Our school year has been over for a few weeks now so I thought it was time to review some curriculum that we used this year. This is a review of Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and François, Volume 1 by Cherrydale Press.
First, I loved how easy this was to fit into our schedule. Fitting in foreign language has always been difficult for me. It has been something I wanted to do but also, one of the first things to get squeezed out of our schedule when time got tight. Another issue I have had with adding foreign language, has been a disconnect between the language skills required for a particular program and the various skills of our little one room school house. This little book, however, took us about 10 minutes a day. We used it along with our other morning, together work. It was perfect to use with multiple ages.
This is a listening and speaking and acting program. No writing is necessary for those under age 11. It introduces language the way we learn our first language, by listening and then by speaking. Each lesson begins with hearing and repeating some short phrases in English then hearing and repeating how those same phrases would be spoken in Spanish. Acting the phrases out, as they are being spoken, is helpful too. There are some places for recitation, such as reciting Psalm 16:1 in both English and Spanish. My kids also learned simple answers to a few questions in Spanish. Grammar and conjugating are introduced naturally through spoken sentences. It is recommended that after learning to say a series of phrases, students over age 11 should copy the phrases. So for ages 11 and up, this is a hear and say, then read and write program.
I loved that my whole family could do this all together. Since all my kiddos were new to Spanish, this worked for all three of them. It also made a nice little break in our morning work. During morning time we read quite a bit together. I liked that I could use this as transition between reading our history and reading about the life of the artist or composer we were studying. Many times we would stand up, speak, and act out the phrases.
Along with this book, we also watched some familiar cartoons in Spanish. This year we mostly watched Clifford the Big Red Dog on Netflix. On Netflix, you can change the language of many shows. (You can find more information on how here.) It was fun to pick out some words or phrases that we had learned during our lessons.
This coming year, we are going to use this volume again. I hope for us to speak the words throughout our day more often. My oldest two will be hearing and saying, and then reading and writing. We may even write some from dictation. In addition, we will continue to watch cartoons in Spanish and add in some familiar children’s books in Spanish.
This book can be purchased on the Cherrydale website. It is a small hardback book that is non-consumable. It can also be purchased as an Ebook edition. There is a teacher’s guide available, only in the Ebook edition. I did not purchase the teacher’s guide. It states on their website that the teacher’s guide does not give daily lessons, those are in the lesson book, but it does provide ” a road map for how to approach language learning.” Another item that I did not purchase was the MP3 audio files but I would recommend this if you have never studied Spanish since the lesson book does not give any pronunciation information. If you are not interested in Spanish, they also have German and French in the same format.
If you are looking for a low key, conversational way to add a foreign language study to your homeschool year,then I think this book is an excellent choice.