Spanish School Curriculms – Frequently Asked Questions
In what grade level curriculum do I begin my child if I use Spanish for You!?
You can choose any Spanish for You! themed curriculum package in the grade level of your child. The Spanish for You! grade levels indicate the student’s grade level in school, not Spanish experience. They indicate that HOW the material is taught is appropriate for children of that age/grade. Students progress the more Spanish for You! themed courses they complete.
What “kind” of Spanish does Spanish for You! teach? (answer from the author)
Many parents and students ask me – What kind of Spanish are we learning…Mexican Spanish, Spain Spanish, Colombian Spanish, etc? What I tell them is that Spanish for You! is what I call “middle of the road” Spanish. It is not tailored to any specific country, but rather provides the formal structure of the language so as to begin preparing students for communicating with Spanish speakers from Spain and Latin America.
A good comparison would be when people learn English. We would all agree that the structure of the English language is the same across all countries where it is spoken, i.e. U.S., England, Ireland, etc. But, certain vocabulary can vary as well as pronunciation and slang. As a student learns a new language, he/she begins to pick up any vocabulary variances and pronunciation specific to those people he/she is around most that speak the language. A vocabulary difference example might be: el carro or el coche = car in Mexico, el coche = car in Spain. So, with Spanish for You!, the vocabulary taught, about 90% or more would be universal, that is usable in any Spanish speaking country.
What is the difference between Spain Spanish, Mexican Spanish, or Spanish from any other country?
Essentially the difference is like comparing English spoken in the United States to England or another English speaking country. It is the same language, but pronunciation, slang, and some vocabulary are different. For example, in Spain the word for “car” is “el coche”. In Mexico it is “el carro”.
How long does it take for students to master verb conjugations?
When students use Spanish for You! for the first time, they usually need about 3-4 weeks going at the pace of the curriculum to start feeling some expertise with the verb conjugations. By the time they are half way through, most students are quite proficient. Grades 3-4 students, however, may need longer. By the time they finish their first themed package, students at these grade levels master the “I” and “we” verb forms and are developing proficiency with the other forms. Once they get into their second themed package, their expertise quickly develops.
How is the Spanish for You! curriculum different from others?
Spanish for You! is designed in school year long themed courses. Rather than complete levels, students build skill and knowledge the more themes they complete. This design allows you to choose the theme each year that interests you because they can be done in any order.
Also, students who are new to Spanish and those returning to continue with Spanish for You! can learn together. The returning students continue to progress while new students are seamlessly integrated!
Why is Spanish for You! so inexpensive?
It it our belief at Spanish for You! that quality learning can be accomplished through steady work over time with engaging, well presented material, and DOES NOT have to cost a lot. Spanish for You! is designed to provide students with purposeful practice that engages them in their learning without relying on materials that are more costly because they are hyped up to look nice in order to market well. We believe that it does not take a lot of money to educate well. It takes knowing how to teach the subject through a curriculum that guides students and parents as if an experienced teacher is there working with them.
Why make so many flashcards?
The mere process of making the flashcards actually helps students to begin learning new vocabulary without sitting and memorizing. With Spanish for You! your child will make flashcards that will be used for various activities over the course of using the curriculum. They are simple, easy, inexpensive materials that can be used in many ways to learn.
Why are there 2 audios provided with each Spanish for You! curriculum package?
The first audio is of the entire book and features my voice (author). I like to record an audio because I think that for some students it helps them to hear things a little more slowly and enunciated before moving on to hearing a native speaker. And, I just like doing it!
A second audio is provided of the entire book, but features a Spanish speaker from Mexico. This allows students the opportunity to hear a native accent and become accustomed to it. However, please note that Spanish accents vary greatly from country to country. So, really, the most important thing is for students to continue to practice and study Spanish over many years to develop their ability to understand and speak with Spanish speakers in a variety of countries.
Why should my child begin learning a foreign language prior to high school?
Children are uniquely able to acquire language in a more natural way than adults. They possess a greater ability, especially prior to age 10, to hear sound intonations, imitate sound, incorporate language structure, and learn vocabulary. Also, they are often less inhibited in participating in language learning. The earlier a child begins to learn a language, the greater possibility he or she will become a fluent user of that language.
At what age should my child begin?
The younger the better. Children possess the unique ability to absorb language; however don’t fret if your child is older. Any age is a good age. Through steady plodding over time, your child will learn Spanish. You just need to be patient and know it will take several years. The goal is that your child becomes a fluent adult speaker.
My child has had Spanish for several years and still is not fluent, why? (our author’s answer)
Good question. From my own experience, beginning Spanish at age 14, I took 4 years of high school Spanish and then majored in Spanish in college. As a senior in college I went to Spain for a semester. When I arrived I barely understood anything, even though my professors had been teaching all my classes in Spanish which I understood. Well, that is because everyday language is much different than classroom language where a teacher is speaking about subject matter students are working on and often is speaking in a way that helps students understand. Once you get into the real world it takes a lot of further work to reach that fluent speaking level. THIS IS NORMAL! So, keep your child learning Spanish, and at some point in the future either enroll him/her in a study abroad program OR in an immersion program where he/she can intensively practice the spoken language on a daily basis.
What things can I do to help my child speak and understand Spanish?
You can begin using the Spanish for You! curriculum. The curriculum is designed to gently bring students into the language through listening, reading, speaking, and writing. As you use the curriculum, you may want to tune into radio and TV stations in Spanish, or play your child’s videos in Spanish. They will not understand much at first, but over time they will slowly pick up more words and phrases. What you are trying to do is train their ear to the language to become more comfortable with it. Do not force too much time doing this – even short chunks of time on a regular basis (15-30 minutes) each time can really help. Also, look for audio books in Spanish at your local library, bookstore, or from an on-line source.
How does language learning work?
There are 2 elements, in a sense, to learning a language – receptive language and expressive language. Listening and reading are receptive. We receive the language, take it in, process it, and try to understand it. Speaking and writing are expressive. ONCE WE UNDERSTAND, we begin to express ourselves. So, whenever learning a language, remember that even though students may not be producing much spoken or written language, they are still taking it in. As they begin to understand they begin to spit it out! Just like babies – they spend a lot of time figuring out what we are saying, and then slowly they start saying words, then phrases, and eventually nice long sentences! So, have patience. Language learning is a process. It takes time.
Why are the Spanish for You! books black and white only?
The Spanish for You! books are printed in black and white in order to keep costs down so that parents, teachers, and schools can purchase a quality curriculum at a more reasonable price. Plus, the kids often seem to like to color the pictures in the book and on the worksheets!
Spanish for You! strives to make language teaching and learning fun and effective without extra cost.
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