Classical Academic Press has become another favorite of ours for quality materials with a classical flare.
We have discovered yet another favorite as we have been using their Song School Spanish. But before I get into the nitty gritty of our new adventure, let’s take a walk down our Classical Academic Press lane. 🙂
Morgan is using their Latin Alive for high school credit. We reviewed Latin Alive 1 and purchased Latin Alive 2. Several of my Crew Mates reviewed their Latin for Children program as well as Song School Latin. We fell in love with the CAP products, so I purchased Song School Latin for my little guy, and plan to continue with Latin using Latin for Children when the time comes. Since we have really been working on our reading skills this year I decided to wait a bit until he got really good at English before officially starting the Song School Latin.
My middle school student Taylor and I thoroughly enjoyed Art of Argument which we reviewed, but purchased the fabulous dvd set of lectures that accompanies the program. We are currently starting a new logic program that we received for review, so be looking for that one in the near future.
We have also used a Bible program that is fairly new to their lineup, which has been expanded this year, God’s Great Covenant, New Testament 1. We really enjoyed reviewing and going through this program. There have been many more in this series added to the lineup that are being reviewed by my Crew Mates, so be sure and check them out!
So that was the long-winded introduction to our adventures with Classical Academic Press. Needless to say I was absolutely THRILLED to be given the opportunity to review their Song School Spanish with Levi. He has asked me on several different occasions to learn Spanish. He attended daycare at a Christian School where most, if not all, of his teachers and the majority of students were Spanish, so he learned a little bit from there. Add that to the fact that we live in South Texas and there you have it.
When the opportunity presented itself for us to use this program, I took into account the fact that I already had and planned to use Song School Latin in the near future, but had decided to let Levi get a little better at English before diving in due to the similarities of the languages. But the fact that Spanish seemed to be enough different from English coupled with the fact that Levi is already a little familiar with it really seemed like a great thing to add to our First Grade studies.
I guess the thing that really topped it off, though, was the fact that Levi is so excited and motivated to learn it, and the very cherry on top? Well, Levi LOVES music, and learns very well through songs, making this program a no-brainer!
He was just beside himself when the box came in the mail. We were on our way to a 4-H meeting with the girls when we retrieved it from the mailbox. When we arrived at the meeting, we decided to sit in the truck while the girls’ went to their meeting so we could check it out. This is what we found in our treasure box:
The student Song School Spanish book and cd which retails for $24.95.
The Song School Spanish Teacher’s Edition which retails for $24.95.
We ordered the Spanish Amigo Match cards game accessory separately to go along with our Song School Spanish. (We paid for these, but the price was discounted as a generous offer from the company for reviewing their program.) These retail for $26.95.
**The best deal on the program is the Song School Spanish Bundle of student book and cd, teacher’s edition, and flashcard for $66.95.
This program is geared for Kindergarten through 3rd grade according to the website. The teacher’s manual says that the program was designed for use by students in K – 2nd grade. It suggests that Kindergartners will rely mostly on the CD, as their reading and writing skills are just emerging. First graders will probably need quite a bit of help with the reading and writing portion, and 2nd graders should be able to work more independently with the workbooks and extra pages in the teachers manual. I can definitely see this working very well as an independent program for 3rd graders. Of course the usage of parts will totally depend on the skills of the child and not the grade level. 🙂
The nitty-gritty of the program features thirty lessons, and includes a music cd containing 42 songs and chants that is included in a little plastic case in the back of the student book. Recommended usage is one lesson weekly, and a discussion of scheduling is included in the teacher manual along with a discussion of teaching method and additional resources. There is a suggested three day schedule with what to include each day that works as a great starting point to create exactly what you need. While the student book also has an introduction and suggested schedule, etc for the teacher, the teacher’s manual also has many additional teaching tips along with the answer key, so it is essential for the program.
Song School Spanish at Gunn Ranch Academy
This program is nothing short of phenomenal! My 6 year old is absolutely soaking it up and the songs are amazing mnemonic tools just as I thought they would be. I can still sing many songs I learned to help me remember things from my childhood, and I certainly believe in the power of music. For Levi, this is just a great fit all the way around.
What I love most about the program is the short, user friendly lessons. This is about the only program we have used that Levi asks to do more, and I hear AWWWW 😦 when our three times weekly 15 to 20 minute lessons are over. Actually most days we end up listening to the music cd a bit longer, and repeat the songs over and over (insert *dancing wildly*), depending on what else we need to move on to and how our day is going. Levi also grabs the cd to listen to in the truck when we are traveling. On the other two days weekly, Levi’s sisters put in the cd and sing along with him, as well as play card games with the vocabulary words that we have learned so far using the Spanish Amigo Match game that we ordered. These little cards are really an awesome addition to the program and we will definitely be ordering the Latin Cards that Taylor has requested.
This is kinda what our days look like (I say kinda just because our schedule is never really the same, we are pretty spontaneous around here :D):
*Monday we open to a new chapter and begin with the new list of words or phrases to learn at the beginning of the page. The Spanish words or phrases are written in bold print with the English translation beside. Since I don’t know Spanish myself, I have found the Teacher’s Manual hints and tips very helpful so far. We also downloaded the Song School Spanish Pronunciation Audio (zipped MP3 file) from the Classical Academic Press website that can help us with pronunciation if we need it. We have a bit of an advantage as well in that my Surgery Vet Tech at my clinic is Spanish and she can help us out with pronunciation if needed. So far we really haven’t had any trouble with pronunciation, and the songs really help us with our pronunciation anyway.Once we read through the new words, we listen to the songs for the chapter we are working on. We usually hit repeat several times on each song, then listen through all of them again. On the first day we sometimes go ahead and read through the chapter lesson section and do the first short “Practice Your Spanish” lesson which is a short writing lesson with some matching and fill in the blank questions. These are really short little lessons. Sometimes we do these the first day and sometimes we wait for the middle of the week day to do them depending on what else we have going for the day.
* Tuesdays Levi’s sister puts on the cd and they sing through the songs from the beginning that we have covered so far. (They usually listen to more as well, and sometimes the whole cd, LOL). The can get pretty silly singing and dancing around to the songs! Then they usually either color a picture that ties to the lesson (there are coloring pages you can print out with the vocabulary words on the Headventure Land website for free!!) or they draw and color an original or two. Sometimes they play with the Spanish Amigo Match game cards using vocabulary and phrases already learned.
*Wednesdays we begin our lesson by listening to the cd, then we usually pronounce the vocabulary words and try to have a conversation with what we’ve learned so far. Many times we substitute words from the songs and chants we have learned, but now that we are learning a few more words and phrases sometimes we are able to make up our own. Levi has gotten pretty good at speaking phrases at other times rather than just in our lesson periods. He now pretty much always calls me “Madre” or mother, and/or “Maestra” which is female teacher. 🙂 In most of the lessons so far there is another section after the practice section with an activity to do like put on a puppet show with the Tortuga and Conejo characters from the book, or ask a friend Spanish phrases, or play a game. We usually do these on Wednesdays if we’ve already completed the Practice section.
*On Thursdays, Levi and his sister sing and dance to the cd songs, and they usually repeat the game or activity (or do it if it wasn’t done on Wednesday) that goes with the lesson. Levi enjoys teaching his sister what he is learning! They usually play with the Spanish Amigo Match game cards together as well.
*Friday is pretty much review day. We listen through the songs, go back through the vocabulary (so far we’ve gone back through ALL of the vocabulary we’ve learned), and I help Levi complete the “Show What You Know” section. We do this activity orally since he doesn’t really write words himself yet without help.
Levi is still learning to read and write, so he doesn’t write the answers to the fill in the blank questions at this point. He does the copy work in lessons, which is tracing the Spanish words or phrases that are dotted in on the lines. He doesn’t really like this part too much, because he doesn’t really enjoy writing at this point, but he is a really good sport about completing the program. I think for children a bit more advanced in their reading and writing skills this would be just perfect and they could certainly complete it on their own. I also find that it is an absolutely perfect program to be able to read aloud and discuss the answers. I can also use the words and phrases for him to copy on lined paper for additional handwriting practice.
There is a review every four chapters that we also discuss orally. He really likes the chapter story in the reviews. The first was The Three Little Pigs in the chapter 4 review in which he identified the Spanish words used in the story. As I have flipped ahead I see that our next story in the Chapter 11 review is Ricitos de Oro and the Three Osos. (The Three Bears). We’ve been covering quite a few classical stories and tales this year, so this really fits in with what we are doing!
I HIGHLY recommend this program for K-3rd graders. It’s fun, cute and colorful characters along with the songs, games and activities are just a wonderful way to introduce a foreign language to children at this critical age of learning!
Classical Academic Press has a free practice website where anyone can practice the subjects they carry, and correspond directly to the curriculum and subjects. Anyone can benefit from the website, however, even if they aren’t using the CAP materials. It’s a great place for children to discover some really great games, videos, coloring pages, activities, etc. Check out Headventure Land for yourself!
And as always, be sure to check out my Crew Mates’ adventures with this Classical Academic Press product along with others over at the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog!
Enjoy your journey!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.