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Is a foreign language something that either you or your child wants to add to the homeschool schedule, but you are at a loss at to where to find a great curriculum that fits your needs?
Have you wondered about immersion programs, but have not had an experience with one or talked to someone who explained it well?
The immersion style of learning has been touted for several years now as a better option for students to really learn a foreign language compared to the textbook approach some of us experienced in school. Some consider it almost a ‘sink or swim’ approach where a child is motivated to pick up key vocabulary in a hurry through observation of what is being said and referenced. Not all immersion programs are the same, though.
Easy to Use Online Language Learning: What makes Middlebury Interactive Languages different?
Middlebury Interactive Languages was born from years of experience teaching adults to master not only the language, but culture, of a foreign country. They took what was working well to develop and an immersion style online program which covers the languages of Spanish, French, German and Chinese from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Middlebury does not seek to imitate a textbook approach to learning a foreign language. Rather, they go beyond that with a task based approach which incorporates of real-life activities. But, where Middlebury distinguish themselves from other options is their continual inclusion of world culture in the lessons with the ultimate goal of cross-cultural understanding.
Students work through the online courses at their own pace, although they suggest completing 2 lessons per week for the K – 2 program. The material is presented in a fun manner to capture the student’s attention with a full multimedia approach which uses text, audio, video and images. Along with matching games and other spot checks of learning, students have the opportunity to record and play back the key vocabulary being learned and then compare it to the presented material. Just don’t be surprised if you child is having so much fun that they want to work on the material more often!
One additional feature offered by Middlebury is the ability to add access to a teacher for the semester for an additional fee. I would not even consider it for the early elementary ages, but definitely as an option with a high school student who may need more help than a parent can provide.
Easy to Use Online Language Learning : Our Experience with Middlebury Interactive Languages
Overall, this has been a VERY fun experience for my kindergarten student. He ASKS to do another lesson on a regular basis, so we have done more than the 2 per week as suggested.
He is in the first semester of the program which is broken down into We typically go straight to the Table of Contents page to find the next lesson. He likes to be ‘in charge’ and will click to the next section of the lesson. However, he also enjoys having me be close by to see what he is learning.
The colorful, animated stories are one of his favorite components of the program along with the speaking labs where he can record and listen to himself saying the vocabulary words or phrases. At times he gets a little goofy recording himself. But, overall he is attentive to how he sounds in comparison to the sample recording.
I suspect he’ll be finished with the semester long course long before the holiday season hits. My only debate will be whether to go straight to the second semester for the spring or wait until next fall to space it out.
Have you used online curriculum like Middlebury Interactive Languages for early elementary ages?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the Middlebury Interactive Languages Review post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this and other self-paced courses.