Friday, December 30, 2011
TOS Crew Product Review ~ R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish
Relax. Enjoy. Aspire. Learn Spanish.
This is the motto behind REAL Homeschool Spanish. And yes indeed, they do live up to that motto!
The philosophy behind REAL Homeschool Spanish is that Spanish is best learned through conversation. All new vocabulary is taught first by speaking back and forth with others. This curriculum doesn't focus primarily on exact pronunciation or rules of grammar; rather, it's focus is on actually being able to converse in Spanish. That makes it unique among other Spanish language curriculum. It also makes it necessary for mom (or dad, or older siblings) to participate in the lessons!
The material used in REAL Homeschool Spanish is relevant to a homeschooling environment and is meant to be applied all throughout the day. You can (and should) use Spanish words as you and your child talk - during dinner, saying good-night, etc. It's not typical for Spanish programs to be created specifically for the needs of homeschooling families. That's one more big reason that REAL Homeschool Spanish stands apart from other foreign language curriculum.
The ideas and games in the activity book are excellent. My kids not only enjoy the activities, but they feel this aspect of REAL Homeschool Spanish cements their grasp of the language. It "completes the loop" of learning in their brains, so to speak :)
The planning guide makes it easy to plan (and thus to complete) the Spanish lessons. There are no excuses with this curriculum - planning is all laid out, lessons are easy to implement, and conversational Spanish is achieved. And they do it all with an emphasis on a relaxed learning environment, which is also a plus for my busy family.
Included in the download I received from REAL Homeschool Spanish (free of charge for review purposes) were the 179 page Activity Book, the Activity Book Audio (contained in a zip file), a 45 page Answer Key, a 105 page Student Book (in color), and an additional 105 page Student Book (in black and white for easier printing), and a 50 page Daily Curriculum Guide.
The components of the program work together to make for a solid and fun learning experience that does more than simply meet your state's foreign language requirements for high school graduation. Here is my description of each part of the curriculum:
The Activity Book is a terrific resource. It is broken into units that go along with the vocabulary and audio tracks as the student progresses through the lessons. The Audio Book files correspond with each lesson and have corresponding page numbers listed - super easy to use! The Answer Key makes grading the activity pages a breeze. And we all know how I feel about tedious grading with hard-to-use answer keys! I've even chosen not to purchase curriculum based solely on the answer key! Having the Student Book available in color or b&w saves a lot on printer ink costs. And we've found that the color book isn't at all difficult to read on the laptop, so we only print certain portions of the lessons. The Student Book is divided into logical sections which make the most sense for actually conversing in Spanish (i.e. Greetings, Telling Time, Foods, Family, Adjectives, Weather & Seasons, Months of the Year, Transportation, Animals, Sports, etc.). The layout of the lessons is real-world applicable. My kids travel to Mexico every other year for missions work - and believe me, having the ability to really communicate with the children there is priceless. The way REAL Homeschool Spanish is taught will enable them to better minister to and communicate with the children of Ensenada. The Daily Curriculum Guide explains how to "do" this program. The Weekly Prep portion makes my job easier and helps me not to forget any vital steps in the learning process. It is divided by Unit and by weeks, so you can easily adapt it to suit your individual family needs. There are 48 weeks worth of lessons, so it qualifies as a 2-year-program if you'd like to take a little more time to study Spanish.
You can learn more about REAL Homeschool Spanish at their website: www.REALHomeschoolSpanish.com
Their products can be purchased in hard copy form or as a download. I used the download, and it ran beautifully on my laptop so don't hesitate to consider that option! The Book Bundle contains the Book, Activity Book, Answer Book, and Audio Files as a download for $49.95, or $59.95 with the Daily Curriculum Guide. A hard copy bundle sells for $89.95 and $99.95, respective to the order listed previously.
Also available at their website are samples, culture links (these are awesome!), giveaways and even a place to help fight illiteracy.
To see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about REAL Homeschool Spanish, click HERE.
And just for fun, here are a couple of pictures from my kid's most recent trip to Mexico :)
Lord bless you and your family as you continue to faithfully homeschool for His glory!
Day 145 done :)
Jan L. Burt