Saturday, March 22, 2014

Our Spanish Program


We have been doing Spanish for our foreign language for several years, but haven't really made much progress.  For what it's worth to others, here are the things we have tried:

  • I did Sonrisa Spanish with the kids when they were very young, and I liked their preschool level program very much. The lesson plans are fun and engaging, but they are definitely meant for a teacher who is more fluent in Spanish than my 3 quarters of college spanish more than 15 years ago made me.  Moving forward into elementary school, I knew I needed more help.
  • Next we tried Rosetta Stone.  It's stirling reputation gave me high hopes, but right away it was clearly too difficult for my daughter.  So I switched her over to Hooked on Spanish. Made by the Hooked on Phonics folks, it blends computer lessons, readers, flashcards, and some simple games to play.  It worked well for my daughter, meaning that she had fun and learned a few basic Spanish words.
  • Meanwhile, I kept my son doing Rosetta Stone.  I soooo wanted that to be the answer for us: all-inclusive, self-paced, independent, with a good reputation.  If I could just plug my kids in to the computer how easy would that make my job?  But my son didn't enjoy it, and it didn't seem to be transferable learning - when we tried to do a bit of Spanish as a family he just froze up and wouldn't even try to speak at all, or said he didn't know the words (even the ones I knew he was doing in Rosetta Stone).  So, that wasn't working for us.
  • We are doing Puertas Abiertas with both kids now.  It is a complete program with video lessons, worksheets, audio exercises, and a very easy to follow facilitator's guide that lets me give instructions in spanish even with my beginners level spanish.  I love it!  Unfortunately, there is only one level of this program, so as soon as we finish this we are back on the hunt for another program that will work for us, but for now ... this is a good one.

What have you used?  Any good ideas for the next steps for us?  What about French?  My son wants to study French, too.

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