I know…I know…there are lots of choices out there for foreign language courses. And from what I’ve seen, they’re all pretty similar. But after reviewing Breaking The Barrier, I can honestly tell you – “You might want to choose this one!”
I consider our family really lucky in that we were given the chance to review the Breaking The Barrier Spanish curriculum – all three years!
The books pictured above are pretty amazing and thorough books. They’re a combo textbook, workbook and handy reference all-in-one. I was (am) VERY impressed. And the accompanying CDs are exceptional.
You don’t speak Spanish? No problem! Or should I say No problema! Your kids can still learn Spanish – because that’s how good these resources are!
Here’s what the Breaking the Barrier Curriculum covers:
Level 1/Year 1 (beginner)
The level 1 book assumes no prior knowledge of Spanish. It starts from the very beginning by introducing simple words and phrases that can be used right away. The “First Steps” lesson also presents all the sounds of the Spanish language so that students can develop an authentic accent. Theme-based vocabulary offers students opportunities to learn words relevant to their daily lives. A dialogue series appears throughout the book offering students reading and listening comprehension practice.
- the present, preterite, imperfect, and progressive tenses
- nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions
- formal commands
(check these out – you’ll be impressed!)
Level 2/Year 2 (intermediate)
Building upon Level 1, the Level 2 text first reviews key grammar topics to ensure that all students have a strong grounding in the present, preterite, and imperfect tenses. New lists of vocabulary are introduced. An adventure series is featured in Level 2 as characters travel to exciting new places (with unexpected twists and turns).
Level 2 includes:
- the future, conditional, present perfect, the pluperfect, present subjunctive, and the pluperfect subjunctive
- indefinites, demonstratives, and reflexive pronouns
- informal commands, comparisons
Level 3/Year 3 (advanced)
The Level 3/Advanced book targets students in their 3rd or 4th year of Spanish. It is a text that highlights all the key grammar found on AP, SAT II, IB, or college placement tests. Continuing the strategies established in the first two books, the Advanced Level begins by reviewing the major present, past, conditional and future tenses. Cultural articles with comprehension exercises help students get to know stories from people around the world.
- all perfect tenses, including the present perfect, pluperfect, future perfect and conditional perfect
- the subjunctive mood (with commands, verbs of emotion, hypothetical situations, adverbial phrases)
- comparatives, the passive voice, “if clauses,” punctuation, and uses of the infinitive
- intriguing vocabulary, with special focus on adjectives in early chapters, followed by nouns, verbs, and idiomatic expressions
What do I like about the Breaking The Barrier Curriculum resources?
- The program works great in homeschool situations – and the homeschool teacher/parent doesn’t need to know the chosen language. (Whew!)
- The Homeschool Package includes everything you need for a year’s worth of foreign language instruction. So, there’s no need to look for outside or supplemental resources. (That’s nice!)
- I love, love, love the workbooks – as in I absolutely, 100% love the workbooks. That’s because they’re a textbook, workbook and handy reference all-in-one. Specifically – I like the content. The books provide grammatical concepts, practice exercises, a dialogue series, review tests and MORE. And I like how the content is structured. The books are intuitively structured so that students learn new material and then immediately put it into practice via written and oral exercises. I like that the pages are set up so they seem like the student is having a one-on-one session/conversation with a Spanish teacher. And last but not least, these are “friendly” books. The workbooks are non-threatening. That might seem like an odd thing to write – but learning a new language can be daunting. The workbooks aren’t. They’re a breeze. And from page 1, my kids were thinking (and saying) – “This isn’t hard!”
- Because the resources are conversational, and have kids speaking and writing Spanish starting on page 1, their confidence soars.
- Also, the books have lots of resources in the back – two dictionaries (English to Spanish and Spanish to English), and Verb Charts.
- Info throughout the workbook is interesting/relevant – current people, places and events from the Spanish-speaking world are referenced.
- I like all the maps – when my kids think Spanish, they tend to think Mexico. The other maps are just a reminder that LOTS of countries speak Spanish.
- I like the pages and the cover (good quality paper and wipeable covers – these are necessities in our house).
- The CDs are SO helpful – they let kids hear and model the language, with native speakers as their guides. This means your children can learn Spanish even if their madre and homeschool teacher doesn’t speak the language. (And I don’t – so my kids really need the CDs!)
- I appreciate that you can choose between a physical book and an iBook. What works well for one of my kids may not work well for another – and options are always a plus. (The English for Spanish Speakers is currently only available in the iBook format.)
- Breaking the Barrier is a quality program – at only a fraction of the price of some of the other programs I’ve looked at. (And I’ve looked at quite a few lately – as my husband and I agreed that foreign language needs to be added to our homeschool program this year.)
So, what foreign language program have we decided on?
I think you know.
One last note – the company’s Spanish vocabulary flashcard app is being recognized as a pretty great app – in part because of its voice recognition technology.
The app allows students to practice relevant vocabulary – students can save words for continued practice or put them in the “done” pile.
There is also a bonus section of travel vocabulary for students and travelers of all ages.