Monday, March 17, 2014

TOS Review: Mango Languages

Mango Languages Review

I have heard of Mango Languages before, but had never looked into it much. I always thought it was for older kids and just didn't put much thought into it. I was excited to see it up for review and thrilled to be given a beta version of  Mango Homeschool Edition to review with the kids. It is an online program so you don't have to download anything to start and it will work on PC or Mac.

I intended for Princess P and Terrific T to do Latin, since that is what we are doing in CC. However, once they saw the over 60 languages available, they had other ideas. I love that by having this subscription, you have access to ALL of the languages (including pirate!). This is so great in case your kids are like mine and change their minds a lot, or just want to get a feel for different languages. They are so young that they aren't looking to master a language right now, but find it fun to listen to other languages and throw a phrase out at us to stump us sometimes. And seriously, everyone should know how to say some basic phrases in just never know! Argh!

Mango Languages Review The website itself was a little confusing at first, so plan to spend some time looking around yourself before you start the kids on there. There is so much there to explore - thankfully there are videos and great tutorials to help you navigate the program. Once I had figured out what we needed to do and where things were, I brought the kids in to select their language. They both wanted to do Spanish - yay. That's a practical one in this part of the country. I started them out separately, with their own spaces, but ended up just having them work together. It was nice to be able to talk to each other and help each other along.

Depending on the language chosen, there are different amounts of lessons available. They call them journeys. For Pirate, there is one; for Spanish, there were three. Here is what was covered in the first journey for Spanish:

After 6 weeks, the kids are only a little over half way through this first journey. They could easily get an entire year's Spanish curriculum out of this! For T and P, when they finish journey 1, I'll have them repeat it again before moving on to the next journey to make sure they get these basics down. Each lesson took about 30 minutes. After the first lesson, I didn't sit with them during their lessons...which was good (It's nice to not have to teach them everything) and bad (I have no idea how to speak Spanish so was lost when they were talking to me after!). Thankfully Mango has a course guide that I downloaded that has all the lessons in it. YAY. It was 168 pages so I didn't print it out, but saved it into dropbox so I could look at it when I needed it.

Another cool feature is that each time you log in, it remembers where you were and you can pick right back up there. You can have multiple languages going at once too, which is nice if you just want to sample a few. 

Mango says it is for ages 6 to adult. P is 9 and started out okay, but it quickly got difficult for her. T is 11 and loves it. He could do it on his own and enjoyed throwing random Spanish phrases into our daily conversations. LOL.  I haven't looked into high school foreign language requirements so not sure if this would work, but it is perfect for our elementary kids. I am impressed with what T learned in such a short amount of time. The program would also be fantastic for someone about to travel abroad. The lessons are so easy that you could learn some basics in a short amount of time.

Here is a sample of part of a lesson. They read everything for you, which was great, and you click the right arrow to move forward and left to move back. It was very simple to navigate.

Mango Languages Review

I'm so excited about the improvements coming soon with Mango.  Being able to track and monitor the kids progress will be so helpful as homeschooling parents. As it is, without sitting with them, I had no idea how they were doing. I'm so glad they are working to improve the program. Here is a list they provided with their current and future features:

What is currently available on the site:
Over 60 different languages - Arabic to Yiddish and everything in between
Progress Assessments

Built-in journals, discussions and wikis
Collaborative learning spaces
eNote messaging
/chat rooms

Access to embedded/downloadable content

Support from other community members

Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups

Over the next several months, we'll be introducing other exciting features like:

Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring - including seat time (for students and parents)
Goals and Personal Lesson Plans (both stand-alone and tied into Mango courses)

Resume and Portfolio Builder

They have special introductory pricing right now: 

1 subscription is $18/month or $125/year total 
2 subscriptions is $28/month or $175 /year total
3 subscriptions is $38/month or $225/year total
4 subscriptions is $48/month or $275/year total
5 subscriptions is $58/month or $325/year total

Anything over 6 subscriptions is a special group rate that will depend on the number in the group. 
The homeschool edition is different from the free version you can get through some libraries (Tulsa Library is one). The homeschool edition has at least 20 more languages than the library version and has multiple levels on lessons. The library only offers one level of each language.The homeschool edition also has forums and additional features that are not included with the library version. While the library addition is free, it's obvious that there are so many additional benefits with the paid subscriptions.

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