Studying a foreign language = hard work, right? Between verb conjugations and subject verb agreement and understanding idioms…I don’t know about you, but I studied two different modern foreign languages in school (one in high school and one in college) and I can’t speak either one of them very well. They just didn’t seem to stick. And yeah, it was a lot of work to learn the little that did stick.
Teaching my kiddos at least one foreign language is a priority. In our diverse country and global economy, being able to communicate is important. But how can I teach something that I never learned very well myself?
That’s one of the fallacies that plagues homeschoolers. How can we teach things like pre-algebra and AP physics without degrees in mathematics and science? Or at least a degree in elementary education? The answer, of course, is that we don’t. We give our kiddos the tools they need to teach themselves and the environment and opportunity in which to do it.
And there’s never been a better time for it. The amount of resources that are only a click and a download away are unbelievable. And they’re a far-cry from the textbooks and overhead transparencies you remember from when you were in school.
Want to learn Spanish wherever, whenever, without lugging around a textbook and a passel of worksheets? Slip a No-Work Spanish audio cd into your player or load it onto your iPod and immerse yourself in the gentle rhythms of the language. Before you know it, you might find yourself repeating those words and actually getting what you’re saying.
Each No-Work Spanish audiobook varies in length from 50 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. First, the narrator will read the text to you in English and then in Spanish, sentence by sentence. The following track is that entire chapter in Spanish. Then the next chapter gives each sentence in English, then in Spanish, and on through the entire book.
Open the pdf file on your cd, and you’ll find the transcript in its entirety, so you can follow along while listening, or read it to yourself in a quiet moment. Note: the pdfs are also available for download off the No-Work Spanish website, providing easy access for those who purchase the download version.
We received Yaks March on Washington and Poster Girl on cd for review, and have listened to Yaks so far. Check out the No-Work Spanish site for descriptions and excerpts from these two books.
Yaks follows Dash, a ranch dog, and his owner (and best friend) to Washington, DC as they bring 6 yaks to a Tibetan festival. Based on a true story, it’s full of fun little details about yaks, ranch life, and even Tibetan life that had my curious kiddos asking all kinds of questions (I feel a yak unit study coming on, smile).
Sound quality is good and I would guess that the narrator is a native Spanish speaker. His English pronunciation is flawless, but he does speak it with a very slight accent and sometimes his inflection is a little off (the emphasis on a particular or syllable is sometimes not what you would expect). He reads in a spirited way, adding in little verbal effects (likes sighs, voice changes, etc.) where appropriate. Definitely not a monotonous recitation. We are enjoying this very much.
Is it effective? Time will tell. We haven’t had very much time with this resource yet, but the children are picking out the the few Spanish words they already know and making connections. I’ve found that playing it in the car works great. Whenever I try to play it for them elsewhere, there is always something else they’d rather do…it just seems like a chore. In the car, it’s a treat! And it takes their minds off the “Are we there, yet?” mantra.
This is not, by any means, a complete Spanish program, but a fun resource that we’ll continue to use. I suspect that subsequent listenings will bear more and more fruit and I’m very pleased with it so far. It’ll be interesting to see what other titles they add to the collection.
Want to try it out yourself? Go to the No-Work Spanish website and sign up to receive the first 3 chapters of one of their books by email.
Yaks March on Washington and Poster Girl are both available on cd or as downloadable mp3s. You'll find purchase options for No-Work Spanish here.
And for updates, be sure to like the No-Work Spanish Facebook page.