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Æthelthryth the Texan

Option like Homeschool Spanish Academy?

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We've used Homeschool Spanish Academy for over a year and have been happy with the teaching, but they're getting impossibly hard to book lately. It's frustrating. Today was kind of the last straw and  I'm feeling pretty done with them. I'm looking for a similar set up with one-to-one instruction at levels from Elementary to High School with a native Spanish speaker. Is there such a thing? Is iTalki going to be similar?

My primary concern is consistency on progress. Although we may have had different instructors with HSA, there was still continuity on curriculum. But with iTalki or another program,  I would guess it would be a matter of settling on an instructor and then sticking with them? And I'll admit- I only used HSA with my kids after glowing reviews and recs here, so it feels sort of random just going on the internet and finding an individual- sort of like going on Craigslist to find a babysitter. 😞 I mean I'm always right there with them with HSA, just off screen, but it's still something I'm not used to with strangers and a videoconference as far as kids. Is there something else reputable? 

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Not addressing the Spanish resource, but I was wondering if you have contacted them about the lack of availability. Is it a recent thing? Have they had a huge influx of new students and are in the process of onboarding more teachers? This recently happened to my Chinese provider Lingobus because they got way more interest during their Black Friday promo. Then they really had to crank up their recruitment and training. Things have since smoothed out, but it did take a few months to get more teachers into the schedule. Not sure if HSA works the same way in terms of booking or not.

Just wondering because I just told someone about HSA.

Edited by calbear

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I'm waiting for them to call me back, but that's even been a pain to get someone on the phone recently. It's been a slow descent. They used to be incredibly responsive and you could pick up the phone and call and get an actual person if there was a question or scheduling issue, but now I just have to leave a message and wait. And wait. Usually if you sent an email, you had a response before you could shut your laptop. I thought maybe it was just a bad time of year going into the holidays, but it seems worse now and not better. 

I noticed this week that there are professional options now for adults; and while I knew adults could take classes before, I didn't realize until recently that it was also now targeted to organizations as well. Or maybe I was blind and missed it there all this time- I don't poke around on the website usually- just the scheduling so you don't see that part. But when we started you could usually get multiple sessions a week with no trouble, and now it's not like that at all. And getting the same instructor? That's been impossible lately. I guess if I booked months out at a time it would be easier. 

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A friend just had their favorite teacher leave HSA, and the folks at HSA told her that she may wish to wait a few weeks before trying to find a new favorite teacher because they were onboarding a whole crew of people.

We've had an excellent time with HSA. DD chose her favorite teachers back when she started using them three years ago, and all three of them are still there and we rotate between them. I do book out pretty far in advance in order to keep her favorites on our schedule, because they do fill up. I've noticed that people seem to book their full semester, and do even that in advance for some of the most popular instructors.

Edited by Jackie
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Have you looked at Outschool? Some of the Spanish teachers have semester long courses that look like they build on each other in a series. We've only just started on Outschool so I can't give a recommendation but the long term teachers have reviews.

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3 hours ago, Jackie said:

A friend just had their favorite teacher leave HSA, and the folks at HSA told her that she may wish to wait a few weeks before trying to find a new favorite teacher because they were onboarding a whole crew of people.

We've had an excellent time with HSA. DD chose her favorite teachers back when she started using them three years ago, and all three of them are still there and we rotate between them. I do book out pretty far in advance in order to keep her favorites on our schedule, because they do fill up. I've noticed that people seem to book their full semester, and do even that in advance for some of the most popular instructors.

That's good to know. The credits are there- I can't get them back, so they'll just sit regardless, so might as well be patient. Our favorites are all still there as far as I can tell, but just say "unavailable" for 2 months out or more. Maybe we'll try Duolingo and online stuff for a month and then see if its any better and try to book again. 

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I always tried to book months in advance. DD had a favorite instructor and one backup (who was fun but didn't get through the material and when she tested, it was a disaster!). If she ended up with anyone else through a scheduling mishap on their side, we learned to cancel. Consistency was key for Dd. We had a specific time & days of the week & just went as far out as we could. (Sometimes that meant the instructor or we had to cancel when it got closer, but that was better than nothing.) I'd try to book a few months out now. You can do what you want in the meantime.

I've heard Spanish121 (?) is flexible for whatever you are looking for, but haven't ever tried them. Our Italki people (we've used both Spanish & German tutors) are just for conversation practice or to look over an essay, but they will go through new vocab or grammar, too. I think some have a lesson plan they can use, but that will vary. I'll be looking for a French tutor for the fall for dd#2 and will use italki.

I think HSA is expanding quite a bit and they are pushing their extra materials via email. DD used her last lesson credit after Christmas (had to book it two months out after a cancellation) & I get emails every week soliciting us to return. Ever few weeks there is an offer for two or three free classes if we buy more.

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I haven’t gotten a single email!! That’s so weird. And I know I still can get email from them because I get the confirmations and reminders. Maybe they just don’t like us ?!! 😜

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6 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I haven’t gotten a single email!! That’s so weird. And I know I still can get email from them because I get the confirmations and reminders. Maybe they just don’t like us ?!! 😜

I don't get any either and we're still very active. It's just that I still have a semester's worth of credits so there's no point selling me more.

I agree with the PPs that say that people book a whole semester of classes at one time and do it in advance. I booked T's spring semester back in November so some of those classes were almost 6 months out. I did notice that some of our favorites weren't available in January and February at all but then reappeared in late February and were available through June. Eventually I searched for anybody in our time slots to see who we'd get assigned and tried to at least use the same person as much as possible. That's a bit of a crapshoot but we lucked into a gem who will go into rotation in the summer. I also noticed that their website can be wonky and refuse to renew and add dates at the end of the time period. You may have to try a different browser and completely log out and log back in if it starts sticking.

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I’ve been pleased with LanguageConvo.com for my daughter’s German.  They have a standard curriculum used across all teachers, or will customize it to your child if you ask.  (My dd is dyslexic, and because I wanted to keep the emphasis on conversational German and not reading and writing until she was secure in reading English, the standard curriculum wasn’t a great fit at that time).  The teachers are all native speakers.

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I book a semester+ in advance, and then cancel if I need to, as soon as I know. Having said that, we had several classes cancelled this month that were booked back in November-and no other instructors were available, so I do think they’re running into trouble with availablility. Previously, there has always been someone available to take the class. 

In our case, I just want DD to have regular practice in the language, so it works-but if she were trying to get enough sessions in to count as a high school credit, having several weeks cancelled and no one available would be extremely frustrating.

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1 hour ago, parent said:

I have never heard of this.  How much does each session cost?

 

Are you asking about Homeschool Spanish Academy or Language Convo?  Language Convo varies by language; German is $18 per hour, so I pay $9 per half hour session. It looks like Spanish is $13 per hour.

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I was wondering about Spanish lessons.  My kids take lessons from a local teacher.  This is much lower cost than our lessons so definitely something to keep in mind, but I really love our Spanish teacher and will remain with her during the school year.  This might be a great idea for summer practice.  We usually do a Spanish camp in the summer but no lessons. 

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For HSA, the 50 minute classes start at something like $25 a class, but you buy in bundles, so the more you buy, the cheaper they get. I think the cheapest ends up around $10 lesson. 

The 25 minute classes I've used for my younger two start at $13 I think for a single class and the cheapest is around $6 and some change a class in the big bundles. 

But I would seriously hold off right now- they still haven't called me about scheduling.........

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