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Homeschooling Spanish

Spanish for You founder Debbie Annett offers grade-appropriate homeschooling materials for parents seeking a structured language-learning plan.

As Spanish classes go the way of home economics in many public schools, parents are left with the choice to either take their kids to a separate language school or teach their kids Spanish at home. Like me, many parents have opted to take on the challenge and commit to being a part of the learning process. And so begins the search for good material.

I wanted to find one great source for all the material I’ll need to teach my children the basics of speaking, reading and writing in Spanish. (They’re still young, but I’m looking ahead.) Enter Spanish for You. The company’s founder, Debbie Annett, holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and is a certified teacher. In 2001, she began teaching Spanish to homeschoolers. She quickly realized, however, that there was no curriculum available to meet the unique needs for teaching Spanish to elementary and middle school-level students.

According to Debbie, Spanish curricula for high school students across the nation is relatively standardized — lessons are designed around grade level and ability. Where Spanish classes do exist in elementary and middle schools in the U.S., Debbie had found there was no similar standardized curriculum. In true entrepreneurial fashion, she decided to make it herself.

Debbie’s solution was to create six curriculum packages, each based around a theme: Mi Vida (My Life), Conversaciones (Conversations), Viajes (Travels), Fiestas (Celebrations) and Estaciones (Seasons). Each package is available for grades 3-4, grades 5-6 and grades 7-8, so they’re appropriately tailored to the abilities of students in those grades.

For each of the six themes, you can purchase a complete package to teach your child across multiple grade levels (3-8). If you’re homeschooling more than one kiddo, a complete package will allow you to teach the same material across multiple ages and grade levels. But you don’t have to buy the whole kit and caboodle. You have the option to purchase one package at a time according to your child’s current grade level and ability. The plans are suitable whether a child is just starting out or already has some skill in the language.

Debbie has also created comprehensive packages for teachers working in the classroom. The design of the curriculum allows experienced and inexperienced students to be placed together, while each package can be used over the entire school year and the themes taken in any order.

For parents seeking a traditional, structured language-learning plan, Spanish for You will suit you well. Each package is detailed and well organized. You receive a soft-cover textbook, a pdf lesson guide, an audio download of the textbook lessons by both native and non-native Spanish speakers, a pdf of self-checking worksheets and printable flashcards. Debbie also offers a list of songs for purchase that pertain to each theme.

With regard to everyday words and phrases kids use, the most relevant themes Debbie offers are Mi Vida and Conversaciones. What I like most about her approach is how she has compiled relevant keywords, verbs and conjugations based around a relatable topic. (This is the same approach we took with the MamaLingua app.) When a child is able to relate to the subject matter being taught, there’s a much greater chance for successful acquisition. The additional activities that are included help emphasize and reinforce learning and make Spanish for You a strong choice for homeschoolers — whether you homeschool in all subjects or solely in Spanish.

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