Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

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

We received access to a semester of Spanish Courses offered by Middlebury Interactive Languages. We chose Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2. Last year we used Middlebury Interactive Languages to introduce my daughter to Spanish (you can read our review here), and this year we used it as a refresher for her, but also to introduce Spanish to my son, who mainly just watched his sister use the program last year. This year she is in 1st grade and he is in Kindergarten. We chose Spanish because it's a very common language spoken in our area, and we also have family members who speak Spanish.

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
We use Middlebury Interactive Languages on our laptop. The kids are older now, so they can use it independently. They use the laptop one at a time, my son going first, since using the activities is a first for him, so he took more time completing the lessons. My daughter worked on the lesson after him. Each unit has about 6 lessons each. We aimed to complete one unit each week, although we usually finishing one or two lessons per day. We would go back at the end of the week and complete them again to make sure they remembered the lessons and were ready to move on to the next unit. Some units we went over for two weeks. We make flash cards for each vocabulary word so they can read and review them and at the end of the week they practice writing them.

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
There are 12 units in the K-2 Spanish study. They each focus on one subject. There are Greetings, Numbers, Family, Colors, School, Body, Animals, Calendar, Food, Descriptions, and two review units (6 and 12). When we begin a new unit, I start by printing out the story pages and vocabulary list. You'll find the story video and recap in the first lesson. We complete lesson one usually the same day, but we use the printables throughout the week to review the story, which has additional words to learn, and to use the vocabulary words as our spelling words. At the end of the week, when we go over lesson six with the test, we also read the story one last time and I'll ask them comprehension questions and review the words. Then I let them know what the theme will be next week and ask them if there are any other words in that theme they would like to learn. For example, in the family section, it only has the words for mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, and grandfather. But they wanted to know what the words for aunt and uncle were, so we learned those too. 

There are some printables available that you can find in lesson 6 of each unit. The printables cover the overview of the story on the first page, then it goes through the story line-by-line translating it, with English on the left and Spanish on the right. When we first began using Middlebury Interactive Languages (last year), I didn't know about the story pages until we got to them, so to watch the story completely in Spanish was confusing. It's much easier to watch them now that we have the translation ready to go over each part of the story. The only thing that I'd change about the printables is that they highlight the vocabulary words in light orange. We don't have a color printer, so those words just look really light. It would be much easier to read if they were black and in bold letters. 

(Apologies for the poor lighting. We had a massive rain storm that caused the power to go out during the time I took these pictures.)

We put our printables in folders, one for each unit. The printables go on the left side, while our flash cards and writing pages are put in the right side. We plan to also make picture collages for the animals and food units. 

Close up of how the words look pale using a black and white printer.

I would love more printables to be available, especially for young children who are using the K-2 version. There are lots of activities that involve matching a phrase to a picture. That could be turned into a printable cut and paste version for offline revision. There could also be printables where the student writes in their answer to a question. Currently I have a writing book that they use to copy Spanish phrases in for each unit. Each phrase uses one page, so they have to copy the phrase multiple times and also draw a picture depicting the phrase, such as "Hola" and the person is waving. That being said, Middlebury Interactive Languages is primarily an online foreign language study program and does a great job introducing the Spanish language to young children.

My children and I love using Middlebury Interactive Languages to learn Spanish. We would love to use the next level, which is for grades 3-5, but will probably wait until the kids are in 2nd and 3rd grade to use it. In the meantime, they do have French and Chinese (Mandarin) for grades K-2 available. So we may look into learning a new language next year! 

I would recommend using Middlebury Interactive Languages to other homeschoolers or public school students who may not have a foreign language class available to them (in our area some schools don't offer foreign language studies until middle or high school). This program can also be used by children who move to a new country that speaks Spanish, French, German, or Chinese. They have different levels for learning each language K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, and 11-12, so if your child already knows the basics, they can move to the next level or match their grade level. 

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

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