Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homeschool Spanish Academy

Homeschool Sapnish Academy


The Homeschool Spanish Academy  is an on-line Spanish institution that offers interactive immersion lessons with native-speaking certified Spanish instructors in Central America using video conferencing software."Our teachers go through a highly selective recruiting process whereby only 30% of those interviewed are offered a position. A few of the stringent requirements include Spanish school certification, years of teaching experience, ability to speak English, and the passing of multiple rigorous simulation-based interviews." The instructors hold the students accountable and encourage them to excel.

The academy keeps records of the students' work for future college applications for 10 years. HSA offers 16 class modules which allows flexibility by allowing the student to plan the classes and overview the content covered. Since every child learning style varies, HSA has created curriculum to meet the need of every child. Homeschool Spanish Academy offers curriculum for those in early language up to an adult program. HSA also offers a free trail.The Academy also incorporates test and quizzes. The quizzes are given after every 2-3 lessons and the exams are given after every 4-5 lessons. All quizzes and tests are oral exams. In the high school level, the student is expected to write short answers and/or essays as a take home portion of the quiz or exam. The program will require the following equipment.

  • An internet connection
  • Skype* installed on your computer
  • Skype compatible computer headset with microphone
  • Webcam (recommended)

The Early Language Program could begin with a 5 year old but HSA suggest to start at 7 years old. The classes are tailored to the child which means the student could move as fast or as slow as needed. The academy also offers classes for multiple children. The sessions are for 25 minutes. Students should expect a minimum of 30 minutes of homework per week. "Homework for all students varies by teacher, but can range from memorizing songs to traditional written assignments."

With the Middle School Language Program the students will go beyond the basics and begin to learn why and how Spanish is used. "After learning the basics of pronunciation and the alphabet, students expand to sentence structure and phrase construction. The best part is that they learn the Spanish language while being immersed in it!" The sessions are for 50 minutes. Students should expect to have 1 hour of homework per week. "Your homework will depend directly on student class intensity and learning level. Homework for all students varies by teacher, but can range from memorizing songs to traditional written assignments."

High School Language Program/Adult Program the students will cover more material in a shorter time period. The students are also encouraged to speak in Spanish by repeating what they have heard from their instructor. "The Spanish 1, 2, and 3 Language courses are designed to achieve the following objectives as aligned with the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) and The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL). Each of our levels, such as our Level 1a, is the equivalent of one semester of Spanish in a public learning institution based on the ACTFL, and AATSP objectives. Students who complete this curriculum will receive 0.5 credits towards their Spanish 1 fulfillment. The full credit for Spanish 1 will be earned once the student completes Spanish 1b. The later courses are similarly structured as well (i.e. Spanish 2a and 2b, etc.)" The sessions are for 50 minutes. Adults and high school students should expect to have 1 hour of homework per week. "Your homework will depend directly on student class intensity and learning level. Homework for all students varies by teacher, but can range from memorizing songs to traditional written assignments."


Homeschool Spanish Academy 



My Experience: 

My daughter looked forward to the Spanish sessions and I appreciated the convenience of the classes. I was able to select what day and time worked best for my family. Being able to view the syllabus was also important to me. I'm fluent in Spanish and wanted to make sure my daughter was going to be receiving proper instruction. Since my daughter understands and speaks a bit of Spanish, I made the instructor aware of this. My daughter was evaluated and placed in the appropriate level. After the 4th session, my daughter was tested. 

As a certified teacher, I noticed that every lesson had an introduction, lesson, and ending. For example, when my daughter was being taught phrases in Spanish (good morning, good afternoon, good night) she was first asked if she knew any phrases in Spanish. Then she was introduced to the phrases. Finally, she was shown the phrases in English and she had to remember how to say them in Spanish. 

The homework that was sent to me via email had instructions in English as well as in Spanish. This would make it easy for those parents that do not speak the language to be able to help their child with the assignment. The lessons used colorful pictures and were interactive. 

One issue that my daughter had was the fact that there are no hands on crafts. For a child who's a kinesthitic learning, it's a bit hard to sit for 25 minutes and not be able to do anything "crafty".  

The instructors were very friendly and gave immediate praise. When my daughter would mispronounce a word the instructor would repeat the word and ask her to say it again until she said the word correctly. 

The program is  not complete for its purpose. The student will need internet connection, Skype, headset with microphone, and a webcam is recommended.

Overall Thoughts:

I appreciated Ron Fontin's availability and patience. Every time I called or emailed him he would respond in a timely matter and was very helpful. As a Spanish speaker, I found it very interesting to hear how the same item is named differently depending on what Spanish speaking county one comes from. On multiple occasions, I sat  next to my daughter and watched the lesson with her. I appreciated the immediate feedback from the instructor and how they would encourage my daughter to repeat words she had mispronounced. The homework was sent promptly and I would recommend this program.

I have received this product free of charge for review purposes.

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