Thursday, October 27, 2016

Middlebury Interactive Languages - A Homeschool Review Crew Review

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
I have mentioned before and I will mention again that my kids love learning languages. None of them, except perhaps John Allen with Latin, has really learned a language in-depth, but they have all three delved into learning at least one language if not a couple. Joshua and I have reviewed one or two elementary language programs in the past and I thought I had seen about everything there was when it came to learning Spanish. We have reviewed traditional methods and very non-traditional methods. So, when I was assigned to review Elementary Spanish 1 : Grades K-2 from Middlebury Interactive Languages, I wasn't particularly super excited. However, when I received the link to this online course and began to use it, I found that it is different than any other Spanish course, or, really, any other language course that we have reviewed.

Although Jacob is technically out of the grade range for this, I though this would be perfect for him since he would be at a very beginning level with Spanish. It really was the perfect level for him, but for reasons that I will explain later, this course didn't work out for him at all. Let me let you know ahead of time, that it is not the courses fault, though. So, Joshua stepped in to review it with me. Joshua is the one who has reviewed many other Spanish courses with me but recently he has been focusing on Russian so this was a good review for him and we were able to compare it with some of the ones he reviewed when he was younger.

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}

I am really impressed with Elementary Spanish 1 : Grades K-2. As I mentioned before, it is different than the other programs that we have reviewed. Let me describe what a typical lesson might entail.

First of all it is very easy to know what lesson you are on. After you sign in using a simple user name and password, the first screen shows you exactly where you should begin.

Each unit is made up of several lessons. I really like how there are a variety of activities that are used to review the things learned in the unit. For example, Unit One was all about Greetings. Lesson one is an introductory lesson. It introduced the greetings in several different ways. Joshua may have to click on a black in white picture and a voice will describe what is happening in the picture and the picture will be colored in. When he clicked on the picture of a boy coming through a door and greeting a girl a voice came on that said "Hola" and then gave the English word - "Hello". In another lesson he had to drag the greeting to match the picture that is describing the greeting. The last lesson in the unit is always the review lesson and the test taking unit. The lessons in between are always reinforcement lessons of what was learned in lesson one. I really like that there is always a story in each unit where the student is immersed in the Spanish Language. In Unit One "The Spots of the Ocelot" was read aloud while pictures were shown. Although the phrases that words that the student is learning in the unit are in the story, there are always several other words that are used. The more the student watches the video, the more the words are being learned are reinforced, but he is learning other words as well. Their are also occasional worksheets that need to be printed out for the student to do on their own. The worksheets are very easy, often just drawing a picture, and, again, they reinforce what is being learned. There are also periodic lessons on the Spanish culture. For example, during the Unit where words used at school are taught, there was a whole lesson covering the differences between schools in Hispanic countries and schools in America. The tests in the last lesson are also fairly easy. The Unit One - Greetings test was a mix of listening to an audio of a greeting and choosing the picture that describes the audio, or seeing a picture and choosing the audio that matches the picture.

Now for the part that Jacob did not like but Joshua was fine with. There are several occasions a student has to listen to a phrase, record his voice, and then listen to the recording to see if his voice matches. Jacob did that a couple of times and became very upset because he didn't think he sounded like his recorded voice. Unfortunately that is the way with kids who are on the autism spectrum. Sometimes something will just set them off and they cannot handle it. Jacob refused to do any more lessons so I had to start all over again with Joshua. Joshua did much better and really liked the lessons.

I like the lessons as well. They are a good mix of listening and doing. The visuals and lessons are right on the level of a K-2 grade student but they aren't just a "Oh, we learned the numbers from one to ten in Spanish so we learned a lot" type lesson. They go much deeper than that. When a student is done with this course, they won't be fluent in Spanish but it will be a good beginning in understanding the Spanish Language and culture. During the twelve units in the first semester they will learn Spanish words for Greeting, Numbers, Family, Colors, School, Body, Animals, Calendar, Food and Descriptions.The remaining two units are review units.

To find out more about Middlebury Interactive Languages and the Elementary Spanish One : Grades K-2 Course, just click on any one of the highlighted links above. Middlebury Interactive Languages also has many other languages to choose from for elementary all the way to high school. Many of the other Homeschool Review Crew members reviewed different languages and different levels and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. You can also find out more about Middlebury Interactive Languages on social media. There different social media outlets are listed below as well. Happy Homeschooling.

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
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