This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 9th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Charlotte Mason approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.



Friday, August 30, 2013

Homeschool Spanish Academy: High School Program ~ a TOS review

I have an awesome Spanish program to tell you about today called Homeschool Spanish Academy (HSA). Madison excelled last year using this program so I was so excited to be able to give the High School Program a try with Marie. Originally I planned for Marie to use another program that she has used in the past to fulfill her Spanish requirement, but she loves HSA so much we are sticking with it.

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Homeschool Spanish Academy  was founded in 2010 by Ron Fortin. As an online Spanish Academy  it offers  interactive lessons between native Central America instructors and students from all parts of the world. HSA has programs for elementary, middle, and high school students as well as adults. For this review we had the opportunity to review the high school program that offers 7 weeks of live video Skype sessions.

To set up your first class you first need to make sure your computer is good to go. For that Ron or his assistance will guide you through the process of checking the compatibility requirements for the program and your computer. Here is what you need:

  • Internet ~ requires a Ping  less than 100ms, Download Speeds greater than 1.0MBps, and Upload Speeds greater than 0.5 MBps. *this may sound foreign but these are the speeds that work best for the programs video capabilities.
  • Webcam ~ optional, but highly recommended.
  • Headset ~ of good quality, necessary to communicate with teacher. (especially if you have younger sisters who thinks everybody is their Grandma Face Timing on the computer :-))
  • A Skype Account

    This time around, our computer passed inspection first time up so Marie was up and running in no time at all.

    Once your computer speed is checked and cleared for operation you log in and schedule your class(es) within the HSA website. It is as easy as picking your instructor and then selecting a time frame. All classes are scheduled in the Eastern time zone so just be careful you do not schedule something too early for you. Now you are all set for class. A friendly reminder is sent to you the day before your class so that you can make sure you are ready.

    Do not worry if you accidentally forget about your scheduled class, the friendly technicians will call you if the Professor can not reach you by Skype to see if you are having computer troubles. While I would not make a habit of missing your classes it is nice to know that they care enough to give you the benefit of the doubt and call you up to see if there is trouble on your end.

    I am a creature of habit so we chose             Professora Nora for our teacher and she was just as wonderful with Marie as she was last year with Madision!!! Marie was not too sure of what to think of the program at first, but quickly grew to love it. In the past she has done very well in Spanish so I knew this would suit her as well. I speak Spanish, well the basics and enough to survive if needed, as I took Spanish 3 years in high school and 2 years in College. What I was missing from Marie’s Spanish learning was the opportunity for conversational Spanish with a real person. I do not know anyone in our area who is native to the language so this fits the bill for us perfectly.

    The first day was just the basics as Professora Nora was trying to see what exactly Marie knows. She was quite surprised to find she knows a whole lot and quickly moved her on to some harder review material. Now, don’t get me wrong, Marie has used another popular foreign language program in the past, but in my opinion HSA has them beat hands down! The one on one work is amazing and I can see Marie’s confidence growing with each weekly lesson.

    Professora Nora would email us Marie’s homework assignment in the afternoon after her class. It contains mostly review work of what was taught earlier that day in the lesson for reinforcement. Once Marie completed the assignment, I would scan it into a PDF file and attach it to assignment document folder within the student portal. Since we scheduled all of Marie’s classes on Friday’s I made it so that her homework assignment was due by the 3PM on Wednesday evenings, giving myself plenty of time to get it scanned and turned into the portal for grading.

    The Spanish classes at the high school level are offered in Levels 1 – 3 with sub levels of A & B. You can be sure your child is getting the best instruction because the courses are aligned with the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) and The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) guidelines. For example, Level 1A, is equivalent to taking one semester of Spanish in a public learning institution based on the objectives set forth by the ACTFL. Students who complete Level 1A will receive 0.5 credits towards their Spanish 1 fulfillment needs. For a full credit of Spanish 1 to be earned the student must also complete Spanish 1B.

    Now I am sure you are thinking that a program like this sounds too good to be true and it is probably not affordable. Nope! Pricing is pretty reasonable for the one on one instruction you get. Check out the table below for pricing.

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    I love, love, LOVE everything about this Spanish program! So much so that I decided early on that we will drop the program Marie was using and order another semester of classes (7) when she has finished with our Crew classes to complete her final foreign language requirements for graduation. The cost of this program is more than the other program, but I am sold on the quality of material that Marie is learning and receiving. If you are looking for a conversational Spanish program in which you will actually be able to learn to speak the language with a Native speaker, then this program is for you. I will sing praises of HSA to anyone who asks!

    Be sure to check out what my Crewmates had to say about Homeschool Spanish Academy by clicking on the banner below.

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    Company ~ Homeschool Spanish Academy

    Product ~ High School Program

    Price ~ $99.99 half semester, see above for more pricing options

    Ages ~ 15 – 19 years old

    Platform  ~ Windows or MAC, uses Skype

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