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Jun 13, 2017

Spanish with Whistlefritz ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Hola.  How would you like to teach your littlest littles Spanish with a program that is designed *just for them*?  Whistlefritz has a program for 1-7 year old children.  Their award winning Educator's Spanish Collection is specially designed for young minds and abilities.  Foreign language learning has been determined to be easiest at an early age, just like children learning their native language.

Whistlefritz uses immersion learning to introduce children to Spanish without using English translations, which actually slow down foreign language learning.  My brain likes to slowly process everything, so when I was learning Spanish (or, more accurately, failing to learn) in college, I was so slow.  I would listen, think "He said..." and translate to English in my head, attempt to translate back to Spanish in my head and then speak (poorly, because I knew the *words* but not the grammar - or flow of a sentence).  This earned me a grade that I quickly had expunged from my record and replaced with another elective.  I would love for my punks to have a much easier time with foreign languages that feel natural to hear and speak.

What you receive in the Educator's Spanish Collection?

    Whistlefritz Spanish
  • Spanish Lesson Plans for Kids, 2nd edition
  • 5 DVDs
  • 3 audio CDs
  • Matching Card Game
You can use this course with multiple children (in a family/classroom) and we sort of did that.  Even though the target age is 1-7 years old and Merrick is the only one I have in that age range, I did catch each of the bigger punks watching the videos with Merrick.  I even heard Mal translating the words into English, which is discouraged.  I don't think he was doing it for Merrick's benefit, though, but for himself.  He was just trying to have it make sense to *him*.  Xavier sometimes plays the card matching game with Merrick also.

The Lesson Plans -  The 40 lesson, softcover book is a thick 277 pages.  Each lesson has several sections; a lesson description, goal, objective, vocabulary, a materials list, the approximate time each lesson will take.  This is followed by related activities.  The manual is written with both the English and the Spanish for all scripted conversations.  Song lyrics (Spanish only - English translations are available online) are listed under the lessons that utilize them.  As you move through the manual, you will be making your own set of Spanish flash cards.

I love all of the fun, reproducible sheets that are included in the lesson plan book.  There is an option to download some of the pages in color from the website.  I would like to be able to download the black line pages also, since it is difficult to print the pages bound into such a thick manual.  I think the easiest thing for me would be to cut off the binding, hole punch the pages, and place them in a three ring notebook. 


Merrick thought the lesson plan was a workbook.  He kept asking for his big, Spanish mouse book.  It took me a while to realize he wanted to do worksheets with Fritzi.  There are a lot of pages of fun activities that we copy and use, but he seemed to miss having pages to write on in the book.  (Finally, a kiddo after my own heart!)

The DVDs - Colorful Spanish videos for kids combine lively animation with live action native Spanish speakers of all ages.  The songs, visual aspects, and dialog are enchanting.  Who could resist a whole house search for an adorable, whistling mouse, while Maria calls out to him in each room?

  1. Los Animales - Animals
  2. Vamos a Jugar - Let's Play
  3. Adentro y Afuera - Inside and Out 
  4. Las Estaciones - The Seasons
  5. La Fiesta de Fritzi - Fritzi's Party

The DVDs did not have chapter selections, so you can't really watch the video segments as recommended in the lesson plans.  Mainly, we just watched the full episode, rather than a scene, of whichever DVD was listed in the lesson plan.

The CDs -These three disks are full of fun, lively tunes that make you want to dance.  My visual learners like them, but prefer the DVDs to see the context of what they are hearing.

  1. Sabor!
  2. Cha, Cha, Cha
  3. A Bailar!  - Let's Dance

The Matching Game - These cards are sturdy, glossy stock.  The instruction card has more than just matching game instructions, but also prompts in Spanish to encourage little ones to think (and speak) about the card they see.  There are optional ways to play with the very young.  Each card shows Rito the fox in the act of "doing" something.  The word is located at the bottom of the card in Spanish only.  They are divided into four colors, soft shades of blue, green, purple, and yellow.  There are 10-16 cards in each color.  I started Merrick using just one color of card at a time.  He has trouble remembering to turn the cards back face down when he turns two over that don't match and knows where the mate to one card is located.  He's worked up to two colors of cards, but I think all the cards would be overwhelming right now.  


The games and activities aren't *just* fun, though they are fun.  They're also science and math and art.  Merrick picked up a bag of Goldfish crackers a couple of days before the fish sorting lesson.  He had no idea he was going to need them for school, but as soon as I realized they were on the materials list, I realized I had to hide them so he couldn't eat them before we needed them for the activity!

As an example, in Lesson Two, Los Colores, Merrick learned about primary and secondary colors, which we had actually just talked about in an art class.  Fritzi was having a birthday party.  I did not have transparencies, but I have such a stash of "stuff" I was able to find clear page protectors.  I traced the balloon onto three sheets with a permanent marker and then we colored each one, red, yellow, and blue.  I asked Merrick what new color each combination of primary colors would make.  He did well except for purple.  Then we would lay the two colors down together to see if he was right.  Then we watched a scene from La Fiesta de Fritzi, where Rito the Fox gathers colored balloons.

Whistlefritz offers a free 28 page downloadable lesson plan book that is completely different from the physical book available in the Educator's Spanish Collection and a fun "Do you like...?" Fritzi booklet.  You do need the videos to make full use of that lesson plan.  But if you are looking for a simplified version of the program to use with the DVD/CD set or a supplement full of extra activities, do look into it.

If you would prefer to have your child learn French, Fritzi has that also!  The Homeschool Review Crew was able to review both Spanish and French.  Click the banner below to see what others are thinking of Whistlefritz.

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Spanish and French {Whistlefritz Reviews}

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