Excelerate SPANISH is a company that has two levels of Spanish lessons to help your child (and maybe you, too) learn Spanish.
While the company has many different ways to get the information by way of books, DVD’s and streaming, my daughter and I have been utilizing their Excelerate SPANISH Streaming service.
There are books that go along with the videos, but we don’t have those so I can’t comment on them. That being said, after using the service for a bit, I feel like we would have benefited from having the books, so if we plan to continue using the site, I think I will feel the need to buy them.
There are two levels of Spanish with 24 lessons/videos for each level.
The lessons have a semi-immersive structure to it. The teacher speaks mostly Spanish while writing the Spanish and English on the board. She does still speak English as well, but much more than in a regular classroom, in my opinion.
They begin by giving you the vocabulary for the current lesson. The teacher does this by verbalizing the words, writing them on her whiteboard, and then showing you a hand signal or body shape to symbolize the word. For example, for car she has you put your hands up in front of you and move them back and forth as if you are driving a car.
This type of body movement is called TPR, or Total Physical Response. This is something I’m familiar with in teaching English online, so it was interesting seeing it from the student’s perspective while learning Spanish. TPR really does work well to help you remember the words you are learning!
When you use TPR you are being active. You aren’t just sitting listening to a teacher give you words. You are saying the words while doing the TPR for the words. This helps your brain retain what you are learning.
In addition to hearing the words, seeing the words on the board, saying the words, and doing the TPR for the words, you will also learn stories using the words. Your child will get up and act out the story along with the kids on the screen. This just adds another wonderful element to the learning process.
Speaking of the kids on the screen… the videos are recordings of the lessons being taught in a homeschool classroom. There are varied ages of kids in the classroom, which demonstrates that the program is not geared toward just one age group. In fact, I definitely learned alongside my daughter during this process, so it is good for adults too.
While we never got to level two of the curriculum, I did check it out a little. The one thing I noticed right away was how much she was verbally quizzing the kids on different conjugations of the verbs she was introducing. They were all doing great with that, which would indicate that they learned and retained all of that from the level one videos so that’s exciting to see.
Pros and Cons
We will start with the cons so we can end on a high note! :)
The teacher starts speaking Spanish right off the bat. I think immersion is great, but I think that in this context it can be a bit confusing since not all of it is immersion. She tells the kids to repeat, she tells them what lesson they are, and other things, all in Spanish, but then she doesn’t translate it the way she does the vocabulary words. My daughter gets hung up on things like that, which makes it difficult for her to listen to the things she actually supposed to be learning in the lesson. I hope that made sense.
She speaks the sentences very quickly for early learners. Now, having said that, I think I will add this to the pros list as well. I think speaking quickly in the first few lessons is a con. I would prefer she slowly increase her speed while the student gets used to the sound of the language. My daughter did not understand everything. I have a basic knowledge of Spanish so I was able to help translate, but not all parents have that luxury.
We didn’t have the books for the lessons. Now, this con can obviously be remedied, but I wanted to mention it anyway. She goes over questions from the book in the streaming videos. It’s difficult to follow along without the books, which makes that portion of the video seem like a waste of time. I think it would be fantastic if my daughter could have been looking at the same page the rest of the kids were looking at during the class.
I feel like if the parent doesn’t have a background in Spanish this is going to be a bit more difficult. It is still definitely usable, though. You will just need to watch each lesson more than once.
Sometimes the TPR for a word was to point to something in her classroom. For someone in the classroom, that was probably sufficient. For those of us sitting at home watching the screen, it seemed silly. Especially since sometimes when we needed to do the TPR for that word, the thing we were supposed to point at wasn’t visible on the screen.
There are lots of pros to this curriculum, most of which have to do with the model of teaching.
I love the repetitive nature of the lessons. I love the use of TPR and storytelling during the lessons, which help the student retain the new information.
It is great that this is a streaming service so that we can use it whether we are home or away. That being said, if you don’t have great internet, they do have the videos on DVD to purchase, too.
There are flashcards, quizzes, activities, and more on Quizlet for each of the lessons. You don’t need the paid version of Quizlet in order to access these. This is invaluable and I’m thankful to whoever put all of those lists together!
You can watch the lessons as many times as necessary until the information is retained!
The stories are fun and silly! When the stories are fun and silly, it helps the student remember the information. Win-win!
I think this program is great, but you should click the banner below to see what other people thought too!