6 questions you MUST ask before buying a Spanish program for your child

This post is written to inform consumers who do not know how to choose a Spanish language program for their child.

It answers the following questions:

1. How does the program end?
2. What Spanish is in it?
3. What methodology is used?
4. What’s the support like?
5. Is this program going to allow my child to shine?
6. Does a higher cost mean higher quality?

1. How does the program end?

after spanish program

Okay, okay, so you haven’t even chosen the program yet!

But consider this: what happens when your child reaches the end of the program?

There’s no point learning a bit of Spanish is there?

Learning a new language takes time.

If you’re in it to really make progres, then check that the program providers can take your child at least a step further when the program finishes. And if they can’t, who can? Make sure it’s not down to you to spend ages looking for a ‘part two’ when your child has extracted all the Spanish they can from this first program.

2. What Spanish is in it?

words in spanish program

The point of language is to understand and be understood.

Valuable communication skills in Spanish are what you want your child to be getting out of the program, and so the Spanish they are learning must be appropriate.

So important. Yet would it even cross your mind to question the program makers about the Spanish that appears in their product?

Here’s an example of what’s not useful:

Ella bebe leche – She drinks milk
Él bebe leche – He drinks milk
Nosotros bebemos leche – We drink milk
etc etc

This is ‘textbook’ Spanish, presented in textbook fashion. That might sound good at first, but these days we are throwing the textbook away.

The Spanish must be fun, dynamic, real…

¿Qué estás haciendo? – What are you doing?
¡Vamos! – Let’s go!
¿Dónde estás? – Where are you?

That’s more like it!

Ask the program makers to justify the Spanish they teach. Put them on the spot. How they react will be very revealing to you the consumer.

Oh, and don’t suppose that a program with lots of Spanish songs in it is necessarily a recipe for success. So many Spanish nursery rhymes, for example, are full of language which is next to useless for daily communication.

3. What methodology is used?

language program methodology

There are four language learning aspects: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

Bearing in mind what was said earlier – that the point of language is to understand and be understood – which of these do you think are most important for a 21st century child? If the language program combines all types of learning, so much the better. But consider which of the 4 communication skills you want your child to be most exposed to. And if you want the focus on Listening and Speaking, ask the program makers if they are providing this – and how they are doing it.

Language learning is much like putting pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. There is more than one way to do that, right? So each child has their own way of going about the task. As a parent, you have hit the mark if you have identified a Spanish language learning program for your child which allows them to learn in different ways.

Flexibility is King!

4. What’s the support like?

language program support

Are you going to be supported by the product makers?

Something may be awry with the functioning of the product itself, but what if you have a language-related question? You may know Spanish yourself but you don’t want to have to play the teacher role when the going gets tough!

5. Is this program going to allow my child to shine?

success of spanish program for kids

What is the product’s success rate? What are other parents saying about it?

Is this the best product I could possibly choose for my child to learn Spanish?

Does it offer my child the opportunity to display the full range of their learning skills?

6. Does a higher cost mean higher quality?

price spanish program kids

You may be surprised to learn that the price of a Spanish learning product for children can give you very little indication of its quality.

There are language learning providers who have flourished on a reputation earned when language learning methods were very different to those used today; others who may have ‘cornered the market’ through clever advertising strategies; and still others who know that charging high gives positive signs to customers who know very little about the language learning marketpace.

Consumer ignorance about language learning is sometimes exploited.

Meanwhile, excellent free Spanish learning resources abound on the Internet, though they are rarely found together as a coherent Spanish program for kids.

It’s not about the money, number 6 in this list. It’s about numbers 1-5!

So check through them one more time before making this valuable investment in your child’s future.

Good luck!

Have you bought a Spanish language program for your child?
Which one?
What was the decision making process?
Are you happy with the outcome?

See you next time,

Jim

Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee, where kids learn to speak Spanish together

Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain with his two bilingual children. Loves it! More…

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