Recently I heard of a new Spanish curriculum called R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish, a Spanish curriculum specifically tailored to homeschooling families. It looked to be exactly what I was looking for in a Spanish program – flexible, easy to use, affordable, and most importantly, effective in getting our family speaking Spanish! Since a digital download option was offered, I was able to download it on my computer, print it out, and get started within days.

Current Offer on Homeschool Buyers Co-op

We’ve now been using it for a few weeks and have just started Unit 2 (out of ten Units). The reason I want to get this review up quickly is that there is a current offer for Homeschool Spanish on the Homeschool Buyers Coop where you can save 20-40%. As of writing this post, the Digital Format option is halfway to to the 40% off savings, where it would only be $29.97.  There is a good chance it will hit that, and if not, you can commit to purchase only if it reaches 40%. The offer ends this Sunday, June 26 at midnight PST. Normal retail price is $49.95 for the Digital Format. I fully trust and recommend the Homeschool Buyers Co-op, so do not hesitate to order through them if you’re interested in the program.

What You Get

Whether you order from the Homeschool Spanish website or through HSBC, you’ll get two order choices – Digital or Printed Format. For the Digital option, you will get the Instruction Book (Color and BW versions), Activity Book (BW only), Answer Book (BW only), and the Audio Files for all three components. For the Hard copy, you’ll get a Printed Book in b&w as well as 2 CDs for the activity book and audio files.

The website offers free culture links to enhance your Spanish language learning. Some resources include puzzles, maps, games, history, culture, songs, and more.

For those who own Proclick binding systems, it works perfectly, see the above image for our Proclick’ed books. I printed our Book in full color, glossy pages. The whole program is very professionally done and aesthetically pleasing – both the books and the audio files. I was very impressed.

About the Author and her Goals for the program

The author, Dr. Williamson-Coria, was very helpful with my email questions. She has 23 years teaching foreign languages to students and has homeschooled her own children. She designed Homeschool Spanish to enable homeschool parents to learn along with their child and build fluency in actually speaking Spanish. Her focus in this book is using the Spanish language in a conversational manner. Grammar tidbits are offered throughout the book, but it is not a grammar-intensive program.

In this way, the curriculum is extremely flexible. Families can use it from PreK-12. Not many programs are designed to be able to use with a preschooler and a high schooler! Parents not familiar with Spanish will find the included audio files very helpful in learning proper pronunciation.  The Vocabulary and Phrases are presented (both Spanish and English translations) by a native Spanish speaker.

A Peek Inside

The program is divided into ten Units. The units themselves are divided up into sections which include over 30 total Vocabulary Clusters. A high-school student could learn one cluster a week, completing the book in a school year. Dr. Coria says this book is suitable for a 1st year High School course. Elementary students may take 1 1/2 to 3 years to complete the program. A level 2 is in the works. Head to the Samples page to get the full Table of Contents section.

Here’s an sample of the first lesson’s Vocabulary Cluster (click to see larger image). For more samples, check the online Book Sample PDF.

Following the Vocabulary, an Idea section offers several ways to practice and use the new vocabulary. Sample ideas include puppet shows, make your own board games, vocabulary cards, lapbooking, bingo, and a continual emphasis to use the language in everyday conversation.

Although the program doesn’t want to hinder language learning with grammar, Grammar Tidbits (9 sections) are included for the essentials. Unit 10 also has verb work (3 Parts).

The Activity Book is meant to be done independently and includes crossword puzzles, word searches, cryptograms, and more, which correspond to each section of the book. A separate Answer Book will show the answers for the activities. There are several pages included for each Vocabulary section, giving plenty of reading/writing practice. Because it does require reading/writing, young elementary children may not get much use out of it. Satori could do some of the exercises by herself, but may need my help on others. Middle elementary age may be more suitable to start this workbook.

Our Experience So Far

Our experience in Spanish for Satori before using this program has been using Elementary Spanish online. She does it independently, so even though I do have a Spanish degree, I haven’t been using Spanish too much with her. REAL Homeschool Spanish is more interactive, allowing me to know exactly what vocabulary, phrases, and sentences to practice with Satori each week. She knows basic vocabulary, so the first units are mostly review for her. Rather, we will be focusing on using the vocabulary she already knows with dialogue back and forth.

We did get started making our own Vocabulary Cards, I knew Satori would get a kick out of making them. We’ve only written the Spanish words, but will add the English on the back as well soon. It actually was just suggested to me by another happy REAL Homeschool Spanish user to draw pictures when possible instead. By bypassing a translation to English, it will speed the comprehension of the Spanish words. We’ll make faces, use actual colors, write numbers, or draw objects as appropriate.

We are super happy to be using R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish! Out of all the Spanish programs we’ve tried, it’s the only one that really really encourages the whole family to use conversational Spanish at home. It’s pretty much open-and-go for us. When we want to do something more in-depth, it’s chock-full of creative ideas to practice our new vocabulary. It also offers plenty of practice in the Activity Book to read and write Spanish. I don’t actually schedule this program, we’re just taking it day by day.

Families who want to incorporate more grammar might like to use this program along with Getting Started with Spanish, another affordable, easy yet effective Spanish program that is great for homeschoolers.

Satori really enjoys the interaction the program offers and once she saw me pull out the book to write this review, she begged for another Spanish lesson. Halfway through the day, she stole the book off my desk to go off and teach her own (stuffed animal) students Spanish. 🙂

Reminder about the Sale

If you are reading this review in June 2011, you can’t beat the price that HSBC is offering. I believe that sale ends this Sunday, June 26 at midnight. Even if you miss the HSBC sale, for $49.95 you’ll get a great program that should last several years, and get your family speaking Spanish!