Posted in Resources, Reviews

Spanish for You! – Review and Freebies

SFY-logoDebbie Annett is the creator of Spanish for You! She has been teaching Spanish to students in Kindergarten through high school for 14 years, and developed her own curriculum because she saw a need for:

  • flexibility and the ability to work at your own pace
  • something that provided the ability to accomplish a lot of learning without a big outlay of funds
  • something easy to use for schools or students
  • an audio of the entire textbook in Spanish (not just parts)
  • the ability to place students at their grade level
  • something that’s fun, easy and effective, and can be used even if the teacher and/or student don’t already know Spanish.

SFYI received the entire Spanish for You! Fiestas (Celebrations) package for Grades 3-8, as part of the Mosaic Reviews team, in exchange for an honest review 🙂 I used the Fiestas Lesson Guide for Grades 3-4 to teach my 9 year old daughter.

Each book (Gr 3-4, Gr 5-6, Gr 7-8) has 5 lessons, which are each designed to be worked through over several weeks. Weeks are set up with 4 days, but you can go at your own pace, slower or faster. They are set up for between 24-30 weeks so they take you through an entire school year with breaks. In each lesson, learn vocabulary and commands (ie “make” the pizza), and then verb conjugation and usage, and grammar, and put it all together. Speaking, reading, writing skills and grammar knowledge are all included so you can build a base and your child can go on to high school Spanish instruction.

Every Spanish for You! package comes with a soft cover textbook (I received a PDF version for review purposes), the lesson guides for the grades you order (the full package includes Gr 3-8), self-checking worksheets (PDF download), two audio files (MP3 download – both recordings of the entire book, one is Debbie Annett herself, a non-native speaker and the other is a native speaker from Mexico), activity pictures of all the vocabulary in the book (PDF download – for making flash cards and other activities). Within the lesson guide there are many activities that can be used in a classroom, and Debbie herself uses them in a homeschool co-op weekly. The worksheets are designed as “self-checking”, so students can make their own corrections. You can do the included activities and games altogether as a family, while following the individual lesson plans for the different grades. More games & activities are available free on the Spanish for You! website. We enjoyed learning about Spanish cultural celebrations such as The Day of the Dead through the Fiestas theme.

Debbie recommends the following materials to use with the curriculum:

  • coloured card stock
  • scissors and glue stick
  • dry erase squares and dry erase markers (You can buy posters with dry erase sides and cut them into large squares for the kids to use.)
  • index cards (cut them in half to get more mileage out of a package.)
  • dice
  • Bingo markers – items to mark Bingo cards – you can use dry macaroni, paper squares, buttons, paper clips, whatever

You can see for yourself what Spanish For You is like, with these freebies: Free Mini-Lessons and Free Worksheets. And you can visit the Spanish for You! Blog for more great ideas for teaching Spanish, including some great ideas for using flash cards, and not as boring old rote memorization 🙂

SFY-EstacionesYou can choose to purchase the Gr 3-4, 5-6, or 7-8 package Travelsor the full Gr 3-8 package of either the Fiestas (Celebrations) or the Estaciones (Seasons), in full program or the 4-6 week trial of the new, Viajes (Travels). Prices range from $9.99 to $64.95 US. Teacher lesson plans for the classroom are also available, so far for the Fiestas theme only, for $12.95 – $14.95 US. Visit the Spanish for You! website for all your purchasing options.

Love, Luck &


Posted in Resources, Reviews

A R.E.A.L. Fantastic Spanish Curriculum for the Whole Family & Freebies! – Review

Photobucket**This curriculum no longer exists. Go to for an alternative.

Homeschool Spanish was designed by a homeschooling mother, Dr. Karyn Williamson-Coria, with 23 years’ experience teaching foreign languages at the high school and university level.  She developed Homeschool Spanish because she was frustrated that everything out there was geared towards the schoolroom, and she wanted to help homeschoolers incorporate language into their daily routine about the house.  For the past 6 weeks, our family has been enjoying Homeschool Spanish which we received in exchange for an honest review 🙂


Homeschool Spanish consists of:

  • a main Book (download version includes both colour and black & white versions)
  • Activity Book
  • Answer Book
  • Audio Files
  • Daily Curriculum Guide

The Book contains 10 units – each designed to be completed over the course of 4 weeks.  Unit One begins with standard greetings and asking “how are you”.  Unit Two covers colours, numbers, and telling time.  Grammar lessons are introduced in Unit Three.   Each Unit in the Book includes printed Vocabulary and Phrases, which can be listened to with the Audio Files. For the FIRST time in our experience with a foreign language product, the audio actually gives you enough time to repeat after them, hallelujah!  I also like that the English is stated first, then the Spanish, so when you repeat after the speaker, you know what you’re saying!  “Tips to the Home Educator” are also included in the Book with every Vocabulary list, and each Unit concludes with over a dozen “Ideas”.

The Activity Book includes word scrambles, crossword puzzles, word searches, cryptograms, fill-in-the-blanks, and more to coincide with each Unit.  The Daily Curriculum Guide is fantastic – it includes not only assignments in the curriculum for each day, but also fleshes it out with websites, trips to the library, drawing, and more.  And no more sitting with the curriculum in front of you trying to figure out where to start and how on earth to break it down each day!

We haven’t quite completed Unit Two yet, but my 7 year old and my 12 year old were equally comfortable with the curriculum.  We are having a lot of fun with it!  One of my children’s favourite activites has been singing – there are a number of suggestions in the Tips to Home Educators.  One tip in Unit Two is to sing:

Uno, dos, tres amigos
Quatro, cinco, seis amigos
Siete, ocho, neuve amigos
Diez amigos son.

My children decided to take it a step further and bounce a ball while they sing it, then they compete with each other to see who can bounce the ball to the beat and sing the fastest 🙂

Homeschool Spanish is designed for all ages – for the whole family to enjoy.  They do have a high school supplement coming soon, so stay tuned – I’m looking forward to it!

Freebies:  For free samples of each part of the curriculum, click HERE.  They also have a wealth of web links that include tools and fun ways to help with Spanish, as well as learning about Spanish culture on the Free Culture Links page.  You could also win a free Spanish book or Spanish-related gift in their bi-monthly giveaway – click HERE for more information.

The Homeschool Spanish curriculum is available at their e-store for $59.95 US in download form for the entire one-year curriculum package or $99.95 US for the hard copy (only available for shipping to the US, and shipping is free).  You can also opt to omit the Daily Curriculum Guide for $10.00 less.

Love, Luck &

Posted in Resources, Reviews

MindSnacks Language Apps!

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing MindSnacks Spanish.  The whole family loved it!  It’s an app for iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.  We used it on our 2-year-old iPod touch 🙂  It’s available in a number of languages, including French.

Read my complete review at the SMATOOS: The Smart Learning Guide Website

After you’ve read my review, search for “MindSnacks” on the App Store, download the free app for the language you’re learning and give it a test drive!

Love, Luck &

Posted in Resources, Reviews

A Canadian French Curriculum – The Easy French – Review

Photobucket Great Commission Languages was formed by The Sherwoods, a homeschooling family in Saskatchewan, in 2004.  We love languages in our homeschool and about two weeks ago, we were happy to receive Level IA of The Easy French/Le Francais Facile! in exchange for an honest review 🙂

Great Commission Languages - Easy French Level 1A Level IA consists of 18 lessons, suitable for either a half-year or year’s study.  Two CD’s come with it: a Textbook Solutions CD and an Audio Track CD.   This curriculum is geared for about Gr. 7 level and up.  However, we included my Gr. 3 level daughter in the lessons with my Gr. 8 level son.

The answers on the Textbooks Solutions CD can be printed out for marking ease.  The Audio Track CD includes the dialogues, phonograms, vocabulary, scriptures, and songs from the curriculum, all done by native French speakers, in an International French accent (the easiest accent to understand, and used in various parts of France and Canada). 

As with many language CDs we’ve used in our homeschool, I find it frustrating that there is not quite enough time between vocabulary words for the student to repeat after the CD, something I think is important for learning correct pronunciation. The optional test booklet includes a test for each Lesson and there is also a test answers book.  The French Phonogram Cards help the student focus on each of the sounds in the French language.

Without having progressed beyond Lesson 2, my first impression is that it would be helpful for students to have been exposed to some French or had some French instruction before beginning with Level IA.  There is a LOT of vocabulary and various grammar concepts thrown at the student right from the get-go in the first lesson.  Luckily, my children have had some previous Latin and French instruction 🙂 

My daughter has very much enjoyed colouring the pictures, as well as copying the scriptures on the scroll pages and decorating them.  My son can easily work through this on his own, especially with the handy chart included in each lesson breaking down what to cover each day, Monday to Friday.  However, I do enjoy brushing up on my French with my children.  I like the dialogue stories, intermixed with French and English which are included in each lesson, which immerses the student in the French language.  I also like the inclusion of French cultural information – there are facts about the French culture here in Quebec, as well as in France.  And at the back of the book are recipes – another great way to immerse your homeschool in the French culture (and something we love to do)! 

Every other lesson, there is a new Bible memory verse included.  Great Commission Languages believes that French is THE language to learn for those who want to do mission trips, as many of the areas who need to be reached out to and extended a helping hand have a French-speaking population.  This resonates with our family in particular, as we plan to go on a mission trip in the not too distant future.  However, you can easily omit the scriptures if you wish.

My son and daughter don’t seem to be having any difficulty with The Easy French.  We plan to keep using this very complete French curriculum.  Since we haven’t progressed very far yet, having had the curriculum for such a short time due to a shipping snafu, I will be sharing in future on my blog how my children have progressed, and whether we decide to move on to Level IB!

Sign up for the Great Commission Languages e-newsletter for some great resources, tips, bonus material, and giveaways on their website.  For sample lessons and a video overview, click HERE.  There is even a The Easy French Yahoo Group for extra support!  Level 1A is $84.95.  The Test 1A booklet and Test 1A answers booklet are an additional $10.00 each.  The Phonogram cards (usable for all the Level I and II books) are also $10.00 each.  If you find this a bit pricey, you can also buy the complete Level I in a slightly different format, for $139.95 (a savings of about $30.00).   All prices are in Canadian dollars.

Great Commission Languages also has a Junior level available for younger students (about Gr. 3-4 level and up) as well as Level II books, and a Spanish curriculum (The Easy Spanish).

Love, Luck &

Posted in Resources, Reviews

Let’s Learn Spanish With Speekee! Review

My children love languages.  They have enjoyed learning Spanish phrases over the years from our various International students.  I was thrilled to receive a free subscription to Speekee TV online for the last 5 weeks in exchange for an honest review 🙂

Speekee is the  puppet pictured here.  She is featured in Speekee TV and, along with other puppets, is your guide to learning Spanish for children aged 2-10.  There are 10 episodes about 18-20 minutes long each – a perfect length for young children’s attention spans.  Each episode is filmed in Spain with Spanish-speaking children.  You may turn captions on (showing the Spanish & English together on the screen) or off.  My 7 year old found the captions distracting – she couldn’t read them fast enough and wanted me to read them for her while we were watching – we found turning them off was less distracting.  Speekee TV acts as an immersion program – children pick up the words and phrases and what they mean through visuals and repetition.  At first children learn how to say hello and introduce themselves, and then continue to learn all sorts of vocabulary in places like a park, the zoo, a garden, a cafe, the home, etc.  As your children progress through the episodes, they start receiving cute little badges/awards on their screen like this one, below.

PDF downloads to print for each episode include many worksheets, i.e. fill-in-the-blank and circle type-ones.  I am not a fan of worksheets, however there are ones  that I liked, including labelling the body parts in Spanish.  Being a very visual person, I would have liked to have had a PDF of each song.  A transcript of the spoken words in each episode probably would have been useful as well, to review between viewings of Speekee TV.

I think this would be a great 10-week introduction to Spanish for children aged 2-8.  Unfortunately my children took an instant dislike to Speekee.  My 12 year old of course found it was too young for him, but I was surprised that my 7 year old protested watching Speekee TV.  However, I did catch her, music-loving soul that she is, singing the Speekee tunes all around the house, LOL.  **~Feb. 3 – Since watching Speekee ceased being a mandatory thing to do in my daughter’s homeschool workboxes, she’s been clamouring to watch Speekee daily – now she loves Speekee!  I’m not sure why she was so slow to warm up to it, but I sure am glad she loves it now 🙂 **

You can see for yourself  what your children think of Speekee online – sign up for Speekee TV now and get 2 weeks free! Speekee is then available for $7.50 US per month and soon will be offered for $75 US per year.  Speekee TV is also available on DVD, but being from the UK, the DVD’s are formatted differently and are probably not playable in most North American DVD players.

To see how other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew enjoyed Speekee, click HERE.

Love, Luck &

Posted in Free Homeschooling Resources

Free Downloadable Learning Games & Resources!

A big thank you to my fellow TOS Crew-mate, Shannon!  She steered me toward this Educational Freeware Page.  Here you will find links to download programs that will help your children learn languages, including Mandarin, German, French, Spanish, and Swedish ( such as a Tetris-style game), Geography software that will help you learn flags, countries, etc., and games for learning numbers, letters, simple math and reading!  And if you have toddlers too, there are some multi-lingual games for them as well.  Enjoy!