The Most Fun & Unique Homeschool Spanish Curriculum Ever: Excelerate Spanish Review
“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and – SNAP – the job’s a game!” – Mary Poppins
Some kids find it easy and enjoyable to learn a new language. My son is NOT one of those kids. From an early age it was a challenge for him to read, write, and speak clearly. Over the years he has participated in vision and language therapy to help address his dysgraphia, dyslexia, and other learning challenges. For him learning about languages is hard work.
We have always had to search for “out of the box” type programs to help my son learn. Earlier this year we found an innovative homeschool Spanish curriculum called Excelerate Spanish by Caryn Powell Hommel. FINALLY we found a program that helped my son learn Spanish. Excelerate Spanish is the most fun and unique homeschool Spanish curriculum we have ever used!
Finding an Engaging Homeschool Spanish Curriculum
As I mentioned, my son has struggled with language lessons for years. Now, as a teenager, he is making great strides in his verbal and written English communication skills, but he still has a BIG concern. He wants to learn a foreign language, but the thought of workbooks, vocabulary flashcards, and conjugating verbs fill him with stress and anxiety.
Traditional curriculum with textbook and worksheets rarely work for us. In addition to addressing my son’s language challenges, we also look for programs to support his hands-on and visual learning styles. He can’t pick up a workbook and work through it independently like a lot of other kids. He responds best when he can actively participate in learning activities.
As a homeschool mom I’ve searched for foreign language curriculum options and signed-up for trials of numerous online and in-person programs. My son always holds out hope and gives each program a good try, but ultimately he gets frustrated with each new attempt.
Several months ago we were introduced to Excelerate Spanish. Caryn, the program creator, is an experienced teacher, homeschool parent, and author. Personally, I love curriculum that is created by other homeschool educators – to me it means another homeschool mom was faced with a challenge about how to help children learn a subject, she used her knowledge and background to figure out a creative solution, and she was willing to share her experience with others.
After viewing the introduction video for Excelerate Spanish with my son we were literally grinning from ear-to-ear! We have never seen a program that intentionally uses humor and physical movement to teach language. We couldn’t wait to start using Excelerate Spanish!
About Excelerate Spanish
Remember when I said Excelerate Spanish is an innovative and unique program? What’s funny is that even though it’s not like most traditional foreign language learning programs, it is actually one of the most practical and straightforward programs I’ve experienced.
Rather than using drills and repetitive grammar exercises, Excelerate Spanish uses language from real life, with real context, that is related to real social situations. All of these real life language activities are combined with physical movements to help the brain learn as naturally as possible. Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?
The concept I found most fascinating about this program – the physical movements and humor were added to this program based on solid brain research. Caryn doesn’t overwhelm parents with detailed scientific jargon, but she does provide information about the multi-sensory teaching methods incorporated in the program known as TPR (Total Physical Response) and TPRS (Total Physical Response Storytelling).
Basically, these teaching methods closely resemble children’s early experiences in language learning. Not only do children find these activities to be fun and interesting, the actions ultimately enhance retention.
Excelerate Spanish Lesson Format
So how are you, as a homeschool parent, supposed to teach Spanish to your child in a way that is fun and engaging? It’s easy – you pop in a DVD and learn along with your child!
The complete Excelerate Spanish program includes:
- 4 DVDs containing a total of 24 lessons
- Lesson Book with suggestions for using the program in a group or homeschool situation as well as the content (words and questions) included in each lesson
- Workbook with creative extension activities such as puzzles, games, scavenger hunts, and more to supplement the video portion of the lessons
- Answer Key provides answers for the Workbook exercises
All lessons are provided on the DVDs and are led by the program creator. Each lesson includes about 45 minutes of instruction, however you are encouraged to take your time and introduce each lesson over a period of several days (or weeks). Pausing, rewinding, and repetition are key to success with the program.
Vocabulary words and phrases – When the video teacher introduces new words and phrases she writes them on a board, speaks them, and demonstrates a corresponding physical action. Students are encouraged to repeat the words and gestures. This is my son’s favorite part of the program. Repeating the words and getting up and acting out the physical gestures really helps him remember what he is learning.
Skit (Dramatizacion) – A clever skit is included and students in the video act out the skit using funny props and gestures. After the skit is complete the teacher asks students to answer several questions based on the skit. After your children watch the skit they are also encouraged to gather their own props and act it out for themselves.
Lectura and Workbook – For further practice students can read a related story (lectura) and answer “Si o No” questions to check for understanding. The Student Workbook also offers a variety of activities for additional practice using the words and phrases learned. Because there are many different activities to choose from my son is able to pick the ones he enjoys the most – just having that flexibility and choice makes the lessons more personalized and effective.
Why We Recommend Excelerate Spanish
As you can see, this program has been a great fit for our family. We have been telling our friends about it because we believe it has a number of benefits for homeschool families, such as:
Excelerate Spanish lessons can be used with a wide range of ages. The video lessons include children from elementary though high school age. This is a fun program to use to learn Spanish together as a family. Honestly, I have been watching and participating in the lessons with my son and I can’t believe how much I have learned already!
The program is easy to use. Just start the DVD and you are ready to go. The Lesson Book provides suggestions for schedules and ideas for incorporating the workbook activities but no additional planning, preparation, or supplies are needed.
The words and topics covered include real life situations and offer appropriate context. Lesson 3 is about going out in a storm so we have learned words/phrases such as – the window, it’s raining, here is, puts on, the house, and more. After just a few lessons my son has been able to identify words on signs and recognize words he hears in conversations.
If you would like to learn more about this unique program I would encourage you to view the Excelerate Spanish introduction video. This video gave us a first-hand look at the program and was a great inspiration to help us get started. For more information and to view the video, visit Excelerate Spanish today.
This article was written by a Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers guest author. See the author's full bio in the body of the post.
Foreign language credits for high school are frustrating for me. They aren’t tested on it for college, so how far do we take it? This curriculum sounds great, but can somebody explain to me what it is that the credits for high school require for a language? Do my kids need to know what gender the words are, or is all that superfluous because what we really want is kids who can speak it in context?
Great question! We are still figuring out all of the guidelines and requirements for homeschooling high school also.
I’m not claiming to be an expert on the subject but I can share some information I’ve been reviewing on the topic:
Regarding Excelerate Spanish – if you visit the FAQ page on their website the question of “Will Excelerate SPANISH count as a high school credit?” is specifically addressed by the program author. Here is a link: https://exceleratespanish.com/faqs/
Beyond that I would figure out what the requirements are for your child for high school – here is a list of links to requirements by state that might help you get started https://letshomeschoolhighschool.com/2014/05/30/high-school-graduation-requirements-state/
I just came across your review of Excelerate Spanish. It was tremendously informative and helpful. I’m a homeschool mom with 2 sons (they’ll be in 8th & 9th grades next fall (2016), and I’ve been looking around for a good Spanish curriculum that I could use with both of them together. We’ve done a little Spanish (Speedy Spanish), but are ready for some more solid, consistent Spanish, especially that I can count for high school credit. Excelerate Spanish looks really good, and I’ve read a lot of good reviews, but I can’t find anywhere where it tells how long each video lesson is. You said in your review that lessons “include about 45 minutes of instruction”, but is that the video viewing time, or does that include the workbook exercises, too? How often did you do the lessons (every day or once a week, etc.)?
Thanks for your kind words!
The lessons include about 45 minutes of instruction, however, the intention is not necessarily to go through the lesson from start to finish in one “sitting”, therefore the amount of time it will take to complete a lesson will vary.
As an example, a suggested schedule provided in the book recommends taking 5 days to complete 1 lesson.
Day 1 – watch the main vocabulary portion of the video and complete workbook activities
Day 2 – Watch vocabulary, action series, and skit portion of video. Maybe rewind the skit portion and act out the skit. Read the lectura and answer questions.
Day 3 Workbook activities and reread lectura, etc.
The material in each lesson is very comprehensive, but how each family decides to cover the material will determine how long it takes to complete a lesson.
We usually covered one lesson per week (we worked on the lesson 3 days per week for about 45 minutes each day). Each lesson was a little different but we would review the information in the video a couple of times and then add in exercises from the workbook, projects, quiz, etc.
Part of what makes this program effective is the use of repetition and interaction (with the students in the video or siblings). Therefore, it’s not a program to just rush through, it makes sense to review and repeat until the student feels comfortable.
Hi, I have a 7 yr old and 13 year old. I wanted them to start together in a language since neither have experience. Would this program work for both?
How interesting to come across a Spanish homeschool program for the older age range, and to learn about the methodology used. As Kris knows, I’ve been intimately involved in the creation of two Spanish homeschool programs for younger children and I’ve often wondered about how – and if! – I would be able to come up with something similar for older kids. Although I won’t be trying that any time soon, as I content creator I shall remember the clever ‘skit’ idea to boost the Spanish learning!
Will this course prepare the high school student adequately for college Spanish?
Hi, Trish. Susan, the author who reviewed Excelerate Spanish, isn’t writing for WUHS anymore, and I didn’t use the product, so I’m not sure. I would suggest contacting the publisher to get their feedback. I’m sorry I can’t be more help!
Expedition Spanish is another amazing program worth a look! My children LOVE it!