Sunday, April 28, 2013

{Review} Spanish for You!

Are you looking for an easy Spanish curriculum?  Do you want it to be inexpensive? Do you want it to include both English and native speakers?  Do you want it the curriculum to include both spoken AND written work?  Do you want the curriculum to be easy to implement?  Are you looking to be able to use it at home or in a classroom?

Spanish for You is the curriculum you have been searching for.  Our family had the chance to use this great curriculum the last few weeks.   This curriculum is designed for grades 3-8 so Lil Red and Dude were my test subjects again but of course Chubbles and Legs picked up things as we went along.

For our review, the creator, Debbie Annett MSEd., sent our family the soft-covered book, Fiestas and then all other items were sent as downloads.  The downloads included audios from Ms. Annett and audios from a native speaker.  The downloads also included child-drawn illustrations for flash cards, worksheets for students and lesson guides for the instructors.

Spanish for You took about 20-30 minutes most days with a few being shorter lessons.  It is originally designed to be done four days a week but it is easily adaptable to your personal schedule.  The lessons include vocabulary, verb conjugation and conversation all intertwined in the use of the verbal lessons, flashcards, worksheets and games.

If you order the Fiestas (celebrations) or Estaciones (seasons) packages, you will have the choice to purchasing Grades 3-8 for $69.95 or only two grades together for $39.95.  In those packages, you will receive:

  • soft cover book or e-book (currently only our trial pkgs.)
  • 24-30 week lesson guide for the grades you need (24 weeks for G5-6 & 7-8, 30 weeks for G3-4) (PDF download)
  • self-checking worksheets (PDF download)
  • audio files of entire book (includes bonus audio of native speaker of entire book) (MP3 download)
  • flashcard/activity pictures (PDF download)
Spanish for You also includes a new theme, Viajes (travels) in a 4-week ($9.99) or 6-week ($12.99) trial packages.  These trial packages do not come with a soft cover book but the book is in download format.  The full packages for Viajes will be available in June 2013.

Pros: This program is easy to implement.  The lesson are labeled by days and easy to follow.  We loved that we could listen the language in both the native tongue and from someone who speaks mainly English.

Cons: At first, the worksheets did not seem to be organized and were sometimes hard to find in the downloads.  Ms. Annett has since changed the organization and your downloads will be better organized and easier to use.

You can find out more and purchase your own copy at Spanish for You!

This review is part of the Mosaic Reviews: A medley of review perspectives.  To see other perspectives, please visit here after April 29th.

The next review will be Ooka Island

Friday, April 12, 2013

{Review} Apologia Ultimate Planner

Are you a planner junkie?  Planner junkies are people that love to have a planner at their fingertips and maybe even salivate at the sight of a new planner all crisp and clean and ready to be filled out.  Planner junkies love taking the time to sit down and fill-in all the spaces with their activities most of time using color-colored pencils or pens to indicate different family members or activities.

I admit I am a planner junkie.  I love the thought of taking the time right before a new school year or new physical year to open up a brand new calendar or planner and fill-in all of our family and school activities.  I do use color on my wall calendar but I continue to use pencil on my planner since that changes often with school lessons.  I tend to gravitate to the office supply section at my local store just to look at the different planners and calendars they have to sell.  I like planning so much that my hubby lovingly refers to me as the "walking calender."

I was really giddy when I got Apologia's Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell in the mail.  The Ultimate Homeschool Planner had so many spaces for me to write and it wasn't just a plain plan book like some products you find in stores.  The package also included the Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens and Ultimate Daily Planner for Students.  The additional products also meant that I could possibly have children that like to plan mom.  Oh the joy!

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner was developed for moms but it was also developed to work alongside the planners for Teens and Students.  For this reason, it has twelve pages of instructions (with graphics and examples)  explaining how to best use the planner.  Mrs. Bell describes the importance of yearly, monthly and weekly planning so she has included a yearly grid, monthly calender pages and then almost one-hundred sets of weekly planning pages.  

In addition to all those goodies, the Ultimate Homeschool Planner also includes areas to record character and academic goals, resource lists, a place to record grades, reading list logs, and field trip logs.  Mrs. Bell also added articles about independent learners, reluctant learners and learning styles.  In the back of the planner, moms will find a grid to help map out the high school years and a place to record a year-end review.

The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students is best for fourth through eighth grade and is a great way to get students ready to be more independent in high school.  This planner has a clear plastic ruler that can come out for use and the spiral binding glows in the dark.  Inside you will find All About Me pages for the student to fill out and a Study-Smart Toolkit.  This toolkit is a list of ways for the student to better organize and study.  Of course, you will also find monthly calender and weekly assignment pages.  Like mom's planner, there are pages to record grades, readig logs and activities.  I love that the Mrs. Bell encourages active lifestyles by including an chart to record active movements to meet the requirements on the Presidential Lifestyle Award.  The final thing found the student planner is many difference usual reference pages with maps, charts, lists, etc.

Finally, our package included The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens.  My teen was reluctant to use it because the curriculum we have has all of her assignments mapped out for her but after looking through the planner, Legs decided it would benefit her afterall.  She has used it more for a recording of what was accomplished instead of what to do on the weekly pages.  The teen planner includes of the same things as the student planner: All About Me pages, calendar grids and weekly assigment pages and reference pages, grade recording charts, reading lists, and activity logs in the back.

The teen planner also includes first and second semester planning pages and a credit tracker which will benefit her and I in keeping track of what she needs for college admissions someday.  Something else we found very helpful for her is the college admissions timeline, high school checklist, recommended reading list and information on academic scholarships.

Pros: All three planners have flexible covers and spiral binding for durability.  The spaces to write on are good size and not too busy to be distracting.  There are encouraging quotes in the Ultimate Planner for mom. Bible verses and questions about our presidental history can be found in the Student Planner.  The Teen Planner includes more great quotes and SAT words for added benefit.

Cons: If you like digital planners, this would probably not work for you.  For our family, the Student Planner was not beneficial because I have an relucent reader who hates to write so adding this onto his plate would have been very frustrating.

You can find out more, see examples and order The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students or The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens at Apologia.
This review is part of the Mosaic Reviews: A medley of review perspectives.  To see other perspectives, please visit here.

The next review will be Spanish for You.