Two of my four children are Hispanic, but we aren’t bilingual. In order to keep them connected to their heritage, I have been investigating ways to create richer foreign language experiences. Both my kids are in an introductory Spanish class that meets twice a month, but my younger son was definitely interested in more.
We were lucky enough to discover PandaTree.com. We received the product for free and were compensated for our time to review. All opinions are my own. You can read my full disclosures here.
PandaTree.com’s mission is to make it convenient and fun for all kids to learn a foreign language. Research shows there are tremendous benefits for students from learning a second language, including improved skills in their native language, higher scores on standardized tests, greater cultural awareness and understanding, increased empathy and out-of-the-box thinking, more career opportunities, and protection from age-related cognitive declines.
What can you expect from these Spanish lessons for kids?
We completed two 25 minute sessions. My ten-year-old has language delays and sometimes struggles to find the right words so I was anxious to see how this worked. First off, these are live, one-on-one, online foreign language lessons for kids in Mandarin and Spanish.
The tutor was so encouraging and had a great rapport with him. He can get frustrated and give up pretty quickly, but he handled this well. I didn’t see any signs of mounting frustration or that he wanted to quit. I could never match the pronunciation of a native speaker, but I was most impressed with her patience and encouragement. Both of those can be lacking in mom after a long day.
In two 25 minute sessions, they covered numbers, animals, introductions, basic pronunciation and more. The entire session focused on language acquisition. They used pictures to reinforce vocabulary versus just words and grammar. This helps to skip the step that many language learners go through of translating the word to English then an image. The image was there immediately to connect with the new vocabulary. It made it fun and he looked forward to his next session.
You will receive follow up emails after the lessons that give you a summary of what the lessons went over and a list of resources available to reinforce his new language skills on the site. This means that you aren’t searching Pinterest for supplements. There is even audio for the word lists so if you are like me, you don’t have to stumble through pronunciation causing more problems than helping.
Interested in a free online tutoring session?
You can get a free 25-minute lesson to try it out for yourself. Use code iHNFree17 for your free session. It is easy and straightforward and you even get to pick your tutor.
There are options for 25 minute or 50 minute lessons. You will receive an email confirmation of your appointment as well as reminders via email and text about 20 minutes before, which helped me tremendously.
PandaTree.com also offers Mandarin tutoring. This is a great alternative for a homeschool parent that doesn’t have access to a native speaker for foreign language instruction. My son has asked when we will schedule his next session.
You can find other curriculum reviews and ideas at Is Homeschooling Hard?