“Come on, mom, can’t we do Spanish, please!”
“We just did it this morning!”
“So what! Can’t we do it again!?”
Read on to find out what is so unique about this foreign language curriculum and why we love it so much.
What is Foreign Language for Kids by Kids
Kit Strauss, a law degree graduate and a mom of three children, founded Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids after years of experimenting with the most successful way to teach Spanish. She started with teaching her own kids, and now, just five years later, she is at the head of the company that won 15 top education awards.
The program uses multi-sensory approach and is designed to be fun and upbeat: two components that worked well in teaching her own children. It brings results in a short amount of time. In fact, after the very first lesson, kids learn phrases that they can use throughout their day.
Here my kids are debating the definition of a vocabulary word while playing their favorite Match Game (included in a Starter Set 1).
The curriculum includes a wide variety of hands-on activities: stickers, workbooks, games, cards. Fun videos put the language in context.
There is no need for parents to speak Spanish. All materials are provided, and the teacher’s manual guides you every step of the way. Adults can enjoy learning a new language right along with kids.
Spanish Program: Starter Set 1
Starter Set 1 is designed to be a positive first exposure to Spanish language and to spark an interest in learning it. It consists of three levels and includes the following materials ( I will talk about each one in more detail when I describe how we used the materials):
- Three Parent-Teacher Guides (one for each level) with detailed lesson plans.
- DVD with three movies.
- Flash cards and card games for Levels 1-3
- Workbooks for Levels 1-3.
- Stickers for Levels 1-3
- Go Squish Cardgame
How We Used the Program
I am new to Spanish, so I took a few days to read through all the Teacher’s guides and to familiarize myself with teaching methodology, suggestions on how to implement the program, and went over the lesson plans.
Typically when I get a new curriculum with so many diverse materials, I like to sit down with a notebook and outline lesson plans that I know will work for my kids. So, I might write Lesson 1 and then list a few activities that we might do that day, then go to Lesson 2 and outline the activities for that day. However, the Teacher’s Guide that came with this curriculum is so fantastic I didn’t have to do any lesson planning. Each lesson lists activities, questions, games, workbook assignments, vocabulary for the day and states the time required to complete it. There is just a right amount and variety that you stop before kids get bored with the lesson.
All I did is add Spanish to our weekly homeschool schedule. It looked like this:
Spanish is in the bottom of the page. The system that works for us is writing down everything we do for each day of the week and then circling things once they get done. We do year round school. That’s why you can see Math, Science, and English on our July calendar. But we do a lighter load during summer that’s why you don’t see the addition of other subjects like History and Poetry.
A huge part of the course was watching videos. We watched it according to instructions: sometimes a 5-minute segment was all that was needed, other days a whole movie was in order. It’s a fabulous introduction to hearing the Spanish language in everyday life. I loved that we could learn a proper pronunciation of vocabulary words.
The workbooks are designed to be used by students 3rd grade and above. I didn’t expect my 8-year old to be much interested, to my surprise he loved them. I think it all goes back to the fact that he loves the movie characters so much, and most of the workbook assignments follow the same theme. It also helps that the workbooks are colorful, fun and have just the right mix of pictures and exercises.
The suggestion is to put stickers around the house, but we didn’t fancy the idea of having stickers on our beautiful furniture. My kids are obsessed with stickers though, so we came up with the idea of making flash cards with them. My 5-year old and 8-year old created their own sets of flashcards by attaching stickers to regular index cards, and we carried them around with us. We practiced vocabulary words in the car, in the park, and even on the beach.
There is a huge pile for each level, and they include virtually every vocabulary word covered in the course. You get the cards with pictures from the movies, and you get the cards with words. The task is to match them up. Sounds fun? I don’t completely understand my kids’s fascination with this activity, but both my 5-year old and 8-year old want to do it EVERY DAY!
What we thought about the program
Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids is a high-quality, beautiful curriculum that we loved.
Six reasons we love Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids
Reason 1: Multi-sensory approach makes content more accessible
It’s been proved that curriculum that gives kids more than one way to make connections is the most effective way to learn a language. This program consists of videos, workbooks, active games, stickers, flash cards, and card games. In this course, you will find idioms, comic stories, crossword puzzles, grammar explanation and practice, scripts for short plays, stories, and more.
Workbook activities continue the theme in the movies. The movies follow a family with three children and two dogs through a typical weekend day. There is lots of humor, engaging characters, surprising plot developments, and upbeat music.
Everyone has a different learning style, and this curriculum takes into a consideration different learning approaches. The best part is that there is a lot of active learning. And when kids are involved in the activity, all their senses are engaged.
Reason 2: High-quality Videos
All levels follow the same three boys through their fun adventures and humorous escapades. Research shows that visual messages require completely separate cognitive functions from, say, reading a book. When we read a book, we actively process information in front of us, which requires deep cognitive work, attention, and effort. Watching a video requires less cognitive strain, but at the same time, we are more emotionally involved. It explains what my 8-year old said the other day, “You know why we love watching these videos so much? Because these boys became our friends! We just like them so much.”
Reason 3: This curriculum encourages joyful, active learning
Movies are all great, but what kids really need is to move. No problem. This curriculum takes this into consideration. Many of the lessons contain active games. Let me share with you some of our favorites. Hula Hoop Game starts with each child jumping in, saying “adentro” (inside) and jumping out, saying “afuera” (outside). The next step is adding pronouns, “yo adentro” and “tu afuera.” The last step is jumping together, “nosotros adentro” and “tu afuera.”
In Foreign Languages for Kids, Duck Duck Goose becomes a game of vocabulary. The “it” player picks two vocabulary words and just replaces “duck” and “goose” with those two words. The “it” player would walk around, tapping the other children’s shoulder and saying, for example, “pan, pan, pan” (bread) and then suddenly “manzana” (apple) for the child who would be “goose.”
Reason 4: Geography in a Jiffy
Each movie takes students to a different Spanish-speaking country. Part of each level includes learning about each country with maps, photographs, facts about fun traditions, and suggestions for generating discussion about each country. Thanks to this curriculum my 8-year old got obsessed with Machu Picchu. We already went through every Machu Picchu related book at the library and watched every quality documentary we could find. I love that my kids developed such a genuine interest in new places.
Reason 5: Perfect foreign language curriculum for multiple ages
The program works for all ages. My three year old enjoyed it as much as my 5-year-old, and my 8-year-old loved it as much I did. I think it a talent to design a curriculum that appeals to adults and kids alike. I loved using this curriculum as a family. It offers a very natural way to learn the language – through everyday interactions! I can start the day by calling kids down to breakfast with “Desayuno!!!” (Breakfast!) We can go to a supermarket and name each fruit and vegetable in Spanish, discuss what we like and don’t like (in Spanish) and come home with a truck full of groceries and with our heads full of Spanish practice.
Reason 6: Sparks Interest in Learning Spanish
The biggest benefit of using this curriculum was kids enthusiasm about learning a foreign language. At first humor and upbeat tempo captivated my children’s interest and now they can’t wait to do it again and again. This curriculum opened a new, creative and imaginative world they didn’t know existed. They are highly tuned to Spanish-language and detect it on the streets and signs. They want to listen to Spanish radio in a car! We were all surprised and impressed with how quickly we all absorbed the material without even trying. The course gave my kids the conviction that learning a foreign language is fun and that they are good at learning.
This curriculum is an easy and fun addition to any family interested in learning a foreign language. There are many aspects of it that we love, the most important one is the genuine interest in learning the Spanish language. If you want to find out more about this curriculum, visit Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids website.
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Have you found a foreign language curriculum you family loves? I would love to hear about it!