But since God saw fit to bring this other really cute dark haired boy into our lives 5 years ago, I have been on a mission to learn as much Spanish as possible. I promise I am paying more attention this time. CJ came home at 21 months old. He had heard mostly Spanish and probably knew more than we were actually aware of. You know, toddlers sound like toddlers in any language. And he picked up English fast! Like in days! But, I was determined to do my best to keep him bi-lingual. Hence, my obsession with Spanish.
And now, I have found another great Spanish program! Great! And it has videos and lots of action, which is a perfect fit for my almost 7 year old, always-moving Guatemalan prince.
Let me tell you about it!
Excelerate Spanish is the brain child of Caryn Powell Hommel. By using the TPR method (Total Physical Response), which is essentially actions paired with fun stories, Caryn introduces vocabulary in a way that kids will learn and REMEMBER. Each video lesson is a new mini stand-alone session with a new theme. When Caryn graciously offered to let us try out this program, we might have done a happy dance. OK, we DID do a happy dance! ;)
First vocabulary is introduced and the actions for that vocabulary are shown. Then the student practices by putting different series of those words together. Several groups of words are introduced that way, and your children will see the kids in Caryn's class acting out the words as well. Then a short story is told while Caryn acts it out. Afterwards several of her students take turns acting out the same story. Next, Caryn leads the students in answering questions and identifying words in the student workbook and encourages them to practice after class. Each lesson averages about 45 minutes and is action packed. You can watch it all at once, or break it down into smaller chunks if needed. Included in the teacher's guide is a suggested schedule for a five days a week program.
In addition to the videos, you can also purchase the lesson book and the student workbook. While you could get by with just the videos, I would not recommend it. We did the first few lessons without them, and I was so relieved to have them once they came for a little more guidance. The program does not require the teacher to be fluent in Spanish - Caryn has you covered!
What we thought -
Well, are there many Spanish programs out there we do not like? Not many! But this one, well, this one far exceeded my expectations! The workbook, vocabulary and organization are good. It covers a lot of territory and could fill your days and weeks with a lot of information. But what make Excelerate SPANISH stand out are the videos. While the quality is pretty basic, the information is not! There is so much in each lesson, that I admit, a few times my head felt like it was going to spin off. Caryn goes fast sometimes but what I found was that she also repeats herself often. And with every time she repeated herself, I found the boys and I understood a little more.
In addition, the actions being taught kept my sons' attention, especially our youngest. He is an in-motion kid. You know, the one that learns by movement. Most call it kinesthetic. I call it exhausting. But, it is how he learns. So when Mrs. Caryn had kids come to the front of the room to act out the stories, CJ was right there with them. My oldest was a little more hesitant, chalk that up to being a 12 year old boy, but both learned and retained much more when they actively participated in the stories. So while the kids on the videos acted things out, we did so too.
I highly recommend Excelerate SPANISH if you have a child elementary age and up learning Spanish. For the price, $139.00 for the complete package, it is a steal; not only in the hours of instruction it provides, but the level of learning as well. Four videos with 6 lessons each are included, as well as the workbook, answer key and lesson book.
As for us, we will continue to use this program to completion - one step closer to CJ becoming bi-lingual and a visit trip to Guatemala!