About the only thing this curriculum doesn't teach is how to type in Spanish! Fortunately, I can use online translators so I can look up words and then copy and paste them with their accents. But, let's not talk about my Spanish typing cheats!
But, speaking of the curriculum, let me think of some other Spanish adjectives I can use to describe ¡El Español Fácil! - The Easy Spanish! from "Great Commission Languages". How about genial (great), magnífico (superb), and fantástico (fantastic)?!? It's all of those things and more. This is a great...um...genial program.
So, why is it so genial, magnifico and fantástico? Well, let me focus on why it is so easy - fácil.
It's easy because it is flexible. This one curriculum can be used for multiple age groups. It can be used with younger students (even pre-school) and older students. It can be used with a parent/teacher (even one that doesn't know Spanish) or it can be used with an older student independently. The book has complete instructions on how to use it in different ways. It can even be used multiple ways with each group. If you have a pre-school child that you would like teach Spanish to, you can take two or three years to complete this first course. A high school student can use this book over a two year time or complete it in one year. There are goals and objectives for almost every scenario that you can think of. Since John Allen is also learning Latin, we plan on using the two year plan and alternating Spanish and Latin. Remember, though, that John Allen is in his third year of Latin, so he has a good grip on the language. I probably would not recommend trying to learn any two languages using any two curriculums if you were just starting out. I use John Allen as an example only to show how flexible this program is.
It's easy because it covers a broad spectrum of learning styles. ¡El Español Fácil! - The Easy Spanish was written with a Charlotte Mason approach in mind, and, if you know the Charlotte Mason, you know that she liked things to be taught using all of the senses to accommodate all kinds of learning styles. The author of this curriculum, Marie Filion, did just that when she wrote these lessons. Each of the 36 lessons begins with the student listening to a short dialogue on one of the two CD's that come with this program. The student is told from the beginning that there will be some English words in each dialogue, but there will also be some Spanish words that they will have to try to figure out the meaning of. It really isn't too difficult to figure it out though. The dialogue may go something like this:
Belicia: Marita, this is mi padre, tu tío, Señor Enrique Cordero Paco Fernández.
Marita: ¡Hola tío Enrique! Hello, uncle Enrique.
Señor Fernández: ¡Hola Marita!
Belicia: Marita, this is mi madre, tu tía, Señora Isabel Charo Viaña Fernández.
Marita: ¡Hola tía Isabel! Hello, aunt Isabel.
Señora Fernández: ¡Hola Marita!
This is taken from lesson two. Do you see how cleverly done it is? Without knowing any Spanish at all, you could probably figure out that "Hola" means "Hello", "Tio" means "Uncle", and "Tia" means "Aunt".
After the student listens to the dialogue, he listens to a list of vocabulary words that goes along with that dialogue. Sometimes the vocabulary list can be quite long, but that is the beauty of being able to use this course over a two or three year period. You can always cut the lessons down to do over a two to three week period if needed.
The first lessons are very basic and begin with how to introduce yourself. They then progress through learning Spanish words pertaining to your family, food, clothing, numbers, days of the week, animals, adjectives, and more.
The child listens to the dialogue and vocabulary every day during the week and also does other tasks that reinforce what is being learned. Not all tasks are to be done by all students each week (in a two to three year program, some tasks aren't even introduced until the third year) and all tasks can be adapted to fit your family. The following is a list of some of the tasks with a very brief explanation.
- Activity - as it says, a short activity to reinforce that weeks lesson. Usually for younger students, but some for older as well.
- Narration - a Charlotte Mason (CM) task where you recount (could be done in various forms) the story you have just heard.
- Soy yo! It's me! - another CM method where you transfer yourself into the story.
- CM Activity - usually done by an independent learner.
- Teacher Helps - for the parent and/or independent learner to help them understand the lesson and language better.
- Scripture Memory Work - ¡El Español Fácil! - The Easy Spanish is a Christian curriculum. In fact, the company that produces El Español fácil! - The Easy Spanish is called "Great Commission Languages" and was written to help folks learn another language so that they can have a impact on missions. Each week there is a memory verse that helps with that.
- Cultural Notes - Just as it says, notes to help you understand the Spanish culture.
- Trivia - Interesting things about the Spanish people or culture.
- Notebook - Each student keeps a notebook that goes along with this course.
- Front Cover Work - For the younger child,
- Things to Remember - Little reminders for that lesson.
- Everyday Vocabulary - Extra vocabulary of everyday words that a student should practice.
- Independent Learner - These are activities geared toward the older student that is working independently.
- Journal - Again, this is for the high school student or advanced younger student.
These are just brief descriptions of the things that might be part of each lesson. More information can be found on the website and, of course, in the book itself. Not all of these things are done every day or, even, each week. The book tells you what is to be done on what day. It's all very easy.
Another thing that is easy is that everything is contained in the two CD's and book. You need nothing else. And, everything is put together so well that there is hardly any preparation work involved. It is truly an easy program to use. We haven't been too far into ¡El Español Fácil! - The Easy Spanish yet, but we already know that we are going to learn much from it.
Finally, one of the easiest things about this course is the price. ¡El Español Fácil!, Level I is just $139.95. And, remember, depending on the age and abilities of your student, this curriculum could be used for two or three years. Compared to most other complete language curriculums, $139.95 is even a great price for a one year study. Also, remember, this course can be used with all of your kids at once, or be used later with other kids if you wish. Great Commission Languages also has a Junior Spanish Curriculum if you feel like this book goes a little too quickly for your young ones. They also have a French curriculum that you can buy. Yes, there is also a Level II, available, but, to help cover the cost, Great Commission Languages has an agreement with Wycliffe Bible Translators that if you will donate your Level I curriculum to Wycliffe, you will get a 30% discount for Level II. Just click here or on any one of the links above to find out about this and all of the other "Great Commission Language" programs. Other TOS Crew Members reviewed other things from Great Commission Languages and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling.
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of ¡El Español Fácil!, Level I in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.
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