One of the neat things about being on the TOS Homeschool Crew is that we are introduced to new products, things we haven’t heard of before. Or at least, things I haven’t heard of before!
Speekee is a Spanish-immersion subscription, a series of ten videos available online, geared toward young children (preschool and early elementary) and completely in Spanish. The videos are completely in Spanish, that is. The instructions “for grown-up helpers” are, thankfully, in English. These, plus the videos and related downloadable PDF worksheets, are available on a subscription basis.
The subscription is $7.50 a month. The first two weeks are free, so you can try out the program and see how it works with your young learner.
The videos are based in places familiar to young children: the park, the cafe, home, the zoo, a classroom, market, birthday party, and more. Applicable vocabulary is introduced in a natural way, endlessly repeated (okay, not endless, seeming endless to an adult, perhaps, but just right for a small child), encouraging the viewer to pick up questions and answers and phrases. Thus you learn in the first episode about playing on the playground, as well as how to ask someone’s name and offer your own. At the zoo, you learn animal names, at the market you learn different food items; you get the idea.
The videos remind me of children’s educational programming on the public broadcast station: colorful, cheerful, upbeat background music, with your host “Jim” — a grown-up — accompanied by several puppets and a horde of children in bright orange shirts.
Each video (between 16 and 20 minutes long) consists of a series of short vignettes punctuated by music. Every once in awhile Speekee, a puppet (mouse?) pops in to present new words, or invite the viewer to repeat a phrase, with a cheery word of praise. New material is mingled with familiar bits repeated from previous videos. The dialect spoken is Castillian, but sounds pretty similar to the Western Hemisphere Spanish I learned in high school.
A Scheme of Work is available with lesson plans and ideas for teachers. While these are aimed at classroom teachers, the ideas are adaptable for homeschool.
Each video has PDF worksheets you can download, with vocabulary words from the episode. Your young student might draw illustrations, color, count, even copy words. There are also suggested educational games and activities to do with your child.
Our family did not do many of the videos and activities, mainly because Youngest is twelve and thought the videos a little too young for her. (A year ago, she would have been charmed.)
Speekee is an attractive method for introducing Spanish vocabulary and phrases to a young child. I like that the videos are not flashy, but have a steady pace suited to young children (more “Mr. Rogers” or the big purple dinosaur than “Sesame Street,” if you catch my drift). Add to that the fact that the younger the child, the easier it is to pick up language, and you’ve got a winning combination.
Click here to subscribe (remember the first two weeks are free).
To read more TOS Crew reviews of Speekee, click here.
Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Crew were given free access to the Speekee online lessons for review purposes. No additional compensation was involved.