Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge,from the author, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it
The beauty of homeschooling is being able to introduce different topics as they come up naturally, and as Miss Grace's interest in them is peaked, by a different topic she is covering. Frequently called 'rabbit trails', these hops are always educational, and seem to help her understand the main topic at hand in a more 'big picture' way, so I'm happy to let her spend some time on them.
One thing that has come up a lot this past semester is language.
As we discussed Westward expansion, there was discussion over who already laid claim to the lands, and the languages spoken there. For example, Louisiana has had many flags fly over it- you will find Native American words for our rivers and creeks, Spanish words in city settlements, French words all over the place, Cajun French words in everyday terms, and of course English.
So the goal, is to introduce words, historically, as they come up, so she learns them. So we have had some Spanish and French already. We've decided to let her start her language courses in the Fall, with 5th grade, so that she can take both French and Spanish, and a semester of Latin. So when I was offered the chance to check out this new introductory language series, I knew it was something we could introduce for her last quarter this year, to start her off with Spanish in the Fall.
¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish Visit New Places and Make New Friends! introduces children to Spanish. The purpose of the book is to give children an enjoyable experience learning the language as well as to teach them a useful skill. Aimed at children ages 6-10, the book can be used for a wide range of ages. It is especially useful for parents and children, who reside in the many districts where foreign language is not offered in elementary school. My hope is that kids and their parents will be inspired to continue their study of Spanish throughout school, so that they can truly communicate to the millions of Spanish speakers throughout the world.
The book can be used by older children themselves. It can be adapted for use in Foreign Language in Elementary School , FLES, programs and in Foreign Language Experience, FLEX, programs. It can be used by librarians. It would make a great gift for grandparents, relatives or anyone who has a child in his or her life and would like to give that child the beginning of a truly world class education. It can be used by parents, whether or not they speak Spanish, and their children. There is also an audio version of the book on the website, after purchase, that allows children and parents to follow along with the book, so that they learn the best pronunciation as well.
The book begins with an introduction, where Pete the Pilot invites children aboard his magic plane for an imaginary trip to Mexico. On board, children are given some basic words and expressions to learn. Parents and children will have best results when learning the Spanish when they repeat often, and use the Spanish in everyday life situations. The book is designed to help them do just that, by presenting such scenarios. When the children arrive in Mexico, they meet Panchito, the jumping bean, and they follow his adventures, while learning Spanish, and becoming acquainted with the culture of Mexico. When they return, they bring their Spanish back home with them.
In the activities section, they are encouraged to use Spanish in every day situations. For example, they have a treasure hunt of people and objects around their house. They can have fun putting on a skit with their friends. In the Culture Corner, kids learn more about the different customs that they meet during the story, and they get more ideas on how to use their Spanish. They can sing the traditional song for breaking the piñata. In the craft section, children can make a mask with frijoles, beans that they encountered in the story. There are more opportunities for using Spanish.
With the vocabulary section, they can hear again how each word or phrase is pronounced. With ¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish, children engage in a variety of activities designed to accomodate a variety of learning styles, and enjoy communicating in Spanish
Overall I am very impressed with how new words are presented, so that kids understand how they not only SHOULD be used, but how to exchange the English word for the Spanish one. Growing up in Southern California, this was really how we learned Spanish BEFORE we learned Spanish! Most of us spoke 'Spanglish', mixing words in the same sentence, from both languages with ease. And this is what the book reminds me of. It is an easy way to get your kids used to hearing the different words contextually, while allowing for additional exercises and vocabulary tests, via the games, to check their retention. Miss Grace is quite hooked and the book is also allowing for reading out loud opportunities, making it a dual purpose book- something homeschoolers all love!
The book is available on Kindle (and Nook), and in print, offering you multiple choices, that best work for your child's learning style. Miss Grace likes being able to follow along in the book, so for her the print works best. There are even some recipes, and more cultural information, on Judy's website, allowing for more educational resources! We're looking forward to the future French book, and I know once you check out this book, you will be too!
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