Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hablo Ingles? - Middlebury Interactive Languages: A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review

Stick around this blog long enough and you will get to know me pretty quickly.  I am, after all, pretty much an open book who shares more than she should sometimes.  And there are some things I am pretty passionate about.  Big things like my family and my faith, down to little things like organization and well, let's just get it out there- the Spanish language.

So yes, when I had the opportunity to review High School Spanish 1 for grades 9th-12th from  Middlebury Interactive Languages program, I jumped in quickly.  Might as well add another Spanish program to my list of obsessions, I mean passions, right?

We have actually done Middlebury before, but at the time concentrated on the younger age program. But this time around I really needed a workable high school program.  You know, one that fulfills a high school foreign language requirement, while actually teaching your high schooler something. Oh, and throw in the need for it to allow the child to be pretty independent and not reliant on a mom who is not bi-lingual by any stretch of the imagination.  Just saying.

Middlebury does offer multiple levels of Spanish instruction, including several levels for high schoolers.  You can choose Spanish 1. Spanish 2, Spanish 3 or High School Spanish 1 Fluency or High School Spanish 2 Fluency.  By completing a full year of each level you can count it as a full foreign language credit on those high school transcripts.  (And yes, most colleges require two years of a foreign language).  Additional languages offered are French, Chinese, and German.

The program is fairly easy to use.  You just log into your child's account and go!  There is a left sidebar that shows your progression through each level so you can see what you still have to do for that session.  Each time a lesson is completed it is checked off to allow you to quickly find where you are at.  I know that when you are accessing a teacher led course things are a bit different and even have a lesson assigned to each day on a calendar, but for our use, we proceeded at our own pace. That usually equates to about four lessons a week for are high school freshman.  There are 90 lessons per semester.

As you click through slides you will work through a myriad of different activities.  One one slide you may hear a Spanish conversation and then be asked to fill in the blanks, while on another you may hear sentences and then repeat what you have heard,  recording yourself.   Some slides are fill in the blanks with vocabulary, while others have you answer questions in Spanish.  There are even sections that teach geography and culture of Spanish speaking areas.  If you make a mistake on any of the activities, you will have the opportunity to go back and try again.  Tests are scattered throughout the lessons for you to be able to record your child's progress.

What do we think?
Elementary and middle school foreign language programs are easy to find.  High School levels, not so much. So I am thrilled to have access to a program that is available to all ages and levels of learning.

I also love that the activities cover the spectrum of learning styles.  My auditory learner just does better when he can hear things being said out loud.  By using reading, speaking, listening, and writing, your child WILL pick up something, no matter their learning style!

I do love that the program forces you to repeat things out loud and record your own voice.  My son, however, does not.  He feels silly.  I keep reminding him that if he was in school he would have to participate out loud in a class so it could be worse.

One part of the course we have struggled with is the writing portion.  We struggled with this at the lower level as well.  For a child who struggles with spelling in English, spelling correctly in Spanish is a challenge. There is no credit for getting close. If you misspell something, including accents and other Spanish marks used in writing, it will be counted wrong.  This can often be frustrating when you have to use special keys to place those accent marks in the correct places.  It is something we are just trying to push through.

On a whole, Middlebury Interactive Languages is a good fit for our family.  I love that it allows us some flexibility while maintaining a high standard level that allows us to count it as a high school level foreign language credit.  That's what we need!

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

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