Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Speekee Accelerate

Homeschool Spanish - Accelerate Home

When my kids were younger, I had the privilege of reviewing a Spanish immersion program called Speekee (now called Speekee Fast Track designed for 4-7 year olds). It was a definite hit with my kids! I was, therefore, thrilled to have the opportunity to review a Speekee version for a slightly older audience (8 and up) called Speekee Accelerate which will be the focus of this review.

The program has material for 40 weeks comprising 20 various themes. It starts slowly with greetings and introductions and gradually increases content. Each level is covered over a two week period with 4 lessons/week.  Day 1 students usually watch the complete video (often around 15 minutes). Subsequent days cover segments of the video along with some explanatory notes for the teacher as well as suggested activities to accompany that lesson. Here's a glimpse at topics from Week 7 and 8:

Homeschool Spanish Curriculum for Children 8+

I really liked that there were audio files with pronunciations for words within a given lesson. Students can play and replay those as often as they need to.  The spelling in Spanish and English is listed next to the audio file as well as a phonetic pronunciation.  Students will want to have access to a Spanish-English dictionary as some lessons involve looking up words.

I love that the videos are real children in real settings such as school, grocery store, circus, restaurant, the park, and so many more! There are some cartoons and graphics included but the kids are always center stage. With so much consumption of animated gaming and programming, it's nice to have real kids be part of the media experience. Lessons provide teacher notes and have suggestions for encouraging a lot of interaction with the teacher and the new material.

What we loved about Speekee Accelerate:
  • Very little teacher prep
  • No previous Spanish knowledge needed
  • Work as quickly or as slowly as you want through the lessons
  • Lessons that can be completed in 15-30 minutes
  • Audio files for word pronunciation
  • Great variety in content: everyday situations  and fun ones like a game show or art gallery
  • Filmed completely with kids!
  • Good balance of new material and review of previous concepts
  • Printable worksheets to accompany many of the lessons
  • Speekee TV for extra fun and reinforcement of concepts
  • Humorous and light-hearted with loads of kid appeal!
  • Reasonably priced for tight budgets
  • Great for a range of ages

What Does a Spanish Teacher Think?
As I was reviewing several lessons, my husband (who has a degree to teach Spanish) got curious and started watching some of the episodes. He was very impressed with the program and thought it looked like an exceptional resource.

What Does a Homeschool Mom Think?
Over the last 10 years of homeschooling my 6 kids, we have tried multiple Spanish programs including computer programs, workbooks, and DVD courses. Speekee has been the most entertaining, while fostering the most interaction and retention for my kids. After several weeks of videos, the Speekee cast members were like good friends!  And the price is very affordable; I like being able to pay month by month instead of having to pay for a whole year all at once.

What Do Kids Think?
My 11 year old said it was fun to watch the videos and it's fun to try to figure out what they are saying.  She found it a lot more interesting than watching a lecturer drone on with words to memorize!  My 9 year old said it is interesting and fun to learn Spanish and that it is interesting "meeting" kids from another country.

Speekee offers a free two week trial period so you  can try it with your kids and see what you think. If you choose to purchase, subscriptions are $7.50/month.  Lessons are all planned out and ready to go at a moment's notice and accessible from any internet ready device! You can even have the weekly installments sent directly to your e-mail. And your subscription includes access to Speekee Play and Speekee TV.  For more information about those components, check out this page.

It's worth noting that in the 5 years since we first tried Speekee, the price has not increased!  I thought it was a great value then and it's an even greater value now!  If you used the 40 week program over the course of 10 months, your students would enjoy a fabulous immersion experience at a very affordable price.  With two weeks to try it first, you have nothing to lose and so much to gain! The Speekee website is a great place to find answers for questions parents may have.

While Speekee was created with homeschoolers in mind, teachers can also check out Speekee Scheme of Work for Schools.

One final note for users in the United States is that Speekee uses Castilian Spanish.  While not exactly the same as Spanish spoken in Mexico, the differences are not that great and should not impede a student's ability to converse with native speakers in either Latin America or Spain.

I highly recommend Speekee Accelerate for students ages 8 and up. Order now and get started on your Spanish adventures today!

Disclaimer: I received a subscription to Speekee Accelerate for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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