Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spanish For You:Fiestas Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2013 #hsreviews

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        Taylor loves studying foreign languages, Spanish seems to always pop up in conversation, but we have struggled to find a fun easy to follow program, most are dry and that does not hold Taylor's interest. I want him to like Spanish because that is what we are studying for High School starting in the Fall. So I was intrigued when we were offered the opportunity to review Spanish for You!  We had the two options to choose from Fiestas (celebrations) and Estaciones(seasons), you see Spanish for You! is different than other Spanish programs available as they are not separated by grade level they are defined by themes! We love a great party so of course we picked Fiestas. Our choice focuses on celebrations like Birthdays and Day of the Dead and so much more. There is also a 3rd choice that is available in a trial form for 4-6 weeks with the final product coming out in June, this will focus on Travel. 

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Geared for students in grades 3-8, Taylor falls in the top of this age range as he is just finishing 8th grade. The other plus with this program is that it is suited to teach multiple age ranges at once. Now obviously I did not use that option since I only had Taylor using it, but I know many families that would personally benefit from this aspect. In our package of Fiestas we received soft cover book, and multiple downloadable items, like worksheets, answer keys, audio files and lesson guides. The complete package sells for $64.95 and includes all items needed for all age groups and are separated as 3-4,5-6,7-8, if you only needed a specific age range you can purchase those individually for $34.95. Had I been buying it myself I would have gone that route to be economical since I do not have any more kids that will be utilizing this program in the future. You also have the option to purchase additional soft cover books for $12.95, the lesson guides, worksheets and audio are all downloaded content. 

This is designed as a full year program using it as scheduled 4 days per week, there is wiggle room to do a bit less and use it only 3 days per week and just adjust the schedule. Although you still have to work in order to have positive results. The lesson guides are broken down into weeks, 24 weeks for our grade range of 7-8 and this also applied to 5-6 but for younger kids in 3-4 this would run 30 weeks. The weekly lessons are then broken down into 4 lessons per week.

Each day we Taylor started out by listening to the audio file for the days work. He then practiced and recited the words over and over. He then wrote the English word and it's translation out in a notebook. He then moved onto making them into flashcards so he could study them upstairs. After this he preceded to complete the worksheets. These are considered self checking, I find this does not work with Taylor is too tempted to peek at the answers, so I printed them with the answers on a separate sheet, this seemed to work better. I printed only a weeks worth out a time to avoid confusion as they are not labeled with page numbers and this could lead to frustration for both Taylor and I. There are just the Spanish Title at the top of the worksheets, it is not too complicated but might get overwhelming if you had more than a few to deal with. I thought about it after the fact and if you printed them all out at once, which by the way is not an easy process as each one has to be printed at a time, there is no easy button to just set it to print the whole workbook at once, you could 3-hole punch them and put them in a binder in order and maybe make a separate one for the answer key. I ended up in the end using the answer key to check them instead of having Taylor self check them. This worked better for us, as it was just too tempting for Taylor. He tend to look for the easy way out when he is tired or frustrated. I just wanted to remove the temptation all together. The other fun component is the games that help enforce what is being taught, Taylor would have probably had more fun with this if his brothers were using the same program, he did play a few with Nick who has taken several years of Spanish already but nonetheless if he had younger siblings that were using the same program it may have been more fun. 

Another highlight to note are that there are translations that go in both directions, English to Spanish and Spanish to English. All in all Taylor truly is enjoying this program and is eager to continue on with it and finish it. We are planning a big Fiesta when he finishes the lessons. He is going to choose which Fiesta he wants to showcase for the family, but I have a feeling he is leaning towards the Day of the Dead. He has always been fascinated with that occasion and loves make sugar skulls. 
In closing if you are looking for a fun themed based Spanish unit that has all the components you need then this program is definitely something you should pursue. You can see samples of both Fiestas and Estaciones to get a better feel for the program. The minor inconveniences in no way would sway me from not using the program, they are just that minor inconveniences and do not impair the ability to use the program in the least. My son has truly embraced Spanish with this program and I love that he is incorporating it into his everyday learning. I just hope his love of Spanish continues when we get to High School Spanish. I wish Spanish for You! offered higher level learning, I know we would be purchasing it for sure. I also highly recommend this programming for those of you that have multiple ages you are trying to teach as you use the same text book for all ages the only difference is the worksheets, this would be so much fun to teach to multiple students in different age ranges, I could see where it would be so enjoyable to play the games and talk to each other and practice between siblings. 
As always you can see what the other crew members had to say about Spanish for You! by clicking the banner below.


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