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HS Spanish 1


Marji McIlvaine


Spanish 1 -- with a Difference

Thank you so much for all that you've done this year and for how much you've helped me learn! This Spanish class has been LEAPS and BOUNDS better than the last one that I tried, and didn't have me crying almost every day like the last one! Thank you thank you thank you! You make learning the language seem like an achievable thing! :) (Student E, May 2020)


I would like to thank you for the wonderful teaching and guidance you’ve provided to P during Spanish I this year. She gladly wakes up early every week to join the 7am class (New Mexico) and she loves it!! Needless to say, she will be taking Spanish II next year. (Parent, Feb 2021)


"I just took the university Spanish placement test and I tested out of their college Spanish requirement! (But I'm planning on continuing and going to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country.)" (Student Anna, summer 2019)


Learning smarter, not harder! After 20+ years of teaching Spanish in a traditional format, I am now teaching by blending that with a different approach called the “reading & storytelling” approach (TPRS) to learning a foreign language. Research & scholarly studies reveal that students learn to speak and use the languages faster, and better, with this approach – it equips every learner, from the gifted student to the dyslexic. Success – and fun!

While your student will speak and converse a lot, this is more than a conversational language class. Grammar is included through meaning and repetition and small doses of concentrated material as the student acquires language because he or she understands what is being said.

Students will be speaking, understanding, and reading the language from the first week – growing in ability quickly. Grammar is taught every class through meaning and application.

There are many benefits to foreign language study, from the academic to the business world, to the understanding of our own language. All of this is true – and it is required for entrance to many colleges. However, languages are meant for communication – and communicating the most important thing of all, the love and Truth of God, is our highest and greatest purpose with language. With language, we build relationships – through those relationships, we gain the “ear” of others to share the Truth of the Gospel.

In this class, we begin this journey through fun, and the ability to use the language as we learn it. I can scarcely wait to begin! Students should plan on 45 minutes to an hour of work four days per week, plus the work in class. This work at home is foundational to achievement.

We will work through our text and read one or two novels completely in Spanish, depending on class achievement. This course uses a lot of “out of the text” material, so we will move through our text very slowly, adding other core learning materials through the year. This text should cover through Spanish 2. Scripture memory will always be included, as well as praise songs, hymns, contemporary music, culture, foods and games.

Parents: Please inform me (instructor) if you know your student has dyslexic/learning issues. I believe those students can find success through this approach, but it will help me to know. I also have back-up resources to recommend.

Former student's message:

"Mrs Mac, I want to say thank you so much. I feel like I owe you an unrepayable debt. I went to Nicaragua this time as not just a missions team member but also an interpreter. I was able to do that not only because you taught me Spanish, but because you taught me to love and pursue Spanish. You have had a bigger impact on both myself, and the people in Nicaragua than you will ever know. Thank you so much!!!"


TEXT: Excelerate Spanish, Book 1 with Student Worktext*.
If you would like to check out the curriculum, the approach, the reviews, here is the site:

Required: 3 novels, found at this site: Go to “Store”, then “Spanish Materials” (Some are available on Amazon as well)

We plan to read three novels: 1: TBA -- possibly “El Capibara con Botas” (a very simple earlier reader) 2. "El Escape Cubano"; and 3: “Piratas del Caribe y el Mapa Secreto” (we will begin this novel later in the year) Each novel is about $8, plus shipping.

*Optional materials are truly optional. The author wrote this curriculum to allow homeschooling families to study Spanish even if nobody knows any Spanish. The DVD’s contain motions and lessons filmed for the whole book — this is made for groups and families, so some of the students are younger. The method works for all ages, and this DVD would help a struggling student practice at home. It’s a great adjunct, but it is not required. We will do a LOT of out-of-text work, and move through the text slowly.

After 26 years of homeschooling, Marji (& Rick) graduated the last of their six children.
Marji has a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Florida, graduate hours from ECU, and worked at UF as a bilingual aide to the tropical animal science programs. Her fiercest won endeavor, however, is her well-worn degree from the ‘University of Homeschooling’.

For 25 years she has taught homeschoolers locally and online. She also administers the W-J Achievement test. Her study of seven languages opened the door to working in positions at UF, a public school in CA, as well as translating for several businesses.

In college, she attended the Université de Dijon in France. She later spent a semester in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, traveling and building her German skills. Her first years of college included a major track in science study since she had planned to be a veterinarian. Through homeschooling she found she could fuse her love of snorkeling, scuba diving and science with marine biology. Through her work at UF with graduate students, she found she could also fuse her interests in animals, science, and foreign language.

Later, her homeschooling years incited a love of history, and now she is passionate about sharing the love of learning about every facet of God’s creation and His work in His people with her students. She loves staying immersed in our wonderful homeschool community.

Contact Marji at, or

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