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Last year, P spent several weeks where he’d have one hour dedicated to Skyping with a Spanish Instructor in a country far away from us (read that review here.) This year, P and R are doing the same as they review the Homeschool Spanish Academy High School Program.
About Homeschool Spanish Academy
The best way I can describe Homeschool Spanish Academy is to call it private tutoring for Spanish from the comfort of your home. In essence, that is what the experience will be like as your student.
Utilizing Skype, students connect with an instructor who will provide a Spanish immersion approach to learning with them learning basic vocabulary through repetition of the instructors prompts. Classes include didactic material, exercises and content especially customized to your child.
For high school, they offer Spanish 1, 2, and 3 with each being the equivalent to a full credit course. Sessions can be scheduled all at once with the same instructor, or you can choose a schedule that fits your needs based upon instructor availability.
Pricing is for either one or two students at a time. When doing the joint learning option, the 2 students must be within 3 grade levels of each other and work well together. For families meeting that requirement, the cost per child is lower and the kids will have a built in practice partner outside of class!
Homeschool Spanish Academy offers other options for elementary through adult learning, each with their own fee schedule. For this review, we received a half semester of courses at one class per week for two-on-one teaching. This particular arrangement has a cost of $150.99 for the 7 classes which works out to $21.57 per class.
Our Experience with Homeschool Spanish Academy ~ High School Program
I have to start off by saying that my boys were a bit reluctant about diving into Spanish with Homeschool Spanish Academy. Neither P or R enjoys talking to people, even family members, on the phone or via Skype. So, rather than having just ONE son work on this particular review (which would have been P who needs to get Spanish 1 done this year!), I opted to have them partner up and do the lessons together.
Right off the bat, I noticed a few changes from when we reviewed the program last year. First off, the interface which they were still developing is now operational. Selecting your instructor is the first step in scheduling a class. You can read a brief bio for each instructor after selecting their image. My somewhat hesitant boys were pleased to see that the company has added a male instructor, Martin, to the roster. That is who they’ve elected to have their lessons with so far and like his direct approach to the work. (My boys are not big on conversation and getting to know you types of interaction which the female instructors P had last year did want to do.)
Another change is that any homework or practice sheets are placed into your account for download with an email automatically generated to let you know they are there. Last year the instructor had to email them individually and occasionally I missed seeing one until right before the next class. It appears that homework which is not intended for just practice has ability to be uploaded through that interface as well.
Something that bugged me a little last year is that the paperwork we were emailed was marked for elementary students rather than high school (the level P was supposed to be doing.) This year, everything has been for high school students and through comparison I can see that the speed for progressing is faster for the initial vocabulary than what we experienced last year.
The boys are only mid-way through their 7 lessons for this review. We had internet difficulties that needed to be ironed out, and even on their first lesson we found our speed test to not always be reliable for what the instructor was able to do (e.g. opening up a file for them to view during the Skype session.) Recently, finding a time slot with an instructor has been near impossible as so many students are starting off their school year and filling those slots. I have heard that the company is in the process of training a few more instructors to accommodate more students. I’m hoping that there will be another male instructor so students like my boys who have a clear preference can alternate between them.
Rather begrudgingly, P admits that the set time for learning Spanish coupled with the face to face interaction via Skype is showing a better return on learning than some of the book or computer based programs we’ve dabbled with in the past. R is not quite on board and still chooses to mumble at times which makes his progress rather slow. They have not had any homework officially assigned for completion, although I’ve had them working on the sheets designated as practice as if it is homework.
Seeing that that outside accountability is something that motivates my high school student to learn and get the work done, I am seriously considering continuing lessons for him after the review period is over.
If you have a child who wants to really learn Spanish and attempts at using a book based or software based program is not working well, I’d definitely suggest checking Homeschool Spanish Academy out. You can even get your first lesson for free to see how it works!
Don’t just take MY word for it! Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.