I received this question:

My son needs to learn Spanish.

I was wondering if you have any suggestion as to a curriculum that you’ve heard is good or know to be good and effective. Cost is an issue but I have a bit of knowledge of the language and can help him out quite a bit. 

Here is my reply:

Ugh.  I wish I had time to study Spanish again.  Unfortunately, I am paid to guide people through irrelevant books that almost no one will ever read and in which even fewer people are interested.   Sigh.

Here is what I suggest.

First, join DuoLingo.  It’s fun.  It’s free.  And, it’s fantastic.  It will really help with pronunciation and with vocabulary acquisition.  It may, or may not help much with grammar.  It does include grammar instruction, but I feel there are better places to learn the grammar.

For example, there is this helpful Spanish Grammar series on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL18DCAA11F203EE63

Here is the first video:

Not sure why it’s so fuzzy.  Worth it anyway.

Second, start listening to the podcast Coffee Break Spanish.  It’s really good.  Don’t let the Scottish accents deter you.

I would also recommend you pick up any cheap Spanish grammar from a bookstore, or, even better, any Spanish grammar from the library.  Start reading the grammar, and start listening to the podcast.

Once you start to get a hang of things, this series looks really good:

And, finally, when you are ready to have some fun, I like this series:

Everything I recommend is free.  I am moderately fluent in Spanish, and I learned it all free online.

Here are some easy Spanish readers. You may find these free books helpful:

One last thing… start now.  The sooner you begin, the sooner you will speak Spanish!