With so many foreign language homeschool curricula now available on the market, finding the best fit for your family can be a little overwhelming.
There are so many factors to consider when selecting a Spanish curriculum, including your family’s language level, learning style and… your budget!
Language programs can be very expensive and often demand significant investments and memberships, making them inaccessible for many families.
So it’s no surprise that I was relieved to discover Llamitas Spanish, a budget-friendly and authentic Spanish curriculum for young children that includes lifetime access. Here’s my full curriculum review.
Just here for the discount? Shop Llamitas here and use coupon code puravidamoms at checkout for 10% off.
About Llamitas Spanish
Llamitas Spanish is a thematic homeschool curriculum with a gentle academic approach to early childhood education.
It was created by Corrie Wiik, who quite teaching Spanish to create the Spanish education blog Mama Llama Linguist, in collaboration with a global team of illustrators, voice actors and bilingual educators.
After leaving her teaching career to stay home with her children, Corrie started a blog about raising bilingual children to share about the Spanish resources they were using in their home.
Over the years, she had the opportunity to write dozens of reviews on Spanish curricula that she used with her children.
She found that, although the lesson plans supported their Spanish language acquisition, many were missing two fundamental aspects for early years language study: authentic Spanish literature and Kindergarten readiness skills.
Corrie is passionate about literacy and, much like native Spanish speakers, prioritized exposing her kids to traditional Latin nursery rhymes and music early on to help them connect and appreciate the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world and culture.
She kept the focus on hands-on, joyful learning, but also needed materials that gently introduced phonemic awareness and foundational numeracy like counting, sequencing and classifying in preparation for school.
So she gathered a team of native speakers to help her create her dream curriculum: a series of 12 thematic and academic units, rooted in wholesome hispanic literature and music.
Related post: Songs in Spanish (Our most popular post!)
What Is Thematic Learning?
Thematic learning in its simplest form is creating Spanish lessons by themes and topics.
It is based on the theory that children learn most effectively with real life context. This couldn’t be more relevant for language learning, and should play a central role in a family’s bilingual parenting strategy.
Themes allow the child to make deeper connections with the language, as they learn about the same topic, such as La Granja (farm), Los Ayudantes de la Comunidad (community helpers) or El Bosque (forest), across all their subjects including Math, Literacy, Phonics and Art.
Llamitas Spanish extends learning themes beyond the surface level of many other Spanish programs by nurturing deeper connections with the language, and encouraging children to speak Spanish.
It avoids rote learning like vocabulary drilling, and instead focuses on language acquisition through hands-on activities and cognitive skills such as memorizing, thinking, listening and questioning.
Looking for some screen time activities? Check out this post- Leveraging screen time for your bilingual kids
What Skills Does Thematic Learning Develop?
Llamitas Spanish provides a gentle approach to early childhood academics, meaning that it supports your child’s transition from all play-based learning, to more structured and formal learning, while still keeping the focus on interactive learning.
The units are designed so that they can be completed individually, but they do build on each other in terms of skills and level. For example, the math portion starts with counting 1-10 in unit 1, and then builds to 11-20 in the second unit and so forth. So completing them in order is better, although not imperative.
Some examples of the Kindergarten readiness skills included in the Llamitas Spanish units are:
~ Phonics: Letters and sounds, phonemic awareness and spelling
~ Early Math: Counting, sequencing, classifying, adding and subtraction
~ Literacy: Memory recitations, poetry, artwork discussion and comprehensions
~ Fine & Gross Motor Skills: cutting, cooking, coloring, crafting
~ Gross Motor Skills: music and movement and family games
What’s Included In the Curriculum?
The Llamitas Spanish curriculum offers two programs for each of its 12 thematic units: Spanish Beginners (Resources for Teaching in English) and Spanish Immersion (Spanish only)– and this ain’t your middle school Spanish! 😂
You receive access to both in your digital bundle; allowing you to make the switch if you need to. Generally speaking though, if you have an upper intermediate (B2+) Spanish level, you should definitely take advantage of the ‘Spanish Immersion’ set of materials.
Each digital unit includes:
~ An Activity Pack (Manual)
~ A Teacher Guide (Guía del Maestro)
~ 12 Unit Flashcards
~ Native Speaker Audio Tracks
~ Thematic Music Playlist
~ Thematic Book Menu
Although the Book Menu does not form part of the core lessons, it’s a great resource as it provides suggestions to extend your child’s thematic learning through read-alouds and literacy.
Who Is It For?
Llamitas Spanish is perfect for children ages 3-6, as it builds those foundational early childhood educational skills.
In terms of language level, both bilingual families and complete Spanish beginners alike can enjoy the curriculum, due to its split language program structure.
Worth highlighting is that, although there are dozens of Beginner Spanish curriculums on the market, the Spanish Immersion program with Llamitas Spanish has filled a huge gap in homeschooling foreign language curricula.
By providing a Spanish only program, bilingual and native speaking families can nurture their child’s language acquisition (often the minority language) at home.
In addition, the Beginners Spanish program supports non-native families with native speaker pronunciation support through audio tracks, as it assumes the parent will be learning alongside the child.
Why It’s The Best
Llamitas Spanish is deeply committed to making language learning at home affordable for all families. Not only is the price point truly unbeatable at just $97 for a high quality, full year curriculum, but it includes lifetime access, meaning no annual fees or memberships.
The curriculum is also very visually appealing, with beautiful watercolor illustrations, used throughout the curriculum on flashcards and worksheets, that will draw your child in and engage them with the materials.
Written in collaboration with native speakers, Llamitas Spanish also stands out for its culturally rich connections to the hispanic culture. Traditional hispanic nursery rhymes, songs and recitations are a core feature of the program, as well as the use of the Pío Peep anthology from time to time.
The native speaker recordings are another highlight of the program. Recorded in a clear and beautiful Spanish by a Venezuelan Voice Actor, her character voices are highly entertaining and bound to engage your kids.
Finally, parents really appreciate the flexibility of the Llamitas Spanish curriculum. You can either choose to follow the lessons step-by-step using the Teacher Guides, or simply select the most age (and skill) appropriate activities from the Activity Pack.
Ready to get started with Llamitas Spanish?
You can shop units individually but I recommend the full curriculum bundle since you save $47 that way!
PLUS don’t forget to use the code puravidamoms for an additional 10% off your order.