The Crunchy Kiddos have always loved learning Spanish. Most of the programs that I have found tend to be for upper elementary kids and leave my younger two out. You can imagine their excitement when I found out we were chosen to review Whistlefritz's Educator's Spanish Collection. This program is geared specifically towards children 1-7 years old!
We received the Educator's Spanish Collection which includes 5 DVDs, 3 music CDs, Spanish Matching Cards, and Spanish Lesson Plans For Kids book. The lesson plans are broken into 40 lessons that include activities and conversation dialogue for practicing. The lesson book tells you when to incorporate the DVDs, CDs, and cards to help reinforce learning.
The kiddos were excited when we got our box in the mail. They didn't want to wait to watch the videos. So of course, I allowed them to watch one right away. Brother Bear was mesmerized. He sat staring and trying to repeat the words he was hearing. Sister was not a fan. She didn't understand and therefore was not interested in watching anymore.
I set out to plan our week using the lesson plan book provided.
First off, I want to say I took 2 years of Spanish in high school and also went on a mission trip to Mexico where we ran a Vacation Bible School for the local children. So, I have some basic conversational Spanish knowledge. That being said, I was completely lost when I started reading the Teacher Input on Lesson 1. It sounded and looked so different than anything I had ever seen or heard. As I researched I found out that it is a very formal version of Spanish. I adjusted some parts to make it more conversational and less formal when teaching my kiddos because I want them to be able to communicate naturally.
We started Lesson 1 making puppets to use in our Independent Practice. The kiddos loved this part! Anything crafty makes them happy, but getting to use the craft as part of school is a definite win!
I found out that there are free printable homeschool lesson plans on their website that are not as complete as the book, but differ slightly. I printed those off to try as well. I have to say, the book is a more complete educational experience, but the free printable ones were more the style of learning that I was expecting.
I felt that the printable plans used the DVDs and CDs in a more user friendly way. We were able to follow along better with how things were supposed to work. They also required less prep time for me.
The overall idea of this program is perfect. I think there are a few things that could make it more user friendly. I wish the DVDs were able to skip to scenes or chapters to find the corresponding scenes for each lesson. The way that the lesson plan book uses the DVDs, it made it difficult to find what we were supposed to watch at times. I also wish the book was more like the printable plans. They were much easier to follow, in my opinion.
The kiddos enjoyed the fun music and colorful videos. It helped keep them engaged more as they began to learn vocabulary. Even Sister began to enjoy the videos once she understood what was being talked about.
This would be a perfect fit for a family of younger learners who would like to have a bilingual approach to teaching. The Lesson Plan book is a cross-curricular style lessons and therefore tended to be almost too much for our family. However, if you were looking for more of an all inclusive style Spanish curriculum, this would be a great fit for you.