Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Risas y Sonrisas Homeschool Spanish Program

It has been a while since I've had the opportunity to review a Spanish learning curriculum, so today I'm happy to share with you Risas y Sonrisas and their Homeschool Spanish Program.

Name of program: Risas y Sonrisas Homeschool Spanish Program
Target age: Kindergarten through 5th grade
Amount of materials: Comprehensive
Price: $175
MommyMaestra Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


Perfect for homeschoolers or parents looking to supplement their child's Spanish lessons through home-based instruction this program comes with a comprehensive assortment of materials including:
  • A Student Book with Interactive CD + Skits DVD
  • 4 Activity Workbooks
  • 1 Music CD with Song Lyric Booklet
  • 1 Sign & Sing DVD with Song Lyric Booklet
  • 1 Flashcard/Domino Set
  • 1 Cognate Picture Card Set with Folder and Audio CD
  • 1 Homeschool Instructor Manual
I have to start off by saying that it is obvious that a LOT of thought and hard work has gone into crafting this program. Leticia Smith has been teaching Spanish to K-5 students for the last 14 years and has developed and tested all of the materials with her classes.

Although there are a lot of materials included in this program, they are not overwhelming. There is a strong emphasis on engaging students in a variety of ways - with auditory, visual and kinesthetic lessons - and each lesson includes a variety of materials and activities to teach Spanish vocabulary and concepts. I love that the lesson manual is organized to tell me the objective of the lesson of the day, then is broken up into four "sections" that tell me what materials I need for that lesson.

For example, take a look at lesson 19...

As a teacher, I know exactly what I need to teach this lesson and can gather my supplies ahead of time. Don't speak Spanish yourself? No problem. The interactive CD found on the inside of the textbook includes a pronunciation guide to help you or your student. The Sing & Learn Spanish DVD also teaches vocabulary and pronunciation with a video clip of a teacher who sings, signs (American Sign Language), and uses pictures to develop vocabulary. The DVD includes 30 signing and singing songs in Spanish.

You can also adjust the lessons based on the age of your child. Older children can use the workbooks, while younger children who cannot read and write yet may prefer to focus on activities and manipulatives like the dominoes, flash cards, etc. All the students (no matter what their age) will benefit from the DVD.

You can see a free sample of the interactive media here, and can access this via a subscription to their site. But these resources are also included on the CDs or DVDs included with the Homeschool Spanish Program.

The program has a total of 80 lessons, which is enough to cover a whole school year, if you study Spanish 3 times a week. Of course, you could cover the lessons over a shorter period of time (or longer) depending on your schedule.

The program covers:
  • Cognates
  • Vowels
  • Numbers (1-10, 11-100, 100 - 1000)
  • Colors
  • Shapes
  • Spanish Alphabet
  • Greetings & Name Addresses
  • Emotions
  • The Body
  • Concept of masculine/feminine
  • Directions
  • Family
  • Opposites
  • Adjectives
  • Wild Animals
  • School
  • Conversational phrases
  • Cultural points (De Colores, Chichen-Itza/Mexico, 
  • Days of the Week
  • Vacaciones
  • Months & Seasons
  • Verbs (present, past, and future tense)
  • Personal Pronouns
  • Food 
  • Silverware
  • Time
  • House
  • Restaurant
  • Places
  • Occupations
  • Clothes
  • Farm Animals
  • and more...

Overall, I really love this program. As a homeschooling mom, this program is easy to teach and keeps my kids engaged. We haven't finished it yet, but I intend to continue using it with both my children.

Disclosure: I received the Homeschool Spanish Program from Risas y Sonrisas for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. this is really interesting program, thank you for sharing.
    When you said, 3 times a week, for how many minutes/hours? thank you.

    1. Hi, Blanca.

      It depends on the age of your child, but I would say about 30 - 45 minutes, three times a week. Younger children might spend a little less time than older ones.

  2. Thank you so much for your reviews! How would you say this program differs from Sonrisas Spanish in content, depth, etc. Spanish is my first language but living in a multi-cultural home, my kids don't know much of it yet. I'm hoping to change that now that I'm homeschooling. They're 7, 5 and 4.

  3. Nermarí, this program comes with a lot more materials and manipulatives for you to use, whereas the Sonrisas Spanish is pretty simple, but has a greater empaphasis on Latino children's literature, which you would have to buy separately or check out from your local library if they have the titles.

  4. I'm thinking of doing a mommy and me class for preschool age children. Although this program says it's K-5th, do you think it's easily adapted to students who are preschool age (3-5)?

    1. Hi, Nicole.

      I think so. I would focus on the songs, and modify the lessons. For example, where the kids would write the number they hear on a board, I'd have them hold up their fingers instead, and so on.
      But to be sure, just contact Risas y Sonrisas and ask them. They might have some really good ideas and tips for doing so. Or they can tell you if you need to wait a year.


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