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52 Weeks of Family Spanish Review by Charlotte Gochnauer

Eileen Mc Aree

Learning a foreign language is a goal of most homeschooling families. And there are many options to choose from; ranging from traditional worksheet/textbook curriculums, to verbal immersion programs. 52 Weeks of Family Spanish follows more of a verbal approach and is meant to be used with the whole family. The small weekly lessons are practical and built into daily family life. This simple approach makes teaching Spanish to young ones fun and easy.

The sub-title of this book caught my attention right away: Bite-sized weekly lessons designed to get you and your family speaking Spanish today. That was what I was looking for; something to get my children more familiar with Spanish in preparation for a middle school or high school classes in the later years. And this fun book provided that and more. The 52 weeks in this curriculum are divided into 7 units. Each unit has a different theme and cultural spotlight. Some of the themes are Mealtimes, Welcome To My Home, and Making Friends. The cultural spotlights focus on different countries where Spanish is one of the primary languages spoken. The design of this curriculum is very simple. For each week there are a few vocabulary words or phrases and a pronunciation/grammar note. These directly correlate with the vocabulary words. For example when the word hola is taught, the pronunciation note is about the letter h being silent in Spanish. Each week also has a cultural note. This small paragraph might highlight different types of food, geographical features of the area, or other fun facts and details. Finally, there is an Idea! section. This part gives suggestions for fun activities to do during the week. This might be role-playing a conversation, playing with a pirata, fun Spanish games, and other interesting activities to help make the weeks lesson fun. At the beginning of the book are some helpful pages; there is an instruction section for the teacher, a pronunciation guide, suggested activities, and a words and phrase list. Every eighth week or so is a review week and review ideas and further study suggestions are listed.

I used this product with all four of my children, ages 7 through 15. We would all sit down together each school day and go over the vocabulary words for the week. I would introduce the pronunciation/grammar note and use the cultural notes as a springboard for conversations about Spanish culture. I even had my older children write informational paragraphs based on these notes. My children had fun with the Ideas! section; one week it suggested having your family pretend they had never met, and to introduce themselves to each other with pretend ages and names. I found that the relaxed way of teaching in this book was the perfect way to introduce my younger children to Spanish, and gave my older ones a head start for any higher level Spanish classes. After working through the first 8 weeks of the course I was very happy to hear my kids using more and more Spanish words in their daily conversation. And since all of them were learning the same words, they could easily practice on one another. This book is meant for younger learners; my older children learned the words as well, but the course is not challenging enough for middle school or high school students to count it as a language class. The price of the book is a great deal; $9.99 for 52 weeks of study. This book would be especially helpful for verbal learners and those who prefer a non-textbook approach to subjects. I encourage you to take a look at 52 Weeks of Family Spanish, for a fun way to expose your children to this beautiful language and culture.

Product Review by Charlotte Gochnauer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2013