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Spanish 2 Review by Lynne Westbrook

Dan Hildebrand.

We live in a world where Latin roots and the Spanish language are present all around us. Everywhere we go, we see words derived from Spanish and hear conversations from Spanish speakers worldwide.   In my own family, my sister-in-law is from South America, so my children have been exposed to bi-lingual discussions from an early age.  My daughters and I have all taken entry-level Spanish courses and found that we needed to expand on that education to have a working knowledge of the language. So, we were excited to use Lernsys to expand our foreign language base with the Spanish 2 course by Dan Hildebrand.

Lernsys is an account-based learning program that allows the user to purchase individual classes and access those classes at any time of the day or night. There are over 15,000 video lessons on Lernsys, and each can be accessed by creating an account with both a parent and student login/password.  We received lifetime access to the Spanish 2 by Dan Hildebrand. The curriculum has over 40 lessons (in approximately seven and a half hours of video). Access included 40 sets of review activities, 40 review assessments, answer keys and sample answers for practice activities, and other reference documents.  Once logged in to Lernsys, we were able to go to the "classroom" area. The course was listed where I could access videos, interactive course material, and view completion percentages.

Course topics included: basic Spanish review lesson, chores, morning and evening routines, house descriptions, vacation destinations, nature, outdoor activities, body parts, accidents (injuries and illness), health advice, medical help, and first aid, childhood activities, toys, pets, and holidays.  These topics expand upon what is traditionally taught in entry-level Spanish classes and give practical hands-on instruction for everyday use.   The target audience for this course would be someone who has already successfully completed an entry-level Spanish course and wants to expand on that base knowledge. The course is listed as $224. However, the product does go on sale at times.

We used this program primarily for our ninth grade homeschool student who had already completed an entry-level Spanish course. She is a visual learner, so having all the material in video format means she could click on links to videos, watch videos narrated by Dan Hildebrand, and download documents. This method was an effective way to help her retain this challenging material.

Each video lesson also came with a downloadable PowerPoint slide show for review. Additionally, included with each lesson is a Vocabulary Sheet and Practice Sheet.  The Vocabulary Sheet was helpful to my daughter to identify phrases and words from the lesson and help with the conjugation of verbs (both regular and irregular). The practice activities from the Practice Sheet download were great tools for homeschool lessons as they each had two parts – one which was usually for translation of sentences and a second part that asked the student to write sentences in Spanish.  Vocabulary, conjugation, translation, and writing in Spanish are all key parts of becoming fluent in the language. Each of these lesson components helped reinforce concepts my daughter had learned in the lesson.  

After she completed the practice components of the lesson, she was able to review the answers with the instructor. Dan Hildebrand has a follow-up video to each practice that goes step-by-step through the process with the student.  This was valuable to my daughter, and it helped her make corrections with each section and then proceed at her own pace to the next lesson. As a parent, I found that the options of enabling grade tracking and printing transcripts were great ways to document our results.

My favorite part of Spanish 2 with Dan Hildebrand was the repetition of concepts that allowed my learner to pace herself and learn a lesson to completion.  Lifetime access lets the learner go back and refocus on parts of the curriculum they use more frequently. Going back over vacation destinations, body parts, and illness would be relevant before traveling, for example.   The practice lessons were one of the best aspects of the lessons as they allowed my student to focus on the practical application of learned material and then review them with the instructor.  It felt like the instructor was in the room the entire time you are taking the course.  As a father, he uses his own family to illustrate points.  It is quite entertaining as the viewer feels they get to know his children and wife and aspects of their personalities. 

The favorite chore lesson let us peek into the Hildebrand household.  We quickly learned Dad loves to cut the grass (cortar el cesped), and his son, Will, likes to wash the clothes (lavar la ropa).  Said like only a Dad can, with quick-witted sarcasm, we learn that Will wants to do that because it is easy (porque es facil).  Dan Hildebrand's dry humor makes learning much more fun.  The only drawback of the curriculum was that we had difficulty playing a few of the videos. However, those issues seemed to resolve themselves.

Overall, I would highly recommend this curriculum.  It is a valuable tool to go beyond entry-level Spanish and allow the learner to practice communication around everyday topics. The curriculum is excellent for visual, auditory, and written-review learning styles. Also, the instructor provides a down-to-earth presentation style that is easy to follow.  The student feels like they are in the room with Dan Hildebrand as he instructs in an effortless and familial presentation style. This is a valuable tool to take most learners to the next level of bi-lingual communication at their own pace and environment.

-Product review by Lynne Westbrook, LPC, The Old Schoolhouse ® Magazine, July 2021