For those living in the United States, you know that Spanish is a very popular language to learn. Everywhere you go you will find this language either being spoken or written.
If you would like your children to become familiar with the language, you know that you have many options to choose from. I think the best choice would be to have someone who speaks Spanish teach your children the language.
Sometimes, however, that is not possible, and so it ends up being up to us, the parent, to teach it. To help you out, here are some things that I have found helpful:
First - Whatever language you are teaching and whatever resource you choose, it always makes it easier if your kids can USE the language, too. If they are going to learn a language but never see it or hear it spoken, then they are less likely to retain the information.
Second - If you
can learn the language in a group setting, that helps. This way the
students can hear other kids speaking it and they can hold conversations
with each other. Over the years we've done this in small groups via a co-op setting. It's been enough to get the kids familiar with the language, but never long enough for any of them to become close to fluent. This seems to work best with younger children because they are happy to just learn some words and phrases.
Third - If you can't do your learning in a group, then find a good resource to help you. Usually one with a DVD or a computer program with sound is ideal.
My top resource for learning any language would have to be Rosetta Stone. We recently purchased one of their programs and it is outstanding. Within the first week of using the program, my kids were actually speaking the language.
The most important thing to look for when purchasing this program, however, is to make sure that your computer can handle it. We had to upgrade the RAM on our computer in order to not drive ourselves crazy. Double check their specs before you buy it.
Also, consider buying the bundle that has multiple levels in it. It might look like a lot up front, but in reality you are probably going to need more than one level and buying them together ends up being less expensive.
A few years, kids and computers later, I had heard about Duolingo, which is a free, online resources that actually teaches a plethora of languages. It provides in-lesson grading and a lot of review. In fact, the kids would get frustrated because if they didn't have the review lessons down, they couldn't go on to new lessons. I kept telling them that they shouldn't be allowed to go on if they didn't know the first stuff! For a free resources, I was impressed with what they learned.
The only other foreign language program we have used is the Power Glide program.
While I cannot recommend the program for the upper levels (my daughter did both Level I and II and could see no relevance for the things that were taught), I can recommend the Power Glide Elementary program for the younger folks. We used this program with my younger kids when they were in first and second grade and they liked it. Overall, I think it provided a nice introduction to the language.
Buying any curriculum, especially when it is expensive, is a hard decision. I hope this information helps you in your curriculum purchasing decision.