Thursday, August 18, 2016

Learn Spanish The Fast and Fun Way!


{Disclaimer:  Because we have been enjoying our time learning Spanish together so much, I have become an affiliate for Foreign Language for Kids.}

I had been planning to revisit a stalled study of Latin with my children this summer and fall, but, when an opportunity to review the Starter Set 1 from Foreign Language for Kids came up, I changed my mind.  As I was checking out the Foreign Language for Kids, one of my children looked over my shoulder and said,"That looks fun.  I want to try it."  So, it was that we decided to take the review.  I am glad we did. 

With three children at different levels and not enough of Mom to go around for 1:1 time in many subjects, I love learning that we can approach as a family.  The homeschool Spanish Starter Set 1 is exactly that kind of thing!
In the set are:

  • a DVD with videos for Levels 1-3 Spanish for kids:  According to the lesson plans, you are to watch small timed segments of the DVD over a number of daily lessons.  We rarely do things daily around here, so, instead, we watched the entire Level 1 portion of the video on Day One and, then, watched it again in its entirety, on other days, too.

    In all honesty, I had planned to watch only the brief timed segment of Level 1's video segment that was suggested in the lesson plans, but the children asked to watch the rest.  They were enjoying it so much - and we had time that day - so I said, "sure," to their request.  With that, our family's precedent was set:  When using the video, we watch an entire level at once, with my children laughing and talking back to the video the entire time.

  • 3 Parent-Teacher Guides:  Each Level of the program comes with its own Teacher Guide that contains detailed lesson plans, a suggested DVD viewing schedule, and a variety of supplemental and hands-on activities to choose from which reinforce material taught in the videos. 

    I almost never follow prescribed lessons to a "T" - not even close - but I do appreciate having them, since they give me a framework from which to personalize my family's approach to a specific resource.  These guides did that beautifully!  Unlike some teacher guides, they are short, thorough, well-organized, and easy-to-navigate.  Thus,
    I could easily find vocabulary lists of Spanish words and their translations; hone in on Geography tie-ins, select games and activities that would appeal to my children to practice key concepts, etc. (In fact, in the photo above, the Level 1 Teacher's Guide is laying open, because, as my children watched the video, I was quickly deciding which activities to try next.)

  • Flashcards and Card Games for Levels 1 to 3:  Picture cards and word cards for each level of the program made it easy to play review games described in the lesson plans as well as to play games we made up ourselves.  The pictures are basically still shots from the DVD's and handy key cards are included to help jog children's and Momma's memories should any of the images not immediately bring key Spanish words, phrases, and sentences to mind.

  • Workbooks for Levels 1-3:  The DVD program is framed as "in-flight movies" while you are on your way to several different Spanish-speaking destinations, and the workbooks, then, become your "in-flight magazines", filled with crosswords, word searches, country information, grammar, facts, and more. Since the workbooks are geared, I'd say, for children at grade levels three and up to complete independently, but my child at that level does not like written work, i opted to use only parts of the workbooks and to use them orally with all three of my children in a "cozy on the couch" situation before or after watching the DVD.  This worked well for us.

  • Stickers for Levels 1-3: Key vocabulary is written big and bold on stickers your children can place around the house to remind them of the Spanish they've been learning.  The stickers are not ones that are easily removed, though, so in our home, we stuck them to sticky notes which the children took turns putting on different objects (and people!) in our home.  They enjoyed doing this (and I enjoyed knowing that stickers could easily be removed that way.)

Teach Spanish in Minutes a Day (Or Longer When the Kids Say "More!")

I truly appreciate learning resources that I can use with all of my children at once, quickly and easily, without worrying about an online subscription or a ton of materials to wade through and keep track of, and that is exactly what
Foreign Language for Kids has been for us!

I keep all of our
Spanish Starter Kit materials on our learning shelves in the mailing envelope they came in.  Then, when we want to use the program, I simply take the envelope down, grab the materials we want to use on that given day, have at it, and return everything to the shelf. 

(Well, that is everything but the stickers the children leave up around our home.)

Then, the next time we want to continue our Spanish studies, we do the same thing -- popping in the DVD, breaking out the vocabulary game cards, referencing the teacher's guides or workbooks, or having the children put stickers on sticky notes and run about our house to place the stickers in relevant places. 

Easy, fun, and flexible,
Foreign Language for Kids is perfect for us, since we can use it for ten minutes on a busy day or much, much longer on other days without any additional prep time and with super-easy clean up.  Indeed, the program, of us, is truly one we an take out of its envelope, learn and enjoy with, and then put back its in the envelope and onto our shelves without fuss.

The Learning Sticks

Another thing that I appreciate about learning Spanish with Foreign Language for Kids is that it provides gentle learning that sticks.  As we've been using the program, it's been fun to have my children pepper our everyday conversations with the Spanish words they've been learning.

The combination of an enjoyable immersion DVD, corresponding game cards and stickers, and an "in-flight magazine" to guide some of our review seems to be "just right" for igniting my children's interest in learning Spanish.  The ease of using these things makes the program an ideal fit for me, too. 

What the Children Had to Say

My daughter, at nine, was the one who first asked to try
Foreign Language for Kids, and she was not disappointed!  She said:

It's fun!  I like how it is not how some programs where they use cartoon people.  I like how they use real people.  I also like how it teaches you simple words right from the first lesson and, then, gets more and more difficult, but not too difficult.

On the video, I like how you have to learn by - well, they don't really say what a word means.  They just use it a lot and you figure it out. 

I like with the stickers when I see them on the huevos, for example, I can say, "Can I cook myself some huevos?" (I like eggs!)  Or, I can say, "Can I read libros?" Or, "Can I have some pan?"

I also like the challenges with the cards.


When I asked youngest, who turned six while we have been reviewing the program,
what he would rate the program on a scale of 1-5, he said "a 2.5 plus 9/10's".  So, that's a 4.4.  He added that he like the stickers and video and laughed as he said:

The funniest part of the video is when the boy took all the pan and says he was hungry. 

Indeed, all of my children laugh every time they see that portion of the video and pretend to be the boy from the video when we have things they particularly like at mealtimes. They also find ways to integrate words from the Spanish stickers they find around our home into our conversation.  It's so cute.

My oldest, at ten, said:

I really liked the movie, because it was funny.  I don't want to say why, because it will spoil it for others. 

The movie helped me learn by introducing me to words.  Then, I used cards to play games to review the words.  The stickers were fun to put on stuff around the house.  Mom tried to use the in-flight magazine with us, but I do not like writing.  So, we only used it out loud and used the cards, stickers, and movie more.

I think this review was pretty worth it.  I want to do the rest of the lessons.  We only finished the first story "Basketballs Aren't for Breakfasts".  Mom has not let us go on yet, because she wants us to master all the words we are learning first.  I am almost there!  I only have one more to go.

I have no doubt my oldest will have that word mastered before the week is out, because he is eager to move onto the next story: The Little Magic House.  I have to admit, I am, too.  It's fun to use this program with my children and I look forward to doing all three levels of it, as well as any more that may be forthcoming.  (Please Foreign Language for Kids make more levels!)

If You Like Ease and Fun, You'll Like This Introductory Spanish Program

As I already described the Spanish
Starter Set 1 has proven engaging and easy-to-use for my family.  We literally just take it off our shelf, enjoy, learn, put the materials back on the shelf, and, then, add learned Spanish to our conversations until we take the materials back down to learn more. 

(Adding the language is easy, indeed, when we find it around the house!)

I love how no-fuss the experience is.  There is little prep or clean up involved, and the children have yet to grumble once when it is "Spanish time".   I also appreciate that the program components are physical ones.  No online subscription or streaming videos to fuss with, just a DVD, game cards, and slim teacher guides and workbooks.

If you, like me, appreciate learning that can easily be done together with multiple ages of children, you will likely enjoy
Foreign Language for Kids as an introductory Spanish resource.

Learn More

Now is a great time to try
Foreign Language for KidsYou can take advantage of a FREE TRIAL, plus kits are currently selling for 15%-25% off, with all domestic shipping only $5 through the end of the month!

You might also enjoy other products from Foreign Language for Kids, like their fun game Dice Off.

You can also visit Foreign Language for Kids on Facebook

Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review

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