The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Online Spanish Elementary Program for the entire family Review by Melissa BontadelliKarim Morato
Spanish Educational Solutions LLC
Our family has tried a few different Spanish curriculums in the search for something that works for us. Some curriculums have great pictures and vocabulary builders but are very heavy on planning. Other curriculums we have tried had little teacher planning, but it did not feel like my students were learning the language. This brought us to trying Online Spanish Elementary Program for the entire family by Spanish Educational Solutions LLC.
This curriculum is a very complete curriculum for language learning. The curriculum is broken into eight sections for the first year of learning. The sections of the curriculum are online. Each of the sections is subdivided further into two to four additional sections. The program includes online videos, online flashcards, and downloadable worksheets. The sections are laid out so that it is quite easy to understand where you are in the lessons and navigate to the next section. Sra Morato recently added a section for culture and geography lessons.
Additionally, there is a closed Facebook group for students. Sra Morato has live book reading times and review times using Facebook live. These are recorded and can be watched with the appropriate section of learning. Live office time is also available through Zoom. Parents can stop by the live office and ask any questions related to teaching Spanish or the curriculum. There is also an extensive list of Spanish resources like television shows, books, and apps for phones or tablets. The pricing for the program is $27 per month, and that price is for the entire family.
There were several suggestions made at the beginning of starting this software that we did try and incorporate into our school setting. The one that was hardest for us was to do lessons at the same time every day. Once we were able to be more consistent on time, the interest and learning increased. Everything we needed to do the course was included. It was well put together and my planning time was minimal, which is one of my requirements. The structure was very well done and the only modification I did was to slow it down to ensure my younger student was proficient before moving to the next section.
The program is intended for elementary age children but can be used at any age since the goal is to create an immersion environment within a family. It can be used in homeschool families as well as non-homeschool families. Each section starts with a video lesson. Following the video lessons are worksheets and flashcards. My students loved the flashcards because it was timed and there was a leaderboard. The worksheets presented the material in different ways, so you could pick the way your students learn best and have them do those worksheets. Each section ends with a review video. They suggest that each topic should take four weeks with 15-30 minutes each day. We managed to do around 4 days per week and spent around 30 minutes each of those days. On other days, we would watch a show, use an app, or read a book as a supplement. We did try and add language learning to every day.
Out of everything we have tried for language learning, this was the best curriculum. It delivers a high amount of support, which our family needed as I was not very comfortable with teaching a foreign language. It really helped me feel successful as I saw my students using what they were learning. It is far more structured than anything else we do. Most of our schooling is more relaxed and unstructured, but it was really what we needed for a foreign language. Sra Morato brings a lot of excitement to learning. The new sections on culture and geography were well done and added a refreshing change. With all the resources that were given for apps, books, television, I do not feel there was anything missing.
This program may not work for families that do not work well in structure. It does take a commitment and some time even at younger ages. Usually, I would stay away from something this structured but it was exactly what we needed for this subject. There was also a small volume problem with the video. The song at the beginning of the video was very loud, then Sra Morato would be quiet. I was constantly adjusting the volume as we watched. As with most live events, the timing with the live hours is not great for our family either, but on the positive side, they are recorded so you can watch them at your convenience.
This is a product that I would recommend to other families learning Spanish. I felt the amount of material, the support, and the approach was very well thought out and delivered. It worked well across multiple ages.
Product review by Melissa Bontadelli, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2020