Oct 24, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: Excelerate SPANISH

As a homeschool mom in a state relatively free of governmental standards for graduation, I make a lot of decisions about what my kids' high school credits will look like. One of the things I decided rather unilaterally was that all four kids' foreign language credits were going to be Spanish. Not only is is highly useful in our part of the world, but I have a high school level teacher available to teach them. 

However, I prefer to fill them as full as I can with Spanish vocabulary before I send them to formal lessons. Sort of in the way you teach your child to speak your native tongue before you teach them grammar. I spent most of the summer looking for a good but easy way to teach vocabulary to my middle schoolers this year and was finally rewarded with a review of  Excelerate SPANISH Streaming from Excelerate SPANISH.

This program is an online streaming product that you purchase month by month. It consists of teaching videos and workbooks. There are also free flashcards, games and quizzes available on Quizlet. 

We were given access to the videos, but not to the workbooks. This gave us access to two levels of lessons. Each level contains 24 lessons. The lessons vary in length, from thirty minutes, forty-five minutes, to an hour long. 

The lessons are recorded in a classroom with actual kids participating. The lessons are what I would think immersion style would look like. The instructor, Caryn Hommel, writes vocabulary words and phrases on the board, with the translation, and speaks them out loud as she does so. 

Each lesson is packed with new vocabulary... she fills up the board!

As she repeats the words and phrases she matches them with hand motions and gestures. 

Then she reviews by asking the kids to do the hand motions as she says the Spanish words. The gestures and motions are all naturally associated with the word she links them to. Sometimes she has a picture for the word instead of a gesture. This means the kids are not translating in their heads, "Parada means stop", but associate the word "parada" with the action of holding up their hand to signal "stop".  This gives them a jump start on fluency.

She covers the vocabulary multiple times in the lesson. first by teaching it, then by having the kids repeat the gestures, then by stories. She tells the stories and then has the kids act out the stories. She asks questions about the stories and the vocabulary and the kids respond orally and with gestures. She uses real life situations and speaks in complete sentences with minimum translation. 

There is a lot of language packed into each lesson, and without the workbooks, we struggled to absorb it all. So we re-watched the videos multiple times. I had my kids acting out the stories and responding along with the kids in the video. 

We have access to the videos for a year, so it is okay for us to go slowly. 

For the purposes of this review, I watched a few lessons of level 2 so I could tell you about them. In level 2, the quality of the videos was more sophisticated. The kids had costumes at times

And there were graphics included

She also delved deeper into grammar and usage, as would be appropriate as you gain fluency,

but the main method of learning to speak in real world situations and in complete sentences remained the same. 

As I said, we did not get very far into the lessons. However, my kids, age twelve and thirteen, enjoyed watching the videos. My son, who is skimpy with his complements told me, half-way through the second video, "She is a great teacher! I already understand almost everything she is saying and I'm not even really paying attention!"

Can you get a better compliment from a middle school boy?

Excelerate SPANISH help your students to learn FAST, naturally! (Streaming)  {Excelerate SPANISH Reviews}

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