It’s a busy season for Musicuentos, can you tell?
If you’ve been traveling this road with me for any length of time, you know that I was homeschooled from the fifth through twelfth grades. Homeschooling is certainly not for everyone, but it is a great option for many families and was exactly what my family needed, as I felt bored and stifled by the imposed structure of school and my brother was slipping through the cracks with learning difficulties his classroom couldn’t accommodate. Now we’re embarking on our own homeschooling journey with an aspiring kindergartener who’s taught herself to read at a second grade level and seems ready for a more challenging, flexible program than your average kindergarten class. So when Erica Fisher asked me to think with her about what a homeschool elementary Spanish curriculum might look like, it didn’t take me very long to sign on. And so Calico Spanish Homeschool Learning Series was born, and is finally here. It’s HERE! (Well, not here with me, but you know what I mean.)
I’m really proud to be the primary author on this curriculum and I’m convinced there isn’t anything available more engaging and effective for homeschooling families, or even for families whose school does not offer Spanish and they’d like to learn together. I’d be the first to tell someone that learners can’t develop real proficiency on their own, and that was a question as we approached this project – people all over are asking, where’s a product that can help me learn Spanish when I don’t have a teacher who speaks Spanish? The fact is, you have to interact with the target language community in order to develop higher proficiency in a language, but does that mean you can’t learn to do anything on your own? I don’t think so. So we set out to design something that would help learners acquire real language skills at home. Here are some of the features, and I’m betting you’ll see how they mirror the Musicuentos philosophy:
- Proficiency-based learning targets based on ACTFL I Can statements
- I Can goals for every lesson
- Language presented through engaging, interactive video stories
- Language practiced through Calico’s fun music program
- Ideas and strategies for getting lots of repetitions of key language elements
- Focus on communicative skills with language elements (animals, colors, numbers) presented in small, achievable chunks
This curriculum is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. I’m continually annoyed by curricula that purport to get students “using” long vocabulary lists quickly so this curriculum presents vocabulary and skills as bite-size, achievable chunks. And they’re all presented within the highly comprehensible context of simple stories and songs that are geared toward the communicative skills of, for Level A, talking about myself. Children learn to greet someone, introduce themselves, describe themselves a bit and mention things like what they like.
If you are a homeschooler or know a homeschooling family who wants to incorporate Spanish into the elementary learning journey, visit Calico’s website. And before you know it I’ll be posting about the launch of Level B, where Pepe the dog, Goyo the cat, and Camilo the rabbit help kids learn to talk about their families!