At the homeschooling convention I learned of a service which I'd never heard of. A thing on my list to set up for the fall was Spanish instruction for my 7th grader. He is asking to learn Spanish (having abandoned Italian via Rosetta Stone). Now that we live in Houston we are surrounded by Spanish signs and labels on foods and Spanish speakers. It would be nice to know how to converse with others and having people all around you to practice on enhances learning and helps with memory retention.
I was surprised to see a booth for a 1:1 Spanish class, online (voice only) via Skype with a native Spanish speaker. My son's teacher lives in Mexico.
We purchased a trial session to see how it goes. They speak online and then printable worksheets for homework and reference lists to use as learning tools are emailed to us. They claim these courses are "enough" for a full class and go up through the high school level.
I am pleased with the service so far. Due to my lack of familiarity with teaching a foreign language course I am unable to compare how rigorous this is in comparison with a textbook based program. However solving the issue of having access to not only a fluent Spanish speaker but a native Spanish speaker may be worth it. I wonder also if families could supplement whatever learning they are doing with this in order to get in more talking time with a native speaker. Prices vary depending on the number of classes that you take. Today they advertise the fees can be as low as $6 per hour.
The company is Homeschool Spanish Academy.
To further complicate matters for our family right now, after I paid for these classes I enrolled my son in a big group learning experience which includes Latin (which is new to him). I am unsure if my son can do all the work in the other subjects plus Latin and if continuing with Spanish is possible or overkill this fall. We will see how it goes.
Disclosure: I am a paying customer of Homeschool Spanish Academy and have no incentive to mention their services. I am not getting paid from them to advertise or tout their services.