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Getting Started with Spanish: Beginning Spanish for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age Review by Jenny Thompson

William E. Linney and Antonio L. Orta
Armfield Academic Press

Getting Started with Spanish: Beginning Spanish for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age is an incredible new resource in the world of language study, written by William E. Linney and Antonio L. Orta. The authors have done an amazing job of taking the laborious task of learning a new language and breaking it down into easy, bite-sized pieces. Only one new word is introduced in each lesson so that a student can learn the language gradually and methodically. The website offers free mp3 downloads that will help the student learn the correct pronunciations, as well as providing repetition and practice. Lectures from the authors are also provided as free downloads, giving students extra help with the lessons in the book. An answer key is in the back of the book, along with a pronunciation guide, glossary, and index. The book concludes with some "General Advice," which encourages students to continue learning by giving them ideas on how to do that.

This book is perfect for the homeschool student, as well as for anyone wanting to learn Spanish on his own. The beauty of this curriculum is that it can be used with any age group. A section on "How to Use This Book" gives parents plenty of ideas on how best to implement this curriculum with their children. The main teaching method used in this book is that of teaching one concept at a time, allowing a student to truly master that concept before introducing the next one. This is really the crux of the homeschool model and it is why this book will work so well with homeschool and self-taught students. With younger students, answers to the exercises in the book can be given verbally. Students who are old enough to write and spell can begin to write their answers in a notebook. Older students and adults will be able to do the exercises mentally. Daily practice is encouraged, and new words that are learned should be constantly repeated. Family members can help each other with practice, or an independent learner can practice on his own with the pronunciation recordings. Parents can quiz children by going back to a previous lesson and asking the students to translate those exercises without looking. Each lesson builds on the previous lesson, so you will want to follow the lessons in the order they are given.

I believe this curriculum will be very effective at teaching Spanish to beginners. I love the short lessons and the repetition that helps students to master the material. I also like that students can go at their own pace, slowing down or speeding up as necessary. The free online resources are like icing on the cake. With the book and the online help, a student should be able to master the basics of the Spanish language by the end of a typical school year. Students who use this book should have a solid foundation to build upon with further study. I cannot wait to begin using this curriculum with my 6-year-old daughter over the next year.

Getting Started with Spanish: Beginning Spanish for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age is a great start for students wishing to delve into learning a new language. Homeschool parents using this curriculum will be very pleased with how easy it is to teach Spanish and possibly learn the language along with their children. I whole-heartedly recommend this book to homeschool families.

Product Review by Jenny Thompson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010