The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Spanish 1 Full Year (Deluxe) Review by Debra BrinkmanKaitlyn Santiago
One of the hardest subjects to figure out for many homeschoolers is a foreign language, particularly at a high school level. For some languages, it is hard to find resources at all for a teacher who is not already fluent in the language. For other languages, it is hard to determine what kind of approach makes sense.
My high school senior has had the opportunity to work with Santiago Spanish this year, and we do love it! Kaitlyn Santiago, an innovative classroom Spanish teacher, created this online, interactive Spanish program. There are two courses available, Spanish 1 and Spanish 2, and they can be purchased either for the full year or a single semester.
There is also a Basic version and a Deluxe version. With both, the course includes 90 lessons, intended to be completed at a pace of three per week. The lessons include video instruction, PDF worksheets, practice sessions, and online flashcards. With the Deluxe version, there are also assignments where the student gets feedback from Kaitlyn, quizzes, and grades.
While a full year of Spanish can be completed in 30 weeks at the recommended pace, the course includes access for two years. If a student completes a single lesson a week, there is still time for some weeks off. This has been a particularly good thing for us, as we have had so much going on this fall.
Google Chrome is the browser recommended for the course. We were able to view lessons in Firefox, but did not figure out how to record assignments, nor could we consistently do the interactive exercises. There were no issues with Chrome, though.
Spanish 1 covers the material that would have been typical when I was in high school, starting with greetings, basic conversations, and counting. Students learn about the countries and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. There are also topics such as social media and television. Completing Spanish 1 is not going to be enough for students to be fluent in Spanish, but they should be able to communicate about basics such as buying groceries.
We have developed a routine for the lessons. First, we print the pdf so he can watch through the video, pausing often to fill in the worksheet. Then he will watch through the video again straight through. The next day, he watches the video again and completes all additional exercises. If he struggles with anything, we will do more practice.
Feedback from the instructor, a feature of the Deluxe course, comes quickly, with personalized comments that show that she does listen.
Overall, we have been incredibly pleased with the course. The video lessons are engaging and often amusing, without adding extraneous content. The assignments reinforce what is taught in the lessons. My son can interact more with our Spanish speaking neighbors as the content is easy to incorporate into casual chat.
-Product review by Debra Brinkman, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2019