This conversational Spanish course, written by a Christian family, can be used with all ages, although Book 1 is best suited for younger learners who need to be taught with a conversational approach. It is not equivalent to high school courses, although Books I and II combined are almost equivalent to typical first year high school courses.
Complete sets include Spanish textbook, and a set of either four, ninety-minute cassette tapes or 8 CDs, tests, key, and extra practice sheets with key. One book is needed for each student since many activities and exercises are done in the book. You can order additional books separately while the one set of tapes or CDs will do for all.
I was particularly impressed by the creativity and variety of the program. Each of the thirty-six lessons in level one is set up to take one week of study. New vocabulary words and practice sentences are studied while listening to the tape or CD. Match-up exercises in the book have children identify Spanish and English words and phrases that mean the same thing. Children can check their own answers by listening to the tape or CD. Bible verses and short worship and praise songs are taught in Spanish. (The songs are in the book and on the tape.) At the end of each lesson, children practice vocabulary with a lotto-type game called Quiz-nish. Vocabulary cards are included at the back of the book, to be cut out and used for study and for Quiz-nish. The variety of activities is bound to prove interesting to children and encourage learning.
The only things lacking in this program are professional polish and grammatical instruction (although declension charts are provided). However, it is intended as an introductory course rather than a complete grammatical course. Even so, many grammatical concepts are picked up through usage. The program's authors believe that children should have fun with the language and learn to speak it correctly then learn the whys and wherefores later when they get into more formal language study.
Speedy Spanish, Book 2 comes with five, ninety-minute cassettes or 8 CDs. It teaches more complicated sentence structure while continuing to build vocabulary. Declension charts are provided in the back of the book, and a pronunciation chart is in the front. Development of a biblical/Christian Spanish vocabulary is stressed throughout, in lessons and songs as before. It is recommended that students obtain and read a Spanish Bible.
Extra Practice Sheets come with the complete sets for both levels and are also available separately. These provide writing practice as students translate from English to Spanish and from Spanish to English. The practice sheets come with their own answer key.
The inclusion of games, songs, and flash cards make the material appropriate for use with young children, although you might eliminate one or more of these elements with an older learner. The tests are targeted at older students (i.e., junior and senior high level) so do not expect younger children to take these.