Monday, September 10, 2012

¡Hablo Español con Speekee TV!

 

I’ll be honest with you – I have NO idea what kind of animal, creature or thing Speekee is.  I don’t even really know if Speekee is a girl or a boy (we think of him as a boy in our house because…..well….that’s all I’ve got!).  But whatever he is (for simplicity’s sake, I’m going with he), I’m grateful that Speekee has sparked some fun language learning in our house over the past few weeks.

Speekee TV is an online video-based language learning, immersion program.  {They also have a DVD program, but the DVDs are only formatted in PAL, so check your equipment to see if it will work.}  You can subscribe annually for $60.00 or on a monthly basis for $7.50.  I think that this is a really great value for a houseful of preschool and elementary aged children, because you can watch the video segments as many times as you need, and Speekee is appealing to such a wide range of abilities.  Both my 6 year old (almost 7) and 9-almost-10 year old really enjoy the videos and lessons.

You can try Speekee TV for free for two weeks to see if it will work for your family!

Speekee TV’s features include:

  • 10 episodes of Spanish  ~ This may not seem like a lot, but each episode packs in basic vocabulary, conversation, glimpses into life in Spain, helpful phrases, and catchy tunes that I guarantee you will be singing while you cook dinner or wash the dishes. We’ve watched several of the episodes multiple times – to emphasis different vocabulary or phrases – and have not been bored at all!

Each episode of Speekee has a different theme: the park, the café, the house, the zoo, the classroom, the market, the station (travel), the beach, the garden and the party.  Most if not all of these themes are common to elementary ages students and the kids can draw on the experiences in these situations to help them use and understand the Spanish they are hearing.

  • Over 150 minutes of pure Spanish learning  ~  The videos average about 15  minutes, with a few approaching 19 or 20 minutes.  We haven’t found them to be too long or boring, because each episode has  interesting and varied segments, but with predicable people and characters to help the kids know what to expect.
  • Learn Spanish from real Spanish children in real Spanish locations ~ I love helping my kids actually see that kids in other countries are just like they are.
  • Features songs, animation and puppets
  • Optional subtitles in Spanish and English ~ I tend to have the subtitles on for a few minutes at the beginning as a help for me.  Once I have the words and word endings, I turn it off.  (It has been helpful for me to review my Spanish from many, many years ago.)   Right now, I really want Luke and Levi to focus on listening to the language and not trying to read it {Especially since Luke has a harder time with reading}.
  • Free activity sheet downloads ~ We have honestly not used many of the downloadable worksheets. 
  • Great fun and extremely effective ~  I often use Speekee as an incentive for the boys to finish their chores!
  • Created by specialist language teachers
  • Free optional curriculum ~  The FastTrack program is totally optional, but totally included in your subscription price.  It provides you with 40 weeks of activities to expand on the videos and guide you in teaching a second language to your kids.  I’ll write more about FastTrack below.
  • Songs you can't stop singing  ~ And that is the truth!!!!!

Let me tell you about FastTrack.  Each of the lessons is broken down and studied for four weeks, four times a week.   In the first week, you watch the full episode with your child.  Then, on the next 3 days, you will focus just on one part of the episode – maybe the greetings, or role playing, or learning colors.  Sometimes there is a PDF worksheet to complete, or suggestion to make one of the sock puppets. (Oh! that I could find a single sock right now;  Levi would LOVE to make Lupi or Dino and has been asking me about it for a few weeks now.) I really appreciate that the boys are re-hearing the language (and improving their pronunciation) and practicing the language in little bits.  Trust me, it is not boring. 

As I mentioned, the FastTrack lessons are available with your subscription, so you do not have to pay anything extra for them.  The lessons are  available when you log into SpeekeeTV and you can have them emailed to you.  After getting the emails for 6 weeks now, I actually prefer to access the material online instead.  It reads a little smoother for my visual learning style and helps me to see what I need to re-watch with the boys, or make, or print off.  

My recommendations & thoughts:  I cannot say enough great things about Speekee.  My kids beg to do Spanish and Speekee, even more than when we  used Speekee for a review last year.  As a matter of fact, I would say that they are even more interested in Speekee this year – and I’ve heard them both add little Spanish phrases into our conversations!  We now ask each other, “Que tal?” and Luke remembers “Bien,”  while Levi leans over and says, “How do I say ‘good’ again?”  Really, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Last year when I reviewed Speekee, I really liked it, but was at a loss on how to use the material to teach Spanish to my kids. FastTrack has been “IdeaTrack” for me.   IT has been so inspiring, and have really made Spanish come alive in our house. See, my gift is not necessarily generating creative, new ideas, but I’m great at modifying someone else’s plan or idea to fit my life or needs or style! FastTrack, then, has been awesome to help me see the video in pieces so that I can actually use it with the boys. Today, for example, we have been practicing using por favor, de nada, and gracias when talking to one another. The boys have LOVED it, and even used it at dinner!

If  you’d like to read how Speekee worked in other homeschool families, please click on the banner below:  

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Adios!

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a six month online subscription, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

3 comments:

Factivation Multiplication said...

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Great article. Keep writing and shower your readers with such useful information. Keep
it Up!!!

Under the Sky said...

This is a very good review, Alane! I loved all the details and the manner in which you shared them. I appreciate hearing how your family is using it!

Thanks very much!

Warmly,
Kate

Jim said...

Hola Alane, This is Jim from Speekee checking in to say a big GRACIAS for your review. Much appreciated!