Which Online Spanish Program is Best for my Child? Three Great Options to Consider
The search for a good Spanish program can be lengthy and difficult, especially if you’re not sure what kind of program you or your child will respond to best. Do you want to spend the money on a private instructor and hope the teacher knows what they’re doing? Or should the two of you navigate a set of textbooks or a software-based curriculum at the kitchen table and hope for the best?
Weighing your options is always a good idea. Here are three different approaches you can use to guide your learning and help you speak Español excelente.
Rosetta Stone Online Program
Developed in 1992 in Virginia, this is a Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) software. Like HSA, it encourages users to go at their own pace and enjoy the process. Unlike HSA, it’s taught by an automated program, not a teacher that speaks and connects with the student.
Rosetta Stone uses images, text, sound and repetition to help the user learn Spanish. It offers a chance to analyze things like how many questions the student answered correctly, how accurate their pronunciation is with the help of visual sound graphs and how long each lesson is taking. There is no text book and no instructor attached to each learner.
- Easy to get started – a visit to their website and a payment gets you started
- Very analytical and practical
- Image heavy – the screen never looks like a test, even when it is
- No book or instructor. Each learner is truly on their own
- Every learner gets the same presentation, so if they get bored or lost, there’s no adjusting the curriculum
- No free trial, you have to buy it
- No instructor to guide you through the program
Pimsleur Online Program
The Pimsleur program has taken language learning and done some reevaluating in how we learn and why we may not acquire new vocabulary and structure as we might hope. This program claims to have an entirely new approach they’ve termed “Graduated Interval Recall.” Basically, students remember by being asked to recall specific phrases and then wait to see how they did. This makes for active listening in a program that is purely audio.
Users have reviewed the program as usable, yet overly formal. It was originally created for the standard travelling businessman who needs to talk about his wife and kids, not a young person visiting family or a student on break.Again, there’s no book or teacher – the student interacts with the program itself and it can’t be tailored.
- Audio based and highly interactive, students want to guess the right phrase and feel elated when they succeed.
- No reading or note taking, just a conversation
- Students learn a formal version of each language and may sound a little old-fashioned as speakers
- The program focuses on a married, male perspective, making this less than ideal for young learners
- No teacher or textbook
The Homeschool Spanish Academy (HSA) Online Learning Program
Easily one of the best options around. The program not only has its own, highly refined curriculum, it’s also entirely up to you when your child starts and how often he or she takes classes. Instruction happens one-on-one with a real live instructor, meaning each student has their teacher’s full attention throughout the lesson. Your son or daughter will be speaking introductory Spanish after just one lesson and can do review with you in the program’s textbook.
Best of all, HSA offers a free, no-risk trial for one or two students at a time before you commit. You don’t give your credit card information or make any decisions until you are positive this program is perfect for your little learner.
- Personal, tailored instruction with a human teacher and printable textbook
- A free, no-commitment trial class prior to any purchase
- Siblings can take classes together
- Classes encourage speaking, interaction and true language acquisition
- Online only – this isn’t really a hindrance as students can access the classes on any device