4 Essential Elements of a Homeschool Spanish Curriculum
Many Spanish programs claim to have a great method for learning and retaining the language, but unfortunately most of them are made with the goal of translation, not true understanding and end up falling short.
How can you know what to look for in your child’s Spanish curriculum? Certain elements will stand out in a better curriculum. Here are 4 elements to look for when choosing a program.
Good Listening Practices
Hearing the correct pronunciation of a word, being able to follow a conversation and pick up on cues all come from active listening in class. A great curriculum will value listening skills as an important part of each lesson.
Early classes in a low-level Spanish class will put a big emphasis on pronunciation. The teacher may stretch out the word to emphasize each vowel, consonant and accent. Words will build into simple phrases spoken at a slower pace and repeated as needed.
It’s also essential that the student hear a variety of people speak Spanish. This helps the brain compile a sound file from the many versions of how a word or phrase sounds within a range instead of the same thing over and over. A good class will help your child create this mental file and recognize a word in a song, conversation or test.
Again, this seems like an obvious one, but so much of language happens when we read We mentally pronounce the words on the page, we remember their shape and meaning and store them in our long-term memory so that we can use them. Active, levelled reading needs to be a part of your child’s program.
Reading should begin with single words and basic, two to three-word phrases. Don’t discount them, that’s an important part of the process. Phrases and ideas will grow and get more complicated further into the program. Your student needs to feel confident reading both to themselves and out loud to you or their instructor to gain a stronger grasp on their Spanish.
Written Spanish is so much more complicated than it sounds – the punctuation changes, the spelling is different and the flow is very unlike that of which we see in English. It is essential that your child practice writing single words, basic phrases and more complex ideas as he or she works through a program.
Many students balk at writing of any kind. It’s always the most trying and complicated part of language acquisition, even in the best classes. Since writing is where applied learning happens in Spanish class and it cannot be overlooked. Your child may struggle with this aspect more than any other – that’s normal. Just be ready with loads of extra support.
Encourage your child to write out song lyrics, jokes, short stories and anything else they like in Spanish to enhance their new skills. It will help them feel great about their new language and show you exactly how much they are understanding in class.
Speaking and Conversation
The importance of speaking and using Spanish is essential to any learner. Many Spanish curriculums put an emphasis on translating phrases into English or put more energy into reading and writing. While these aren’t bad things to do, they skip the most important element – speaking.
Language students who have an emphasis on conversation use a different part of their brains as they speak than when they write out an exercise or read a textbook. The combination of all three makes for a more complete and immersive experience and helps learners master Spanish on a deeper level.
At HSA, your child has a Spanish speaker to practice with one on one as part of their daily practice. It helps them internalize each word and make it their own as they work through the program.
Every class and program is different, which is HSA has worked to be the best on the market. Try a free trial session today and see for yourself why our teachers and our curriculum are helping so many students become bilingual. Click here to schedule your class.