My family and I used to live in Middlebury, VT, so seeing Middlebury Interactive Languages come up for review really caught my eye! Princess P has been wanting to learn Spanish for a while now, so we chose their Elementary Spanish I course for this review period. It is recommended for grades 3-5 and P is in 4th so we were right in the recommended range. There are no prerequisites for taking this class, so we got her set up with an account and logged in to begin.
I was a little nervous to begin because despite two years of Spanish in high school and in college, I pretty much know nothing in Spanish. Nada. (heehee...I said pretty much) But this was totally fun and easy! There are 7 units and a review in this set. For P's grade, Middlebury recommends doing 2-3 days a week. Doing that, you could easily get through this in the semester. There is a calendar on the site with lessons listed for each day. We ignored that and just went through the Table of Contents and selected the next lesson on Tues and Thurs when we did Spanish. I like that it checks off the ones you have done so you know where you left off. I also liked that the topics were practical things to learn and the pictures are fun and bright. There are all cartoon drawings and the speech is clear on the sound parts.
Unit 1 starts by giving you the intro and objectives and then jumps right into reading you a story in Spanish. P was a little put off by this because she "didn't understand a word they just said." After two lessons...so roughly a week and a half, they told the same story again and this time she could understand enough to make sense of it! This was super cool and encouraging to her.
The lessons are simple and required nothing from me. Once we figured out the system (ie click the check mark in the top right corner when finished so it scores it for you!), she was off and running. She would normally do an entire lesson in one sitting. There is enough repetition that she was able to do it all on her own. She would sometimes ask me "do girls end in a or o?" when she started a lesson because that kept confusing her, but if she knew it, she could do them all. There are some lessons that ask you to restate the words into a mic. When our computer died, the mic went with it...so I just sat with her on those and listened instead of recording and playing back. Since we didn't have the teacher grading us, it was no biggie to do it like this. Once we get a new computer, we can start recording again.
They mix up the teaching methods throughout the lessons so it isn't boring to the kids. They speak, quiz, practice, explore, color, sing, etc. They keep the kids moving. We spent about 30 minutes at a time on this. Most of the time, that completed an entire lesson. Sometimes, we would stop and then pick up the next day and call it review before starting the next lesson. P enjoyed it so much she would want to do several lessons at a time, but after letting her do that a few times, I realized she wasn't retaining as well when she rushed through several so started limiting it to 30 minutes. It's a tough problem to have to limit their school, right? ;o)
Like my last review, this one is online, which is awesome since our computer crashed on us! We were able to pick up the next lesson on the laptop and not miss a beat. This site also has a gradebook for teachers to check. The only issue here is some things it gave P 100% on when I watched her miss a few. It instantly corrects, or doesn't accept incorrect answers, so the 100% is true...but...it might have taken 5 tries to get the 100%, which it doesn't show. Since she's in 4th grade, I'm not keep track of her grades anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there.
Middlebury Interactive Languages has several languages to choose from, and they have classes for K-12! I'm excited to have found this site and glad P is enjoying broadening her language horizon.
The pricing is $119/semester (+ an additional $175/semester with a teacher, so $294 total - we didn't have the teacher).
Find out more info at these links or by clicking on the banner below.
Google +: https://plus.google.com/b/110371351490550861545/110371351490550861545/posts