My fifth grade son (Raisin) and I have been practicing Spanish for many years together. We started when he was a kindergartner by watching Salsa Spanish, then we’ve done Visual Link Spanish through the computer and I’ve taught him through picture books. Usually, he has wants to practice with other people, and not just with me. But speaking practice with someone other than Mom is not easy to come by when we homeschool.
Thankfully, I was delighted to come across PandaTree.com, which provides live, one-on-one, online foreign language lessons for kids in Mandarin and Spanish. As Raisin completed his language lessons with his online tutor at PandaTree.com, he gained valuable practice in asking and answering questions and using the Spanish vocabulary he has learned.
Note: I received two free 25-minute tutorial sessions in exchange for my honest opinions. I was also compensated for my time in preparing this post. I am not required to post a positive review.
Homeschool Foreign Language Lessons for Kids
It is like a dream come true. A foreign language tutor met with my son one-on-one! Face-to-face lessons in my own home! I did not have to cart all my kids in the car and rush to a classroom. But my son was speaking directly with a Spanish speaker and having a conversation. Yes, it was online. But it was a customized conversation just for Raisin. He loved it!
PandaTree.com was started in 2015 by Kristina Klausen, who was looking for a way for her Mandarin Immersion students to get additional practice speaking Mandarin. They have now expanded and also offer Spanish tutors, all for kids ages 5-15. Learn more about PandaTree.com by visiting the PandaTree.com Facebook page or sending them a tweet.
It is so exciting to have this option! As homeschoolers, we don’t have the option of dual language classrooms. We do not have easy access to a classroom with students at the same level as Raisin. One-on-one in my home is a dream come true.
Setting Up the Online Tutoring Session
Not only did the lesson go smoothly, but it was so easy to set up the online tutoring session for Raisin. I set up an account in PandaTree.com and could immediately see available Spanish tutors and their availability. Depending on the times I specified in the filter at top, there were from 3 to a 7 Spanish tutors to choose from! I could see the biography and merits of the various tutors. I could see their faces.
When I selected a tutor, I was then prompted to schedule a time that she was free. I could choose any of the days she was available and any time she was not already signed up for tutoring.
After the appointment was scheduled, I was prompted to give information about my child. I made sure to indicate that Raisin had some Spanish experience previously, and that he needed conversation practice. After all was set up, I could pay and look forward to the free tutoring session.
Before hand, I helped my son get his system set up. The tutoring is done via the proprietary PandaTree.com Live! video platform. My son’s computer needed to have the video and audio connected. We used the Chrome browser during the tutoring. See more about the tutoring platform by visiting the PandaTree.com YouTube channel.
Spanish Lessons for Kids
On the day that Raisin was to meet his Spanish tutor, I got an email reminder shortly before class, reminding him to be there! Sure enough, his tutor was right on time. He could see and hear her, and she could see and hear him. I left them to talk themselves, as my two other kids were calling for attention.
But it was okay. Even when I could not sit in on the session (I do have two other kids), I could review the entire lesson by logging in after the fact and watching it all myself for 7 days after his lesson. I could see the video of my son as he sat in front of the computer and I could see the tutor and then her slides with vocabulary as they preceded through their conversation.
The first lesson was, as I knew it would be, a good chance for the tutor to get to know my son’s level. Raisin enjoyed showing off the vocabulary he knew. The second lesson was a bit more challenging for him, although some of the vocabulary was already familiar to him. I know that the next lesson will be even more beneficial because now he and his tutor know each other better, and a 50-minute session (instead of 25-minute session) will probably help him ease into speaking all the more.
The system also has some fun games for my son. When he logs in as himself, he can see the vocabulary he recently learned and review it by playing a game. Spanish learning and review is not only taken off of my to do list, but given to Raisin in a fun way!
Foreign Language Lessons for the Homeschool
I am a firm believer in the importance of learning a foreign language. Although I’ve been studying Spanish pretty much my whole life, I have still not obtained true fluency. By starting my kids young, I’m hoping they have a better chance to do so.
Mandarin and Spanish: these are the two world languages that are going to be necessary to know in the coming decades. A good part of the world speaks these languages. Giving your child an advantage by helping them obtain fluency practice in one-on-one conversations is a huge blessing in their foreign language learning.
Want to give it a try?
Free 25-Minute Trial Lesson in Mandarin or Spanish.
Use Promo Code iHNFree17at checkout.
Valid through November 30, 2017. One free lesson per family.
The tutoring services offered by PandaTree.com are a great fit for the homeschool student hoping for foreign language lessons but unable to find a tutor in real life. I’m so glad I’ve found it!
Very nice and informative post. Useful blog for parents who wish their kids learn Spanish. If you want to learn more with online tutors, I would recommend reading this list called “Top Online Tutors for Learning Spanish”. It’s a nice source with Spanish tutors to study online by skype or using other devices. I am not sure if link is permitted but here it is anyway: https://vidalingua.com/blog/top-online-tutors-learning-spanish.html