November 2014 Student Spotlight

We want to recognize Reid this month as our chosen Student Spotlight. We recently interviewed him about his experience with Homeschool Spanish Academy. Here’s what he had to say:

HSA: What do you like most about the program?

Reid: HSA is definitely a stronger program than the others I have used. What I like the most is that I am able to ask more complicated questions (like what would be a close Spanish approximation of an English idiom) which are impossible for an online translator to answer. Very well, actually. The ability to individually schedule lessons in advance allows my parents to schedule the classes around my other commitments.

HSA: What was your level of Spanish like before learning with Homeschool Spanish Academy?

Reid: My level of Spanish was probably not much better than that of a two-year-old; I knew a hundred or so basic words and a few common phrases, which I could assemble into very basic sentences like “I like apples” or “He wants to go home”.  Additionally, the only words I could say were basic nouns and verbs (like water, cake, chairs, to run, to eat), with a few adjectives, adverbs, and phrases (like blue, very well, or What is your name?). The teachers that I had before HSA thought that my pronunciation was pretty good, however one was a native speaker, so I had someone to learn the pronunciation from. Although I was fairly sure that I could communicate basic ideas with a native speaker (for example: “Hello, I like tortillas.”), I was not very confident in my ability to carry on a conversation.

HSA: What other Spanish programs did you use in the past?

Reid: In the past I have used two programs: In one program, a dozen or so basic words/phrases on a certain were introduced in each chapter, followed by several -style activities. In the other, each chapter consisted of a list of several dozen (mostly unrelated) words, followed by a handful of rote-memorization style worksheets. I studied using the first program as part of a homeschooling co-op, so I was able to talk some to the other students in Spanish. I studied using the second program mostly on my own, so I wasn’t able to converse much.

HSA: What other aspects about HSA do you enjoy?

Reid: I also like the fact that students get feedback about pronunciation, grammar, etc. that is often mostly overlooked in other programs. In addition, the frequent interaction in Spanish with my teacher helps to maintain and improve my Spanish conversational skills.

HSA: How are your instructors?

Reid: I really enjoy working with my instructor, Elsa España, because she is helpful, funny, does an excellent job of explaining things, and has taught me so much. Probably what I like the most about having her as my Spanish teacher is the random topics we discuss before and after working on the material to be presented in the class. Conversing about anything from holidays to telephones to the differences in shopping experiences between the United States and Guatemala definitely helps me to improve my Spanish in the types of conversations more likely to happen outside of the classroom.

HSA: How do you hope to use Spanish in the future?

Reid: In the future, I hope to use Spanish to connect better with any Spanish speakers whom I may interact with who are not proficient in English. Where I live (South Texas) this skill is very useful due to the fact that, being at the south of the United States, many immigrants from Mexico or Central America pass through/settle where I live, and many of them either know little to no English or are in the process of learning English.

HSA: When you’re not learning how to speak Spanish, what other things do you like to do?

Reid: In my free time, I like to swim, build/repair computers, read, and play video games.

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