanish culture and teach them how to completely understand the words used in a certain situation. The book starts off with some commonly used words and phrases for reference:
  • the alphabet
  • common words and phrases
  • simple commands
  • colors and numbers
  • Information about the fiestas
The fiestas covered in this book include:
  • A birthday party
  • Day of the Dead
  • A carnival
  • Holy Week
  • April Fair
The curriculum encompasses a total learning system by providing:
  • Audio mp3 files to build listening, speaking, and pronunciation skills
  • Flashcard ideas to learn writing and review vocabulary words. (The teacher book suggests having the student make their own flashcards in order to reinforce the vocabulary learning).
  • Worksheets to build reading skills.

I am most excited about: How we used this program in our homeschool! We completed the first lesson in the book - the birthday party. It just so happened that Kelly was having a birthday towards the end of the review period, so we incorporated all that we learned into throwing a real Mexican birthday party for her!
 During our review period, we followed the daily lesson guide to learn the new words - everything that had to do with a birthday party, including the birthday person, friends, gifts, cake, food, drinks, candles, gifts, pinata, and games. Kelly's favorite was learning how to sing the "Happy Birthday" song in Spanish. She enjoyed the review worksheets. Although Kelly is only in 2nd grade, we did use the 3rd grade level materials, and she did fine with them, with some assistance from mom and Laura. We went at a pace a little bit slower than the recommendations in the teacher guide.

I made small cards with the words to the "Birthday Song" for all los amigos.

As we set up her party, I made small flashcards that had the Spanish words for all the items at her party, and taped them on the items they described.

Rather than having a piñata that would be quickly torn apart, I found a small craft where each person could make their own personal mini piñata. Kelly and Melissa (and even Laura) really enjoyed making their own tiny piñata and filling it with little candies.

The girls all really enjoyed having a Mexican party, and it was a great hands on use of Leccion Uno in the Spanish For You curriculum.
An additional endorsement: Laura, who just completed Honors Spanish II, feels that this program is put together extremely well for an elementary curriculum. The lessons taught verb conjugations that she learned in her high school curriculum, and she thinks that anyone who completed this curriculum during their elementary years would be well prepared for high school Spanish studies. In fact, she plans on working through this book over the summer just to get the immersion effect of learning all the words related to a certain theme.
Very helpful: The audio files, where we could listen to the words and phrases being spoken by a native speaker, were absolutely wonderful. We played them over and over, repeating them until we started to sound a little bit like the sound bite!
You might like to try it:  The Spanish For You website has free mini lessons that you can download and try to see if you like the style of this program. We are planning on trying the "Label Things Around the House" lesson soon, since my exercise in labeling birthday party items went over so well.
To purchase: The curriculum can be purchased from the Spanish For You website here. An entire package that includes all the materials to use for grades 3-8 is $64.95, which includes the teacher guide, the workbook, and all the worksheet and audio downloads. You can also purchase the package for only a dual grade (3-4, 5-6, or 7-8) for $39.95. Extra workbooks are sold for $12.95 each.
Kelly is on the younger end for using this curriculum. I am glad that we have all the levels, because I think it will be important to revisit some of these lessons as she gets older and her Spanish knowledge increases. I foresee us getting a lot of use out of this curriculum package in years to come. There are other theme units available, such as Travel and Seasons, and I may possibly investigate using some of those as well.
If you would like to read how other Crew members used this program in their homeschool, please click the banner below! 

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  1. What a fantastic review, I love the party pictures and the use of the flashcards..looks like so much fun, and a great way to reinforce the lessons.

    1. Thank you! It really was a lot of fun, and I am amazed at how much the kids have retained by actually using the words in life, rather than just as words on a page. :-)

  2. AWESOME!!! The party idea was super! We may have to copy this over the summer when we have LOTS of birthdays! May I ask where you found the idea for the mini pinatas?

    Way to knock this out of the ballpark, I vote: BEST review I've read so far!

    1. Thank you! The mini piñatas can be found at this link:

    2. This is an excellent review! Well done!



Thanks for sharing your thoughts!