My husband went on his first mission trip this year. He went to the Dominican Republic, and while he was there he fell in love with the people, the culture, the wonder of sharing his faith with so many people that he interacted with each day. He came home, and the first thing he said was how he wanted all of us to learn Spanish so that we could all eventually go and feel comfortable using the language. So, when I received the opportunity to review one of the Spanish Language Courses from Middlebury Interactive Languages, I was excited to be able to try it out with one of my children and see how it added to our growing knowledge of Spanish.
I received a six-month first semester access to the Elementary Spanish I: Grades K-2 course. I picked this course because my husband was already using some resources with my older two children, and I knew that Monkey needed to be able to have a Spanish class on his very own level, and since he’s five years old, I felt this would be the perfect class for him to try.
About the Class
The class that we have been using is divided into twelve different units. Over the course of the class, your student will learn greetings, counting to ten, names for family members, colors, things at school, body parts, animals, calendar words, food, and descriptions (like big, small, happy, sad, etc.). There are also two built-in review units at midterm and the end of the class.
With the exception of the review units, which each have three lessons, the units have six lessons a piece. Most weeks we’re averaging 3-4 lessons, so we’ve just started the fourth unit on colors. The units follow a predictable pattern. Each unit has:
- A story that is told entirely in Spanish
- Activities for word exploration and matching words to pictures
- Speaking labs
- Story related vocabulary and comprehension activities
- Introductions to phrases related to vocabulary words
- A coloring sheet related to Spanish vocabulary
- A video about aspects of cultures or Spanish speaking people
- A worksheet that relates to the children’s cultural learning
- A unit test
These lessons are short (perfect for my five year old’s attention span), and most can be completed in 15 minutes. That’s about perfect for my kindergartener’s attention span.
My Opinion on the Course
This has really been a perfect introduction to Spanish for Monkey. The lessons are short, and there are only a few new vocabulary words in each unit. He also feels a great sense of accomplishment as he completes each lesson. He tells me how he’s going to talk to me in “our secret language” as he says, “Adios!” and runs off.
We often listen to the story videos over and over again, and sometimes all four children crowd around to watch the new story video on a day when there’s a new story or a song video introduced. I have found it helpful to read the English translation of the stories and songs after our first reading to aid in both of our comprehension of the story.
The coloring worksheets are simple, and I might have skipped them, except for the fact that Monkey receives so much pleasure from coloring the pictures that we’ve worked with in his lessons. It always turns into a Spanish vocabulary discussion as we color each piece of the coloring sheet.
He also didn’t find it very easy to navigate between the screens on his own. I agree with him that it’s not that intuitive, so either my ten year old or I have been sitting with him as he does his lesson to remind him when he gets confused. The introduction had a tutorial for him on navigating the lessons, but his attention span is short, so I don’t think he actually absorbed much from it.
However, despite his little navigation issue, I really feel like he’s learning a lot and that he’s enjoying himself as he takes this class. It’s exactly at that five year old level of little, bite-sized lessons with a few new words to practice in each unit. The pictures are colorful and the animated stories and songs are so much fun to watch. I get to hear him giggle often as he finds the funny parts of the videos. It’s really a great program, and it’s about perfect for him right now.