I have to start this with a confession. Spanish is not my thing. In junior high, when we had the opportunity to try several different foreign languages, I fell in love with German but had absolutely no desire to learn Spanish. Supergirl on the other hand has begun to beg to learn Spanish. If she is watching a DVD that gives language choices she would choose to watch it in Spanish! Knowing that she has a strong interest in Spanish how could I not give Speekee TV a try?
What is Speekee TV?: Speekee TV is a subscription to 10 Episodes containing over 150 minutes of Spanish immersion for ages 2-10. You can subscribe to Speekee TV for as little as $7.50 per month. An Annual Subscription is also available. From the Website:
- 10 EPISODES OF SPANISH
- OVER 150 MINUTES OF PURE SPANISH LEARNING
- LEARN SPANISH FROM REAL SPANISH CHILDREN IN REAL SPANISH LOCATIONS
- FEATURES SONGS, ANIMATION AND PUPPETS
- OPTIONAL SUBTITLES IN SPANISH AND ENGLISH
- FREE ACTIVITY SHEET DOWNLOADS
- GREAT FUN AND EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE
- CREATED BY SPECIALIST LANGUAGE TEACHERS
- FREE OPTIONAL CURRICULUM
- SONGS YOU CAN'T STOP SINGING
Ok so the above is a general description but what exactly is this? To me, Speekee TV is a fun, engaging, catchy way to expose children to Spanish. Each Episode is roughly 15-20 minutes long, is completely in Spanish and teaches vocabulary and grammar. With a Speekee TV subscription you also get access to the Fast Track curriculum. It is not necessary to use the curriculum but it is a great tool to expand and intentionally teach/review the concepts in the Episodes.
About Fast Track Curriculum: This is included free with a subscription! It is available on the website but you can also have each week emailed to you. Fast Track contains 40 weeks. Many also include downloadable “worksheets”. Each episode of Speekee TV has four weeks of corresponding activities.
How I planned to use the product: Fast track lists “Four Activities” for each week. I intended for us to watch the Episode in its entirety as our Day 1 activity and then she could re-watch that episode on days we did no activities, if she wanted. I planned on doing one or two activities per fast track week but only doing them once or twice a week. I wanted to keep it low-key and fun.
What really happened at my house: “Mama, can I watch Speekee?” That was a daily request. DAILY. After watching the same episode every single day for a week she decided to move on. I wasn’t ready to move on. So we changed up plans. I encouraged her to watch the video we were “officially” working on at least twice per week and allowed her to watch an episode of her choice on other days. We still only spent 1 to 2 days a week intentionally working an activity and usually I “wimped out” and chose the downloaded activity sheet. But, inspired by the activity lists, we began, as a family, to include some Spanish. At dinner one night, Supergirl began to count the people around the table. We focused that week on counting. I began to incorporate the praise words that Speekee uses when doing math lessons or when she would show me her worksheets for Speekee TV. We kept it much more relaxed than I intended but because of Fast Track I’m still able to be intentional about incorporating concepts outside of video time.
I had to go at the Fast Track pace which can feel very very very slow because I needed to be able to absorb enough to feel comfortable with encouraging her to use Spanish words.
The Unintentional Consequence: Supergirl usually watched Speekee TV in the family room on the TV using our wii internet channel. Usually at least two of her sisters would be working on other school in the same room. Turtlegirl usually worked on her math but just sitting there working out algebraic equations she was exposed to lots and lots of Spanish. The consequence? She knows more Spanish than I do and she did more to encourage Supergirl than I could. I often had to ask Turtlegirl to help me with pronunciation.
Thoughts from Turtlegirl (age 15 which is outside the recommended age span!): “You can’t tune it out. Even if you are completely focused, you will still hear things and see things. Eventually, you will start learning things. You will sing the songs (and drive yourself crazy because you did NOT WANT to learn Spanish). You end up learning anyway, and, horror of horrors, you enjoy it. I especially liked Dino and Lupi (who teach you ‘I love you’). Sometimes it would get annoying, but it was fun to talk back, and laugh because no matter what you said (or if you didn’t say anything) they would still say ‘perfecto!”
Supergirl Talks about Speekee TV: “I like it. It’s fun. I learn El Parque and la Classe and they have birthday in Spanish. I like Speekee but he gets annoying because he always says Fantastico! and Perfecto! I like Jim. Jim is my favorite. I like at the Café when they drink and then they say me gusta. It’s funny. And the boy Antonio he says “no me gusta” when he drinks the coffee. [mom note: the drink is not identified but Supergirl decided it must be coffee] The girl says me gusta when she drinks milk.”
My Thoughts: I love this program. I love how I can choose to be more hands on by using Fast Track Activities or more laid back and just let her absorb the vocabulary by watching the episodes again and again. I really like that we could access Speekee TV through our wii. This made it so that Supergirl really felt like she was watching a tv episode in Spanish and freed up the computer for someone else (note: on our wii we did not have the optional captions. If you watch from a computer there are captions in both English and Spanish that you can turn on or off. When I watched on the computer, I found it helpful to use them, but Supergirl isn’t reading that well yet so not having them on the wii was not an issue.) I think the Fast Track pace would be too slow for those on the older end of the age range and perhaps still too fast for those on the lowest end but for my developmentally delayed daughter who functions around age 6 taking 4 weeks to work through each episode seems like a perfect pace.
You can watch this You Tube Video to get an idea of how Speekee TV works:
You can try Speekee TV for yourself! Speekee TV offers the first two weeks FREE! From the website:
“The first two weeks are free and there's no minimum period - you can cancel any time. After the first two weeks it's £4.95 or $7.50 per month.”
Click on the banner below to read what other Crew Members had to say about Speekee TV
Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. I am required to write a review but I am not required to write a positive review. This review contains my and/or my daughters’ honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I/ we liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.
You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews by clicking here.