Picture
Teaching a foreign language is not only a requirement, it's become a necessity. We are frequently introduced to people that speak English as a second language or speak severely broken English. In the United States, Spanish is the #2 spoken language (census.gov) after English. And though the percentages are significantly different (80:12), the ratio has changed substantially in recent years. 

Because of this, I believe learning Spanish is important for our children. As they become adults, they will meet more and more people, and having the ability to speak and understand Spanish will be beneficial: in the work place, in the grocery store, and even at theme parks. 

This year, we have been learning Latin, which is the foundation for many languages. It is really interesting to learn this "ancient" language and it's ties to modern spoken words. Spanish is one of those languages that connects very easily to our Latin study.

We have studied Spanish previously in our home, but have recently been introduced to a wonderful new company, Homeschool Spanish Academy (HSA), through the Schoolhouse Review Crew. HSA has brought together the study of Spanish with the world of Skype. Students are actually taught, one-on-one, with a native speaking Spanish instructor from Central America, via Skype! One of the pitfalls to studying a foreign language at home, or even in a traditional school setting, is that you are learning the pronunciations and conversations yourself or by someone who was taught that language as a second language. Much like learning a trade from a textbook and expecting to find on-the-job work to be anything like the book, learning a foreign language cannot be adequately learned without full immersion

Homeschool Spanish Academy does this and does it well. Watch the following video for a bit more info.

It's easy to get started, with HSA's technical support literally walking you the set up. You can watch a quick video of the process. Once you are all set up, you're ready to go. You schedule your first lesson and you, or your child, are on your way to learn Spanish. The lessons are timed and are 25min for early learners or 50min for students middle school-adult. The lessons & homework assignments are sent via email for your student to review, as well as being visualized through the lesson on Skype. The homework can be completed and sent to the instructor for grading via email, too. It's that simple. Here's a video of a sample lesson:
The courses can be half a semester (7 lessons) or a full semester (14) and can be scheduled at your convenience. That's really nice. We are so busy all the time, yet we have been able to fit them in. The price ranges from $59.99 to $314.99. You can view single pricing below, and there is also the option to have two-on-one for 2 students. You can view that on HSA's website.
What we thought? As I wrote above, this concept is wonderful. It's "why didn't I think of that", lol. You can actually read the history of the company here, it's interesting. I like that it was super easy to set up and HSA is customer friendly, too. That's a really nice touch. As for the lessons? We set this up with my daughter. She has taken some Spanish before, but not extensively. At music camp last year, her roommate was from Guatemala, and as it turns out, her instructor is, too : ^ ) She was excited to be learning from a native Spanish instructor. Her first lesson went great. She interacted well with the instructor and was smiling when she was done. Everything went smooth with no glitches in Skype or technology. Her instructor was pleasant and personable. This was great for my daughter! 

We scheduled the second lesson with, who I thought was her instructor, but when the day came, it wasn't. I had originally scheduled the first lesson with her, but somewhere it was changed to the instructor we had. The second lesson didn't go as smoothly. There were major issues with Skype, though I am not certain if it was us or the instructor, but I thought the instructor. We tried for several minutes to correct it, but nothing was working on our end. My daughter couldn't hear the lesson well, it was very broken up. And the instructor - was not the right one for my daughter. She did not end smiling and was actually upset. But we pressed forward and for the third and fourth lesson I ensured it was with her first instructor. Both of those lessons went well with no technology issues and smiles and laughter throughout. My daughter really likes it and we are considering purchasing lessons on top of those given free for this review.

I think this is a wonderful program and think you will, too. You can actually try it out for free. It's a great way to see if it'll work for you and your family.
Photobucket
Disclaimer: I received these lessons free as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew  with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after . For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
 
 
Picture
Learning Latin has often been deemed as "difficult" or "impossible" simply because it is a language that existed so long ago. However, it is the root of the romantic languages and is actually really interesting to learn. Classical Academic Press (CAP) has created a line of curriculum that introduces students to this classical language by showing how Latin is around us in so many different ways and offering students an engaging format to that teaches grammar and culture.

As a member of the TOS Crew, we received CAP's Latin Alive! bundle. This includes the Latin Alive! book 1, book 1 Teacher's Edition, and a DVD/CD set. This curriculum is geared for junior high and high school aged students. There are no prerequisites to this level, either, though CAP does offer earlier levels.

Who Is Classical Academic Press: I could go on and on and tell you about CAP. But below is a video created by them that tells who they are very well. You can also go to their website and read more.
Their motto is Classical Subjects: Creatively Taught.
What is Latin Alive!: Latin Alive! is a curriculum which offers 3 levels that can span over a 3 year period. We received bundle 1. Each level builds upon the first and is written by Latin instructors. Level 1 is an introduction to Latin that focuses on grammar and an understanding of the language, as well as culture and Roman mythology. From their website, Level 1 Latin Alive! is:
Picture
  • "Thirty six weekly chapters including twenty nine new content chapters and seven review, “reading” chapters.
  • Pronunciation Guides * Weekly introduction of vocabulary
  • Thorough grammar explanations including all five noun declensions and cases, all verb conjugations, irregular verbs, various pronouns, adjectives and adverbs
  • United States state seals and their Latin mottos
  • Extensive study of the Latin derivatives of English words
  • Substantial Latin readings and translation exercises
  • Lessons and stories of Roman culture, myths and history
  • Exercises and questions to prepare students for the National Latin Exam and the Advanced Placement Exam" (this is a REALLY good point)
  • "Includes historical contributions from Christopher Schlect, historian and Academic Dean at New Saint Andrews College, Moscow, ID
  • Teacher’s Materials including answer keys, teacher’s helps and additional activities available separately"

The DVD that comes with this bundle offers weekly lessons that average 30 minutes each. These lessons offer a personal education by Karen Moore. The student can hear and see the language come alive. This is a wonderful asset to have when learning a language. The CD is a take-along resource that your student can listen to anywhere! You can watch a sample of the DVD below.

What We Thought: Latin has always been a language that I wanted to learn in school so I was excited to receive Latin Alive!. My daughter has a great interest in it also, partly because of the historical aspects of it. Latin Alive! has allowed both of us to learn Latin. We have enjoyed the cultural and historical lessons, too. It always intrigues me to learn about ancient civilizations. We can never imagine living like they did, but to learn about them and their culture helps bring the idea a little closer.

How To Purchase: You can buy the Latin Alive! 1 bundle for $139.95. You can also purchase the individual items here. Classical Academic Press also has programs for younger students, teachers, and logic, Bible, & Poetry. You can see all of their curriculum here.

You can read additional reviews of Latin Alive! as well as the Song School Latin and Latin for Children at the TOS Crew's website.

And remember: I received these products free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with sole purpose to provide an honest review after using them. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
Photobucket