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The Fun Spanish Review by Karen WaideKimberly D. Garcia
We were given the enjoyable opportunity of reviewing The Fun Spanish, by Kimberly D. Garcia. We received a digital download, but it is also available in printed format. It is recommended that this program be used with children who can read and write comfortably in English. I decided to use this with my second grade, 7 ½ year old daughter.
This 218 page book has seventeen lessons, which can be completed in seventeen weeks or stretched to thirty-four weeks to last an entire school year. In the beginning of the book, you will find an introduction, a schedule for completing the program in one semester, with recommendations for the full year program, and memorization suggestions. There is also a section for reviewing pronunciation and grammar. Each lesson is then comprised 4 days of instruction plus review. Except for the review day, each daily “model” consists of Verb Conjugation, Vocabulary, Translation Practice, Copywork, and Illustrating.
As explained in the introduction of the book, Charlotte Mason recommended learning a foreign language one phrase at a time. It was also her belief that only 5-6 words be learned each day. The Fun Spanish does this in such an engaging way. The sentences that are learned are meant to be funny, to capture a child's attention.
First the child copies the verb conjugations, then they learn several new vocabulary words. These words are then used in a Spanish sentence with the child is to copy and translate a sentence that is written in Spanish. They have to understand what the sentence means so they can illustrate it. For instance, one of my daughter's favorite passages was: “Yo soy un gato flaco y verde. Yo tengo cuatro dientes negros.” In that day's lesson she had learned the Spanish words for “skinny, teeth, green, four, and black.” She was already familiar with the meaning of “Yo soy” as that was introduced in a previous lesson as was “un gato and “verde.” The new verb for the lesson was “tener” meaning “to have.” So, there were only 4 new, never-before-seen words for her to learn. In case you are wondering, the sentence translates to “I am a skinny green cat. I have four black teeth.”
Throughout the program the child will get to illustrate four funny sentences in each lesson. This step of drawing the pictures really helps to cement the information in the child's mind. Just as important is reviewing each of the previous days' sentences each day of the week before beginning the current lesson, plus reviewing all the previous sentences at least once a week.
We have been using The Fun Spanish program at the slower pace of one lesson taking two weeks. We do not do Spanish every day of the week, so this pace is much better for us. I love that the author states that we can make this program work for us by changing up the schedule. My daughter loves drawing the funny pictures, though she isn't as fond of writing the verb conjugation every time we have a lesson. I admit, I haven't made her write them out each day, though we do go over it orally. I do make sure she copies her Spanish sentence every time. I have had a blast seeing what she comes up with for her illustrations. Some of my favorites are her pink bear with three ears, her giraffe with a short neck and her elephants with little bodies.
I would like to add, I appreciated that there is a Charlotte Mason influence in this foreign language program. Though I wasn't aware of Ms. Mason's recommendations for learning a foreign language, after seeing this program and working through it with my daughter, I can see the wisdom in it.
We are absolutely loving The Fun Spanish and I would highly recommend it for a Spanish program. It truly is a fun way to learn a foreign language.
- Product review by Karen Waide, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2016