Our family has been trying to learn Spanish seemingly forever. So when Excelerate SPANISH offered us a year of Excelerate SPANISH Streaming, we jumped on the opportunity.
Excelerate SPANISH Streaming is an online learning experience that puts the child directly in the classroom. It’s not quite like anything I’ve ever tried before, so bear with me as I try to explain it.
It is a literal classroom–that part we’ve experienced. The lessons are recorded, so this is not live. The students (my kids, for example) watch as the instructor on the classroom teaches children (other people’s kids) in the classroom. The students can see the instructor and the children at various times throughout each lesson.
The instructor introduces vocabulary words–nothing new there. She connects each word or phrase with original hand movements that help the child remember the word or phrase. That’s the innovative part, and is actually something I did with my kids in the olden days, so I know it works. These are movements that I believe she makes up to go with each word or phrase. The students then repeat every hand motion with each Spanish word or phrase as they are using them or as they hear the teacher use them.
After a few vocabulary words, there is an activity. After all the vocabulary has been introduced and rehearsed, the online students perform various “real life” exercises and group activities according to the teacher’s instructions. Students join in at home for the maximum benefit.
The exercises and activities look like a lot of fun. The students are put into different scenarios where they would speak Spanish, and they use the signs when the teacher speaks the words, eventually speaking the words themselves. The students on the screen look like they are really enjoying themselves, which makes it more fun and inviting for the children at home. I mean, seriously, if they look like they’re in a torture chamber, that says something, don’t you think?
That’s really the gist of the program. Do you understand? Am I being clear? Please ask questions if I’m not. It’s not as confusing as I’m making it sound.
Each lesson runs an average of 45 minutes. Some are longer, especially in the later lessons, and the earlier lessons are shorter. This definitely makes it a commitment, but it’s also going to help you see some real progress.
There are workbooks that can be purchased to enhance the learning. I feel the workbooks are beneficial, because the students do a little work in the workbooks during the class. You can still do the program without the extra expense of the workbooks. (We are.)
There are free exercises online at Quizlet to enhance the vocabulary learned in the classes. These exercises include flashcards, writing exercises, listening exercises, lessons, and a couple of games. The student can also join a timed challenge. The Quizlet is very appealing to some of my students.
There are currently two levels of instruction. Level 1 begins with simple words and phrases and ends with the students speaking some impressive Spanish. Level 2 takes the students through some pretty impressive comprehension levels.
We began watching the programs together, but gradually the older students moved ahead faster than the younger, since our kids range from 0 to 22. The older students (11 and up) do the Quizlet activities on their own. My two youngest learners (4, 7) are too young for most of the additional activities. They still learn some of the vocabulary through the lessons and the repetition within the family.
We like the Excelerate SPANISH program, and we are learning some things we didn’t know before. It is not a grammar program, which makes it more challenging for me and those of my children who prefer a methodical, grammar-based approach to language. I’m not really sure what to call it, since it isn’t entirely an immersion course, either. The instructor teaches in English, but speaks a lot of Spanish. It’s quite unique with its combination of hand symbols and language. Each lesson is more theme-based than anything else that I can figure.
When combined with some of the other resources the program recommends, it’s a pretty solid course. Personally, I do benefit from that added grammar for better comprehension, but I’m a geek that way, and, as I mentioned, the grammar is available through another free online source that the course suggests for additional learning. The recorded classroom with other active students visible is a different way for me to learn, but it seems to be effective for actually conversing…which is the point after all, isn’t it?
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