Thursday, June 24, 2021

Homeschool Online Spanish for Teens

Vista Academy online Spanish course

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Vista Academy. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

As the new school year approaches, lots of homeschooling parents are beginning to plan their children's course schedule. One of the curricula that receives a lot of attention from MommyMaestra readers is Spanish language. We've had a chance to take a peek at Vista Academy’s inaugural fall 2021 Spanish courses for homeschooling students.

Quick Overview

Program: Vista Academy Spanish courses
Subject(s): Spanish
Religious Perspective: Secular
Format: Online course
Grades: 7th - 12th
Language: Spanish
Price: $700 - $950 for an entire school year (See the different tracks described below.)

From the Owners of Santillana

If you follow MommyMaestra, then you already know about the many benefits of bilingualism. From advanced problem-solving skills to ability to better empathy and even the delayed onset of dementia in later years are just a few of the advantages of bilingualism. But most of you are already striving to raise bilingual children.

A few months ago, a post in my Hispanic & Bilingual Homeschoolers group caught my eye. The poster shared that Vista Higher Learning Pre-K-12 is planning to launch their Spanish Academy for homeschoolers this coming fall. This raised a lot of interest because, as some of you may know, Vista used to be Santillana (or maybe they bought it, I'm not sure) which is absolutely beloved and sought after in the Spanish-speaking homeschool communities for their excellent resources in Spanish.

So when I had the opportunity to take a look, I did! Here's what I found.

Vista Academy Spanish Online Course

Online Spanish Course

Vista Academy (VA) has actually been around a while, but now it is being made available to the homeschool community. 

According to the site, "VA is a cutting-edge, virtual world language school that provides an innovative learning environment with native speaker oversight and instruction." 

VHL Central is the platform utilized for VA’s curriculum. And it was created specifically for online language learning. It's currently used by almost 2 million students around the world. In addition, over 6,000 educational institutions currently rely on VHL’s technology to deliver their fully online and/or hybrid courses.

There are two learning tracks: ¡Olé! and ¡Bravo! Both are designed to build your child's speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Here's the difference between the two:

Vista Academy: Spanish course for teens

When you sign up, you choose a teacher and a program. We signed up for the Senderos 1 course. I asked my 15yo (9th grader, 10th grader in the fall) to do the program. He's my reluctant Spanish child. Refuses to speak it and has been the hardest to teach Spanish. So I consider him a beginner, unlike my oldest, who is pretty good. 

When you sign up, you go to your dashboard. It looks like this:

Vista Academy: Spanish course for teens

From here, he can see his assignment and the due date. To begin, he simply clicks on Lección 1: Contextos and then begins completing the individual lessons...

Vista Academy: Spanish course for teens

These involve a variety of activities to learn the vocabulary and dialogue for the topic. In this instance, it is introductions and the words used then you meet someone for the first time, or if you are meeting up with friends. 

The activities are a blend of watching videos, listening to dialogue, matching, listen and repeat, and multiple choice. 

***This is pretty much an immersion class.*** 

At first, my son was like, "I don't know what any of this means!" But then he found that for the beginning vocabulary activities, there was a button below each picture that showed the English translation of what he was hearing and seeing. This is not an option for every lesson, but just for the beginning ones. And from our dashboard, we were able print a list of all the vocabulary (Spanish & English) for this first lesson. 

That, however, was the only offline resource he had and/or used. The portal also offers all of the vocabulary on flashcards that your child can go through whenever it's convenient for them. 

Everything is built into the online program. And if you have a question about anything, you can click on the link in the bottom left hand corner of your screen so you can message your teacher. 

Oh, and yes, a native speaker teacher teaches each course. 

I believe there are live classes associated with this course, also, but we haven't had one of them yet. I'll try to update this post after that begins. 

NOTE: Your child will need a computer, access to the internet, and a microphone for this course.

Vista Academy online Spanish class

What I Like

I really love that this course is designed for beginner students who are ages 12 to 18. Too often we are told the lie that only young children can learn a second language. I know that's not true as I have many friends from other countries who learned English in their teens and they speak it very well. I, myself, learned French in high school and while I'm not fluent by any means because I simply haven't had the opportunity to use it, I was amazed to discover how much of it I remembered while traveling through Belgium four years ago and was able to order meals for myself and my family.

The point being, that it's never too late to learn. But it may just take a little more effort. Learning language comes pretty easily to young children, but young adults and even old ladies like me can learn another language. We see this every day in high school and college kids learning to code, which is a language unto itself!

I also like that everything is in one place and that my 15yo can maneuver it on his own without me having to teach it or juggle a curriculum. I've made it a requirement for him to take 3 years of foreign language in high school, so this is a great option for us. 

The sticker price is a bit of a shock, however. Most homeschoolers are on a pretty strict budget and spend $250 - $300 AT MOST on a single subject. But I'm  hopeful that the company will adjust their pricing once they have a little more experience in the homeschool market. 

A Discount for You!

Use the discount code SPANISH20 to get a 20% discount coupon which can be applied towards registration. Expires Nov. 30, 2021.

If you're looking to introduce your middle schooler or high schooler to Spanish and are looking for a no-fuss online course, visit their site today to learn more.

Want to find this post again? Pin it!

Vista Academy


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...