My son/daughter has just finished going through Getting Started with Spanish (and, by golly, it's the best Spanish book ever). What book or method would you recommend as a follow-up?
That's a tough question considering how many Spanish methods there are out there. It really depends on the needs of the student. We don't know enough about other Spanish methods to be able to recommend a follow-up book. The best way to find a follow-up book would be to ask the very knowledgeable moms and dads over at the Well Trained Mind discussion forums. They know just about everything there is to know about the various textbooks available. Try posting the question yourself, or perhaps do a search to see if someone else has already asked that same question.
Since we are homeschoolers, we need to figure out how much high school credit our son or daughter ought to get for his/her studies. If someone completes Getting Started with Spanish, how much high school Spanish would that be equivalent to?
When we wrote Getting Started with Spanish, one of our editorial consultants was a retired high school Spanish teacher. In order to get the best possible answer for this question, I called her and posed this question to her. She said, first of all, that this is a hard question to answer for several reasons. The methodology of Getting Started with Spanish is so very different from that of a high school Spanish class. It's like comparing apples and oranges. Getting Started with Spanish was created to help those who do not have a Spanish teacher, whereas in a high school Spanish class you obviously would have a Spanish teacher on hand. Therefore the pedagogical style of Getting Started with Spanish is quite different than what you would encounter in a traditional high school classroom.
In a high school Spanish class you would have to learn much more vocabulary (learning all the colors, for instance). Also, there would be much more focus on greetings and salutations. A high school Spanish class would also cover the verb system more thoroughly since Getting Started with Spanish only covers the present tense. In other words, since the two learning methods are so different, it's hard to compare them.
Furthermore, the amount of Spanish covered in any gives high school class will vary from school to school or from state to state. Many Spanish teachers adjust the class' curriculum to fit the aptitude of students in the class. One particular class might be able to cover more material in a year than another class. Also, since every teacher is different, the personal teaching preferences of a certain teacher would influence the amount of material covered in a year. Furthermore, the textbook used in a particular class might move slower or faster than another Spanish textbook. So there are many variables to take into consideration when trying to figure out how much material is covered in the average high school Spanish class.
Having said all this, and given the introductory nature of Getting Started with Spanish we are comfortable saying that our book can be reckoned as covering approximately 1/3 (one third) of a year of high school Spanish.
Does Getting Started with Spanish teach the type of Spanish spoken in the Americas or in Spain?
The short answer is both. This book just teaches beginning Spanish, so at this stage, that issue does not come up very often. But when it does (mostly with regard to the usage of the word ustedes) the variations in usage are fully addressed.
What's different about Getting Started with Spanish? What advantage would it give me over other popular Spanish methods?
The basic idea of Getting Started with Spanish is that it introduces only one new word or concept in each lesson. And, after each new thing is introduced, there are lots of exercises that allow you to master that new material.
Sometimes, when a language book moves too fast and introdces too many things at one time, it can leave the student discouraged. But when a book introduces only one thing at a time, it sends quite a different message to the reader. It says, "You can handle this. Let's take it step by step." The psychology of learning is an important concept to keep in mind, especially when designing a curriculum for a homeschooled or self-taught student. The structure of a book can affect the attitude and motivational level of the student. Instead of discouraging the reader with too much information, the goal is to keep them moving forward. And Getting Started with Spanish does just that. After completing each small lesson, the student feels encouraged and ready to continue on to the next lesson. This is crucial for the simple reason that if the student quits, he or she will not learn anything!
Additionally, on a purely cognitive level, introducing only one thing at a time allows for better comprehension of the material.
So what advantages does Getting Started with Spanish offer?
- Better comprehension
- Better retention
- Better independent study
- More motivation and encouragement for the reader
- Free, comprehensive audio recordings
- Any parent, regardless of educational background, can help his or her child learn Spanish with this book.
What grammatical points does Getting Started with Spanish cover?
Getting Started with Spanish covers the following:
- Definite articles
- Indefinite articles
- Singular and plural
- Greetings and salutations
- Linking verbs
- Numbers 1-12
- The personal endings of verbs
- Spanish's derivation from Latin
- Stem-changing or shoe verbs
- The personal a
- Formal and informal speech
- Yo puedo (poder)
- Expressing purpose
- Differences in usage between ser verbs and estar verbs
- Using me gusta
- Demonstrative adjectives (this and that)
This book only covers the beginning stages of Spanish grammar. However, the lessons are presented in such a way as to guide homeschooled and self-taught students successfully into the study of Spanish.