I love this program! My teaching degree is in Spanish, and I have taught and tutored at the secondary level for years. But the search for introductory Spanish at the elementary level yielded only options that were either 1) over-simplified regurgitated vocabulary that quickly ran its full course without a bridge leading to true communicating or 2) dry, black and white workbook pages crowded with forced dialogues that sucked out the fun of the language. THEN I found Calico! Within two minutes of watching the demo, I pulled the trigger because it was clearly the best curriculum I've found on the market. I'm using this in homeschool with my 6th and 4th grader and pre-schooler as a gateway to hard core classes they will take starting in junior high. The program does an amazing job of getting the kids thinking--and singing--in Spanish. I'll definitely recommend it to homeschooling families.
– Sharie D. Peterson
This product is amazing! My son is in a Spanish immersion program in his school, and we purchased the series to use over the summer so that he would not forget all his Spanish. As it turned out, both of my boys really loved the program. They watched the videos, did the flash cards, and read the books. Both of them began incorporating more Spanish into our day. And the songs are really great and catchy!!
– Jon B.
My kids are elementary ages, and we have begun using Calico Spanish in our homeschool. Actually, it was so fun, my kids were asking to do the lessons over the summer when this mama was trying to have a break!! Well, I couldn't say, "No," to kids who are begging to learn! The kids considered it very fun learning. I am personally pleased with Calico Spanish, because I don't speak Spanish, and it's so easy for the parent/teacher to learn right along with the students. We are learning together, and the books and the videos are very effective in helping us process and comprehend the language. Plus, even though I was afraid I couldn't teach my kids Spanish, the videos pronounce the words for us, so I don't have to worry that I'm teaching it incorrectly. My son was carrying around the first book around after Lesson 1, reading it repeatedly and eager to show his dad what he'd learned after just one lesson. I highly recommend Calico Spanish and eagerly anticipate using more levels from them in the future. Oh, and one more thing. I like the pictures. They're simple, but pleasant. So many things for kids these days seem like they're trying to be sloppy or ugly. I appreciate that these materials are pleasant to behold!
Great program for teaching Spanish to elementary aged children. It is difficult to find a quality Spanish curriculum for grades below High School. We used it in our 1st Grade Home School, and my son loved it! The interesting characters, engaging video stories, and fun music videos made it very enjoyable, and kept him asking for more. The posters, flash cards, Activity Book, and Spanish readers were great resources. We are excited for the next installment. I hope that you will continue to create new lessons for this curriculum that build upon each level.
– Sara Matis
This is a great program. My kids enjoy learning Spanish. Even my one year old will sit down and watch the DVD until we are finish with the lesson.
– Edgar Morales
I can read and pronounce Spanish and have faint memories of basic grammar from high school, over two decades ago. I am homeschooling my six year old using this program and supplementing once weekly with a native speaker. They do other things not related to the program. The daily lessons are dummy proof and my son is understanding the lessons. He is able to answer questions in full sentences and enjoys the videos. I have already purchased the next level. My son and I enjoy learning Spanish together.
I'm a Spanish speaker and so is my husband. Unfortunately my son refuses to talk Spanish. I bought the Calico set and every night we do a class. He loves the songs and finds the material fun. This has finally allowed him to break the ice and start to say things in Spanish. He is learning quickly. I’m looking forward to purchasing the second unit soon.
– Roxanne Ledesma
A Spanish speaking school teacher friend of mine used the Calico Spanish curriculum to teach a class in her home this past year. We had such a great time and learned so much that I decided to purchase the Level A Home Learning Series [AKA Stories Online] so we could continue to use it as I homeschool first grade this year. When the curriculum arrived, my little one was so excited to know we'd be continuing our Spanish language journey! Thanks for making a product so that even we "gringo's" could feel confident to use:-).
– Gabby’s Mom
Calico is awesome! We are learning Spanish as a family and with different ages of children it can be hard to make sure everyone is getting what they need. Calico really keeps everyone's attention and makes learning fun. Our kids love the characters and the songs. It's great for the whole family!
– Jaron T.
I used this program for our first year of homeschooling. We homeschooled for second and fifth grade. It is such a wonderful addition to our language curriculum. The girls love watching the videos and listening to the songs. They will play Spanish class with their dolls and their young cousins. I am looking forward to the next level. Thank you Calico!
– Beehner Family
Such a fun way for my kids to learn Spanish, they ask everyday if we can do a Spanish lesson. The songs are a fun way to learn new vocabulary and practice it over and over, and it's so easy to use the program since everything you need is included.
– Kertsi Cobb
My daughter is in first grade this fall and we are using Calico for our homeschool program and I feel that it is age appropriate for her. I didn't want to overwhelm her but make it fun so she would want to continue. The teacher's manual is scripted so it helps you every step of the way so that you are comfortable with teaching the material with no Spanish background.
– Mindy Swerteger
My 2 year old and 5 year old love the videos! We are only a few lessons in, but so far we are all learning!
– Antoinette Acuna
We love Calico Spanish. I have tried many Spanish programs with my children but this program really stands out from the rest. I love how it comes with a Teacher's manual that makes implementing the program at home a breeze. You just follow along with the lesson plan - no preparation needed! And if you're not a native speaker, you don't have to worry since there are songs, books and lessons spoken by a native speaker on the DVD that is included with the set. This program integrates all of the elements I've been looking for in a Spanish program to do at home - songs, books, video story lessons and complete lesson plans!
– Cassandra A. Cordova
Both my 7 year old and 3 year old are using this program! It is very engaging and they are learning the language. I highly recommend this product!
– Stacey Jodie
I used to teach Spanish in High School, but this year I have to teach elementary and Kindergarten. I was a little worried, but with Calico my classes are funnier than ever! My kids love the videos, they tried to sing the songs from the first day and they are never tired to watch them over and over! Plus, lesson plans are ready! Perfect for lowest grades and teachers with no previous knowledge of Spanish.
– Beartriz Amada
Love it! I have many programs. This one is easy, comprehensive and engaging. My son 4 1/2 and daughter 1 1/2 have fun learning.
One of the best Elementary Spanish curriculums out there
I bought Calico's original Homeschool program before this one was made. It was basically the same as the classroom version, just less of all the extra supplies and about twice the price of this. I was very disappointed in it. It was very difficult to adapt to teaching one child at home, and impossible to do if you don't speak the language at all (I do speak Spanish, luckily!). I slogged on, however, and loved the theory behind it and many of the things in it.
When I received an email that this one had been released, I jumped on it the same day. I LOVE this program. It's very simple to do with only one kid, but also worked very well when I taught a Spanish class to a group of ten mixed age homeschoolers. The kids loved the videos, and I really appreciated that they were learning not just vocabulary, but how to create simple sentences right away.
Because Spanish is a second language for me, I appreciate the video support with native language, as well as the music, which is catchy and we all sing around the house. My seven year old has learned a lot of Spanish through this program. We'll definitely be buying the next level when we are done reviewing what we learned last year and finish the last couple of lessons this fall.
If there is one flaw, it would have to be a lack of game ideas. Because I'm a teacher, I was able to pull in resources and come up with a lot of my own ideas (go to the Spanish Playground blog if you are looking for supplemental ideas. It's great for this!), but for someone who doesn't have the time or comfort with adding material, this may not be the easiest thing to do. My understanding is that this was addressed in the next level, so I am looking forward to finding out!
All in all, we love Calico and have found it to be some of the best elementary level Spanish curriculum out there. It's so hard to find a program that you can teach to kids that aren't really reading yet, or not ready to conjugate verbs and or even understand what a verb is. This program is heavy on love of the language and using it in your day to day life. There is a bit of writing in the activity book, but it's easy to skip if your child isn't ready for that. Either have them dictate, or just move on to a different activity. It's also very easy to add in your own worksheets, which is what I'm doing for our second time through as my son is a bit older now and ready to do that kind of work.
Let me start by saying I REALLY like this program and just bought the next level. I looked into every program I could find and liked this the best for its emphasis on comprehension rather than grammar rules.
This program consists of 8 lessons, each of which is designed to last for 10 days. There are additional review days scattered throughout. The daily lessons are intended to take 25-30 min each. I think maybe twice I was able to make a lesson last 10 days. I felt like if we went that long, it got too tedious for my kids. Seven to eight days seemed better to me. Also, as written, the daily lessons only lasted about 15 min for me.
The foundation of each lesson is a short video and a (usually) corresponding song or two, all of which are entirely in Spanish and done with native speakers (at least they sound native and I'm a native speaker). We really liked the videos and songs! A thorough Teacher's Guide is included which tells you exactly what to do each day. It also gives you an English translation for the video dialogue.
In the package you will get 8 activity pages (one per lesson, not per day). These activities are writing based and I never used them (my children were preschool, K, and 1st). For example, one of the lessons teaches "estoy bien/estoy mal" (I'm well, I'm bad). On the corresponding activity page you look at the pictures of 4 animal drawings and write "estoy bien" or "estoy mal" next to each animal based on their facial expression.
You'll also get a set of flashcards that has many words that come up in the videos. On the front of the flashcard there is a picture of the noun or verb and underneath the Spanish word is written. On the back, the English is written. I took those flashcards and blacked out all the Spanish words so that I could use them as a game. I'd lay out some of them and say the word in Spanish and they had to find the correct card (remember that I'm a Spanish speaker so that wasn't hard for me). This tests their comprehension rather than their ability to read Spanish. I will do this same thing for Level B, which I am about to begin.
If you speak Spanish (or at least a reasonable amount), you can use these videos as a jumping off point and add more language learning. For example, one of the videos talks about a necklace and tennis shoes. So I took that and then taught my kids various pieces of clothing. All in all, I would highly recommend this! I love that it's comprehension based and not list-memorizing based and grammar rule based. It's a much more natural way to learn language. Also, even though I speak Spanish, I just wasn't teaching my kids on my own. This gives me everything laid out and thought out for me, which makes it actually happen! :) Just be aware that unless you do some extra on your own, it may not take you as long each day and it may not take as many days as they say.