Thursday, August 29, 2013

Homeschool Spanish Academy (Schoolhouse Review)

Homeschool Sapnish Academy
Foreign languages are one of the hardest subjects to teach at home. There are many books, videos and computer programs that teach languages, but conversation is really an important part of really learning the language. I am fortunate to have had 4 years of high school Spanish. It’s quite rusty by now, but I still remember quite a bit—certainly enough to help Emily with the different curricula we’ve tried and to carry on very simple conversations. However, I am not fluent, and am certainly not a native speaker. Teaching Spanish would be even harder for a parent who was unfamiliar with the language.
The founders of  Homeschool Spanish Academy had a brilliant idea! Matching up native Spanish speakers with homeschooled students for lessons through Skype.  We were blessed to be able to try this out last year (see review) and have just had another 7 weeks of lessons ($104.99 for half semester).
I think that the class fees are very reasonable. This is the pricing for the Middle School Program that Emily used. Other age level fees are similar.
One-On-One Pricing
Signing up for the class was fairly easy, and there were helpful videos to explain the process if I had trouble. I was able to choose the teacher and the class time and had the option of choosing the same day and time each week or scheduling each lesson individually. I chose the individual option, just to ensure that the lesson wouldn’t interfere with something else that came up that week. I also scheduled them about every 5 days instead of 7 so that I could get in more lessons before the review due date. I enjoyed being able to read the teachers’ bio’s. That feature was new since last year. I noted that they are all well qualified, many with bachelor’s degrees in education or languages.
About an hour prior to Emily’s first lesson, I received a phone call from a member of  the tech. staff. We chatted a bit about my expectations for the classes and Emily’s prior experience. Then he helped me set up Skype so that we would be ready to go.
Emily’s first class started out with an assessment and review of what she had studied last year. Her teacher, Elda, was very friendly, and they chatted together as they went over the material. Elda had a great sense of humor and Emily giggled quite a bit as she took her lesson. Each lesson had a different topic—adjectives, professions, numbers, and so on.
Emily studied with Elda for several weeks until Elda took a break for maternity leave. Then she tried out a couple of other teachers. They were all very good.

Shortly after each lesson, we were able to log onto the website to download Emily’s homework for the week. The homework consisted of fun bright pages that she had already gone over with her teacher in class. We saved her work to our computer, then uploaded it to the site for the teacher to look at before the next lesson.
homework pages
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If you are looking for instruction in Spanish, I highly recommend Homeschool Spanish Academy, either as a stand-alone program or as a supplement to a more traditional program. The teachers are well trained and fun to work with and the private tutoring experience is hard to beat. Emily developed more confidence in her Spanish abilities and I hope to be able to continue with her lessons at Homeschool Spanish Academy.
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I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

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