Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's Speekee on Steroids!

Do you remember this clip from the movie Shrek 2?

In the movie, Shrek needs help to get into the castle so he and Gingy go to the Muffin Man's house so that he can make a giant Gingy named Mongo (If you've never seen the Shrek movies you really must. They are hilarious,). Well, Mongo is like Gingy on steroids! He is much bigger and better than the original Gingy.
When we found out that we were going to review Speekee (a great method for young kids to be introduced to Spanish) again, Joshua was ecstatic! He loves Speekee. He was so thrilled about it that he watched all of the episodes without being prompted. He is so excited about Speekee that Jacob now wants to watch all of them.
I knew Speekee was excellent because we had reviewed it before. What I didn't know was that the creator of Speekee had taken some of the suggestions given by the previous TOS Review Crew reviewers along with others and made a new "Speekee TV" that is like Speekee on steroids!
Oh, don't worry, all of the great stuff that was in the original version is still there. You'll still find Speekee, the main puppet character. There's still, Dino and Lupe the cute sock puppets. And,  of course, you'll still find Jim and all of the great children. All of the catchy tunes are still the same and still just as catchy. The really neat downloadable worksheets to reinforce what the children learned are still there as well. As is the ability to turn on or off the English subtitles since everything in the videos are done in Spanish. In fact, none of the episodes or the great things from the website have changed.
Speekee TV still introduces Spanish to pre-schoolers through elementary students much like Sesame Street introduces letters and numbers to their young watchers. Only Speekee TV has a little slower pace and not so many things are introduces at once in each 10-20 min. episode. And Speekee does it well! the things that are included in the different themed episodes are reinforced several times, and Speekee TV uses the "spiral approach" where each episode builds on the previous one and the concepts and new words learned are constantly being brought back up and practiced in later episodes.
So, what is new, exciting and "on steroids" about Speekee TV? One of the major things are the new lesson plans. Before, there were the worksheets and the videos and many suggestions, but nothing was put down in a format that was really conducive to a homeschool setting. Now, Speekee has what they call "Fast Track". With Fast Track, you spend four weeks on each episode. Each week you access either the free Fast Track section on the Speekee TV website or you can sign up to get a Fast Track email once a week. The emails tell you what to do day by day for four days a week. The first day often includes watching the video episode of the month, then the rest of the days are used reviewing things taught in each episode in a fun way. You might make a sock puppet, do a worksheet, use some flashcards, or you might use the sock puppets to review a song or perform some other activity. All of the activities are very fun, and many of the items needed are available right on the website. All you have to do is print them out! Other items, such as the sock puppets or other crafty things may need additional materials that you will have to provide. I am really impressed with all of the fun activities and ideas.
Another change on the new Speekee TV website is the addition of clips of different pertinent songs or teaching sections from each episode. Instead of watching the entire episode to find the an interesting or needed clip, the section you need is often right there for you to click on and use. If your child really likes a particular song then he can just play it over and over again. On second thought, if we are going to have to listen to a song over and over again, maybe the addition of the separate clips wasn't such a good idea after all! Just kidding, the separate clips are really quite handy to have.
Finally, the third big new thing that I saw was the "email" and reward section. The emails aren't really emails, but as your child watches the different episodes or completes an activity, different characters or children that appear in the videos befriend them and their picture appears at the side of the page. Periodically these friends will send a short message (in Spanish, of course) to your child that reemphasizes what has been learned. These are not real messages sent by real children, but generated messages that the child gets when he completes an activity. Also, the child gets points when he completes activities. These points can be used to buy different things for his sock puppet character that also appears on the side of the page. It all reinforces the fun that the kids are having.
I am really pleased with all of the changes made to Speekee TV. It has only made it better and Joshua is loving Speekee even more than before. I can't wait to start it with Jacob very soon!
So how much does Speekee TV cost? Well, let me tell you, I have reviewed a lot of online homeschool websites that teach anything from math to reading to typing. Many of these sites cost in the 100's of dollars. When I saw all of the changes that Speekee TV had made, I thought that surely they had raised the price to a higher amount. And, in my opinion, it would have been worth it to pay a higher amount. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I found that they had not raised the price at all! It is still $7.50 a month or $60 a year! And, just to make sure that you like it before you buy it, they offer a free two week trial subscription! Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to get to the Speekee website. You will not be disappointed with this one!
As usual, many other members of the TOS Review Crew reviewed Speekee TV and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Home Schooling!
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I was sent a free limited time subscription to Speekee TV in order to try out and give my honest opinion on this blog.

1 comment:

  1. Hola Tim, This is Jim checking in to say a big GRACIAS for your second Speekee review. Much appreciated!