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Dora & Diego Homeschool Spanish Textbooks Review by April Elstrom

Michelle Rothwell
Dora & Diego Homeschool Spanish
(218) 234-3264
636 Third Ave #104
Chula Vista, CA 91910

Michelle Rothwell has a heart to encourage mission work by helping families learn the Spanish language. In addition to teaching Spanish classes in her community, Michelle developed the Dora & Diego Homeschool Spanish curriculum. There are currently two levels of Dora & Diego Spanish available: the Preschool & Kindergarten level, and the Level 1 Elementary level. Future levels are planned for junior high and senior high students.

Dora & Diego Homeschool Spanish consists of a digital textbook and helpful pronunciation CDs. The digital textbook is a collection of PDF files which can be printed for as many students as are in the family. In order to use the digital textbook, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, as well as a printer to print the textbook and worksheets. You will also need a CD player to play the pronunciation CD.

The preschool and kindergarten level provides an introduction to basic Spanish vocabulary. This set comes with one CD-ROM of PDF files, and one CD of pronunciation examples. The digital textbook contains 10 lessons plus a bonus lesson, and each lesson includes 5 - 10 worksheets. The bonus Table Blessing lesson is the longest, with 19 worksheets. In each lesson, there is no script to teach to the students. There is simply the collection of worksheets to use in teaching vocabulary to the children.

The preschool and kindergarten worksheets are lined copywork pages with a Spanish word and its English translation at the top. These pages allow the children to practice writing Spanish vocabulary words as often as needed to memorize them. The pronunciation CD helps the young children learn how to pronounce the words they are writing.

The Level 1 elementary program provides a much more in-depth approach to learning the Spanish language. The set includes one CD-ROM which contains the textbook of 25 lessons, 5 review lessons, 5 game breaks, and a pronunciation script. The Level 1 set also includes two CDs of pronunciation examples, covering all the words in each lesson.

Within the Level 1 textbook, each of the 25 lessons includes one page of new information, in addition to 2-3 pages of application and study questions. Each lesson includes Spanish vocabulary, everyday phrases, grammar, a prayer, and a portion of the books of the Bible. The student reads the new information, or listens as the teacher reads it to them. The pronunciation CD can be played as often as necessary, until the student can pronounce the words correctly. Then the teacher can either work through the study questions with the student, or assign them to do the work independently. Each lesson can be covered as many times as needed to learn the material. An answer key is not provided for this textbook.

There are review lessons to use after every fifth lesson of the textbook. Much like the other lessons, it begins by providing the review information, and then has worksheets to test the student on what they have learned so far. Active game breaks are also provided to use after every fifth lesson. The games are lively and will quickly find their way into your children's everyday play.

The pronunciation CDs are clearly recorded, and easy to understand. The male speaker has a deep voice, so we needed to turn the volume up a bit to hear him well. Each word is spoken in Spanish, then defined in English, and then repeated 2 more times in Spanish before he moves onto the next word. The lessons are recorded on individual tracks so you can easily select the lesson that you are studying.

Dora & Diego Homeschool Spanish (primarily Level 1) is a thorough Spanish curriculum for elementary students. It is affordable and reusable within your own family. Like most digital curriculum, it cannot be re-sold or used outside of your own family without the author's permission. The printable format allows the program to be taken at each child's pace, repeating sections as needed. The addition of an answer key would make this curriculum simpler to use for parents like me who have not previously studied the Spanish language.

For myself, I discovered that I do not feel strongly enough about teaching foreign languages at this age to persist in using a Spanish textbook with my younger children. My current elementary-aged students are resistant to textbooks in the necessary subjects, and I didn't have the energy to battle with them over an elective. In my family, I would not use the preschool and kindergarten level of the text, unless I had students working their way through a higher level and the younger students were begging to participate.

This curriculum will work best for families who feel strongly about teaching foreign languages early, for families who thrive on a textbook format, and for those with a passion for learning the Spanish language. This would not be the ideal curriculum for families with struggling learners, resistant students, or those that prefer a more interactive and hands-on approach to learning.

Dora & Diego Homeschool Spanish is an excellent and affordable homeschool Spanish curriculum for elementary students. It just isn't well-suited to my family, our educational style, and our current needs.

Product review by April Elstrom, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2011