Purchasing a foreign language program that provides you with mostly vocabulary can not only get boring, but it will not teach you how to communicate with the Spanish-speaking world. Way more than a computer game that simply teaches words, ¡El Español Fácil! has everything you need to succeed at teaching Spanish! You do not have to get “bogged down” with endless words that you are supposed to memorize. Instead, learn a language in a more natural way with interesting stories your homeschoolers will love. No more boring children with twaddle, to quote Charlotte Mason.
Learning Spanish is so much more than simply learning how to string some words together. Your homeschoolers will learn content within relationship through stories that will teach them when to use certain phrases. The culture is intertwined through the stories, so homeschoolers learn naturally. If you want to go beyond "getting by" on a missions trip, then you need to understand the Spanish people, their culture, and their expressions. Every lesson includes Spanish Cultural Notes and Trivia. Spanish idioms (an English idiom would be "Six of one, half a dozen of another") are used in the stories, explained, and kept in your students notebook. The aim of ¡El Español Fácil! is to turn you into a truly bilingual person, able to go into business with, or present the Gospel to, the Spanish speaking world.
(Purchase your Spanish curriculum here)
Program author Marie Filion possesses a Master of Science in Psychology, has taught French As A Second Language in the public system, private school and online, and has spent years as a Literacy Specialist and Tutor. Drawing on all of this knowledge and experience she has (in conjunction with our Spanish Team) compiled a program that utilizes Gouin Series (as recommended by Charlotte Mason), follows Bloom's Taxonomy and higher order thinking theories by Dr. Jeanne Chall, and even uses the discoveries of Dr. Alfred Tomatis (The Tomatis Method) to retrain the ear and brain to accept Spanish Frequency Bands
The methods that are used in ¡El Español Fácil! help facilitate moving content from short term memory into long term memory. Most programs introduce a lesson, get you to do exercises and then expect you to remember the content. ¡El Español Fácil! has the homeschooler listen to the lesson 5 times, once each day of the week. In this way, there is an ample amount of rehearsal that can occur. The homeschooler listens to the story while following along with the story in front of them.
In order to encode information in the sensory register there needs to be three elements that work together: phonological loop, visuo-spatial sketchpad and the episodic buffer. This needs to occur before the information can be available for research in short term memory. ¡El Español Fácil! introduces phonograms that teach the basic sounds of the language; this satisfies the phonological loop portion. This articulatory rehearsal allows homeschoolers to be familiar with the sounds of the language, so that these building blocks can then be used to learn vocabulary.
Our visuo-spatial sketchpad needs to have content that tells our brains what we want to learn and where we should use this information. Learning Spanish within a story form satisfies this portion and allows the information to be encoded in our brains more easily.
The episodic buffer sounds very complicated, but it actually quite simple. Episodic buffers link narratives with visual memories. When a homeschooler reads or listens to a story, they automatically get a visual picture in their brains. ¡El Español Fácil! does not provide elaborate drawings of the stories because this forces the brain to link to previous memories. The stories are centered on Spanish homeschoolers, which allows the brain to link to previous experiences the homeschooler has gone through. The more the homeschooler can relate to the story, the more they will remember the vocabulary and context of the story.
Long term memory has two basics division: episodic (declarative) and implicit (non-declarative). The more elements of both we can link together, the more the content is remembered. Declarative is linked to words that we place with action, with implicit or non-declarative contains procedure and emotion. In our stories, we link the words with what is going on. Once we have understanding of the plot and can relate it to our lives, then we attain both declarative and non-declarative memory.
¡El Español Fácil! is written in order to take advantage of all the elements we have just discussed. We work to help your homeschooler learn the language more easily.
Different languages are spoken in different frequency ranges, or bands. Frequency is similar to pitch in music - "C" is heard at a higher frequency than "A", for example (in the same Octave of course). The following chart shows the frequencies that several languages are spoken in:
Did you notice that Spanish and English don't overlap? As a result, what happens when the Anglophone hears Spanish being spoken is that the brain rejects the sounds as background noise! This is because our ears and brains specialize to help filter the huge amount of input that bombards us on a daily basis. Even worse for those with ambitions of achieving Spanish fluency, Dr. Tomatis discovered that you cannot speak any sound which the ear cannot hear (have you noticed that hearing impaired people usually don't have clear speech?). Fortunately, ¡El Español Fácil! utilizes special techniques with the 2 digitally mastered CD's, and the construction of the storylines, which can actually retrain the ear and brain to accept these lower frequencies as language! For more information, read the following article.
As a homeschooling family of 6, so are we! ¡El Español Fácil! is over 400 pages of non-consumable textbook plus 2 audio CD's. CD #1 is also an enhanced audio CD-ROM. Place it in your computer and you can print (for FREE) over 200 activity sheets, which you then keep in a 3 ring binder as your students consumable workbook. This is great for families with multiple children - simply print as many copies as you require! As an added bonus, because the program is non-consumable, you can send it to our friends at Wycliffe Bible Translators (see page 1 in the curriculum for details) when you are finished with it to receive a credit towards the purchase of the next level, saving you even more money!
Not to worry - everything is recorded on the CD's for you by Native Spanish Speakers. All 36 lessons (stories and vocabulary), the Spanish phonograms, Everyday Vocabulary lists, Spanish songs, Spanish scripture memory verses, even The Lords Prayer in Spanish are all there. ¡El Español Fácil! is built on the same highly successfull techniques pioneered in Le Français Facile!, The Easy French. Before releasing Le Français Facile! Level I we tested it out with 40 different families from all over North America, in places like Oklahoma, California, Quebec, New Brunswick; people with no French, some French, and plenty of French! Everyone had great success (not to mention lots of fun!) with Le Français Facile! But don't take our word for it! Read some of the comments our testing families sent us. Of course you will also want to check out our current collection of Spanish curriculum reviews
So are we! ¡El Español Fácil! includes 3 different tracks that your students can take. The younger student track takes 3 years to complete, the Independent Learner track takes 2 years, and the Teenager/Adult track is 1 year. Every lesson includes an Independent Learner section (used by Teenager/Adults also) with specific instructions to allow them to complete the program with minimum assistance from the parent. In our family, our 3 year old colors printouts of the characters while our 5 and 7 year old do the lesson with Mom and our 12 year old works on it independently.