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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spanish For You! --Mosaic Reviews

Okay, let me be very honest here.  We are completely incompetent when it comes to learning Spanish.  We have tried multiple times with multiple curricula and it has NEVER worked.

I have tried the big name programs as well as lesser known ones and have been frustrated and disappointed each time.  I know my kids need to learn a usable foreign language and so I feel a little desperate to teach one to them but I just can not find one that I can implement.

I am a Spanish teaching flunkie.  There, I said it.  I have admitted my shame.  *sigh*


We had the pleasure of trying another Spanish curriculum for Mosaic Reviews and I had high hopes.  (I always do until they crash and burn in the dust!)  I perused their website and anxiously awaited the material.  It came and I glanced at the book but was honestly scared to study it too hard.  I didn't want another failure on my hands.  I also received an email with the downloads for the lesson plans and audio files and started to panic a little.

I put it aside for a few days until I worked up my courage to try.  When I finally was ready try, I printed off what I thought I needed and started reading.  I should have paid better attention; but more on that in a moment.  I couldn't make heads or tails of what I was reading or how to put it together.  I got very frustrated.

I kept trying to figure it out but just couldn't.  I was failing at yet another Spanish program and my children were never going to graduate high school and would be failures for the rest of their lives.  Okay, it's a bit dramatic but I really was that frustrated!

I finally asked for some help and the light bulb came on.  I asked the right questions to bring to light the mistake I was making.  ;-)

Spanish for You! Estaciones is the program we are reviewing and Spanish for You! is the ONLY one we have managed to implement and learn with.  Oh yeah, we finally found something we could figure out and that everyone likes!  I am completely stoked about this program but wish they had a level for high school; that would make it just about perfect.

Here's a little about Spanish for You!:

Spanish for You! begins your child on the road to fluency. It is designed from years of experience by a Spanish teacher to effectively build speaking, reading, and writing skills as well as grammar knowledge. Students learn to creatively build sentences, ask and answer questions, and truly communicate in Spanish! And they have fun doing it!!
  • Self-study, family, or class use
  • Affordable - an effective, quality program to last an entire school year at a price you cannot beat!
  • Flexible - Go at your own pace.
  • Easy to use - Just follow the lesson guide & go!
  • Time Saving (and More Money Saving) - Use one package with students of multiple grades at the same time.
  • Fun - Uses simple games and activities to engage students.

Spanish for You! has a unique design where students learn to speak, read, and write Spanish through interesting themes. The books are designed to be done in any order rather than having to finish them in levels. As students complete books they become more skilled.

This curriculum is easy to use and flexible to schedule. You just follow the lesson guide at a pace that works for you. Families and schools especially like Spanish for You! because children of multiple grades can use the same book together. Activities are built in for interactive practice.

Spanish for You! is exceptionally affordable. With this curriculum you pay for the educational integrity of the content NOT expensive materials. All our materials (except book printing) are produced in house. Our program is filled with all the essential materials and engaging activities to provide an effective program.

There is so much more information on their website; it is worth your time to check out their About page, FAQ page, FREE Mini Lessons page, FREE Worksheets page, and other pages listed on their homepage.  

But for the moment I will tell you how we used it.  We received the soft cover book, audio files download, self-checking worksheets, and Lesson Plans download.  We also received the flash card pages we printed off and use constantly.  The files were a little hard to find but part of that was because I was trying to use the soft cover book as the Lesson Guide when it is the workbook for the student to use!  For some reason it was mixed up in my brain and once I figured that out it worked perfectly.    

I highlighted to help me 'see' the worksheets!
When you receive your book and downloads you need to print off the Lesson Guide for the level(s) you need and read those as well as reading the front of the soft cover book.  Each of these has valuable information you will need to read before you begin.  The Lesson Guide is laid out by the day-which I adore btw-and tells you exactly what need to do each day.  Let me tell you how valuable that is for a busy mom that simply can't plan out one more subject.  Plus, you can also use one soft cover book for all of your children!  (The TRIAL Versions only come with an ebook)  

I HIGHLY recommend this section! ;-)

Highlighting, underlining...whatever it takes to get me there!

Now, had I had my brain working correctly I would have been set; but I decided to take the hard way around.  This program really couldn't be laid out any easier than it is.  The Lesson Guide tell you exactly what to do each day for four days and they tell you the Worksheets you need, what exercises to practice each day, and reinforcements from previous lessons.  They also tell you what audio files to listen to.  Sweet!

Let's talk about the Audio Files for a minute.  There are two versions in the Audio Files-one from a non-native speaker and one from a native speaker reading the text.  Another thing I love about this program is that they read the ENTIRE PAGE for you while you follow along.  You don't have to try and figure out where they are based on a word or two that sounds vaguely like what you are staring at on the page.  They read the page word for word so you can hear what it sounds like.  I love that they include the non-native speaking person pronouncing the words because sometimes a native speaker can be hard to understand at first.  This way, you can listen to the non-native speaker until you are comfortable with pronouncing the word and then move on to the native speaker.  It's a win/win!

The flashcards are easy to make!
Okay, I could probably go on and on about this program because it is the only one that my kids haven't run away from screaming and crying.  Seriously, I'm not even kidding here.  They have actually enjoyed learning Spanish with Spanish for You!   My oldest, who is technically too old for the program but we did it anyway because she needed a basic groundwork in Spanish before high school Spanish, said, "This is the only one we have actually learned something with that I remember and have used everyday!"  That pretty much says it all.

This program is wonderful for another is AFFORDABLE!  I mean really affordable.  For the package we received the cost is $64.95 and that includes all I listed before.  This is for the Grades 3-8 package.  For me, that would cover three of my kids and possibly four if I include the Freshman.  Can't beat that price!  Here it is again in case you need reminded: 
See, the simple drawings?  They are that way to keep costs down!

ALL Spanish for You! packages come complete with:
  • soft cover book or e-book (currently only our trial pkgs.)
  • 24-30 week lesson guide for the grades you need (24 weeks for G5-6 & 7-8, 30 weeks for G3-4) (PDF download)
  • self-checking worksheets (PDF download)
  • audio files of entire book (includes bonus audio of native speaker of entire book) (MP3 download)
  • flashcard/activity pictures (PDF download)
  • *Teacher lesson plans are NOT included. These need to be purchased separately. Please visit our CLASS USE page for important information on using Spanish for You! with classes.

Or you can buy the individual packages for the grades, 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8.  Each of those sell for just $39.95.  You can also buy an extra book for $12.95.  Besides Estaciones that we reviewed there is Fiestas that is a full program right now.  Viajes will become a full year long program after June of this year.

See what I mean?  Affordable and it works!  What could be better than that?  Don't forget to check out their website for the FREEBIES and great information about their program.

To see what other Mosaic Reviewers thought about Spanish for You! head over to Mosaic Reviews website and check them out!
I gotta run now...we are learning Spanish!!

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