Homeschool Moms’ Feedback on Excelerate SPANISH!

Now that the very first users of the Excelerate SPANISH program are wrapping up their school year, the feedback is beginning to come in!  I’m excited to share it with you, and I hope that the comments of these moms will help to answer some of your own questions.

“We have loved the program.  My children seem to retain most of what they hear in the Lessons and Dramas.  (Two of them are Drama nuts and really enjoy the skits).  My middle child is forever trying to come up with words that stump me, and sometimes he succeeds!  I love that you use a larger Spanish vocabulary that was used when I began Spanish 1 back in middle school and high school.  My 5th grader has managed to keep up with most of the workbook exercises, although sometimes I tell him he doesn’t need to do all the written translation activities, if I can hear him verbally translate.  It is good to hear them WANTING to translate the silly sentences.  Rather than the goofy sentences I had to translate back in school.  ‘Me llamo Roberta.  ¿Dónde está el gato?’

They all love the lessons and have all picked out “favorite lessons” ahead, based on lesson titles.  They were quite sad to hear we were putting away the Spanish books for the year.  But don’t worry, we will be picking them back up in July as we cruise forward in our next school year.

We really don’t have any negative criticisms about the program, I have recommended it to anyone and everyone who has voiced a need for a Spanish Curriculum.  I like how you teach the verb tenses, but I also know my 5th grader doesn’t really get the point of such exercises.  He does them, but doesn’t see the need.  Keep in mind, this is the same child who doesn’t see the need for soap in the shower…  (Just keeping it real!)…

My daughter will finish the book next year for her Spanish 1 requirement for high school.  And we both hope that there will be an Excelerate Spanish 2 in the near future.  After using the Excelerate Spanish curriculum, nothing else seems like a good fit for my kinesthetic family.  I fully intend to repeat the course for my boys once they hit high school as I am a huge fan of repetition being an excellent teacher!

Thank you for demonstrating your desire to keep your curriculum up to higher standards, by constantly looking for ways to improve it.”

-Bobbey S. in NC

“Are you going to have a next level of your Spanish course?  We absolutely love your program and would very much like to stick with you if you are doing it… I have never had so many conversations about about worms and hooks and eating worms!… We have boys 10, 12, and 14 and us adults listening to your program and we are all learning, like it or not (the boys crack up because their father will stand in the kitchen silently watching when he thinks no one is paying attention!)… Thanks for such a fantastic program!”

-Jodi O. of NC

“Our co-op class really enjoyed the Spanish class through Excelerate Spanish… We have nearly completed the book.  The children and I have had so much fun in this class… For homework, the children would write silly sentences or silly stories and they enjoyed this.  Often, they illustrated their stories and I would read some in class.”

-Jackie L. of NC

“I Love , Love, love this curriculum!!! I can’t say enough about how amazing it is, except to say Caryn, you got it right!!! Are you working on curriculum for any other languages? Latin??? 😉  Thank you for your work in putting this curriculum together!!!

You ABSOLUTELY have my permission to use my name and comments. I plan to begin singing your praises from the mountain tops!!! This is better than Rosetta Stone and so much more affordable!!  I will continue to keep my eyes out for your other works in years to come!!!”

-Sandi G. of NC

I hope to post additional comments soon.  In the meantime, please check out these Excelerate SPANISH reviews from homeschool bloggers.  Also, if you haven’t already grabbed your new 2014 Annual Print edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, please do.  I’m pleased to relate that Excelerate SPANISH received positive mention in two separate articles!

Feedback on Excelerate SPANISH in TOS!

If you used Excelerate SPANISH this year, would you please take a moment to contact me with your feedback?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, and suggestions!

 

 

Part 1: Can Excelerate SPANISH be used for Spanish I? Homeschool Moms Want to Know

As the author of Excelerate SPANISH, I’d like to say, first of all, that teaching high school Spanish is what I did professionally for ten years.  I’ve seen what works… and I’ve seen what doesn’t.  When I started homeschooling my own children in 2003, it was fun trying out several foreign language curricula that were popular among homeschoolers.  Some were pleasant enough– even downright cute– but we made very little headway with them.  Others bored or frustrated us.  Enter my experimentation phase!

Over the summer of 2007, I researched harder than ever for solutions.  That fall, I offered a Total Physical Response (TPR) Spanish class to the local homeschool community.  What we found over the course of that school year was that students who used TPR felt confident and successful.  I had never seen such smiley foreign language students!  The following year, most of them came back for more, but they also seemed to be itching to do more.  Enter the story phase!

When my group of (mostly) high school boys were given a lesson that employed both TPR and storytelling/dramatization, they beamed with satisfaction and rewarded me by speaking in paragraphs!  Though I didn’t realize it at the time, we were actually employing Charlotte Mason‘s idea of “narration” in our foreign language study.

Children learning from parents

The students were using whole language to express what they had seen and heard.  And they did so in ways that were neither contrived nor merely memorized, but spontaneous, accurate, and totally internalized.  Finally, the perfect fit.

After a happy, productive year of unprecedented results in my private classes, I began to feel badly for students and teachers all across America who were struggling– and suffering– their way through dry, rote, ineffective foreign language programs.  If only there were a way I could videotape our lessons and make them available to others, I thought.

The first step towards making this vision a reality was writing an original curriculum based upon the sound teaching principles I had discovered to work best.  To be efficient, it would have to feature high-frequency expressions (those used most often by native Spanish speakers).  To be compelling, the material would have to appeal to the students in personal ways and through interesting and varied contexts.  To enhance retention, lessons would need to capitalize on our human traits of empathy, appreciation for humor, etc.  I believe that Excelerate SPANISH balances these needs and interests adeptly.

caryn close-upA terrible candid shot of the author, caught working during a child’s birthday party! 🙂

The second step was piloting the lessons with real students, revising, etc.  The addition of a preface explains the approach, provides some instruction for co-op teachers/tutors, and gives homeschool parents and students ideas for homework assignments, review activities, and more.  A coordinating workbook provides additional practice opportunities.  The answer key takes all of the guesswork out of the equation for homeschool parents who don’t speak the language.

excelerate-spanish-review

Next, I hired professional videographer Jeremy Russell to record each of the 24 lessons in the Excelerate SPANISH lesson book.  I gathered a nice group of volunteer subjects (most of whom had had little to no previous exposure to Spanish), and the taping began.  We were amazed at how smoothly it all went!  For, though I absolutely created this program for high school students, the video class was composed of multiple ages, with students ranging in age from 7 to 17– and they all got it.  Since the language is taught using brain-friendly methods, and because the process mirrors early language acquisition, it simply works better for most age groups.  I think you’ll see that in the faces of the video students.  You’ll see it in the ear-to-ear grins of the younger (perhaps less self-conscious) kiddos in the videos.  And you’ll see it in the mature and composed demeanor (sometimes referred to as “too cool for school”) in the middle and high school students.

Excelerate lesson 9

Smiling and Successful!

I am pleased to relate that private tutors and co-op teachers in multiple states are now enjoying– and reporting– the same success using the Excelerate SPANISH books in their live classes that we have enjoyed in ours.  I am happy to provide training and support for parents and teachers who would like to use Excelerate to teach the material themselves, without using the lesson videos.  But I believe that my main goal, the goal of offering a kinder, gentler, “golden rule” way of teaching Spanish to anyone, anywhere, has been uniquely realized in the production of the DVD lessons.  I invite you to “transport” your student(s) to my quaint and quirky schoolroom– vicariously, that is– to join us.  At your convenience, on your schedule, and from the comfort of your living room.

Accelerate Acquisition.

Unleash Creativity.

Promote Excellence.

Discover the Power of Story.

Excelerate Spanish

90 DAY GUARANTEE Love it or your money back!

90 DAY GUARANTEE
Love it or your money back!

 

Please Come to the Heart for Home School Conference this Weekend!

Please register today for the conference this weekend, February 7th and 8th!  I hope to see you there!  (Psst… I have it on good authority that you may register online through Friday morning, and attendees will not be turned away at the door… but please do pre-register!)

13th Annual Winter Conference

Heart for Home School Ministries, Inc.

www.heartforhomeschool.org

“Firm Foundation”

 Friday, February 7, 2014                       Saturday, February 8, 2014

Registration – 6 pm                                                  Registration – 8 am

Workshops – 6:30-9                                     Workshops – 8:30-3pm

Church of the Holy Cross

2301 W. Millbrook Rd.

Raleigh, NC 27612

Keynote Speakers

James and Tanya Dickens

Greensboro, NC

 

Other Speakers

Angela and Torino Armstrong                    Lamar Melson & Shanette Jones

Janice Campbell                                            Sharon Puryear

Anna Cunningham                                          Lynne M. Taylor

Lyndon Hall                                                    Deborah Watkins

Sharon Henderson                                        Mari Fitz-Wynn

Beth Herbert

www.heartforhomeschool.org

www.heartforhomeschool.org

Cost

Includes Kid’s Track programs (K-9th), lunch, handouts

Full Conference:

Individual       $20

Family                         $30

Single Day:

Individual       $15

Family             $25

Limited number of scholarships available

Support Groups with 5 or more attendees can become eligible for discounts.

Be sure to mention when pre-registering.

 

Pre-registration

**No at the door registration**

Pre -registration ends midnight, Feb 5, 2014 (this has been changed; you now may register through Friday morning!)

 

www.heartforhomeschool.org  click on “Events”

Use Pay Pal option or pay at the door

OR

Call 919-872-2782

Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook, too! www.facebook.com/hfhsministries

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Children’s Workshop Track
for
students grades K-8

NC Museum of Natural History presents
From the Mountain to the Sea
Grades K-8
Come travel our great state with us as we discover the diverse geography, history, economy, traditions, and culture. Join us as we visit the Mountain region where the difficult terrain was once the homes of the American Indians and t hardy settlers. We’ll discover the traditions, and industry of this part of N.C. We’ll learn how the invention of the railroad connected the Mountains to the rest of the state. Then we’ll travel to the Piedmont and learn about the farming and manufacturing that helped to make it the center of North Carolina’s government. We’ll conclude our journey with the Coastal region where we’ll learn about the Lost Colony, lighthouses, and the exciting lives of the pirates!

www.heartforhomeschool.org

Mari Fitz-Wynn Mari Fitz-Wynn, Founder, Heart for Home School Ministries