It’s hard to find a Spanish curriculum that is a good fit for our current situation. My husband speaks to the children in Spanish 99% of the time and they understand it all. The problem is that they speak to him 99% in English. My search for a curriculum is to find one that will encourage my children to speak more readily in Spanish. So far, El Espanol Facil, or the Easy Spanish, is helping, not to the point that they are now fluent with their father, but enough that they are interested in repeating in Spanish when prompted.
The Easy Spanish! Junior from Great Commission Languages has a good mix of written and fun, hands-on activities. The curriculum is based on Charlotte Mason and Dr. Jeanne Chall and their theories that language is learned by transferring your identity into the language. The lessons are short audio stories from a CD. You can follow along in the soft-covered textbook. Most lessons have a go-along worksheet, available to print out from the CD. The stories progress from easy to more challenging, and are a mix of Spanish sentences with some English responses, allowing you to figure out on your own what words mean. Each lesson track is followed by a vocabulary track and everything is spoken slowly enough to really hear how the words are and this is very helpful if you are a visual person and “see” the words in your head as you hear them.
Some of the fun things we’ve done have included a search for “cosas viejas o nuevas en la casa” (old or new things around the house), a search for “cosas grandes y pequenas,” (big and small items), and a game of “escondidos” (hide and seek). We’ve also been filling out an All about Me booklet (in Spanish – also on said CD), which, at this level, is mostly just letting the child draw and then perhaps label with the Spanish words. Bear has been LOVING this curriculum. She asks for it when she doesn’t see it in her boxes. One day, I forgot to tell her to draw her house for the All About Me component, but she found the sheet and completed it herself! That All About Me book sure is close to her heart.
One thing I have not liked with The Easy Spanish is the constant reference to the Ultimate Lap book Handbook – the use of lapbook components with this program is often listed as one of the possible activities. I think it would have been good to list this as a needed or optional resource near the front of the book, but it just started popping up in the activities and threw me a bit off, making me feel like I missed something. Also, I would love to pay just a bit more to have the lapbook components ready for you to print and cutout – like the viejo y nuevo flapbook. I don’t particularly want to be looking for photos of old and new items to paste into the flapbook, but if, like at Homeschool Share, I could just print it out and then cut, glue and paste, life would be even easier!
The Easy Spanish Junior is a good curriculum for children 5 to 8 and is $69.95 at the Great Commission Languages website. I think a child as young as 3 could enjoy it. Great Commission Languages also has The Easy French, as well as Spanish and French resources, and curriculum for older children.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of The Easy Spanish for review purposes only. I did not receive monetary compensation. The opinions expressed are my own. To read other reviews of The Easy Spanish or even of The Easy French, please visit the TOS blog.