Learning a foreign language opens so many doors in one’s education. I really wish I had pursued the study of any one language with my children when they were younger. They have all studied a little bit of one language (other than English) and more of a little bit of another. Now that I have high school students, foreign language study has become more of ensuring they have the required two years of a foreign language that will satisfy their graduation requirement. While they have to learn a foreign language, because it is required, I still want learning a new language to be fun and Excelerate SPANISH has introduced that fun into our school.
Excelerate SPANISH is a streaming foreign language program by Caryn Hommel. It teaches students how to speak Spanish and there is a twist . . . learning is an interactive experience. Through a process call Total Physical Response (TPR), learning through gestures/actions that reflect what is being taught enables students to process and learn the material more effectively. Students are not just training the brain by reading the material and listening to Hommel for learning Spanish, they are also training their body to the language by acting out (using gestures) the language.
The video lessons are about 35 to 50 minutes long. Hommel uses a white board to write the vocabulary words for the lesson. There are 24 lessons in each level. Each lesson has a theme, so students learn words in context. As the lessons progress, a new theme is introduced and where possible previous lessons are incorporated into the new lessons.
The lessons are filmed in a classroom with some of Hommel’s students. Just as the students in Hommel’s class are doing, we are expected to do the same, TPR, which helped us better understand what we were learning. Using the vocabulary we learn, Hommel teaches gestures for those words and later shows us how to put those words together (with gestures) to make sentences and tell stories/have conversations. If someone were watching us without sound, I think we would look quite ridiculous, but that is all right. We found TPR to be a great way to learn Spanish. Not only were our brains retaining the language, we were also training our bodies to understand what we wanted to say.
Hommel covers a variety of themes and vocabulary in the lessons. I do suggest you watch the lessons or read the vocabulary words that are covered before your children watch the lessons. An example is the term “programas de realidad”, which stands for reality shows. The gestures for that phrase are punching and kissing, because on reality television shows, “there is fighting and kissing“. I do not think you need to be concerned with what is taught in the course, just aware of some of the words, so you can make adjustments if you would rather your children not learn certain words.
Physical books are available for purchase, but not necessary, from Excelerate SPANISH if you would like them to enhance the study. Another resource are free flashcards, games and quizzes through the Quizlet website. When visiting that website, you will be directed to the free resources by typing in the program name, Excelerate SPANISH.
We did not make it to level 2, but I was able to see the study progresses to a more advance level. TPR is continued in presentation for students to continue to learn. More vocabulary is introduced and the combination (length) sentences and conversation build. If you go through Excelerate SPANISH levels 1 and 2, you will have a comprehensive education in conversational Spanish
Although Hommel does speak some English (not a lot) in the lessons, you could easily understand what she is saying if Hommel only spoke in Spanish. In fact, after the first lesson, my children and I were able to communicate with each other in Spanish.
This time around, learning to speak Spanish was a lot of fun. I am hoping we are able to get through both levels within one year to continue a fun way of learning Spanish together as a family.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
You may check out the price for Excelerate SPANISH Streaming.